Facebook and MySpace: Beware Of The Mommy Bloggers

by , Jul 29, 2009, 5:17 PM
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I was reading the write-ups of last week's BlogHer conference in Chicago secretly jealous that even though I'm a mommy and a blogger, this junket was simply not in the cards for me.

But it wasn't just jealousy that drove my interest, it was how the mommy bloggers inadvertently, perhaps, uncovered a central truth about social media marketing: it isn't at all about carefully targeted display ads, or search ads, but about relationship-building. Unfortunately, that isn't something the Facebooks and MySpaces of the world have learned to monetize very well yet. So, while the discovery of the mommy bloggers is great for advertisers, it's not so great for those who are trying to be the broker that connects the bloggers with the marketers. That connection is already happening directly.

I'm going to quote a competitor to Mediapost, Advertising Age, but its packaged-goods reporter, Jack Neff, said it best: "BlogHer helps solve the mystery of how marketers will manage to spend money on social media despite showing relatively little interest in ads on Facebook or MySpace and the numerous free opportunities available everywhere."

Neff than goes on to quote Jill Beraud, the Global Chief Marketing Officer of PepsiCo, who explains that wooing the mommy bloggers is a long-term ROI effort. As for the entire roster of advertisers at BlogHer, it reads like a who's-who of the blue chip: Wal-Mart, Procter & Gamble, General Motors, Gymboree, Unilever, Kodak.

When you look at that list, you begin to wonder whether the more-than-1,000 women who showed up for the conference are the new reach and frequency. If you believe that word-of-mouth, and the word-of-mouth created by mommy bloggers, is more powerful than banner ads, not to mention TV commercials, you can envision the ramparts of traditional marketing breaking down.

I'm not such a radical to think that TV commercials will go away, but there is still something seismic going on here -- not just in a shift of media dollars away from traditional media, but in advertisers finding that perhaps the best way to market in social media channels has nothing to do with paid media. As Facebook and MySpace try to build their monetization models (and Facebook finds itself embroiled in its second click-fraud suit in recent weeks), let's hope, for their sakes, that they are watching this trend closely, and working on ways to get paid by facilitating the connections between social media moms and advertisers, and/or providing marketers with the intel they need to understand their markets.

Strangely, as I was writing the paragraph above, I got a press release in my email from PQ Media predicting that word-of-mouth, which was a $300 million sector in 2003 will reach $3 billion by 2013. Predictions, as we know, can be pretty faulty, but it's clear that the general trend is up.

It's no coincidence that concurrent to the mommy blogger conference, a small group of mommy bloggers began "Blogs with Integrity," which has been described as a Good Housekeeping-style seal of approval emphasizing that content read on blogs with the organization's seal are not subject to, well, blogola. That both points to the problems with courting mommy bloggers with products and services, and their power. If mommy bloggers can hold onto their credibility, the future is theirs.

You go, girls!

0 comments on "Facebook and MySpace: Beware Of The Mommy Bloggers ".

  1. Barry Dennis from netweb/Omni
    commented on: July 29, 2009 at 6:36 p.m.

    As I have noted before, the Social Media problem of monetizing Content and eyeballs is related to the nature of the media. Same thinking applies to Mommy Blogs, and any other developing blog arena.
    Simply, Social formats don't lend themselves to advertising, and more importantly, and this is just my opinion, the ONLY advertising that will gain traction on Social Media is that which directly and specifically complements the rationale for social interaction at that scale.
    You wouldn't put a Depends commercial on Gamestop's web site, right?
    You wouldn't advertise Ball Park Franks on a vegetarian web site, would you? At least, not on purpose.
    So, if the "medium is the message" then what relates to Social might work, might get a response, might build word-of-mouth, respond to "try me" offers, take some action.
    What relates? Dating, Special Interest Groups (SIG), Non-profits-maybe, maybe a few other things, better minds than I can profile a range of products and services.
    Facebook and MySpace may have millions of members, but how many have interacted locally?
    Right!
    Few, not many, not enough to be that most important of all things...LOCAL.
    So willy-nilly spending money to establish presence on Social Content may..just may.. be a waste of client money, unless you are the right product or service.
    Brand-building, image rejuvenation, horrors, even sales!
    may be possible, but not using the current approach.
    Part of the problem lies at the heart of the Social Media itself; they need to evolve further along the path of developing and supporting the Special Interests, communication needs, and information needs of those folks who participate.
    That maybe leads to Member desire for opportunistic product and service information.
    Me?
    I'd do Dating, Advice, Cloud-based Social collaboration( SIGS, Clubs, Affinity Groups) put a face and a voice to Social-that's what it is.
    Pretty soon, maybe, someone will start a Sierra Club or Teacher's Facebook, or Doctor's MySpace. There are already thousands of SIG blogs; how hard would it be to "upgrade" Facebook or MySpace to provide SIG Forums?
    Finally, Facebook and MySpace and all the others are just venues, like a Singles Night at the local pub, or a "mixer" or ...or...
    It would be nice to have a formula for what works in Social; we're not there yet.
    Plus there's a hundred and fifty million or more in the U.S. that aren't social.
    What category do they go in?

  2. Dhana Cohen from The Next Big Zing
    commented on: July 29, 2009 at 7:50 p.m.

    Catharine,

    Interesting the whole mommy blogger world, as one friend coined it so perfectly, "its as if I am back in junior high and its the popular girls, this time its the Walmart mommys!!"
    I had a blog, reviewing products through the eyes of the video camera, I couldn't find myself graveling to the popular girls...knowing that my blog was going to grow up and become a website I felt vindicated!!

    I am sure these moms have some powerful message to promote, but why are they so special???

    Dhana Cohen
    founder/president
    www.thenextbigzing.com

  3. Donna Declemente from DDC Marketing Group
    commented on: July 29, 2009 at 8:58 p.m.

    Let's remember that social media really began with blogs. Some of the more popular blogs have been around for more than five years. That was before Facebook and Twitter became the darlings of the media.

    So while mommy bloggers have become a media force to reckon with, there are plenty of niche blogs out there that are a perfect fit for some brands. However it's not their numbers that are going to impress the media buyers. It's their relationships and their influence that need to be recognized.

    What many advertisers don't realize is that the readers of many popular blogs are quite often bloggers themselves. Therefore, when one blogger makes a statement on their blog, the word-of-mouth effect can be huge! And now Twitter makes it even easier for bloggers to pass the word on.

    Go Bloggers!

  4. Miss Lori from Miss Lori's CAMPUS
    commented on: July 30, 2009 at 7:30 a.m.

    Before there was Internet, before there was TV, before there was radio, there was word of mouth. We have always valued, above all else, the opinions of our closest friends or family members. It's human nature.

    Advertisers try to capitalize on this by hiring a trustworthy actor to deliver their pitch. But Mommybloggers aren't acting, they are just talking about the things they like, love, hate and believe in. That's what we as consumers are looking for, a solid recommendation, a crystal ball view into the future if we use this product, or that service. A trusted friend sharing their experience.

    Our lives are fast paced and far spread. The internet has simply provided a way for moms to stay connected in the reality of the digital age. To pass along suggestions...word of mouth.

    SMILE On!

    ML
    www.MissLori.TV

  5. Yvonne Divita from BlogPaws
    commented on: July 30, 2009 at 8:30 a.m.

    Interesting. I was there. Lucky me. I met the most wonderful Mommy bloggers - but, I also reconnected with two groups of bloggers that often get overlooked, in favor of Mommy bloggers. Please - make no mistake, I am not only a Mommy, I'm a GrandMommy...which is another story.

    Niche blogs and niche markets offer advertisers a real chance at viral marketing and true word-of-mouth. Hence, those of us who are business professionals, who blog - wondered why the business track was so small, at Blogher. I'm sure Lisa, Jory, and Elisa have their reasons for that. But, we're not going to be ignored. We command a lot of attention and we have our own group of followers.

    The second group that got the brush-off was the pet bloggers, who are Mommy bloggers to dogs and cats. These devoted bloggers love their pets as much as we love our kids (I'm one - I love my kids, but they're grown and gone and my pets are my new kids). Petbloggers are another growing group that need to be reckoned with.

    So, Barry, here's the thing - the Internet, especially using blogs and Twitter, can create the right viral marketing campaign, contest, or story for any brand, if they engage the right group of bloggers. Forget Facebook and MySpace, those are gathering grounds where people seldom pay attention to ads. Hit the blogs, where the conversations are, and watch the chatter fly all over Twitter.

    TV will never match that. Never.

  6. Eric Hyman
    commented on: July 30, 2009 at 8:41 a.m.

    Cathy, I agree but my own blog post took a totally opposite track; I'm wondering if Mommy Blog-Ola might have a possible backlash and give a boost to "traditional/corporate" media. Separation of church and state sort of thing.

    http://www.jwt.com/cet/blog/

    I looked at this in terms of cycles in the tech industry which spawned the Internet in the first place. As noted, I've been in it long enough to see that history repeats itself. EH @ericadman

  7. Leyla Arsan from Lotus Marketing
    commented on: August 1, 2009 at 5:39 p.m.

    I was at Blogher, I am not a mommy blogger and I loved the experience. You can read about my experience at http://www.sundaymorningsoliloquy.com

    The whole mommy blogger frenzy really interests me, in fact, I don't recall a more exciting time for marketers trying to reach this demo. These women love to be recognized and they love having a voice - and they subscribe to the "safety in numbers" theory. This really helps because they also fall like dominoes when given something they like. In turn, they can be your worst nightmare if you get on their bad side. They can be MEAN!

    I think a great way to monetize social media is through event marketing, which is essentially what Blogher was/is doing. It is a social event loosely disguised as a B2B style conference and educational seminar.

    Sponsors pay to get close to their target audience and in return, bloggers WRITE AND WRITE and talk and talk about what they experienced. The women who were at Blogher are still talking about it and the women who weren't are reading about what they missed!

  8. Jennifer Freeman from The Daily Fuss
    commented on: August 1, 2009 at 6:53 p.m.

    I started my blog simply to share my experiences as a mom and help otheres navigate the world of "stuff" that can be expensive and confusing as a parent. I also work under a set of principles that hopefully bolster my credibility. I don't like the whole "Mommy Blogger" category for some reason. I feel that there are quite distinct subsets and can't wait to see how the mommy-blogging landscape will morph over the next several years. http://blog.thedailyfuss.com/

  9. Jennifer Freeman from The Daily Fuss
    commented on: August 1, 2009 at 7 p.m.

    I started The Daily Fuss to offer my experience as a mom and consumer and to help readers navigate the often confusing and expensive waters of parenthood, life and the stuff that comes with it. I'm not crazy about lumping us all into one "Mommy-Blogger" category. In fact, I see a few rather distinct factions of Mommy-Bloggers. It will be interesting to see how this landscape morphs over the coming years. The Daily Fuss operates on a firm set of principles - the main goal of which is to deliver valuable content to its readers. Content is king and the integrity piece is at the crux of whether a site will be a success or fizzle out. Feel free to read the Fuss Principles at http://thedailyfuss.com/siteguidelines.

  10. Jennifer Freeman from The Daily Fuss
    commented on: August 1, 2009 at 7:28 p.m.

    I started The Daily Fuss to offer my experience as a mom and superconsumer, and to help others navigate the often confusing and expensive waters of parenting. I'm not crazy about lumping all "mommy-bloggers" into one category. I see a few distinct factions within the group already, and it will be interesting to see how the landscape morphs in the coming years. The Daily Fuss operates to deliver valuable content to its readership. Content is king and integrity is at the crux of whether a site will flourish or fail. Feel free to check out the Fuss Principles.

    Jennifer Freeman www.thedailyfuss.com

  11. Jennifer Freeman from The Daily Fuss
    commented on: August 1, 2009 at 7:31 p.m.

    Sorry for multi-commenting. The browser kept crashing and I had to start over. Then they all showed up at once!

  12. John Williamson
    commented on: August 11, 2009 at 11:27 a.m.

    I'm not sure that this qualifies within the social networking realm, however we are recruiting moms with increasing frequency to share their thoughts and attitudes via webcam for consumer research. I'm hoping our platform is the ideal setting - particularly with moms who would love to share their opionions and ideas, however would find it difficult to attend a focus group.

    We're always looking for moms - typically we've used traditional outbound phone-based recruiters (how old fashioned, I know), but we're looking for ways to better promote our service through the social networking sites and blogs where moms might learn about our solution, and join our growing "moms panel." In some cases moms qualify for a free webcam - and everyone who participates in a VideoDiary study gets a cash incentive.

    I'd love to talk with anyone who is interested in learning more, or helping to get the word out to moms that they can be compensated for research they can do at home with a webcam. Many of our clients are the large consumer packaged goods firms who target moms for lots of focus groups and other research.

    Thanks,
    John@qualvu.com

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