A study of the online population of women sheds light on how to market to women and their unique styles of sharing information. AOL and Bovitz show women's practices within social networks and email about their own lives and favorite brands.

Digital word-of-mouth significantly affects women's choices when they consume and share online content. An April, 2011 study from AOL and Bovitz Research Group studied how different groups of women have different online sharing styles, but in general value authenticity and share most often via email.

Forty percent of the women surveyed share information from trusted sources, 62 percent email finds within their network, and 34 percent of content shared amongst women was within social networks.

Depending on how women use online media, the study outlined several Women Identity segments, among which the most influential were the "social expressionista," "alpha trendsetter" and the "shopsessive." While these three groups were not the most populous groups, they exerted the most influence over their social network.

The social expressionista uses social networks to express herself online, whether in the areas of opinions, artwork or projects, as eMarketer summarizes the study. She makes up eight percent of the online female population, but were likely to tell others about favorite brands, and express views. 82 percent of these women responded that their online group is like-minded. As AOL's news release clarifies, the SE believes "that the web brings people together.

89 percent of social expressionistas say that social networks are their favorite type of site, far above the next highest responder to this question, the alpha trendsetter.

Alpha trendsetter takes "both their social lives and their careers very seriously." This segment is more brand conscious and also respected than others. The AT makes up thirteen percent of respondents, and often talks about brands and less often expresses views.

Shopsessives identify themselves as experts across fashion, health and technology categories. They are influential among family and friends "and enjoy it." At seven percent of online women, they make up the smallest group, but are the most frequent brand discussers.

The findings aim to help marketers connect with women by encouraging social expressionistas to spread buzz, play with brand assets and create content. Giving alpha trendsetters early access to new products would best win their attention and participation.

By Ivory King