Add another item to your list of what not to do when marketing to moms - compiling and publishing a list of the top influential mommy bloggers, complete with a link to your Marketing to Mom agency website.
This weekend, the buzz in the social media mom playground was not a hot new product or clever advertising campaign. It was centered on a new list titled, “Global Top 100 Mommy Bloggers to Treat and Pamper In 2012”. It was published by a marketing firm that, very obviously, is trying to establish its expertise in the world of moms. I am not going to link to the list or the firm's website intentionally, and you'll understand why in the next few paragraphs. I became aware of the list when I suddenly began receiving "please take me off the list" messages across my Facebook feed. Curiosity got the best of me, and I discovered that I was one of the anointed on the list. Now don't get me wrong; I appreciate it when someone recognizes my sphere of influence among other mothers. It has taken many years to build the relationships that I have with moms, and I hold these women and their best interests close to my heart.
My immediate response was not one of jubilation. Instead, it hit me like a bite into a bubble gum filled with a sour gel. I twitched, I cringed and then I did what most influential moms do when something hits them wrong. I turned to my friends on Facebook, posted my feelings and asked them to share theirs. It didn't take long to gain validation from other moms, many of whom were also on the list, that this was absolutely the wrong approach to connecting with influential mommy bloggers.
1) We are not mommy bloggers. At least to people who are taller than 3 feet 5 inches, don't eat chicken nuggets for breakfast and are old enough to vote. Particularly if we have never met each other or communicated in any way. I've written on this subject before on this blog- if you missed it - you can click here. Bottom line is that research supports that moms involved in social media and who own a blog don't really want marketers to call them "mommy.”
2) Influential Moms are not asking to be pampered or "treated" by brands. They are asking to be paid. Most work very hard to build their communities of influence. They sacrifice time with their families, they give up sleep at night and they tolerate the prostitution of their name by companies like the one who published this list. Most moms aren't in this game to be pampered by a strange brand that has no established relationship with them. They are trying to run a business. And in the off chance that they would love your offer for a little time off from the family, I assure you that if they are indeed one of the top influencers, they have piles of invitations on their desks. If your brand strategy is to "out-pamper" other brands, here’s my advice. Save the airline tickets, spa fees and fancy dinners, because you will ultimately fail. Moms want real relationships. The best "treat" you can give one of these moms is to be transparent, sincere and find a common benefit for both her and your brand.
3) Some of the names on the list weren't even moms. They were websites with a collection of mothers who author blogs. This little detail alone makes me believe that the author did little research into the people behind the names.
4) It was very clear to the women on the list (see the discussion on my Facebook page) that this was an SEO and link strategy for the company that published the list. It was clear that its intent was for each of the 100 “mommy bloggers” to post the link to their site in celebration of sharing their new accolade. Oh, they got links and buzz alright. No fewer than 30 of the top 100 posted thoughts of disgust and negative opinions about the company. Many even posted blogs about it such as Kelby Carr, who I proudly personally know and would indeed call an influencer. But that's the important difference. I know Kelby and I can describe her reach outside of her KLOUT score.
Why companies feel that they have to fabricate relationships with social media moms is beyond me. It's so simple. Establish a relationship that is mutually beneficial to both parties. Don't expect them to work for free and respect them as business women as much as power moms.