It’s been a bad month for mom influencers, to say the least, particularly if you happen to be one of the few who buys followers. First, Proctor & Gamble was flagged for using “fake influencers” and then, this week, Unilever announced it will ban working with crooked influencers.
The mom blogosphere is no different than any community that exists online and off. There are always going to be good members and bad members. Fortunately for brands, the existence of the bad members is making headlines and revealing itself. Is this the beginning to the end of the Mommy Blogger Era that has proven so effective in marketing to moms? As an author on the subject of marketing to moms, I say emphatically, no. However, I do see a shift on the horizon. To determine the course of influencer marketing in the mom space, we must take a look back at its evolution.
Word-of-mouth marketing existed a long time before the birth of mommy bloggers. Brands such as Proctor & Gamble, Campbell’s Soup, and Palmolive have benefited since the ’50s from one mom telling another about her experience with their products. Back then, it was as simple as bringing a new casserole to a pot luck dinner and to share a new product among a mom community.
Today, the same act of influence happens, but instead of sharing a recipe card with a few, an online recipe is shared with thousands on Pinterest or in a blog post. Today’s “influencer” mom finds herself with 3,000 followers on social media, and suddenly she’s tagged as a Social Media Influencer. I argue that influence isn’t a career title, but a human behavior that happens naturally and transparently among a hierarchy of individuals, and marketers will soon realize the same.
There’s a tide change coming in the world of social media moms, and it may not pretty for those moms who chose “influencer” as a career path. These are likely to be the same moms buying followers. Unfortunately, it will be these few bad eggs that cause the disruption in how brands work with bloggers, vloggers, and instagrammers. Marketers will become more and more apprehensive about who they engage with and how their message is being delivered to followers.
Ultimately, I believe brands and agencies will revert back to the old days where they engaged with anonymous consumers who are honest fans of their brands. The only difference will be that in this day and age when 90% of moms are active online, anonymity will be rare, so the consumers who were previously anonymous will be replaced by those who have small, non-commercial existences on social media. Brands will begin engaging with these individuals more once they realize that large number of social followers does not equal influence but that authentic, relevant relationships convert to sales.
So what will happen will happen to the millions of mom bloggers out there? The good ones will reinvent themselves. They will continue to produce great content. They will continue to influence their followers and until they age out of the mom market, they will find a way to be the bridge between brands and main street moms.
Until then, screen your influencers, avoid fake influencers, and create honest relationships with mom influencers.