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Erica EhmFounder and PublisherYummyMummyClub.ca
Mothers in Canada are highly active on social media and are often enthusiastic about sharing relatable content with their friends and family. Erica Ehm, founder and publisher of YummyMummyClub, a digital magazine for mothers, and CEO and creative director of YMC Works, a marketing company that targets mothers, spoke to eMarketer’s Alison McCarthy about what mothers in Canada are looking for from brands on social platforms and what brands can do to cultivate relationships with them.
eMarketer: What are some key behaviors of mothers in Canada when it comes to social media?
Erica Ehm: Mothers share a ton of content—especially funny and heartwarming content, helpful tips, or coupons and deals to help educate, inform or brighten somebody’s day. Despite their high engagement, there’s a lot of room for improvement from brands.
In our online survey of around 1,400 mothers in Canada from earlier in 2015, only 19% said that they have had a meaningful interaction with a brand on social media. They want brands to be more real, more authentic, more informative and more balanced, and they want brands to create content that is genuine and shows compassion.
eMarketer: What social media channels are mothers in Canada using? Do any of the newer platforms stand out when thinking about value for marketers?
Ehm: Facebook still overwhelmingly trumps usage of the other sites. Even though the social space is growing, Facebook has a strong hold on mothers. It’s constantly reinventing itself, which keeps them coming back. Of course, many mothers also visit YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter at least a few times a week.
YouTube isn’t necessarily new, but it’s becoming more powerful for mothers in Canada as millennials have started to have their own children. These younger mothers came of age not with TV, but with YouTube. Instagram is obviously becoming more mainstream as well and offers mothers a way to easily share moments from their daily lives. I think you’ll see YouTube and Instagram grow in importance over the next few years.
eMarketer: How are mothers watching digital video? What kind of content are they viewing, and on what channels?
Ehm: For video, the two content categories that brands should be paying attention to are “funny” and “compassionate.” So that means something that’s heartwarming or heartbreaking, something that’s connected to a cause or something that will make a viewer laugh.
Similac is a great example of a brand that used video to their advantage, with their “The Mother ‘Hood” ad. Before this, you couldn’t get anyone to positively talk about formula on social media. But Similac’s video was such an astute, insightful truth about motherhood that was also hilarious. It suddenly exploded in the social space. Mothers were not only sharing it, but bloggers were writing thinkpieces about it. They got a ton of attention from mothers and really hit it out of the park.
eMarketer: Does the mother blogger universe still hold as much power as it did a few years ago?
Ehm: There’s been a shift away from mother bloggers to mother influencers, who are on a myriad of platforms. They may not have a blog, but they might have a huge following on YouTube, as well as be really big on Instagram. These influencers can have different types of conversations on the various platforms and are creative, have strong voices and strong personalities. I think they give marketers more options in terms of the content and audience than the typical bloggers did a few years ago.
eMarketer: What are some specific characteristics of millennial mothers in Canada that marketers should pay attention to?
Ehm: Compassion is extremely important to millennial mothers in Canada. Mothers want their brands to be socially responsible and are much more likely to engage with a brand that’s sincere. Bell Canada’s “Let’s Talk” campaign is a great example. Every year Bell does a one-day blitz where they lead a dialogue and raise money through social media engagements to support mental health organizations around the country.
Mobile providers are not the most beloved in Canada—perhaps unsurprisingly, there’s usually a lot of negative talk around them—but on Let’s Talk Day, Bell is a hero. For millennial mothers especially, the message comes first and the product comes second.
eMarketer: What are some of the most common mistakes marketers make when engaging with mothers on social media in Canada?
Ehm: Brands are often very shortsighted. They ambush audiences with one-month campaigns and then disappear. The brands that are most successful are the brands that understand that social media and their relationships with influencers are long term.
I also think that marketers have to do their research, especially when it comes to connecting with influencers. Many decide to work with influencers based on the number of potential impressions they offer—not necessarily on their integrity, the quality of their work or their relevance to the audience they want to reach. You need to pick the right people to tell your story.
eMarketer: The social media marketplace is becoming increasingly crowded for marketers who want to reach mothers online. What key takeaway would you give to marketers to stand out from the crowd?
Ehm: Make a long-term commitment to your audience. Invest in personally connecting with your existing customers and creating relationships with new customers. Instead of talking “at” mothers, talk “with” them. Learn from them as much as you want them to learn from you.
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