Ask a mother with a school age child what she is doing on Saturday and it is likely to include a birthday party. Moms are forever going to parties and social events — children’s birthday parties, jewelry parties, classroom parties, Mommy and Me mixers and book clubs. These events serve as a way to socialize, get to know other moms and avoid the feeling of alienation, particularly for new mothers. Now, I am in no way suggesting that the life of a mom is just one big party. We all know it’s not and many of these events are more work than play. However, life in the physical world is often imitated in the virtual world and explains the growth of CyberEvents in the Momosphere.
For marketers, these events can present great opportunities to get to know moms and, of course, to get products in front of them. So to prepare marketers for 2011 and this growing trend of CyberEvents, I’ve composed this tutorial: “CyberEvents 101.”
Twitter Parties: Describing a Twitter party to someone who has never attended one is like trying to describe the experience of walking on the moon. Twitter Parties were invented by Amy Lupold Bair of ResourcefulMommy.com, although there are many others attempting to replicate them. Basically, a Twitter Party is a one-hour event on Twitter where all the attendees use the same (#) hashtag so they can follow along in the conversation. The organizer of the Twitter Party sets an agenda that normally includes discussion points and lots of prizes for the attendees. It’s a great way to bring awareness to your brand or drive traffic to your site. The challenge for most independent party organizers is gaining attendance to their parties; that is why most marketers hire people like Resourcefulmommy (@ResourcefulMom on Twitter) to run them on their behalf. The benefit to Twitter Parties is that all the followers of all the moms in attendance will see your branded hashtag and many will peek over to see what’s happening during the party.
Online Mom Socials: These are the newest CyberEvents that are attracting hundreds of moms. They were introduced by MomTV.com and are best described as a Live Twitter Party. Moms can attend via Twitter or live chat on a pre-assigned MomTV channel. The host leads the conversation, showing off products and giving away prizes all via live video. A typical online social can attract 200-2,000 mothers, depending on the party theme and prizes. The benefit to marketers? Moms can actually see your product and the host can demonstrate the features in real time. Additionally, your brand still generates branded tweets extending the reach to Twitter as well. Unlike a Twitter Party, the video is archived and lives online for moms to see well after the party is over.
Live Talks and Facebook Chats: Earlier this year, The Motherhood, introduced Live Talks for moms. They are created around a subject of interest to moms and several guest host moms lead the discussion. Similar to Twitter Parties, the moms type in their dialogue; however, the Live Talks are hosted in a closed environment on TheMotherhood.com. Facebook Chats are becoming popular as well. Again, there is typically a discussion leader, in many cases a well-known expert on a particular subject. Moms are invited to attend and the attendees post their thoughts on a dedicated thread on the brand’s Facebook page. Both of these CyberEvents can attract hundreds of mothers. Attracting moms is a challenge unless you are leveraging the relationships of a peer group. Cooper and Emily are both well-known and well-liked moms, so it is easy for them to attract moms to their Live Talks on The Motherhood. For an unknown brand with few mom friends, it can be more challenging. (Think of going to a party when you don’t know a soul in the room. No one likes that feeling.)
Keep in mind that a party is only as good as the hostess or host. As a marketer, this responsibility lies in your lap. Just as you would prepare for an event in the physical world, it’s important to make all the appropriate plans before rushing out to invite moms to attend, including a plan for party crashers. Remember, a good party is never complete without fun, friends and lots of great dialogue. Follow these “CyberEvents 101” guidelines, and your brand or message will be the life of the party.