Connected mums & social media
Back in 2005, as I was first experimenting with social media with my personal blog, I was convinced that I was pioneering social media usage within my network of friends, family and colleagues. Looking back now, I realise my younger sister had actually started using social media a few months before me. At the time she was pregnant with her first child and I remember her mentioning she wasn’t sure how she would have got through her pregnancy had it not been for the Internet and the community of supportive mums she found there. Of course, at the time, I hadn’t put a name to what was to become a few years later one of the fastest growing social media phenomenons: the “connected mums” or “digital mums”.
A recent survey conducted by parenting site BabyCenter found that the use of social networks by mums has grown from 11% in 2006 to 63% in 2009. Mums increasingly use social networks to search for information related to pregnancy, to find tips and information on parenting, and to get recommendations from other mums.
More recent research by Forrester highlights that the Internet is the main source of information for mothers when it comes to making an informed purchase decision. Even more interestingly, one of the findings is that although they spend a considerable amount of time online, mums don’t tend to trust banner ads or search engine ads.
You can see where I’m getting at: if you’re a brand willing to engage with a group of individuals who have less time to spend with media than the average consumer (32 hours per week versus 36 hours), see the Internet as their main source of information, but don’t trust online advertising, and are noticeable users of social networks (31%), surely social media is the answer?
The Forrester research also found that 25% of mothers read customer reviews online, 19% use comparison sites and last but not least, 50% tell their friends about products they’re interested in. Online word of mouth at its best.
As Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of popular UK mums network NetMums puts it:
Mums are a desirable target for many advertisers […] but please don’t be tempted to patronise us with fluffy nursery-rhyme adverts. If you want to impress us, remember that as well as being mums, we are grown up, intelligent women.
Sites like Netmums, BabyExpert.com or Bounty.co.uk are all very appealing for marketers, but don’t forget, it’s all about engaging in conversations with mums in an interesting (Susanna Scott, the founder of British Mummy Bloggers reports she receives 10 product pitches per week) & ethical manner.