As a communications professional, I spend a lot of time thinking and talking about social media, to say nothing about the time I spend actually running digital campaigns for clients. It’s safe to say I know a lot about how to be successful in the digital space. A year ago, I would have told you I had it down pat. Then, I had a kid. And suddenly, I was thrust into a whole new digital social space. I’ll spare you the horror stories of the sorts of things that get posted on mommy forums and in private new mom groups, but suffice it to say: I learned A LOT. Here are three things that are actually applicable to you:
Before I had my daughter, I swore up and down that I wouldn’t be one of those women who turned their feeds into a constant stream of baby photos and parenting articles. I had an established, diverse, thoughtful digital presence that I worked hard to build. “Women who fill their platforms with baby-related 'stuff' are so one-dimensional,” I scoffed. One year later, I can tell you this: all I post are baby photos and parenting articles. And I’m ok with it because I realized that your digital persona, whether you are an individual or a company, should reflect who you actually are. As any first-time parent can tell you, that kid shows up and takes over your whole life. Right now, at this point in her tiny, fragile life, being a parent is the dominant thing I “am.” My digital brand reflects that. It’s not one-dimensional-- it’s honest. People can spot disingenuous brands a mile away. Be authentic; tell your story, whatever that is.
Literally the day after I had my daughter (or maybe it was 2.5 seconds after I posted about her for the first time), someone somewhere flipped the “mom” button on my profiles. Suddenly I was inundated--and I mean inundated-- with ads, articles, and solicitations about babies and their products, causes and groups. I had joined the ranks of arguably the most coveted target audience for every online marketer everywhere: moms. But here’s the thing—“moms” is a really broad general category. About the only thing we all have in common is that we have a tiny human appendage. I am a 35-year-old Caucasian, urban, liberal, working mother who trolls for homemade baby food recipes and orders automatic grocery refills online. The things I care about, respond to, and want to see in my news feeds are not the same thing that other moms in different demographics want to see. Yes, we all love our children, no that does not mean we all want to buy-your-product-sign-your-petition-donate-to-your-cause. Don’t be lazy PR professionals. Take the time to segment your audience and target your communications appropriately. Otherwise, not only will you not convert me, you’ll piss me off and turn me against your brand.
Before I had a baby, I was a real stickler for daily posts on my various platforms. And then I entered the haze of maternity leave where my “free” time, such that it was, was hijacked by desperately seeking sleep, not posting. My consistent social presence was blown out of the water. Now, I’m much more focused on sharing things that will resonate with my audience than I am with posting every, single day. And guess what? My engagement rates shot through the roof. It might be the cute baby pictures, but I think it has more to do with giving my audiences material that actually resonates with them, rather than making sure my brand is in their feeds every day. Sometimes we get so focused on brand presence (being in the right place) that we forget the real goal is brand engagement. Digital campaigns are about interacting with your audience. The best way to do that is to give them useful content they want to do something with. Throwing up 25 tweets a day and crossing “social media” off your to do list does not make a successful social media campaign.