What’s Happening in Social Media News This Week

social media news

Each week, The Motherhood team pores over industry news, noting what’s new, trending and on the way out. Take a look at what we have been reading recently:

Enough About Millennials! You Can Use Influencer Marketing To Target Older Audiences, Too

Take note, brands: Older generations are online and on social media. In fact, baby boomers are19 percent more likely to share content than other generations.

Seventy-one percent of adults who are digitally active use Facebook, and usage among seniors continues to increase, according to Pew Research Center’s findings. Facebook usage breaks down by age range as follows:

  • Adults 30 to 49 years old: 73%
  • Adults 50 to 64 years old: 63%
  • Adults 65 and older: 56%

Takeaway: Don’t limit your influencer marketing campaigns to millennials and younger crowds. 

 

The Secret Sauce for Top-Tweeted Ads: Easy to Understand, with a Smile

Nielsen examined the relationship between engagement metrics and the most- and least-tweeted ads that aired during last year’s Super Bowl and found that top-tweeted ads were easier to process, had strong memory activation during final branding and generated more smiles overall. Viewers were also able to recall the top-tweeted ads more and were more likely to link them correctly to the brand than the least-tweeted ads after the game.

In contrast, low-tweeted ads showed a pattern consistent with confusion early on, suggesting the ads were more complex to process and had fewer intuitive moments.

Takeaway: When it comes to social posts, keep things simple for better message penetration.

 

New Report Links Social Media Engagement to Consumer Spending

New research shows that there is a correlation between high engagement on social media posts and consumer spending. The study looked at several large retailers’ social media engagement data, then cross-referenced it to in-store purchases. The data indicated that social media posts with the highest level of engagement (e.g., likes, comments and shares) had the greatest impact on consumer spending, as retailers that published highly engaging posts on social media reaped the benefits of more in-store sales.

Takeaway: Examine ways to increase social media engagement to ultimately drive sales. 

 

YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or Periscope?

YouTube recently expanded its live video capabilities, and the platform is now paying influencers with more than 10,000 followers a portion of the ad revenue they generate. With almost every large social network providing live streaming now, what is the difference and which one is best for your brand? The linked USA Today article weighs the pros and cons of the various live video offerings available.

Takeaway: Do the research to discover where your target audience is already active and know which capabilities your brand wants in a video – before you hit “live.”

 

Facebook is Making its Biggest Push Yet to Grab Ad Dollars from TV

Facebook recently announced a new app for smart TVs. The app will serve as a destination for all Facebook videos – similar to the video tab at the bottom of the main app – and will combine videos shared by friends or pages you follow, top live videos from around the world and videos the app recommends based on your interests. Facebook users will be able to save videos from their regular Facebook app to watch when they’re sitting in front of their TV later.

Takeaway: Social media platforms are well on their way to competing for television ad dollars. 

 

Why Snapchat Misses the Influencer Mark (For Now)

Although it is improving, Snapchat still leaves something to be desired in the influencer marketing space. The platform’s policy is, “Everyone is an influencer,” allowing social stars to use it like everyday users. While other platforms, like YouTube and Instagram, monetize influencers for creating and producing content within their platforms, there is currently no similar setup within Snapchat. Influencers are unable to see their follower count and aren’t as easy to discover as they are on other platforms.

Takeaway: Be on the lookout for Snapchat to begin to make changes to allow increased opportunities for influencers. 

 

Which social media updates caught your attention this week?

Influencer Marketing: Make the Leap from Tactic to Brand Strategy

influencer brand strategy

Ten years ago, Facebook was just entering mainstream consciousness, and Twitter was a brand-new platform. Instagram and Pinterest were years away from conception, and most brands hadn’t yet grasped the potential of social media as a marketing tool and influencers as brand ambassadors.

In the grand scheme of the advertising and marketing world, influencer marketing is still the new kid in town. While more brands than ever before are recognizing the need to include it in the marketing mix – 86 percent of marketers used influencer marketing in 2016, and 94 percent found it effective – most are still using it on a tactical basis rather than truly integrating it into brand strategy.

We anticipate that will change over time, and brands who are early adopters of a comprehensive, long-term influencer marketing strategy will have an advantage over their competition in online share of voice and sentiment.

Influential moms in particular are a trusted source for consumers seeking information on brands, products and trends. They have developed thriving communities of mom readers and followers who trust their opinions and visit their blogs and social channels regularly. Tapping into this audience matters because:

  • Women own the Internet. They make 85 percent of all consumer purchases and use social media at a rate of 600 percent more than men.
  • It helps the bottom line. Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing channel for customer acquisition, with businesses making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, on average.

At The Motherhood, we typically recommend evaluating results from an influencer marketing campaign over the long term, knowing that only 10 percent of consumers make a purchase within 24 hours of learning about a new product or service, and the lifespan of an average blog post is almost 24 times as long as the standard 30-day reporting metric of unique monthly views. It helps to choose platforms relevant to the brand and topics, and set benchmarks for success in advance of beginning a campaign, too.

A recent research report noted that, while 71 percent of brand marketers rate influencer marketing as “strategic” or “highly strategic,” half report small budgets in comparison to the rest of the marketing mix – indicating that influence is “still practiced at the tactical level and thus it’s difficult to prove as a strategic priority.”

The report also points out that using influencer marketing as a one-off tactic rather than a broader, year-long strategy is incongruous with the customer experience: “Customer journeys are ‘always on,’ while campaigns come and go.” It recommends, “Make influencer relations a priority now. If you continue to approach influencer marketing as usual, you are readying to be left behind, losing control of your brand and the ability to compete in a world where customers are in control.”

Spotlight Blogger: Chaton’s World

Chaton, the blogger behind Chaton’s World, is a lawyer, public speaker, runner, writer, mom of two – and as a top influencer, she’s The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger this month! Below, she shares with us what inspires her, the challenges bloggers face when working with brands and much more.


What content do you feel your readers find most valuable?

My readers tend to be like me. They are busy working moms. So, taking the time to read my blog is a luxury. Providing them with content that helps them make their lives easier is always the goal. When I don’t do that, I try to make them smile.

What are your thoughts on programs measured by initial click-through rates?

I used to be in marketing in a former life, so I understand the need for determining the return on investment for blogger programs. That said, blogs are different and infinitely more personal. I think that if brands are thoughtful in the selection of the blogger and the blogger delivers, then the click-through rate isn’t always relevant.

2017 is the year of:

Change.

Influencer marketing is:

The wave of the future. Social media is like a Tupperware party on steroids. People are searching for connections and what’s hot. Influencers play a tremendous role in that. We portray our lifestyles to the world and people buy into that. It’s much more personal than traditional [marketing] campaigns. I think brands get more bang for the buck.

What is your favorite space to engage with your readers, and where does your content get the most engagement?

I am having a lot of fun on Twitter lately. I like the broad reach. Also, communicating in 140 characters is a challenge for me. I was voted “Most Talkative” in my high school class. Words have always been my thing! I also love the flexibility and the ability to easily promote posts on Twitter. Facebook is a close second.

Where do you find inspiration for new blog posts?

I have been at this long enough that I literally find inspiration everywhere. My challenge is finding time to write them. I need to invest in Dragon [transcription software] so that I can dictate posts because I often write them in my head while in traffic and then forget them!

Tell us why you blog.

I blog because there is a community of women out there, like me, who are trying to do it all. I try to help them balance their responsibilities. By helping them, I also help myself. Also, I LOVE it! I really enjoy connecting with people on social media. I find it cathartic.

Favorite influencer program you’ve done with The Motherhood?

The Chick-Fil-A campaign, hands down. I loved the product and the company. It was an honor to be included. Also, they hosted really cool events!

What are you thoughts on online coupons?

I like them conceptually. I’m not a heavy user, though. I do think that they’re a draw in blog posts and promote traffic.

What should brands start doing better when working with mom bloggers?

They should provide bloggers with their campaign goals, be honest about their expectations and deliverables, and provide a reasonable calendar with as much notice as possible. Too many brands say things like, “Be creative! Use your judgment!” That is overwhelmingly unhelpful.

To find out more about Chaton and her quest for balance in stilettos, visit Chaton’s World, or give her a shout on Twitter (@ChatonsWorld) or her Facebook page: Chaton’s World Page.


More about The Motherhood’s Spotlight Blogger Series

Each month, our internal team convenes and discusses our latest programs, stellar partnerships and top influencers. It’s not about numbers, but rather, the quality, authentic content they’re delivering consistently. It’s about reliability, professionalism and partnership. We discuss our nominations for the month and ultimately decide on just one blogger to feature.

Check out our previous featured influencers from 2015 and 2016 here, and stop by on March 1 for the next Spotlight Blogger!

Influencer Marketing Stats to Demonstrate the Power of Moms Online

influencer marketing stats

Below, The Motherhood has compiled a list of powerful influencer marketing stats to help share context around the benefits of including influencers in brand marketing strategy. The list provides data on everything from the power of moms and women online to baseline industry performance metrics. Stats are updated regularly, so be sure to bookmark this post to reference later!


The Power of Moms & Women Online

  • 25.1 million females in the U.S. are between the ages of 18 and 49 and have one or more child under the age of 12, and almost three-quarters of them are in the workforce. (Nielsen)
  • Mothers are worth more than $2 trillion to U.S. brands. (Marketing to Moms Coalition)
  • Mothers account for up to 80% of household purchase decisions. (Forbes)
  • 44% of women online are influenced by trusted bloggers. (Net Imperative)

The effectiveness of Influencer Marketing

  • Influencer marketing is the fastest growing channel for customer acquisition, with businesses making on average $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. (Net Imperative)
  • Influencer marketing campaigns can capture up to 16 times the engagement of owned or paid media. (SocialChorus)
  • In 2016, 86% of marketers used influencer marketing, and 94% found it effective. (Net Imperative)
  • 53% of women made purchases due to influencer posts, as reported in this survey. (Bloglovin)
  • Word of mouth is 50x more likely to trigger a purchase than an ad. (Net Imperative)

path to purchase: Blogs

  • Blogs are 63% more likely to influence purchase decisions than magazines. (Optimind Technology)
  • 84% of consumers make purchases after reading about a product or service on a blog. (Research Now)
  • 80% of blog readers are more likely to purchase from a brand that they’ve read about in a blog post. (The Motherhood Research)
  • 86% of readers talk to others offline about topics they’ve seen in blogs and on social media. (The Motherhood Research)

path to purchase: Social Media

  • 74% of consumers rely on social media to inform their purchasing decisions. (Net Imperative)
  • 81% of women say they frequently buy items they’ve seen on social media, and 72% say the ability to check social recommendations takes the guesswork out of buying a new product. (MediaPost)
  • 88% of consumers have purchased a product they pinned on Pinterest, and 49% have purchased 5 or more products they’ve pinned. (JeffBullas.com)
  • 62% of modern moms say Instagram is a place to learn about products and services. (Facebook IQ)
  • Twitter says 47% of people have bought an item based on an influencer’s recommendation. (Twitter)
  • 64% of millennials recommend a product at least once a month through social media. (Marketing Dive)

Industry metrics & MEASUREMENT


 

Want to see the results of influencer marketing at your own company? We’d love to work with you! Contact us!

Influencer Marketing in 2017: Mom Influencers Identify Trends

Influencer Marketing trends 2017

This year stands to be one of the biggest years in influencer marketing history, as more brands continue adopt the highly effective marketing practice. Nobody knows the industry quite like the influencers on the front line, which is why we asked our network of mom influencers, who reach more than 250 million on social media every day, what trends they’ve noticed over the last year and what predictions they have for influencer marketing in 2017.

Here are a few key takeaways!

Influencers choose Instagram Stories over Snapchat.

Approximately 54 percent of our influencers say that video was the top trend that emerged in 2016. This includes Snapchat, Instagram Stories and Live video.

influencer marketing in 2017

According to our survey, influencers are more likely to choose Instagram over Snapchat for posting Stories. This is because on Instagram, they’ve already developed a following, making it easier to engage with a built-in audience. Now that Instagram Stories feature nearly all of the capabilities that Snapchat offers, influencers have little reason to put energy into building a following on Snapchat. Some, however, admit to using Snapchat for personal use only. As one influencer put it, “I like Snapchat, but I have not figured out how to use it for the betterment of my blog. Personally, it’s great, but professionally, it doesn’t really hit the mark.”

For influencers, Instagram is the preferred platform platform to engage with followers, while Facebook remains a great way to interact with friends and promote content.

If you’re on multiple social platforms, you may find yourself going to different social channels for different reasons. That’s why we wanted to know our influencers’ thoughts on the best ways to use each platform. They reported that they find Facebook is the best platform for promoting blog posts, sharing live correspondence, video and keeping in touch with friends and family. But when it comes to engaging with followers, 31 percent listed Instagram as the top choice. Pinterest rose to the top as the best platform for sharing food- and recipe-related content, and Twitter was considered the most effective platform for engaging with brands.

best social media platforms for influencers

Online platforms help streamline project management, but they shouldn’t take the place of working with a direct contact — an influencer’s preferred method of participation. 

Online platforms create value when they give influencers a central location to find all campaign-related information and see deadlines and their requirements, but fully automated platforms aren’t their preferred method of campaign management. Authentic relationships between influencers and agency/brands are still key to helping influencer marketing campaigns thrive.

Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents said a central dashboard or platform with an agency or brand direct contact providing hands-on management of the program is their favorite way to participate in campaigns, as compared to only 12 percent who prefer a fully automated platform.

Our network of influencers mentioned that they loved working with hands-on agencies and brands because they have developed great relationships over time,  which strengthens their investment in the campaigns. This relationship creates a feeling of working as a team, and influencers often noted they would spend more time on these campaigns. Each approach can have its place, depending on the campaign type, but influencers want to work with people and brands and get to know them — not automated systems.

They also noted that a benefit of online platforms is that all information is accessible at your fingertips. However, drawbacks of platforms included too much focus on numbers, which can lead to influencers with high-quality engaging content being overlooked, and platforms may not do as great of a job of finding influencers that align well with brands and their missions. Many noted that there needs to be a mix of both in influencer marketing in 2017.

As always, authenticity is key.
Influencer marketing authenticity 2017
One thing that has not changed in influencer marketing in 2017 is that authenticity is still a very important factor. The influencers in our network reported that their personal and authentic content receives the highest engagement, because readers want real-life anecdotes and insights more than ‘expert tips.’ They also reported that readers love it when there is a personal touch to a post with or without a brand tied in.
Do you have any thoughts to add on influencer marketing in 2017?

The Motherhood’s Most-Viewed Blog Posts from 2016

influencer marketing blog posts

The Motherhood is already off to an amazing start in the New Year! We are excited about the current direction of influencer marketing, and we can’t wait to explore ways to continue building relationships with new and old partners alike. As we move forward into 2017, we’ve been reflecting on how much we’ve learned in the last year, much of which we shared in previous posts. In case you missed them, we’ve recapped some of our most-viewed influencer marketing blog posts from 2016 here:

#8: Measurement Monday: Defining Your Campaign Success Metrics

We launched our Measurement Monday series last year to uncover how best to measure the success of influencer marketing. The first step? Defining your goals! Because if you don’t know exactly what you should be measuring, then how can you measure it accurately?

#7: Snapchat for Brands?

At the beginning of 2016, many were asking whether Snapchat was worth the investment for brands. While there are new advertising options within the platform, we still don’t see a huge opportunity when it comes to influencer marketing – yet. Based on a recent influencer survey from The Motherhood network, however, the trend seems to be away from Snapchat. In the survey, our influencers said they prefer Instagram Stories over Snapchat, due to the fact that their follower base is already established on Instagram’s platform.

#6: Measurement Monday: Going Beyond the Impression

The long-standing impressions metric does not always communicate the value of influencer marketing. So what should you be looking for? In this post, we dive deeper into a few valuable metrics for influencer marketing campaigns.

#5: Advantages of Using an Influencer Marketing Agency

The Motherhood is founded on trusted relationships between our brand and blogger partners. While there are different approaches to influencer marketing, working with an agency offers many advantages. In our recent influencer survey, nearly half of respondents said they prefer being part of campaigns that include both a dashboard or platform and a direct contact at an agency or brand. Building strong relationships with partner brands and agencies over time is something influencers prefer, and they say those relationships make them feel more invested in a campaign.  

#4: Round-up of the Top 10 Social Marketing Predictions for 2016

Take a look and let us know what you think: how did our predictions for this past year pan out? Our influencer network would agree that video was the top trend that emerged in 2016. This includes Snapchat, Instagram Stories and Live video.

#3: Super Bowl Brand Showdown: Which $1 Million Branded Emoji Won the Day on Twitter?

For Super Bowl 50, we were especially interested in Twitter’s new advertising option for brands: a $1 million branded emoji. We followed the four brands that partnered with Twitter to create these emojis and listed the results in this blog post. We can’t wait to see what new marketing trends arise during this year’s big game!

#2: The Motherhood Research Reveals How Sponsored Content Leads to Purchase

We conducted a survey to uncover just how much online sponsored content affects purchase decisions. We found that 79 percent of blog readers will seek out brands they’ve seen on social media, and 98 percent see a product in a store and recall reading about it in a blog post or on social media. Check out our full blog post, including an infographic, for complete results of this survey.

#1: What the Facebook Branded Content Tool Means for Bloggers and Blogger Marketing Networks

And finally, our top-read blog post for 2016 was about the Facebook Branded Content Tool released in April that caused much confusion and concern among influencers. Our team, with the help of one of our amazing influencers, got to the bottom of it!

Thank you for following along with our INFLUENCER MARKETING BLOG POSTS! You can stay up to date with our posts by subscribing at the right side of the page.

Influencer Marketing Research in Partnership with the University of Pittsburgh

For several years, The Motherhood has partnered with the University of Pittsburgh to conduct influencer marketing research, putting the young medium of social media under the microscope to uncover valuable business insights. Marketing Professor Vanitha Swaminathan, PhD, who is the director of the Katz Center for Branding in the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business, has guided our work together since 2013.

The Katz Center for Branding has filmed and shared a new video that explains the work they do and briefly outlines some of our research efforts (beginning at 1:30):

As noted by PhD student Christian Hughes in the video, we’ve most recently explored the factors that make a blogger most successful – specifically, examining the type of content posted and the makeup of influencers’ follower networks.

Out of our previous influencer marketing research, in 2014, we shared the most effective ways to engage moms online on behalf of brands. We followed up in 2015 with research-based practical tips on how to reach influential moms online.

influencer marketing research

A few interesting findings from our current research include:

  • Staying on topic matters. A blog post with higher relevancy can increase engagement on a blog post by 20 percent.
  • Engagement rate and posting frequency are correlated. Bloggers with high Facebook engagement generally post eight percent more often than bloggers with low Facebook engagement. Bloggers with high blog post engagement generally post 35 percent more than bloggers with low blog post engagement.
  • Readers love visuals. Blog posts that receive high engagement are 12 percent more likely to include a photo than blog posts with low engagement.
  • A new product release presents a strategic opportunity for a blog campaign. Campaigns featuring new versus existing products are 38 percent more likely to receive high Facebook and blog engagement.

Many thanks to Vanitha Swaminathan, Christian Hughes and Bob Stein at the Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business for their work and partnership over the years!

Favorite Holiday Traditions from The Motherhood

The Motherhood team shares their favorite holiday traditions.

As 2016 comes to a close and the holidays draw near, The Motherhood team has been talking about our favorite holiday traditions and pastimes, swapping stories and ideas. We’d love to hear yours, too!

The Motherhood CEO Cooper Munroe told us, “Every year since I can remember, our family has celebrated Christmas with a big, beautiful dinner of Beef Bourguignon (aka Beef Burgundy). This recipe on Beef It’s What’s For Dinner is very similar to my grandmother’s version, and I highly recommend it for a wonderfully delicious and festive dinner!”

Other team members shared the following holiday stories:

Brittnee 

“My husband and I have always picked a night in December to grab a coffee and drive around to all the nearby neighborhoods to check out Christmas lights. Over the years, we’ve established our own driving tour of must-see neighborhoods. This year, we get to share our tradition with our little man. Lucky for us, he’s currently infatuated with Christmas lights, so we think he’ll enjoy the evening just as much as we do!”

Kahlianne

“Every year before Christmas, all of my cousins get together to bake and decorate Christmas-themed sugar cookies! Our decorating skills have improved significantly since we started doing this when I was five.”

Brittney

“The Italian side of my family celebrates the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. This is a Roman Catholic tradition rooted in the idea of Christmas Eve being a day of abstaining from red meat — hence the menu filled with seafood. Our exact roster of fishes changes a little bit each year, but it always includes baccala, which is a salted cod. It’s a lot of fun to help prepare, and I’ve picked up some of my best cooking secrets from our family’s multi-generational kitchen crew!”

Erin

“When I was a kid and my family went on vacation or experienced a milestone (such as adopting our dog into the family), my parents would buy my brother and me each a Christmas ornament for the tree — something to represent that trip or experience, like a snowman dressed as the Statue of Liberty from a trip to New York City. We would unwrap them on Christmas morning, which was a special way to remember that particular trip and the time we had spent together, and then every year after that, we got to unwrap them again as we took our ornaments out of storage and hung them on the tree. As a result, when I left home and started buying Christmas trees of my own, I already had a box of unique ornaments filled with family memories that I could use to decorate. I’ve continued that tradition with my husband, and my favorite part of the season is getting out that box of ornaments and taking a trip down memory lane.”

Nicole

“When I was younger, my family would watch It’s a Wonderful Life every year (my dad’s favorite movie!) from our sleeping bags on the living room floor. It was always so fun to then sleep next to the lit Christmas tree.”

Serena

“My husband and I both have large families, so our Christmas Day is jam-packed: we typically travel to four Christmas celebrations around town. One of my favorite traditions that we’ve had for years is having our own low-key celebration the day after Christmas. We make brunch, exchange our own gifts by the fire and spend the day in pajamas (a screening of Home Alone is also often involved). This year, I’m excited to introduce our little one to this relaxing tradition!”

holiday traditionsThe Motherhood wishes you and your families a warm, safe and happy holiday season!

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Share with us in the comments!

The Motherhood’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

holiday gift guide

Need some inspiration for your holiday shopping this year? Take a look at what our team members have on their lists for their loved ones in our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide!

On Britt H.’s List: The Eco-Conscious Fashionista

More than ever, people are seeking ways to spread positivity in our country. One easy way to do that is to make sure every purchase you make and every gift you give has a positive impact on our planet.

This year, I’m gifting one of my favorite people a beautiful sweater from prAna. The company offers organic, hemp, sustainable, and fair trade clothing items so that consumers feel great about the things they wear and the items they give. Their clothing not only looks good, but it’s versatile enough for any lifestyle and any adventure, too!

Now through December 19, you can get 15% off your entire prAna order by using this discount code: TMHF16TMC

the-sweeter-side-of-mommyhood

Photo courtesy of Jacquie, The Sweeter Side of Mommyhood (featuring the prAna Mariette Dress)

On Serena’s List: The New Dad

Earlier this year, my husband (Jimmy) and I welcomed our first baby, Luca. It’s been incredible watching Jimmy adapt to fatherhood: he’s become a pro at learning how to make Luca laugh uncontrollably and soothe him when he’s fussy, and he’s always equipped with a burp cloth in his pocket (which I call his “dad rag”) for cleaning up the inevitable baby-made messes.

This year, I’m excited to get Jimmy a holiday gift that’s especially made for dads from Father Figure. The new company is devoted to the issue of responsible fatherhood, which encourages present and caring parenting.

father-figure

Photo courtesy of Father Figure

Their clothing line includes a long-sleeved denim shirt, a t-shirt and bandana print burp rags. What makes them unique is that they have features like loops to store burp rags or attach toys, and they’re made with extra soft material where babies are most often held. Their t-shirt is even called “The Luca,” which makes it extra fitting (pun intended!) for the new dad in my life this Christmas.

On Erin’s List: The Nostalgic Friend

Know someone who has amassed dozens of t-shirts in their life but can’t part ways with those memories? Consider giving them the gift of a t-shirt quilt as a way to preserve those memories in a functional – and cute – way.

Project Repat creates beautiful keepsake blankets out of t-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys and more. They can also create stroller blankets out of outgrown baby clothing! Blankets start at $74.99, and you can purchase a gift card here.

Last year, I created a blanket of my own using college and high school shirts. Read more about my experience and the process here. If you’re interested in learning more, join us for a Twitter party with Project Repat on Wed., December 7 at 1:00 p.m. ET (follow along using #ProjectRepat).

project-repat

On Nicole’s List: Giving Back to the Community

If you’re looking for a gift to do double duty, look no further than The Giving Keys. The company helps transition homeless people off of the streets and into jobs, by creating and selling jewelry made out of repurposed keys. Each key necklace has a unique, inspiring word engraved on it like Hope, Courage or Dream (you can also make custom words!).

The idea behind The Giving Keys is that the wearer embraces that word on their key necklace until they meet someone who needs the message of that word more than they do — and that’s when they give the key away. It’s a gift that will continue to spread hope to people who need it!

I have a Brave key myself (I wear it just about every day), and am excited to be able to give it away to my friend as she heads into the New Year facing some unknowns and new obstacles.

On Britt C.’s List: The Mom on the Move

One of the most important items in anyone’s travel arsenal is a reliably sturdy and spacious piece of luggage – especially when it comes to traveling with little ones.

My sister is planning a trip with her new baby next year, so I’m giving her a Luggage Online gift card. She’ll be able to pick out the exact travel gear that her family needs since Luggage Online carries a huge variety of brands and products. What’s also great is that Luggage Online also offers its customers a 110% low-price guarantee.

Thanks for checking out our holiday gift guide! What gifts are you most excited to give this year? Tell us in the comments!

Disclosure: Project Repat, Luggage Online and prAna are clients of The Motherhood.

Understanding Consumer Behavior on Social Media | Social Media Week Chicago 2016

The Motherhood shares takeaways from Social Media Week Chicago on how brands can better understand and leverage consumer behavior on social media.

The Motherhood recently had the opportunity to participate virtually in Social Media Week Chicago 2016, where industry leaders shared trends, best practices and insights for online marketing. Read on for the final installment of our multi-part series on takeaways from the event! 

For any brand to be successful, they must key into how their consumers or target audiences are using social media – and how their brand is being discussed on social. During Social Media Week Chicago 2016, we observed a few recurring themes when it comes to understanding consumer behavior on social media.

Have one-on-one conversations: Whether brands like it or not, honest conversation happens in real time on social media. Brands can use the reciprocal nature of social media to their advantage instead of being intimidated by it.

More and more, brand content is about responding to people – not talking at them, according to Chris Kerns, VP of Research & Insights at Spredfast. Kerns shared that in a sample of 25 brands, 93 percent of content was one-to-one (with customers reaching out about questions, complaints, etc.) – and that percentage is rising every quarter as customer expectations change.

Havas Chicago made this analogy during a session: “Not answering comments is like being at a party, having everyone yelling at you and not talking back to them.” By showing that you’re listening and addressing even the most biting comments within your brand’s tone, you can change a customer’s sentiment toward the company.

What’s more, Kerns explained that customers engaged in social media spent 20-40 percent more money, and that word-of-mouth marketing drives $2 trillion in U.S. sales alone.

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Show how your brand’s values align with consumer values: Patrick Mulford, Chief Creative Officer of theAudience, offered an anthropological take on how we consume social media. By nature, humans are social animals, and if we hear a good story, we’ll remember it. When it comes to social media, any post we share can be considered a story. Mulford explained that posting is a selfish act: we are seeking likes, comments and shares on every post we make for validation of our ideas and values.

How does this apply to brands? When brands demonstrate that their values align with those of their consumers, that’s when they see consumers caring. Mulford stated that 74 of brands could disappear and consumers wouldn’t care, and that “the top brands sell feelings, not products.”

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Joshua Neckes (President of Simon Data), Dana Griffin (Chief Revenue Officer, Knotch) and Jesse St. Charles (Head of Data, frame.ai) reiterated that networks form based on shared beliefs, values, social norms, unwritten rules and rituals that guide behaviors. Categorizing people by demographics (e.g., millennials or moms) is just hype. It’s those who are most influential to us who ultimately help shape our values and ideas.
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Use the power of influencers: Brand ambassadors can be huge assets to a company – if that brand knows how to work with influencers. Consumers can sniff out an inauthentic partnership from miles away, so building up loyalty and trust with influencers should be a brand’s main priority when it comes to social media, according to the team at Havas Chicago.

When a brand is overly prescriptive in its guidelines for influencers, that content can come across as too corporate and will stick out like a sore thumb in the influencer’s online channels, so it’s important for brands to trust the influencers with whom they align so they can provide authentic, relatable content for their followers. Check out our post on building online consumer trust for more on this topic.

Don’t lose the human element: When it comes to marketing, Neckes, Griffin and St. Charles explained that more and more brands rely on predictive models or machine learning to help create efficiencies.

While machine-to-human tactics have their role in marketing, when it comes to relationship building, brands should maintain human-to-human interaction to help capture and understand consumer feedback, especially since a marketer’s intuition can get lost when using predictive models.

Are there any takeaways from Social Media Week Chicago 2016 that surprised you? Tell us in the comments!

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