iKids Winter 2014

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ikids_Winter 2014 5 /web ften the primary purchasers in the home, social-media-centric moms are a key demographic for marketers in the kids industry. They wield considerable spending power—a whopping US$2.25 trillion stateside in 2013, according to marketing- to-mom specialists BSM Media. And they out-spend the general population online. In fact, the March 2013 Social Mom Report by comScore, published on online parenting- resource site BabyCenter, revealed that social moms ages 18 to 49 spend considerably more than other internet users on health & beauty (43%), apparel (61%), toys & games (82%) and food & beverage (96%) categories. To reach and engage this influential demo, marketers are increasingly focusing their efforts where social moms reside—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and blogs—using multiplatform social media campaigns that ex- tend or complement mass-media campaigns. Of course, social media is not about the hard sell. It's about finding unique, brand-relevant ways to engage mom in a conversation that increases brand affinity and their propensity to consider the products at hand. "Peppering your response to a mom with sales-speak is the social media equivalent of visiting a car dealership and dealing with that salesperson," says Sharon Vinderine, founder and CEO of Canadian product awards com- pany Parent Tested Parent Approved (PTPA), which also operates a social media marketing division for brands. "Show them the merits of your brand, but do so without a link to where they can buy your product. The more real you can make the conversation, the more credible you become." Last fall, Toronto-based PTPA Media joined forces with Hasbro and Playskool on the #Big- HugsElmo campaign. Over a two-month period, 15 Canadian mommy bloggers shared the importance of hugs and their personal experi- ence with the Playskool's Big Hugs Elmo plush toy. "Instead of just extolling product benefits, In the quest to be eternally likeable, children's broadcasters and toy companies pursue new social media strategies to reach ever-influential circles of digital moms B y A m a n d a B u rg e s s Engagement rings they got moms to talk about how hugs make a difference in the day," says Vinderine. "It became a conversation people wanted to join. It was relevant to the product, but the product was secondary to the conversation." Beyond relevance, choosing the right plat- form for social media activity is key, as it often has a halo effect on other platforms. "It's trial- and-error, figuring out where your audience is, what interests them and how to connect with them," says Vinderine. "Much of it depends on whether you're a product or a service—it may not make sense for a service company to have a Pinterest account, for example." According to BabyCenter's Social Mom report, mothers use different social networks based on their needs. Facebook means social- izing and sharing, while parenting-based social media is used for support, community, advice and product recommendations. Twitter, meanwhile, is employed by moms to follow news, brands and celebrities, and Pinterest acts a source of inspiration. Brands therefore need to tailor their messages to the medium Sprout's 2013 Instagram contest fielded 10,000 entries O

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