By Shannon Magsam, social media slave and mutha blogger
Hey, mamas! Did you know that women are responsible for at least 85 percent of buying decisions in the home? Yep, it’s mostly women who decide where to eat, where to get healthcare, what to wear and where to go have fun. That’s no surprise to us, right? But it’s something that companies are really starting to consider big time when reaching out to those female decision-makers. Businesses are starting to listen when we talk – or blog, as is becoming the case with many women worldwide.
A big part of the online discussion among women is about products we love and use. Kate Thorp of Real Girls Media, who spoke at the Mind of Moms Summit in Bentonville on Tuesday, said a mouthful when she noted: “Life is about conversations”. Women are all about relationships and conversations. When we love something, we talk about it and when we hate something — well, our friends usually know about that, too. With the Internet increasingly spreading our message, it can go deep and wide – and fast, Kate said.
I’m impressed that Northwest Arkansas-based Rockfish Interactive was proactive in helping companies get inside the minds of mom bloggers by hosting this first annual summit. There was a full house at Doubletree Suites and the seven speakers, all social media-savvy mom bloggers, rocked the podium. (They were all very approachable, too, and I enjoyed having quick chats with a few at breaks.)
Rockfish Interactive is a local company that helped launch the ElevenMoms project with Walmart (click HERE if you have no idea what I’m talking about). Several of the Mind of Moms panelists are associated with the Walmart initiative.
Tara Kuczykowski, one of the ElevenMoms (which has apparently become more like 20) said the benefits for companies to work with bloggers include: lower cost (than traditional advertising avenues); a far reach; ability to reach a targeted audience; the information is written in the blogger’s own voice; and it’s genuine.
Moms trust other moms, bottom line. Tara, mom to five kids under the age of 7, said she started her blog Deal Seeking Mom just as a fun outlet. But after a year or so it took off and she started gaining a loyal following. She feels a responsibility toward her readers (as any good blogger should) and makes sure she tells it like it is when businesses ask her to review a product.
As Barbara Jones, founder of the women’s “word of mouth” One2One Network said, “There’s a difference between negativity and constructive criticism.” Smart business owners should take note of the latter and make positive changes based on genuine feedback from their customer base, several speakers noted.
Tara actually reviews a lot of products and she said it’s important to be “transparent.” If she hates the product, she won’t say she loves it just because she got a freebie. She also said she’s quick to tell her readers if she’s getting paid or received a product for free. (NOTE: In the spirit of complete transparency, I paid full price to attend the Mind of Moms Summit. Also, I drank a lot of Dr. Pepper and visited the ladies room no less than eight times. My apologies to those I kept swishing past on my way to the facilities.)
There were also discussions throughout the day-long event about how businesses can approach the right mom bloggers for their marketing objectives (including moms of color); what they should expect when they find a good fit; creating authentic buzz for products; how to respond to a social media crisis (think Dominoes. Ewwww); and compensating bloggers while keeping it real.
Overall, it was a thought-provoking day that underscored the joy I feel as a storyteller in the blogosphere. It also made me proud to be a mama blogger and Northwest Arkansas website owner. I am woman, hear me … blog!
Next Life with Ladybug post: how my husband defended our family from a charging, 150-pound mastiff with only his courage and a large pick axe.
So you can get to know the mama bloggers who were hanging out in NWA earlier this week, here are their names and websites/companies (just click on each to jump over):
Lucretia Pruitt, GeekMommy.net