NEW YORK Mothers of young children are spending far more time with social media than just three years ago. And most claim that as their personal time diminishes after becoming moms, they end up sacrificing time spent with magazines and newspapers.
Those are among the noteworthy media/marketing-related findings in an elaborate new research report presented here by BabyCenter during an event today dubbed Meet the 21st Century Mom. According to the report, which compiled information from 18 different surveys conducted over the past six months with 25,000-plus respondents, 63 percent of women reported being active on social networks. When BabyCenter conducted a similar study in 2006, just 11 percent claimed to be social net regulars.
“Social media has grown up,” said Tina Sharkey, BabyCenter’s chairman and global president, during a keynote address at the Yale Club. “In just a few years, we think moms using social media will eclipse those that are using newspapers.”
Based on data compiled by BabyCenter, women with new babies cut back on media consumption by as much as three hours, with print taking the biggest hit. “The drop in magazine use is crazy,” said Sharkey. According to the report, 49 percent of respondents claim to read magazines less after giving birth, and 46 percent said the same about their newspapers.
Meanwhile, as more moms gravitate to social networks, Sharkey said they develop two distinct friendship circles: their real-life friends and their mommy friends — who they may not have actually met offline. Because these women are so social and hungry for information, they often meet other mothers in similar child-rearing stages on sites like BabyCenter and various mommy blogs.
And moms interact with their friends differently in mom-centric social environments; according to the research, 71 percent of BabyCenter members share information that they wouldn’t share on Facebook. To illustrate this example, Sharkey pointed to a 33-year-old mom named Summer who posed the same question to her Facebook friends circle and her mommy circle: “When do you tell your children the truth about the tooth fairy?” While her Facebook friends mocked the question, her mommy friends provided earnest, helpful answers.
That dynamic is something marketers must consider when looking to reach moms in social environments, said Sharkey. “It’s really the mind-set that matters,” she said.
During a panel discussion, David Lang, president of MindShare Entertainment and creator of the Web series In The Motherhood, concurred, adding that brands need to take a more restrained approached when marketing to moms on social networks and blogs. “You can’t push,” he said. “Be part of the conversation. Sit back and let it happen, but be around so they know you’re there.”