I Love Twitter. You Should, Too

As the mother of four, I use Twitter much in the same way I used to use Google or Yahoo. When I need a recipe for a quick kid-friendly snack, I tweet. Looking for a great gift idea? I tweet. Once I even tweeted my search for canned pumpkin and found it, thanks to Twitter.

For many moms, Twitter has become a search engine on steroids because of its ability to return recommendations from a peer group you trust and who knows your preferences, lifestyle and life stage. This personalized delivery of relevant content is a dream come true for both consumers and companies trying to connect with them.

Unfortunately, companies have entered the Twittersphere haphazardly and without any real thought to how best utilize this powerful marketing channel. It's not enough to just set up a Twitter account and tweet out the promotion of the week or newest press release. In fact, there's been much tweeting about this lately among moms on Twitter.

"Why do companies flood my Twitter account with garbage I can't use?," tweeted one mom last week. Another tweeted, "I spent 4 hours blocking companies who send me only marketing messages." A marketer can do a very effective job in connecting with moms in 140 characters or less as long as they follow a couple of key strategies.

So to support these points, I did what I do most when I want to gain the prospective of moms, I tweeted this question out to my 13,000 followers: "What would you tell marketers about using Twitter when marketing to moms?"

1) It's called social media because it's social. For a woman, this means speaking back. Moms will quit following you if the dialogue is not a two-way conversation. @Gomominc tweeted: "Companies shouldn't ask your opinion and then just go off ..."

2) Twitter shouldn't be a platform to only broadcast promotions and sales. @ameladramaticmommy tweeted: "Be a person first and a company second. I would follow more companies if they tweeted out something interesting about them first." If you want to see how a company representative can support a brand and allow their personality to shine through, follow @comcastcares or @babycentermom.

3) Take part in Twitter events. If you are surprised that there are "events" on Twitter, you probably aren't using Twitter to its greatest potential. There are lots of events in this virtual space ranging from #FF (Follow Friday) and Twitter Parties. @Resourcefulmom created the former which have proven successful in gathering thousands of moms. Just last week BSM Media and @Resourceful hosted a Twitter Party for Zhu Zhu Pets. The event attracted over 1,000 moms and generated almost 9,000 tweets with the hash tag #ZhuZhuPets.

4) Don't wait for moms to find you. Timing is important in delivering relevant content. Pick a few key words that fit your brand and search for twitter conversations on Summize.com, www.summize.com. In maintaining a Twitter account for one of my toy clients, we search daily for tweets that contain the word, "birthday," "gift" and "toy." Often we will find tweets that say "Need a birthday gift idea for 5 yr old boy," to which we reply, "Have you seen the new (insert appropriate toy) which is on sale at (insert retailer)" Relevant content delivered when a mom needs it.

5) Fear not! The conversation will happen with or without you, so you might as well join in. Many companies tell me they fear setting up a Twitter account. "What if moms have something negative to say and say it to me on Twitter?" Well, guess what? They are going to say it whether you are there or not, but at least if you are Twitter, you have the chance to engage in the conversation. Think back to the '80s before social media existed and moms used to talk about products on the physical playground. Marketers were often blindsided by guerilla consumer chatter and only had the opportunity to react after it had reached the masses. With Twitter, if you see a mom complain about your product, you have 140 strokes of the keyboard to rectify the situation almost immediately. Customer service at its best.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter. I'm @momtalkradio. You can DM me or List me and if you don't know what I'm describing, it's time to learn. Today's moms are doing more than just talking about brands, they are tweeting them, too.

Tags: moms, twitter
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6 comments about "I Love Twitter. You Should, Too".
  1. Laurie Schacht from The Big Toy Book , December 2, 2009 at 1:02 p.m.

    Thanks for the great tips...I'm a mom and running a business and I seem to be caught up in the tweeting of work and not enough about family! I will try your suggestions.

  2. Rebekah Cooksey from Moms Out Loud , December 2, 2009 at 1:28 p.m.

    Love it, as always, Maria! Companies that tweet without a true dialogue are just spamming. One great example of doing it right is @buildabear. They just had a huge #cybermonday special which caused performance problems on their site due to traffic. Moms (including me) were tweeting about it. Their PR (@buildabear) AND their CEO (@ChiefExecBear) had dialogues with us to keep us posted on their fixes. In the end, I didn't get the $5 bear I wanted because it sold out, but I felt good about the company overall because I felt they were working WITH us, vs. some impenetrable, impersonal corporate entity.

  3. Lisa Fritts from Self Employed , December 2, 2009 at 2:57 p.m.

    Once again, Maria, you have provided such fantastic insights. Thank you!

  4. Jan Zlotnick from the zlotnick group , December 2, 2009 at 4:34 p.m.

    I'm a guy named Jan, so for as long as I've gotten mail in any technological format, I have been on the lists and gotten the attention of marketers to women, to moms. Recent Tweets I've gotten include lots of invitations to enhance...enhance my portfolio, my employment, my travel, my breasts, my home decor, my mode of transportation, my thanksgiving recipes, etc. Even though I'm a dad, if you would accept me into your women's room, if just for this comment box, I'd like to offer my answer to "What would you tell marketers about using Twitter when marketing to moms?"
    So, from a dad name Jan, here's my mom's take:

    1) If you're a company that wants to "enhance" a women's experience, whatever you're selling, try proving it to me BEFORE I see your name on Twitter or Facebook or any social network...so there's a reason to believe...and to believe IN you. And if, for sound strategic and business reasons, you must introduce yourself through Twitter et al, best be simple, honest, engaging and quick to a link that opens up to at least one 3rd-party article on who, what, and why you are. This is an introduction. Not a seduction. If I like you, there are plenty of opportunities for commitments. Be patient, be real, or, if you know women at all, you'll be gone.

    ...and yes, I agree wholeheartedly with #3: take part in Twitter events..quietly, w/out an agenda, perhaps silently funding or donating to events. Because you truly are in it, at some foundational level, because it's your passion, not just your business.

    Part of me thinks giving out this info as we all have, will just help the deceptive better promote their deception...but that's the great thing about social networks...socially, they net out what works from what doesn't...what's true from what ain't. Women will know.

    Thanks, moms, you continue to enhance the world for all of us.
    http://www.thezlotnickgroup.com

  5. Wyn Lydecker from Upstart Business Planning , December 3, 2009 at 11:44 a.m.

    I wish Twitter were that useful to me. I seem to get lots of irrelevant tweets. Maybe I'm following the wrong people and companies. I'm a mom and a business owner. How do I engage people and also get the information I need? How do you find recipes, for example? @upstartwyn and also @aipwg.

  6. Emily Foshee from Emily Foshee Copywriting , December 3, 2009 at 4:05 p.m.

    Maria, as always your articles are insightful! Thanks,

    Emily