The Mom 2.0 Summit, the first conference of its kind dedicated to mom influencers and marketers, celebrated its 10th anniversary this month, and the milestone event provided an ideal opportunity to reflect on where influencer marketing has been and where it’s going. The Motherhood team was excited to be there, and now to share some key takeaways coming out of this year’s Summit.

Loud and clear from speakers, attendees and sponsors was the universal agreement that influencer-brand partnerships have everlasting strength; the opinions and stories of real people in their real lives continues to be one of the most powerful forms of messaging and marketing. Ten years in, the conference is bigger than ever, with huge stars, global sponsors, dozens of amazing speakers, and the world’s most impactful and talented influencers, but the fundamentals of what has always been important in the influencer and brand connection — community, authenticity, quality — was elevated more this year than ever before.

Here are the top trends we tracked at the conference:

1. For the most successful brand and influencer partnerships – it’s about creating family.

When influencers work with brands, a relationship is born. When that relationship grows, it’s nurtured and built over time, and the rewards for all involved are multiplied. In the case of Kia Family, that success is even more pronounced because of the team/family approach Kia takes in building their influencer team together. This idea was abundantly clear in the panel discussion led by Clarissa from Clarissa Explains It All, Shelley from A Magical Mess and Summer from Dirty Floor Diaries. The room was filled to capacity with motivated influencers who reinforced the value of bigger, collective efforts that tell a fuller story.
Mom 2.0

Time after time with bloggers, we hear that they are seeking long-term relationships with brands, and we see great success when we help build and sustain long-term influencer ambassador campaigns with our clients. Not only does this help improve their SEO and overall performance of posts, but it helps improve trust and credibility among their readers when they use and give updates on the same brands over time. It’s important to realize influencers have relationships with their readers, also, who are drawn to storytelling over time, and a narrative that builds.

It was no surprise to us that Kia tweets (including #KiaMom, #KiaFamily and #KiaPartner) were among the top tweeted hashtags for the Mom 2.0 conference! Of all of the sponsored hashtags, #KiaFamily rose to the top, and made up roughly 20% of the conference’s #Mom2Summit Twitter impressions. This is just a micro window into how their approach with influencers is successful and pays off in big ways.

2. Communication in partnerships is a two-way street.

Janssen from Everyday Reading shared a valuable lesson on negotiation (check back for a separate blog post on that soon!). She challenged audience members to report back to their brand contacts with campaign results, in order to maintain the line of communication. We heard a similar tip from Shannon Thorndyke during her session on dark social. Both speakers encouraged influencers to take screenshots of comments to send back to the brand. And, if you’re on the brand or agency side, it’s important to realize that you have a part to play, too. Be upfront and clear in your expectations when communicating with influencer partners. Something we commonly hear during conferences is how brands are not following up with influencers to let them know the results of the program. Don’t leave your influencer relationships hanging, and influencers, be prepared to hear and receive that feedback – and act on it!

Mom 2.0

3. Influencer marketing is human-centered marketing.

We like the way relationships were touched on during Thursday’s session titled PR Hot Seat: Ask Them Anything with Erin Ziering and Veena Crownholm:

Mom 2.0

Even with all of the changes and updates to marketing tools, platforms and services, it’s important to remember that we are still people, and at the end of the day, and it’s about the relationships you build with one another.

Best Buy nailed the human element in their booth, where conference participants had multiple opportunities to engage and share their experiences easily online. Their sponsored hashtag #BestMoms was the second most popular conference hashtag over the week. The Twitter stream was full of fun GIFs of beautiful LG refrigerators, winning electronic prizes and gift cards, and sharing creative and professional-looking photos on high quality cameras.

We also need to mention Dove here, as their suite offered a complete hair salon for influencers to experience. Their sponsored keynote with Debbie Allen featured the #HourwithHer project, which encourages women to spend an hour instilling self confidence in young girls.

4. As with all things in life, hard work (and failure) is the key to success.

The Mom 2.0 keynote speakers, Debbie Allen and Brene Brown, shared their journeys to success, both acknowledging the hard work — and oftentimes failure — that it took to get there. As Brene Brown so perfectly put it, “I’ve never known a person who chose to dare greatly to not know failure, heartbreak or loss. Every day you have to choose comfort or courage.”

Multiple times throughout breakout sessions, we heard speakers encourage influencers to write about brands that they really love for free, organically, as that proves to brands that they are a good fit and will work hard for campaigns later on when the brand is ready to do influencer campaigns.

Shannon Thorndyke reminded her audience in a breakout session of the ways to stand out to a brand. While it requires a little more time to analyze your audience insights and engagements, it could be of great value to the brand! Janssen from Everyday Reading said as a rule of thumb to “over-deliver over the course of a few days!”

5. It’s not just technology that is getting savvy — readers and brands are, too.

Breakout sessions revealed that there are tracking tools that now help brands identify use of bots and fake followers. As technology is getting smarter, so are consumers and brands. They are watching what influencers do and can tell when sponsored content is forced into their feed and doesn’t naturally fit with their lives. And beyond that, brands are realizing that it’s not just about numbers: Authentic stories and real human connection will always take top billing.

Congratulations Mom 2.0 Summit, and founders Laura Mayes and Carrie Pacini on 10 amazing years, and here’s to many, many more productive and insightful summits to come!

Were you at Mom 2.0 Summit? What were your takeaways?