Guess what, guys? The ladies are watching you. Before you get really excited about this you better keep reading…
As a woman who works in online networking and social media marketing, I’m an overall go-to-person on these topics for financial service organizations. My job is to pay attention to what others do and especially the behavioral marks (or the fancy term of “neuroscience”) on what makes a person tick…online. I have a fascinating job, but I’m not sure you know the ladies are watching your every move. Let me explain…
First – let’s talk about the money
This is especially important to understand in a day and age when women control so much of the financial pocketbook. That’s not something I made up. Business Insider reported in 2015 women now control more than half of US personal wealth and it will increase in the years to come. Advisors are already feeling the direction spending is taking as they review their business model and start considering the fact girl power is very real.
Second – let’s talk about trends
I’ve noticed three trends recently on LinkedIn which are alarming and yet, I do not think many men know they are doing it. I’m not here to sandbag anyone either. I’m using very real screenshots with the guilty parties blurred out because I think the topic is important to understand, but not at the expense of someone’s reputation. I don’t have to, they are doing the damage all by themselves.
- press “like” on a meme, photo, or joke
- write a scathing comment on an emotionally driven subject
- share experiences of women in the kitchen, pink anything, and carpool lanes
…it’s important to understand the long-term ramifications of the actions. LinkedIn is first and foremost a business networking site. This is not Match.com. This is not Tinder. This is not Plenty of Fish. These profiles represent your business livelihood. Let’s jump into it:
Introducing the LinkedIn Broffender
Remember, this is about your reputation as well as your business. Don’t let cheap, and often fleeting moments, ruin what you’ve worked so hard to build. Broffender is a moniker I use to describe frat house mentality with professional online personas…and they are on the rise. These three LinkedIn activities should have thoughtful consideration before they happen and unknowingly make you a Broffender:
A BROFFENDER STEREOTYPES…
It’s 2016 and many homes are dual-income today. The Women’s Bureau (a division of the United States Department of Labor) reported in 2010:
- Women comprised 47% of the total U.S. labor force.
- Women are projected to account for 51% of the increase in total labor force growth between 2008 and 2018. (We are already seeing this today in 2016.)
- 29.6% of women aged 25 and over have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
What do you feel is the likelihood these numbers are going to grow in the coming years? Quite a bit, right?
The home I live in today with my husband, I bought. I make my own money. I schedule my own travel. I do not cook dinner. I have never made lunches for my children. There is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone who has done the exact opposite of me either. We are just women choosing our own paths to make our lives richer. So I’m not sure why so many men cannot appreciate why this photo below is highly inappropriate for LinkedIn, but also offensive to the wife who stays home?
Be thoughtful before posting polarizing memes, caricatures, jokes, etc. about where “the woman’s place” is. We are watching and this can very easily turn us off from your business. That is not to say this same joking fodder couldn’t be a hearty chuckle at a family BBQ, but that’s what Facebook is for – not LinkedIn.
A BROFFENDER “LIKES” RISQUE PHOTOS OF WOMEN…
I actually get this. I’m not a fan of it, but I like to think there is some deep-seeded thought which is either, “She’s nice looking” or “What a beautiful woman” but there are plenty of broffenders out there who are not liking these photos for the innocence of beauty. Remember, if you like the photo of the news anchor with her bulging cleavage, the young intern who doesn’t know yoga pants are not business attire, the overseas gal who is looking to connect with a business man, just know that LinkedIn tattles on you in the news feed.
…and don’t think the ladies doing this are getting off easy in my book either. Research shows there is a loud cry out there called “self-esteem crisis” and these photos are their way of saying, “See me!” They need to stop and LinkedIn really needs to have a photo filter built into the publishing platform. The above photo isn’t terrible, but thanking everyone for birthday greetings with a picture in a bar? This is so Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook – not LinkedIn!
I see men I respect in the field of financial services making these mistakes on the daily. The ones I have a strong business relationship with, I contact them and tell them how it looks and they are grateful for the heads-up…and they stop. The broffenders I’ve disconnected with on LinkedIn because they keep making the same infractions. They just can’t help themselves, I suppose.
The “liking” of a photo may seem innocent, but it’s a signal you approve of this photo, this behavior, or worse shows lustful expressions toward another when so many of the broffenders are married or in committed relationships. This is bad for you and it’s really bad for your business. What do you feel is the likelihood a business woman, after seeing this, would want to continue having you manage their money and assets? Just something for you to consider.
A BROFFENDER NAME CALLS…
It behooves me to say this is happening on LinkedIn, but I see it more often than I care to admit. Name calling is so first grade, so why LinkedIn? (Oh, and you get in trouble in first grade for doing this!)
I recently participated in watching a LinkedIn Pulse article properly tagged as “gender equality” and “feminism” and found the comments incredibly eye-opening. For context, the premise of the article was to address a restaurant and their insensitive marketing brochure touting, “meet the girls for lunch, relax with a wine, gossip and enjoy a healthy light meal (guilt-free, right!). Equally where the boys can call in for a cold schooner after work…”
[The marketer in me is throwing up in their mouth. Blech]
I was very excited to see one gentleman step-up and agree with the writer. The broffenders couldn’t help themselves either. They called the women responding “thin-skinned”, the writer’s feelings were obviously “too precious”, and “how exhausting it must be to always be offended by stuff”. Pure and simple this is name calling and has no place in business.
So what happened to the dude who stepped up? You can see below he was slowly crucified by the broffenders with my favorite from Nick and his simple, “Boo hoo.” Great guy, I’m sure. Can you see all the women who want to do business with him? I’m sure they are knocking down his door for sales today!
This stuff is really happening on LinkedIn – and the struggle is real. I can’t even make this stuff up. I scroll the LinkedIn news feed about 5:30am every day. These messages, these infractions, these broffenders fill my news feed and as a woman make not only the messages, infractions and broffenders something we must deal with when we make decisions about who we want to spend our money with, but other stand-up guys simply can’t make a, “C’mon, dude” comment without the broffenders jumping his ass.
Actionable Education: Think before you interact with content online. That’s all. I don’t care if you think a woman’s place is in the kitchen. I don’t care if you enjoy looking at a woman’s cleavage. I don’t care if you think I’m a nagging Nelly. Keep those thoughts in your head or on your private Facebook, but when you put them on LinkedIn for display – just know you are a broffender and you’re hurting your business.