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Mom bloggers: It takes a social media village

In just a few short years, women in social media—and mom bloggers in particular—have emerged as major influencers for their audiences. Though marketers have started to leverage the clout of mom bloggers, these women have the untapped potential to act as substantial brand advocates for their communities.

Years ago, Hillary Clinton wrote a book titled, It Takes a Village, which commented on the process of raising children in the 1990s. Her premise is that it not only takes a strong family to raise a child, but a strong community as well. Community has always been part of our cultural fabric.

For much of the last century women were entrenched in their communities. Families stayed closer together and neighbors knew everybody on the block. Stay-at-home mothers created prayer groups, quilting circles, bridge groups, and coupon swaps to not only socialize but also to get support and advice for how to handle the trials of motherhood. Back then women had easy access to a trusted neighbor or family member to cry it out with, babysit, share recipes, ask for opinions, or borrow a cup of sugar.

The fact is that the village has changed a lot through the years, particularly for women. And it’s the advancement of technology (a savior as well as a curse) that has been the impetus behind many of these changes. Families now relocate to follow their livelihood. Often a family’s respective destiny takes it out-of-state and far from immediate family. Seniors are living longer and staying more active. They move to warmer climates and away from grandchildren—and away from their children—young mothers who would ordinarily look to them for help. Workloads allow less time to visit with neighbors and friends. We get our outdoor chores done and run back inside to check our emails and answer phone calls. There’s little to no time for chitchat over the fence.

Even with the explosion of social media, our physical communities are smaller, more disparate, and ironically, less social. But at the same time, the job of mothering is still just as hard—if not harder—than ever. So where do today’s moms, social creatures at heart, get that needed support?

Enter the mom blogging community. Mom bloggers make up a very large percentage of the entire blogosphere. In fact, one in three bloggers are moms. (Click on the infographic at left to enlarge.) It’s an ever-growing, powerful online community created by moms to supplement the lack of help, support, and validation we now get less of from our physical communities. It’s a haven, full of trusted advisors and friends that enriches a mother’s social life. It’s a place she can instantly get help and tips in what little time she has for herself.

Trust is an important component in this community. Moms trust other moms a lot more than they trust messages that come from a brand, a large company, or a publication. In fact, a study of moms from 2011 found that 63% said blog reviews influence their decision to buy a product. No one can understand what it’s like to be up at 3 a.m. with a feverish baby better than another mom—and this makes the mom blogger a powerful influencer within her community.

The mom blogger community has assumed its place as the aforementioned village. Coupon swaps are now replaced with valued coupon mom blogs. Recipes and meal ideas can be shared among mom food bloggers and found in massive food blog aggregators like CookEatShare and Foodbuzz. Parenting advice is available from countless mom bloggers who have been there and can tell it like it is. Product reviews are everywhere. The cornerstones of this community are transparency and honesty; mom bloggers who stay true to the credo are the most highly trusted and valued in the community.

For marketers, these sages are an incredible resource. What better brand advocate could there be than one of these powerful mom influencers? The key is to engage with that influencer in a positive and transparent way and show how your brand understands and fits into their world. Once you establish relevancy and trust, your brand can be welcomed into the community as well.

Flora Caputo is executive creative director at Jacobs Agency.

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