Online marketing and social media tips for business from Shannon Belew, best-selling author of "Starting an Online Business For Dummies, All-in-One"
Does your wallet feel a bit lighter this week? That’s probably because of all the money you spent on Mom last weekend. All told, Americans were expected to shell out approximately $18.6 billion for Mother’s Day, according to research from the National Retail Federation. But gifts for mom have come a long way and it’s not only Sunday brunch and flowers that were showered upon her. This time around, 13 percent of big spenders lavished mom with electronics, such as iPads, e-readers, digital cameras, and more.
It’s hard to say for certain, but that uptick in giving of digital devices could be related to the fact that more moms than ever before are now online. In fact, they’re not just casually surfing the ‘Net, they’re blogging . At last count, there were close to 4 million moms blogging, tweeting, networking, commenting, and actively changing the behaviors of everyone else. Given this growing “mom” power, we thought it fitting to take a look at 5 ways that moms are using the Internet to influence behaviors, online and off.
1. Building the mommy blogosphere: One day, almost out of nowhere (at least that’s how it felt to many), there erupted a powerful movement called mom bloggers. By 2014, it’s estimated there will be more than 4.5 million. And, moms aren’t just writing about family and household issues. Increasingly, they are covering topics that include electronics, healthcare, technology, politics, and business. Most interesting is that mom bloggers are influencing the buying decisions of other women. A survey from Technorati revealed that 55 percent of moms, who are active online, made a purchasing decision based on a review or opinion from a mom blogger. That’s power!
2. Making demands with social media: As Facebook and Twitter became popular ways to communicate with companies, politicians, the media and other change-agents, moms everywhere got smart – and united. To date, moms have used social media conversations to publicly pressure big-name brands to stop what they view as “offensive” ad campaigns, recall faulty products, and generally improve customer service. Moms have used the same social media strategy to spur change on a host of issues from environmental concerns to health care.
3. Creating buyers, sellers…and savers: Not long ago, women were considered one of the fastest growing segment of Internet users – and today, they continue to be powerhouse online users, fueling mobile phone and social media trends. Women use the Web for research, communication and shopping (yes, a lot of shopping). Now, consider the fact that mothers also typically have the most buying influence in a family. That’s right. Moms decide everything from which laundry detergent to use to which car to buy. From $5 to $50,000 – moms have the most say in which products come into the household. These savvy shoppers are now influential “digital moms” that are using the Internet to find, research and buy – and companies are taking notice!
4. Uniting crafty moms: Moms (and women in general) have given many new online sites a significant boost, and helped take them from trendy niches to serious business. Perhaps this has been particularly obvious in the world of crafts. The arts and crafts business is already a billion dollar industry, but when it took to the Internet in the form of such sites as Etsy and Pinterest, moms quickly showed their star power and helped make these sites household names. For example, with more than 16 million users, TechCrunch reported that 80 percent of them were women; and a recent survey of mom bloggers showed that 97% of them use Pinterest, regularly. As for Etsy, in April, alone, there was more than $63 million worth of goods sold from the site and demographics of Etsy users over the years have shown that a mix of both young women and moms helped build this online selling community.
5. Comic relief – Mom’s on Facebook: Of course, when something is popular, folks love to attack it with a little humor – and moms are no exception. Perhaps one of the best known comedic campaigns targets the fact that your mom is on Faceback and that’s just plain wrong…especially if she sends you a friend request. This modern-day mom dilemma has spurred blogs about the issue, mock hair band anthem addressing the frustration, and most famously, an SNL video showcasing an innovative solution for the “my Mom’s on Facebook” crisis.