Facebook Is Fertile Ground

Facebook has become the whipping boy of privacy wonks and business analysts. For the rest of us, it has become the dominant place to keep in touch with friends. But it also offers a valuable opportunity for businesses -- once businesses recognize this opportunity and act on it.

Years ago, email changed the way consumers and businesses communicate. Today, Facebook has provided us with a social network that trumps the communication potential of email. The power of this social network has significant marketing potential.

Businesses often don't recognize or perhaps just forget how powerful Facebook can be as a communication platform. It might be that they are so trained to run display advertising that even when they hear about ads performing poorly on social networks, they're unable to identify the new opportunity. This opportunity, however, is NOT advertising -- It is a chance for enhanced communication, which leads to better relationships and improved services. That's what people want.

Facebook is especially attractive to marketers who are trying to connect with moms because moms' limited time and fragmented attention (they're busy!) make it crucial to market to them using methods that fit into their lifestyles and that adapt to their habits. Lisa Finn and I recently completed a study and report on marketing to moms on Facebook. Moms on Facebook are especially appealing to marketers because of the way that moms use this social network -- to interact and share experiences with other moms as well as to talk about the products and services that play important roles in their lives.

Here are a few interesting nuggets from our study that will help you connect with moms on Facebook:

  • They log on frequently. More than eight in 10 moms log on daily, and three in 10 log on five or more times a day.
  • They use the site primarily to interact with others in their social networks - which translates into a lot of potential referrals.
  • They are receptive to marketing on the site, as long as it follows their rules. Sixty-four percent said they either like ads on Facebook or feel neutral about them.
  • Moms are wary of offers that sound too good to be true and want marketers to respect their boundaries by not overloading them with updates. They welcome coupons and other ways to save money, and they are open to sharing their opinions and ideas with the companies they like.
  • Three-quarters of moms are fans of at least one company on Facebook, and parenting-specific sites are moms' top picks.

There are businesses taking advantage of the marketing and communication opportunities on Facebook. Businesses that moms in our research called out include Cool Mom Picks, 24/7 Moms, Janie and Jack, Sesame Place, Crayola, Starbucks, Kodak, Whole Foods and Trader Joes. There can be so many more.

Facebook is fertile ground for marketers to engage mothers and drive sales, but communication must be on moms' terms. While they don't have time for brands that don't get it, they embrace the brands that play by their rules. So seize this opportunity to use Facebook to connect with moms, a market segment that can add tremendous value to a customer base.

Tags: facebook, moms
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8 comments about "Facebook Is Fertile Ground".
  1. Andrea Learned from Learned On, LLC , January 27, 2010 at 1:13 p.m.

    I'd also submit that FB can be seen a test ground/microcosm for how to market effectively to moms/women overall. For example - moms/women are receptive to marketing as long as it follows their rules, or moms/women are wary of offers that sound too good to be true. Sometimes the most helpful insights come not from the grandest/biggest budget research, but from in-depth study of "market meeting places" like Facebook. Congrats on the research, Kevin and Lisa.

  2. Brett Astor - Radio Advertising Expert , January 27, 2010 at 4:49 p.m.

    I have two questions:

    1) Clearly "Moms" is a segment that consumes social media. What are the other top segments?

    2) Is there a measurement mechanism and some benchmark metrics with which to measure and evaluate the ROI of a social media initiative?

    Thanks.

  3. Susan Newton "the shower diva" from BadaBadaBIngo Fun Games Co! LLC , January 28, 2010 at 12:12 a.m.

    Hi Kevin,

    Cool Mom Picks, 24/7 Moms -- those are two of my favorite sites!!! I love them! Trisha Novotny of 24/7 is a firecracker and I love her! CMP has been around for a long time, too and their beautiful design is laid out gorgeously. Oh yes, one day my products will be on there too :) - Of course what would I do without my Starbucks and my 96-pack of Crayola Crayons with my two daughters before shopping at Trader Joes?

    As you're aware there is a huge movement right now where the mom bloggers are about to become prey from all of the outsiders, as I like to call them. You know, those companies that don't really care about what the moms stand for, but just want to get inside and get their business, endorsements and money. And with the added media focus, the outsiders are being cued in to move in for the attack.

    Mom entrepreneur bloggers have been happily developing our own brands, companies and promoting our products and services, endorsing one another while raising our children. We actually make up the largest segment in the population of shoppers that influence sales on products. I believe that it's only a matter of time before it gets worse, escalated and convoluted where the pure sharing will be mixed in with the outsiders' desires. Therefore, mommy entrepreneur bloggers have to be mindful that we stick to our truth, what is right, pure and nurturing. That which moms are all about anyway.

    When I was 7 or 8 years old, one dream was to have a business where my children would be at work with me. I never blinked twice about that back then when it seemed socially unacceptable. It was just always part of my "being." My mom was a forward thinker and always encouraged my independence. I am just very grateful that moms now have an elevated place of respect and it's actually VERY awesome to be called a Mom Entrepreneur.

  4. Kevin Burke from WholesomeOne , January 28, 2010 at 9:08 a.m.

    Brett -
    To address your second question, I'm seeing social media ROI measured based to 'tactical engagement'. Every consumer engagement has value. It sort of like a sales funnel. For example, a consumer reading a brand email is worth $X. Or a product tweet to 10,000 followers is worth $Y. Or a recommendation to a Facebook friend has a value of $Z. Each business is different and needs to assign their own values to each tactic. Its not a perfect formula, but it does establish a means for evaluating investments. Hope this helps.

  5. Kevin Burke from WholesomeOne , January 28, 2010 at 9:33 a.m.

    Susan -
    I understand what you are saying about businesses' interest in moms who blog, but it is not as insidious as you describe. There is more uncertainty, than aggression. They do see the power mom bloggers hold, and want in, but they know it is not something they can demand or purchase.

    The issue isn't one where it is one side versus the other. Both parties have much to gain and the relationship needs to grow and evolve. This topic is one that is covered often on MomWhoBlog.com

    Congrats on being an entrepreneur and a mom. And as you say, the role of motherhood is finally being elevated, for which I agree whole-heartedly.

  6. Bruce Christensen from PartyWeDo , January 28, 2010 at 3:42 p.m.

    It was my wife (mom of 5) who suggested that Facebook was the best place to launch our family party game.

    She uses this network to share ideas with our grown children and the other moms that she has networked with for many years.

  7. Susan Newton "the shower diva" from BadaBadaBIngo Fun Games Co! LLC , January 28, 2010 at 5:43 p.m.

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your insight and new light on the matter. The movement is growing so fast and felt the need to present another point of view. I didn't mean to represent that advertisers and companies are evil. I guess it may have come across that way. Not intended. There are plenty of good brands that are marketing so that they can offer a great service or product (I have one myself!) so, I do appreciate the feedback!

    It does come from within as well. The words of advice I live by and offer to others is: Follow Your Heart.

    That heart will never lead us down the wrong road. I'm glad to be here!

  8. Jerry Foster from Energraphics , January 29, 2010 at 7:22 a.m.

    What about the segment "Single Males" that have a lot of discretionary income? - Depending on what you're marketing, you couldn't get a more different market. Maybe for selling grocery and beauty products, none of us would mind a trend toward "marketing to moms" but what happens when politicians of all political parties ignore males in favor of "Moms"? Look at yesterday's CBS News report on how an insecure mother's organization wants to photograph the license plates of men visiting a Bikini Coffee Stand in Washington State while trying to get the law (read police) to shut the place down (for no other reason than they don't want their husbands looking at young women in bikinis).

    Grocery, drugstore and insurance product companies...by all means market to moms, but politicians should only market to them proportionate to their actual numbers, keep the US Constitution in mind and not give them more power to regulate male behavior than they already have.