Social Media Helps Small Businesses Reach Moms

Through television and print advertising, large brands have long held the advantage when it came to making their pitch to a powerful demographic — moms.

The rise of social media, however, is giving small businesses a chance to make an impression with the family matriarchs, who spend a combined $1.7 trillion each year.

“You used to have to rely on traditional vehicles to reach moms,” said Stacy DeBroff, CEO and founder of Mom Central Consulting, a social media consulting firm that markets to moms. “Now, moms are looking for new sources and to others for their information.”

Those sources include social networking sites, mom blogs and message boards. According to a Consumers Electronics Association study, moms favor social media for researching products and getting firsthand product reviews and recommendations before making a purchase.

“The Internet became a fast-moving version of talking over the backyard fence,” DeBroff told BusinessNewsDaily. “It is a very important way for moms to exchange information.”

It also has become an easy way for smaller brands to compete with large brands for American moms’ attention.

“With a small investment, they can capture an equal amount of interest as the large corporations,” DeBroff said of smaller, local businesses.

At Mom Central Consulting, she helps both large and small companies develop social media campaigns that target moms. Strategies include blogger review programs, Twitter parties, product sampling and coupon distribution.

Mom Central Consulting recently worked with Disney on Ice and Ringling Bros. Circus in establishing partnerships with influential mom bloggers in the cities Disney and Ringling Bros. were performing in.  The mom bloggers promoted the ticket sales in return for free tickets for their families. DeBroff said the program generated more than $1 million in ticket sales.

“We try to work with brands on how to ignite enthusiasts and create enthusiasm about the brand,” DeBroff said.

Healthy Habits Kitchen, a Wellesley, Mass.-based business offering pre-made, health-conscious meal kits, worked with Mom Central Consulting to set up a party at the store for influential mom bloggers.

The mom bloggers spent an afternoon at Healthy Habits Kitchen preparing and sampling the food. In return, they later shared their experiences on their blogs, reaching a host of readers — most of them fellow moms.

“It was very successful,” Healthy Habits Kitchen owner Sue Schochet said of the event.  “Our (web) traffic increased, and we definitely increased sales.”

Bobbi Capps, owner of Oinks! BBQ in Denver, Colo., uses mom-dedicated online message boards to help promote her business. Communicating with other moms via the Internet has offered her an opportunity to make personal connections that large brands aren’t able to make.

“I get a huge response from these people,” Capps said. “They can see that I am a real person and a real mom.”

Though her restaurant is for everyone, Capps said she finds it critical to  target moms.

“I find it important to reach out to other moms like me,” she said. “Especially since moms are usually tasked with the shopping or budgeting for food.”

Capps isn't alone in her desire to capture the eye of the nation’s mothers.

Looking to pick up new strategies on how best to reach moms, hundreds of brands, including Kellogg’s, Sara Lee, Nickelodeon, Amazon.com and Chipotle Mexican Grill, will attend this fall’s seventh annual M2Moms, a marketing to moms conference, in Chicago.

The October conference, where DeBroff is a keynote speaker, offers real-world case studies, creative strategies and resources and techniques to help increase sales and build market share with moms.