Summer is in full swing. Families are traveling to historical sites and theme parks across the country. Moms are packing their bags for business trips as well. It's the season when many brands decide to use travel as way to bond with social media moms.
If history serves me right, the first mom blogger FAM trip was hosted by Disney World in 2007. It invited 14 bloggers to enjoy the magic of Disney during a four-day, all-inclusive, paid journey to Orlando. It produced thousands of blog posts, tweets and FlickR pictures and caught the attention of other companies, who quickly jumped on the travel bandwagon. Unfortunately, many mistakes were made in those early days but with the benefits of hindsight, you can plan the perfect media trip for your brand.
Here are considerations to ponder before booking airline tickets and rolling out the red carpet.
Establish Your Goals: Before the first invitation is issued, your company should establish its goals in inviting moms to your retail location or headquarters. Is it one-time-only blog posts and tweets you seek or is it a long-term relationship? If it's the latter, you need to have some parameters of budget, communication and contact strategy before you reach out to moms. A random invitation with no real purpose will only confuse the blogger and bring you disappointing results in the end. Remember, you are opening the door to a relationship. The first question a social media mom will ask when receiving your invitation is, "What does your brand want from me in return?"
Pick the Right Date: I recently got an invitation to visit an upscale resort in Mexico with a group of social media moms. The invite was beautiful, and the trip looked magnificent. The only problem was that the public relations team putting the event together had neglected to check the calendar of social media conferences. It scheduled the trip right in the middle of BlogHer. Although there is no official calendar for social media moms, the most comprehensive list of events and conferences can be found at ShePosts.com. Also, take into consideration the life of a mom. Avoid planning events during her busy times, Back to School, Halloween, Spring Break and Graduation season. Mother's Day is another time that she prefers to be with family rather than your marketing team.
Select the Right Moms: This sounds easy but I can't tell you how many brands invite moms to events that just don't make sense. Recently, I was on a trip to a family destination for toddlers with moms who had teenagers. They were all popular mom bloggers with large followings but, in my opinion, didn't fit the brand. Additionally, the brand had neglected to invite a culturally diverse group of moms, and it was very apparent in the photos we took. The trip was fantastic and I could tell the brand spent a great deal of money on the event. However, I could only imagine the additional exposure it would have received in the mom market by having the right moms at the event. Trust me on this note of experience; sometimes you will gain a deeper, more valuable relationship with a mom who is lesser known than in inviting only the largest, most popular mom bloggers.
Expect the Unexpected: You are inviting moms. Their lives involve children, which means their lives have many unexpected challenges and obstacles. Don't be surprised when a mom asks you to accommodate her toddler or she needs to join the trip later than you had planned because her child has fallen ill. It happens, and, in any relationship, you have to give and take.
Establish the Right Follow Up: You've invested a lot of time and money in hosting your media event with moms. You've established a relationship that can easily grow and benefit both you and the social media mom. Talk to the moms before they depart about their expectations for moving forward and how they would like to see the relationship grow. Just ask them. The one thing moms have plenty of is opinions, and they will be happy to share them before packing their bags and heading home.
One final bit of advice: Don't forget to say "thank you" once they return home. It takes a great deal of preparation and work for a mom to leave her family. She returns to piles of laundry, an in-box of emails and a home that most likely needs cleaning. Show her you appreciate the time she gave your brand with a thank you note after the trip.