Social Media Moms: A Worthwhile Investment
Forward-thinking companies now engage bloggers on a deep level. That is, they go beyond offering product samples, paying for reviews, or advertising on blogs. Leading-edge firms partner professionally with these moms in ways that better utilize her talents and knowledge. Forward-thinking mombloggers are looking for these types of partnerships, recognizing that they can't pay a mortgage, or even blog hosting fees, with free cereal samples.
By hiring bloggers, brands send a strong message of support and recognition of the value a community insider adds to campaigns or larger social media efforts.
When ConAgra Foods hosted a free back-to-school webinar featuring their brands, it engaged several reputable social media moms as hostesses. There was a clear value in having these moms tap into their networks to support the event. "We paid them for their time spent promoting the webinar such as posting on their site, running a giveaway and spreading the word," said Sue Burke, Manager of PR/Social Media.
Meagan Francis, the voice behind The Happiest Mom, has partnered with different companies on several initiatives. Recently, she was a featured, paid parent expert as part of a Good Nites campaign. Her job responsibilities included writing articles, posts and answering parent questions for the site. What she appreciated about the effort, in addition to a paycheck, was the brand's support of the effort through advertising on and offline, rather than merely expecting the bloggers to send traffic to the site.
She recommends this type of brand-supported approach, which has the advantage of focusing PR efforts on finding the right voice rather than pulling in a blogging because of stats. "Just because a blog is well-read doesn't automatically mean the blogger has credibility--especially if people are only visiting in order to enter giveaways or jump into controversy," Meagan says. She advises looking at the quality of content, reader response, overall social media efforts and past project involvement as reliable indicators that help provide a feel for a particular blogger.
But blogger engagement can go beyond providing content. Audrey McClelland from MomGenerations thinks that when bloggers are paid to work with brands on broader, long-term projects it takes the relationship to a deeper level than is possible with a one-off post or review. On larger projects, "You really feel like you are working with the team as a professional," explains Audrey.
She will soon be taking on a paid spokesperson role based on her background in fashion and beauty. She understands the importance of finding bloggers who fit the needs of a brand and its voice or key messages. "To create an authentic voice, to harness it and get it out there, it's important to work with bloggers who share your passion and drive for success," says Audrey.
Blogging can be helpful behind the scenes, too. Just as real-life focus groups provide financial incentives for participation, so can online focus groups. But moms who are active in your target social spaces can be more than mere participants; they can be your partners. These moms can help refine product launches and new media campaigns or plan a top-notch blogger retreat that incorporates current best practices.
Many moms who entered the social space for personal reasons now stay for professional ones. As they take their social media careers to the next level they have the skills to help you do the same with your branded online efforts.