What “mummy bloggers” can teach businesses about social media

Even if you don’t have children and rarely read blogs you’ve probably heard the term ‘mummy blogger’. It refers to parents (‘daddy bloggers’ are also now taking off in a big way) who blog about anything to do with their children.

There are thousands of them but some have become incredibly influential, winning major awards and securing sponsorship from the likes of John Lewis. The likes of Sticky Fingers (currently ranked as Cision’s number 1 ‘mummy blogger’) haven’t got this sponsorship because they made a deal when they started the blog to promote certain brands’ products.

It’s the other way round – they’ve built a name for themselves by writing engaging content that any parent can relate to and become so well respected that brands are desperate to be associated with them, usually with no obligation to get a mention.

I knew ‘mummy bloggers’ were a key audience for some brands and organisations but had never really thought about why or how they had gained so much power. Until I started doing some research for a social media workshop we have just done for an educational charity that needs to engage with teachers and parents.

As with any social media strategy, I put myself in the shoes of the audience and realised the blindingly obvious – that teachers and parents spend much of their time being the only adult in the room. Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other forums are a means of sharing ideas and insights and getting reassurance that others are in the same boat.

Throughout our journey so far into the world of social media for the business-to-business market we’ve found that lawyers, accountants and other professionals still have few others in their field to ‘play with’. Teachers and parents aren’t in competition with each other so have nothing to hide. But professionals are scared of ‘giving away their gold’.

But what if ‘giving away your gold’ only tells your competitors what they probably already know but tells your customers that you are the leading expert? Gaining credibility in your own sector is what tells others that you’re credible. You may not want to share your contacts book on LinkedIn but sharing your gems through blogs and Twitter could lead to big business.

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Victoria Tomlinson is founder and owner of Harrogate-based PR consultancy, Northern Lights. A former director of Ernst & Young, she started her career as a graduate trainee for Plessey and later with Bradbury Wilkinson, the banknote printers, travelling around the world to sell banknotes to foreign governments. She joined Arthur Young as part of their start-up marketing team and was made a director of client services on the management committee and managing a 100-strong division. Victoria sits on the boards of Bradford University School of Management, Northern Ballet Theatre and Common Purpose North Yorkshire. She is a Prince’s Trust mentor.