Mommy Blogger Mania
Mothers aren’t just changing diapers these days, they’re changing the media landscape.
By Christine Esposito
Between Twitter, Facebook and countless blogs, the world of social media continues to grow. And along with it is the attention being placed on the moms who tweet, connect and post in cyberspace.
While mothers have always held a soft spot in most marketing departments, moms who blog have become a highly coveted crop of consumers.
Why? What do these women have that others don’t? An audience. Make that a potentially very large audience.
The use of social networking sites and the internet has taken word of mouth marketing to a new level. In the 1950s, if a new mom loved a particular brand of diaper cream, maybe she told her neighbor. In the 1990s, she talked it up with six other moms in her playgroup. Today, she can rave about on her blog, and hundreds if not thousands of other moms from just about anywhere will read all about it.
“Mothers who are active with social media like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc. are an important community of women,” said Kevin Burke, founder of MomsWhoBlog.com—a website that provides news about mothers active in social media—and Lucid Marketing, an Allentown, PA boutique agency that specializes in marketing to moms.
“The blogging community has grown because inherently people want to connect and relate to other people. The internet has enhanced this ability. Moms are no different, but are special because they have a shared common experience, motherhood, that makes the connections even stronger. So, they are using internet technology to express their feelings, entertain, build relationships, earn money, learn, highlight issues, debate and more, of which all are many of the elements that make for healthy communities,” he added.
Mr. Burke estimates there are 40,000 moms who blog in the U.S. today. It’s a small army that wields a lot of influence in media.
“More and more people are turning to their peers and other real people to stay informed.On most topics, moms trust other moms above anyone else. Moms who blog are leading this shift away from traditional media to social media for their information,” he said.
Newbie Moms (women aged 25-34 with one or two children in the home) are more than twice as likely as the average web user to visit Blogger (a tool for creating blogs) and 85% more likely to visit Facebook, according to Nielsen Online, which recently unveiled its Power Mom 50, “a collection of leading voices in the mom blogosphere,” which is monitored and tracked by Nielsen Buzzmetrics.
The Nielsen list includes so-called “Mom Approved” bloggers—those who trial, sample and review products—including Jolly Mom. This specific blogger has reviewed a plethora of products from sunglasses to strollers to shoes as well as personal care items. Among the most recent personal care posts was a May 5 spot featuring P&G’s new Hannah Montana personal care line for ‘tweens. Jolly Mom was offering one reader the chance to win the entire line.
Bare Minerals has also reached out to bloggers. Last year, the brand connected with A Daily Dose of Toni. The site’s author wrote a review, showed before and after pictures of herself—and hosted a product giveaway. More than 200 comments and questions were posted on that one specific entry.
“This type of product review approach is the most common way we see brands and moms who blog working together. They work because they are relevant, credible and honest. [A Daily Dose of Toni’s] readers enjoy the content and style, and are engaged,” Mr. Burke said.
While P&G and other companies that naturally count moms as their primary customers (including Disney and Kimberly-Clark) have embraced mommy bloggers, the beauty industry’s level of engagement could be deeper.
“But the same can be said for most businesses,” Mr. Burke told Happi.com. “Many still don't understand the opportunity or how to approach the relationship. Some are concerned about what they perceive as a lack of control, but in reality control left the barn a while ago.”
In fact, while connecting with moms seems simple on the surface, it can be complicated. Earlier this year, a mom who was offended by a Motrin advertisement that referenced the use of baby slings wrote about her feelings on her blog. It lit off a firestorm of activity, forcing J&J to pull the ad and offer an apology. In another situation, J&J invited mom bloggers to an event but didn’t offer childcare, which also created some negative feelings.
“The repercussions are not terrible, but marketers aren't accustomed to seeing people discussing their brand in such a way. The best thing for the brand to do is join the conversation, take responsibility, and listen. Ultimately they get to understand their customers that much better,” Mr. Burke noted.
For companies ready to dip their feet into the social media waters, Mr. Burke offered more advice: “[Mommy bloggers] are not going to shill for your product, but they will talk with you and help you be successful. The best approach is to invite them in to a conversation about your brand and business. They will help and offer real advice.”