In the past, many marketing communications directed at mums have
been misguided, depicting idyllic situations and outcomes that
often don't resonate with the target audience and its aspirations.
In some cases, the perception still seems to be that mums are
living the dream, or at least wish to, with a spotless kitchen and
2.4 children. Certainly, this is a traditional approach, but is it
what women really want? In a world where even fashion magazines are
realising that using images of "real women" is more appealing, why
are some brands selling this overdone and unrealistic dream to
mothers and talking at them as if their lives and interests are
limited to home, husband and children?
With the explosion of social media, the role of the community
manager is becoming increasingly central to engaging with a given
target audience. Community managers that are targeting mums must
remember that they are savvy, multi-faceted consumers with
interests outside of being a mum and should be treated as such.
They have high expectations of brands and often they manage the
family purse when it comes to the weekly shop.
While the brand message is, of course, critical, the tone of
social media communications should not be underestimated. By
following a brand, fans have already given it their approval, so
content needs to be on tone more than on brand. The proliferation
of smartphones means that consumers can access content any time,
any place. This means that mums are becoming increasingly brand
aware and critical of the patronising tone that some brands
As women, but mothers in particular, often have a quick five
minutes while they are waiting at the school gates or making their
way home from work, snackable, sharable and humourous content and
images are the ultimate aim of great content creation and the
golden egg for community managers. This doesn't even have to be on
brand or about the brand; quite the opposite! Varied content, be it
nostalgic, topical or simply relevant to the lives of the fans will
be far more interesting and engaging than a stream of posts solely
about the brand. It's important to remember that mums are often
looking to social media as an escape or quick time-filler, and
posts that are snackable, relevant to their lives and fun will stop
them from hitting the 'unlike' button.
That's not to say that content should never be brand strong, but
what the social media population doesn't want is to have products
or services pushed at it all the time. Being a fan of a product on
social media means, to most parents, and consumers in general, an
outward demonstration to their friends that they approve of a brand
and that what it has to say on social media channels is interesting
to them. Following a brand should allow for an expectation of added
value and should be a good mix of interesting information about the
brand, and engaging content about other facets of people's
One other learning, as proven by my experience working on Flora,
is that women really value being given a voice on social media.
Asking them to share their own experiences, knowledge (recipes,
pictures) is great for engagement, especially at a point in their
lives where they might feel undervalued or unfulfilled. Being able
to offer advice on a page where there are tens of thousands of fans
is rewarding to them and builds brand loyalty. A simple share of
something they have sent in, with a positive note attached, or
agreeing and thanking them for their comments on a post can
engender great engagement and loyalty. Having a named community
manager can also work well for brands. For example, Flora's
dedicated Flora mum acts as the social media face of the brand,
which is something that fans can relate to.
Adapting these top tips to your online community can make a huge
difference to its success, whatever the target audience. In the
case of marketing to mums, it's clear that mums have moved on,
isn't it time brands did too?