What's Mom Doing On Facebook? She's Snacking In Her News Feed!

Mom may discourage her kids from snacking between meals, but "snacking" is mommy's M.O. when it comes to Facebook. Two recent surveys confirmed what we'd guessed: the key to engaging the half a million+ moms who "like" us on Facebook is tasty, bite-size content morsels served up directly in their Facebook News Feed.

Moms are busy. Moms are wicked busy. An overwhelming 73% of survey respondents said that they "consume" Facebook content in quick bursts -- less than 15 minutes up to 30 minutes. Seventy percent of moms use the social network primarily to keep in touch with family and friends. With an average of 100 friends in her network, Mom has to power through her news feed. As one of our moms explains, "My whole day is 10-minute bursts. I check in on Facebook before school pick ups, while making dinner, whenever I've get a free minute."

Mommy only has a minute

Our hypothesis is that moms, like the general population of Facebook users, have over-stuffed their news feeds. Because moms have limited time, they tend to stay focused on the immediate task of reading and commenting on updates from friends and family. They don't have the luxury, at that moment, to leave the news feed to answer a poll, view someone's photos on Flickr, or even read a full blog post. So ...

Meet mom where she lives -- in her news feed

The key to connecting with mom is being in the right place at the right time. On Facebook, that means creating content that lives right in her news feed -- content that encourages her to like, comment and share quickly. About 70% of our moms told us they love the back-and-forth that takes place in the news feed comments. Here are some examples of what we mean and the impressions/interactions each has garnered:

  • "Sticky Note Quotes": Once a week, we post a thought-provoking or humorous quote directly into the news feed. This "micro" content is easy to digest quickly and -- because it's in the news feed -- easy to share. For example, when we posted: "Making the decision to have a child -- it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body -- Elizabeth Stone" -- it had just under 2,000 "likes" and over 100 comments within an hour.
  • Social Slideshow: Using photos shared by our moms, we created a slideshow titled "Summer Fun 2010." More impressive than the impressions and interactions in our feed, hundreds of moms created and shared their own Summer Fun slide shows and shared them in their news feeds.
  • Social Sweeps: A gift bag sweepstakes served up via a widget that allowed moms to enter the drawing without leaving their news feeds (including email capture) garnered over 1,000 entries within the first hour of the contest launch.

Blogs are still the main course

Interestingly, when surveyed, our moms indicated that their two favorite types of our content and the ones they share the most (78% and 72% respectively) were "Sticky Note Quotes" and our "TimeOut Stories" -- the longer-form content that lives on our blog. It looks like mom believes in a balanced diet. The takeaway is that while short-form content keeps providers top-of-mind, longer-form content drives the deepest engagement. The sharing (measured in likes, comments, and sharing with friends) is amazing to witness. No statistics can accurately measure the importance of connecting authentically on an emotional level. The art and science of creating the perfect mix of long- and short-form content is undoubtedly a key ingredient to success.

Why aren't other publishers talking about this?

Most publishers are still built on the traditional "eyeballs on pixels" model. We're rooting for an emerging model centered on interactions and engagement, which, with some patience, leads to increased impressions, consideration and ultimately purchase. Think Daily Candy-- ever go to that web site? Imagine if Groupon required you check its Web site each day for a deal. Those models may be built on email, but their content spreads via social sharing. "Social Subscriptions" increase awareness, sharing, and interaction using the same concept of delivering content directly to an opt-in audience and inviting deeper discovery when users find the time.

So, why are you still expecting moms to take time out of their busy day to discover and consume your content? If you want to connect with a busy mom, you need to deliver a balanced diet of frequent, easy-to-digest "snacks" and the occasional savory and satisfying meal right to her door. Trust us, she'll "like" you forever.

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