Real friends and mommy friends

Mothers of young children are spending far more time with social media than just three years ago, and as their personal time becomes constrained, they end up sacrificing time with magazines and newspapers compared to before they had children, reports Mediaweek.

According to research by BabyCenter, which compiled information from 18 different surveys conducted over the past six months with over 25,000 respondents, 63 percent of women reported being active on social networks. That’s up from just 11 percent in 2006.

“Social media has grown up,” said Tina Sharkey, BabyCenter’s chairman and global president during a keynote address at Meet the 21st Century Mom. “In just a few years, we think moms using social media will eclipse those that are using newspapers.”

As more moms gravitate to social networks, Sharkey said they develop two distinct friendship circles: their real life friends and their mommy friends —who they may or may not have actually met in person. Because these women are so social, and so information hungry, they often meet other mothers in similar child-rearing stages on sites like BabyCenter and all sorts of mommy blogs.

Moms interact with their friends differently in mom-centric social environments; 71 percent of BabyCenter members share information that they wouldn’t share on Facebook. To illustrate this example, Sharkey pointed to a 33-year-old mom named Summer who posed the same question to her Facebook friends circle and her mommy circle: When do you tell your children the truth about the tooth fairy? While her Facebook friends mocked the question, her mommy friends provided earnest, helpful answers.

That dynamic is something marketers must consider when trying to reach moms in social environments, said Sharkey. “It’s really the mindset that matters.”

David Lang, president of MindShare Entertainment and creator of the Web series In The Motherhood, concurred, added that brands need to take a more restrained approached when marketing to moms on social networks and in blogs. “You can’t push.” he said. “Be part of the conversation. Sit back and let it happen, but be around so they know you’re there.”