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Why Activists, Policymakers and Political Candidates Should Tap Into Women Influencers Online

This afternoon I had the pleasure of speaking at the Activism+Media+Policy Summit (@AMPSummit) on a session alongside PunditMom, Kelly Wallace and Lawyer Mama that was part of their Engagement Track entitled Networked: What Women Want and Why You Should Care.  This was the panel description:

In the world of politics, activism & policy, lots of people haven’t yet gotten the news that women are majority users & influencers online. Yet the world of marketing has. What can those on the Hill learn from marketers as to how & why they should care about women online & best practices — what works and what doesn’t?

The panel engaged in a lively and honest discussion with the audience on the differences between consumer brands and non-profits, political candidates, and causes engaging women and moms in their marketing strategies.

The biggest question was: Why has the consumer brand market embraced mom bloggers so heartily in their advertising campaigns?

The panelists offered a couple of potential reasons:

Dollars and Cents.  By now it’s common knowledge that moms are the main influencers when it comes to household purchasing decisions.  In addition, they are often the ones doing the actual shopping and holding the purse strings.  There are countless studies evidencing this fact and perhaps traditional brands reach out to women and moms more readily as a result.  In contrast, politics and other campaigns are still very male dominated; also, without the concrete figures to back up the ROI of investing in women, convincing activists and policymakers to reach out to women may be a tougher sell.

Resources. Non-profits are typically limited in the financial and human capital resources that they have to devote to any particular project or campaign.  While engaging women through social media may be an attractive idea to many, the reality of having limited manpower to learn, setup and consistently tweet, Facebook, and conduct blogger outreach may be more than a non-profit can handle given the demands on their time and money.

We also shared examples of campaigns that were successful in engaging women to advocate on their behalf and advance their messages with their communities.

And there was a general consensus that, in order for political candidates to capture our attention and use us a vehicles to support their platforms, it is critical that they engage with us, listen to us, and connect their campaign issues to those that affect us personally.  Those of us who live in the social media space are anticipating the upcoming election to be very different than the last. The candidates, lobbyists and other interested parties will no doubt be going full force with their social media strategies to win votes.  The question is: will women play a larger role this time around?  Which campaigns will be smart enough to tap into our powerful spheres of influence?

Interested in fidning out more about how women and social media are revolutionizing politics in America? Start with PunditMom’s book: Mothers of Intention.

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