Mothers are a $1.7 trillion annual purchasing segment in the US, according to M2Moms, a conference on mother-targeted marketing. Also, most of the 37.8 million mothers with children at home use social media at least once a week, according to Bulldog Reporter’s PR University. When moms seek parenting information they can trust, they go online – often to websites run by other moms.
These are just some of the reasons why marketers court mom bloggers like Jen Singer, who holds a degree in mass communications from Brown University. She initially used her blog to put down thoughts on raising her two young sons and to connect with other moms.
“I was a mom blogger before they put the words ‘mom’ and ‘blogger’ together,” Singer quips. “We have credibility that we didn’t have before because the media has figured out that this is not a hobby. This is big business.”
Singer’s blog, Mommasaid.net, grew into a Forbes “Best of the Web” community that attracts more than 80,000 page views a month. The website offers Singer’s unique blend of humor, expert advice and personal insights – including information from the more than 20 other bloggers whose posts appear exclusively on Singer’s website. She has appeared on Today, NBC News, ABC’s World News Tonight, The CBS Evening News, as well as dozens of radio programs, magazines and top newspapers. Her latest book, Stop Second Guessing Yourself – Baby’s First Year, was released this month. DMNews talked with Singer on how to market to moms and mom bloggers.
Treat social media as a conversation, not a one-way street. “Instead of a conversation, companies are constantly sending information out instead of trying to get information back,” says Singer. “Social media is simply customer service. Once companies figure that out and release some of the control, they’ll reap the benefits.”
Get over your fears about social media. Singer says companies are afraid that some “whack-a-doodle” will come on their Twitter or Facebook page and say rotten things. That attitude prevents companies from dealing with problems. “Would you turn away someone who went to your customer desk to tell you that they are unhappy with something they bought? Of course not,” she says.
Know your audience. Don’t invite moms or mom bloggers to events that begin at 3 pm. Singer says a major television show targeting mom bloggers made two miss-steps when it recently extended an invitation to her. The first was referring to her as a “mommy blogger.” “Please. My children haven’t called me mommy since they were four,” she says.
Then, the show offered Singer the opportunity to talk with a parenting expert at 3 pm that day. “I pointed out that if they really want to target mom bloggers, they might not want to have the phone call when all the kids are getting home from school,” she said.
Learn from real experts. Singer attended a conference last year on social media and targeting mothers. Attendees represented PR firms or publicity departments at major corporations, she said.
“I appeared to be the only mom blogger there, which was surprising to me,” Singer says. “They’re all trying to figure this out, so why not talk to the people who have figured it out? And, those people are mom bloggers.”
Understand how mom bloggers work. Mom bloggers usually operate solo. They don’t have time to blog about every news release and rarely have time to conduct interviews.
“I have 8,000 Twitter followers. Make it easy for me to Tweet it. Give it to me in 140 characters with a URL that’s already shrunk. Don’t make me do all the work,” advises Singer.
Get active in social media. Singer recalled a major corporation that offered a freebie to moms. She wanted to tag it on Facebook for MommaSaid.net’s freebie Friday. However, when she went to the company’s Facebook page, she saw it hadn’t been touched in more than a year. “So I didn’t tag @company, because it is a waste of my time,” she says. “If you’re not on Facebook – where the fastest growing segment of the audience is women in their 30s and 40s, you are making a huge mistake.”
Know how to use social media. “It’s not enough to throw up your logo and say, ‘We’re here!’ If you are just one-way posting – ‘Here’s a cool coupon’ for instance – there is no reason for moms to come back,” Singer says. “But if you ask them, ‘What is the craziest Halloween costume you have ever had to make?’ or ‘What does your husband do that drives you crazy?’ they’ll answer. They’ll start having a conversation with you, and they will start thinking of your site as a cool place to hang out.”