Time to Get In the Sandbox with Moms and Dads

In the span of just less than a decade, the parent blog has forever altered the marketing landscape. No longer limited to experts, celebrities or the media, an influencer can now be that witty mom next door who shares her life with thousands on the web (Click to tweet). And marketers have taken note.

sandboxBut just when it looked like brands had figured it all out, mom and dad bloggers have taken their insights, observations and opinions beyond their blogs and into the real-time world of social media. Aside from keeping your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, how can brands best enjoy this ride? Here are a few pointers:

  • Consider a mom or dad blogger’s social media network as important as their blog traffic because the bulk of the interaction with their readers and community now takes place there. Think of social media as a giant playground, where friends are made, tips are shared and opinions are formed. (Click to tweet)
  • Unlike the blogosphere, social media is an ecosystem where influencers, brands and consumers coexist. Be vigilant and look for windows of opportunity to jump into relevant conversations, but as a resource, not as a promotion agent. Make friends first, because trust and rapport are what open doors in social media. (Click to tweet)
  • Get down and dirty. Brands do play a significant role in parents’ lives, so playing in the sandbox with them isn’t out of place. In fact, parents welcome a brand who can understand their needs, frustrations and triumphs. But “understand” is a key word. Make sure parents run your brand’s social media effort if you truly want to relate to mom and dad.
  • Play nice! Mom and dad bloggers strive to break the mold of parenthood, from roles to likes/dislikes to issues they care about. Defer to their need to self-define (e.g. don’t assume a dad’s culinary expertise is limited to grilling), because like chatter on a playground, word about your brand travels fast through social media.

By keeping the above in mind, brands can organically weave themselves into the parenting conversations of key influencers that are happening all day, every day on social media. If you think about it, these rules aren’t much different than a play date at the park. Be helpful, be nice and genuinely care. Oh, and it also helps to bring snacks.

About Jim Lin

Jim Lin is an SVP, Digital Strategist at Ketchum, San Francisco, and the blogger behind the popular Busy Dad Blog (http://www.busydadblog.com/). Honored by Babble.com as 2011’s funniest dad blog, his blog documents the lighthearted, humorous side of his adventures as a father of two. He is also active in conference circles, having served as a speaker/panelist at BlogHer, BlogWorld, Blissdom, Dad 2.0, Bulldog Reporter and Type-A Parent. His position at Ketchum represents the first time he’s broken his “separation of blog and state” rule, integrating his personal passion for blogging into his professional life. This basically means he no longer has to scramble to minimize his Twitter window whenever someone walks into his office.