To Have And To Hold: How To Optimize Your Facebook Relationship With Her

One of the key tools in the social media tool box that companies are likely to utilize these days, Facebook can be a powerful instrument in developing and maintaining a rich and lasting relationship with Moms, translating into a strong ROI, if executed correctly. The key is creating ongoing engagement with your fans.

Before jumping into our strategic recommendations, it is important to understand that Facebook is not just another media outlet for your company, as many like to refer to it. It is a unique media outlet allowing you to achieve goals you cannot reach utilizing "traditional" media. Smart companies recognize that Facebook can supplement what their other marketing tactics are accomplishing (or not, as the case may be).

Of course, setting up a Facebook page with a couple of cute pictures and a lonely post here and there is not enough! To successfully connect with Moms, the most important overarching Facebook page strategy involves offering Mom something, continuously communicating with her, and leveraging the flexibility of the channel to compliment your other marketing efforts. The net result: creating ongoing engagement with Moms. Here are eight ideas on how to achieve this:

1. Provide her with relevant information, possibly that she cannot get anywhere else.
Moms are natural information gatherers. Moreover, they crave it! They use it not only to make purchase decisions and to help better themselves as Moms, but also to be in the know and to share their tips and wisdom with other Moms. Partially because they genuinely want to help their fellow Moms, partially because it makes them feel good that they are ahead of the curve.

2. Ask for her opinion.
Moms love to be helpful (it comes with the job description). If they "liked" you on Facebook, it means that you are somewhat special to them (Moms are super busy and they hate to clutter their mail boxes or news feed with things that are not relevant to them or they don't care about). They are rooting for you and your brand and genuinely want to see you succeed. So use their enthusiasm to gain free and valuable research and then put it to use to fine tune all of your consumer touch points.

3. Show her that you are listening to her.
It always saddens me when I see fan posts, sitting on a company's wall lonely, unanswered or at best, answered days, sometime weeks later. Not exactly a good way to show you care about your customers. It's a little bit like a hostess of a dinner party disappearing from the room, leaving her guests unattended. Make sure you provide timely responses to your fan questions (same day at the minimum) or, if they are providing a comment, comment back to them in some way, showing that you are listening and paying attention. Moms love being heard! I'd like to brag otherwise, but the reality is that our kids (not to mention spouses) often don't listen to us; so making us feel heard gets you instant brownie points.

4. Make it easy for her to meet and connect with other Moms.
Creating a sense of community on your page is very important. Companies who are good at this establish more than a two-way dialogue, they facilitate sharing and "group love." In connecting your Mom fans with each other, they will feel more connected to you, "the facilitator." Just look at this example from Target. We give them thumbs up for two reasons: (1) smart awareness building -- the piece came to my door as part of direct mail coupon booklet, (2) clever approach -- the copy, both in terms of content and tone, shows that they get the reality of mothering babies; it reeled me in instantly and I was ready to go and check out their page.

5. Entertain her.
Moms love humor! Several studies support the fact that humor is a key break-through factor when attempting to reach the Mom audience. Whether it's a funny ad you've developed, a clever promotion, contest or poll, even a "joke of the day" you've posted on your wall -- you will not only gain and retain her attention, but she will be more likely to forward your post to her friends with a quick note "You've got to see this. It's hilarious!" Here she is, performing viral marketing for you, with a personal endorsement and at no cost to you.

6. Make her feel like she is an insider, a part of a "special club."
The Mom audience loves special offers, incentives or simply "inside information" ... it makes them feel cared about. And as mentioned in #1, she loves "being ahead of the curve." We advise companies to create an offer "exclusively" for their Facebook fans (who are then, of course, encouraged to forward to as many friends they want to). At the very minimum, give them a heads-up on an upcoming promotion or give them that discount a day early when there is best selection available. Make them first to know about a new product or service you are offering, a new ad that you will start running. It can be incredibly simple to come up with a few strategies that will make your Mom audience feel special and valued.

7. Provide her with customized (and more convenient) customer service.
Smart companies recognize that their Facebook pages are becoming a customer service tool for their audience these days and they handle this appropriately. This element is particularly relevant to busy Mom customers, who instead of searching for the 800# and battling through way too many aggravating automated options, choose the simplicity of going to the company's fan page and typing: "Dear Tazo, where can I find your Ice Tea Lemonade in Chicago?" Providing her with a swift and satisfying answer will not only win you her admiration and loyalty, but will also impress the rest of your ever present audience.

8. Show her that you are real.
It is a well-known truth that today's consumers are looking for real ... real products, real companies with real people with whom they can develop a real connection. This is especially important to Moms, who are always on the lookout for authenticity. In building your relationship with her, it can be very beneficial to show people behind your brand -- the owners, designers, the cooks, baristas, the store clerks. If the owner/founder is a Mom, by all means, make sure you proudly tell her story. This tends to come more naturally to small to mid size companies (usually told via "about us" or "our story"). But showing a human component is not impossible for large corporations either. A great example of adding such a personal dimension is the British clothing manufacturer Boden. As a company, they use several different tools, but perhaps the most important one is by humanizing their founder Johnny Boden. In this era of transparency, exposing yourself ever so slightly, can serve you as a powerful bonding mechanism with your Mom customers.

I hope you found some inspiration. The more of these tips you employ, the better. Wishing you a happy and long lasting relationship with your Mom Facebook fans.

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