Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Moms and Social Media : How important are Moms?

Just how valuable are moms to the social marketing experience?

How can you adjust your tone and message to tap into their precious "me time"? Which brands are mother approved, and which ones need a time-out? Where are marketers likely to stumble in their mom-friendly campaigns?

Next in Social Media

They're powerful, outspoken, and know how to band together to make brands sit up and take notice of their needs. Find out how and why you should seek the approval of moms for your next campaign.

Moms are joining social networks en-masse.

If you're a mom, you've probably noticed a lot more activity with moms on Facebook in the past six months.

According to comScore, year-over-year growth of women 25-54 with children in the household has gone up nearly 50 percent on Facebook since November of 2007.

Café Mom, a social network for moms, has seen equally impressive growth, albeit from a smaller base of 34 percent. Further, MySpace continues to gain strength among online moms, and while MySpace's 4 percent growth was slower than rival Facebook's, MySpace still attracts more moms on a monthly basis overall. Of course, there are also several smaller social nets dedicated to women and moms, like SisterWoman, that are likely to have experienced similar growth over the past year. A 2008 study from MindShare estimated the number of moms on social networks to be around 33 million, and that number has only gone up since then.

As the sheer number of moms on social nets climbs, so does the amount of time spent on these sites overall.

The average MySpace mom spends more than 12 hours on the site per week, according to a recent MySpace study.

Interestingly, the same medium that women are spending more time with is the one that 75 percent of moms voted saved them time, according to the same MindShare study. And beyond saving them time, moms selected the internet as their second favorite pastime behind reading.

So what are all these moms doing on social nets? Social networking sites, along with the internet, TV, and radio, are the "daily use" media for moms. In fact, MySpace moms are more active in online and social media than they are in watching TV.

When do they find all this time? Late evening (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) is when most moms are on MySpace. This is also a time when moms are most active with other media, indicating a high degree of simultaneous media usage. MySpace moms in particular report engaging in 1.85 other media activities while surfing. This makes perfect sense, of course; the kids are finally in bed, and the focus shifts back to mom's external interests again. From an advertiser's perspective, this knowledge can be used to influence the tone and messaging of a campaign by tapping into that "me time" mantra made so famous by Oprah and her legions of spiritual guides.

A recent report by Café Mom and Razorfish provides additional insight into various segments of moms and their digital activities. MySpace moms with younger kids, for instance, are more likely to visit social networks mid-morning, perhaps during their children's nap time. This is a perfect opportunity to daypart target those moms with younger children. But keep in mind the value that moms place on this coveted interlude, and ensure your communications are consistent with their expectations.

Those expectations might include using this time to catch up with friends. In fact, 78 percent of MySpace moms report first joining for this very purpose. Moms are also cultivating new friendships online through applications like Circle of Moms. This Facebook tool allows moms to connect with other moms based on common interests -- like using cloth diapers or raising twins -- through a discussion board, polls, photo galleries, and other interactive features. Circle of Moms currently boasts more than 2 million active monthly users and nearly 11,000 fans.

Despite the proliferation of social applications that cater to mom-related activities and kids, moms are, of course, much more than just mothers. Their core interests -- whether they are current events, fashion and style, cooking, music, or business -- are still a part of who they are outside of being a mom. And the brands that cater to those interests can find great success with moms on social sites.

How are brands using social nets to reach moms?

Unfortunately (and somewhat surprisingly), many brands still aren't doing much of anything at all. The top advertiser on Facebook in 2008 was a public service ad supporting the National Problem Gambling Hotline. Of course there were ads for telecom companies and financial services, but those appeared to be driven by a larger ad network buy than part of a specific social media strategy. There were, however, a few brands that did stand out.


Tide's "Dress to the Sevens with Tim Gunn" program is a great example of using a social network to connect with moms -- and women in general -- about a special interest area. Aligned with Fashion Week, Tide partnered with Tim Gunn, famous for the Bravo TV reality show "Project Runway," to bring style tips to moms on MySpace. Ads featuring the style expert are also now running on Facebook.

Betty Crocker

Betty Crocker uses MySpace to provide recipes, links to coupons, and fun seasonal interactive features like the Chocolate Love Spinner for Valentines Day. This isn't rocket science; we've all seen this type of campaign somewhere else before. It's just a matter of bringing useful content one step closer to the users where they're spending their time.

Mercedes GLK

Aside from well executed promotions and brand pages leveraging the massive audience of social nets, advertisers have been trying to find ways to enlist vocal networkers to participate. One such example can be seen in a recent effort for the Mercedes GLK model. Mercedes enlisted popular blogger and mom Amy Allen Clark (of, a part of the Real Girls Media network) to conduct test drives and post the reviews on her blog. Readers are invited to comment for a chance to win gift cards.

While the campaign itself isn't executed on a social network, it's generating a conversation about the vehicle and how specific product attributes fit within a mother's busy life. It's being promoted via widgets on other mom's blogs and some custom ad units on DivineCaroline, which features friending capabilities and other social network components. The campaign may have been even stronger if Mercedes had leveraged those components and provided DivineCaroline users an easier way to share the promotion with their friends.

As with all forms of media that incorporate consumer-generated content, advertisers that target moms on social sites have to be ready to take the good with the bad. We all know what happened to Motrin recently when it wasn't prepared -- if you don't, just Google "motrin moms." A surprisingly cohesive group of connected moms took issue with a Motrin video and used the latest social media tools to voice their displeasure. Thanks to the power of Twitter, Motrin and its agencies got a painful lesson in how to plan for the wave of responses, both positive and negative, that can come from a campaign.

So what should you consider for your brand?

Reference: John Gray Enlighen


Anonymous said...

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Dr. Cindy Gordon said...

Thanks Tessa

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