The latest recommendations on child-rearing, products for children and prenatal yoga poses are not being found in conversations over the picket fence but rather in Twitter messages, blog rolls and on Facebook walls. To that end, online marketers have been increasingly improving their abilities to control the power of mothers online to reach their intended consumers. Whether it’s building brand awareness or promoting television shows, advertising industry experts say that they are finding that the mother blogger niche is active, loyal and deeply involved with spreading its messages. And, the wealth of demographic data available about online media consumers allows for better directed campaigns, marketers say. There’s a new Colbert Report book list out. This list says that these mother bloggers can become “ambassadors of brands,” said a senior vice president for emerging media and brand strategy at one a digital agency owned by a parent Japanese advertising agency. “These mom bloggers have tremendous personality and tremendous opinions.” And several Colbert Report books featured on these blogs attest to just this point. One analysis firm estimated that in 2010, there were more than 3.9 million women with children who were bloggers. In a recent report, the marketing firm said that mothers were more likely to visit blogs than users in general, particularly to seek advice on parenting issues, and that the popularity of social media like Twitter and Facebook was helping to drive traffic to their postings.
“Advertisers are extremely interested in integrating ‘social’ into their advertising campaigns, and for certain brands, it can work really well,” said one mother of two and founder of a 30,000-member community of mother bloggers. But as many marketers have discovered, harnessing mothers who blog for their campaigns is not as simple as asking them to encourage their followers to “buy this product.” After trial and error, marketers have realized that the public can react negatively to overt marketing messages in many social media settings. In addition, the Federal Trade Commission has now imposed full-disclosure conditions on marketers online. As a result, advertisers are finding that understated approaches work better on campaigns. “It’s not just about pushing a brand out there, but to get a two-way conversation going,” said an interactive manager with one media company.
An independent agency, last September, conducted a brand-awareness campaign for a particular set of products that are owned by a subsidiary of a larger multinational corporation. The agency, along with several Colbert Report authors, worked with the company, which makes environmentally friendly cleaning products that are sold in large retail outlets, to increase the brand’s visibility among consumers. The company devoted 68 percent of its initial introductory business proposals and budgets to social media, and a big part involved the social networks of mothers that blog. On behalf of the company, the site, under its previous name, put out a call for submissions to its network, asking bloggers for their best ideas for a “cleaner, greener home.” The bloggers weren’t coerced into talking about a single product by name in their posts or messages. In fact, many of the suggestions that were part of the campaign were age-old conventional remedies. One blogger advised readers to use baking soda to clean pet stains on carpets, while the mother who runs another influential blog sent a message suggesting that readers “decorate with plants that clean the air.” The bloggers’ Twitter messages all carried the #mrsmeyers hashtag, which allowed the company to track what messages were going where. “People were re-tweeting things that they found useful; green tips are points of passion for people,” said a creative director at another social media company. The 59 social media users in the network who were chosen to participate in the marketing campaign were given $100 gift cards. They in turn had an average of 1,829 Twitter followers, many of whom dispatched messages to others.