Sheryl Sandberg – a symbol of women’s dominance in social media.

Ellyn Davidson 02/15/12 - 10:20 pm

As we all know, Facebook is going public. Even though Mark Zuckerberg is the social media giant’s founder and figurehead, it seems like Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, is the one everyone’s talking about.

I’ve admired Sandberg for a long time. Not only is she a brilliant leader at Facebook (who will soon be worth an estimated $1.6 billion) she’s also a champion of other female leaders. And she puts her money where her mouth is.

According to this New York Times piece, Sandberg insists on hiring, promoting, and mentoring women within Facebook, and giving lectures on the importance of female ambition around the world.

Of course, Sandberg is an uncommon visionary. On the other hand, a woman being one of the most powerful people in social media makes perfect sense. Women are the most powerful forces behind social media. Take these statistics from emarketer.com:

  • 69% of females use social networking sites.
  • People are 49% more likely to recommend a company after they like them on Facebook.
  • 79% of women will refer family and friends to a brand page.
  • 40% of internet users like a brand to receive discounts/promotions.

If Sandberg alone doesn’t inspire more women to climb for the C-suite in internet tech and social media businesses, then statistics like those above should seal the deal. The numbers translate into tremendous female influence in the marketplace. That’s why it’s essential that social media be shaped by those who understand its primary users most—women.

I hope to see more and more social media-oriented companies like Facebook (and for that matter, Brogan & Partners with women at the helm. It’s a simple equation that will only add to their success.     

And once she’s a billionaire, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Sandberg start a foundation that promotes women’s professional development in social media and beyond. At least, that’s what I hope she’ll do.      

What about you? Who are your role models within the world of social media?

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