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April 02, 2009

"Moms Who Tech" Birds Of Feather Session at Web 2.0 SF

I was excited to carry on the conversation we had at SXSW about "Moms Who Tech" that was so lively, we just had to keep it going.

On Thursday April 2, 7pm at Web 2.0 (Not to be missed conference in SAN FRANCISCO) I moderated the Birds of a Feather  "Moms Who Tech" session. Details were:

This session will be a conversation about how moms are using technology to manage personal, social and family management tasks. This session is relevant for moms (parents) who want to discuss how they use technology, moms with a technology/programming background and marketers/companies with technology products that want to learn about social media outreach to families.

TIME:  Thursday April 2, 7pm

Moderator is Beth Blecherman  Founder TechMamas.com (and Co-Founder Silicon Valley Moms Group) - 
Sarah Murgel, User Experience Lead - Razorfish  (Razorfish/Cafe Mom Digital Mom Report)
Martha Feingold, VP Horn Group (and mom blogger)

UPDATE: Posts on the event are listed on Susan Etlinger's blog and the RazorFish Digital Design Blog (post by Sarah Murgel).

HERE ARE SOME LIVEBLOG NOTES (please excuse errors - these are liveblog notes). We decided to focus more on blogger outreach for this discussion because most attendees were interested in that topic:


-Sarah Murgel from Razorfish is discussing the Digital Mom Report with Cafe Mom.

-Martha Feingold, VP Horn Group is discussing her view as VP Horn Horn group, mom of 4 and a mom blogger for Silicon Valley Moms Blog. Her kids use cellphones.

-Susan Etlinger is also VP Horn Group. Her personal blog is Family Room. Today is Autism awareness day. As a mom blogger she get's pitched regularly.  She is also apart of an informal mom blogger network that provides support and influences each other.

- Erin from Jumpstart.com opened up virtual world for kids. They have an online product and would like to understand how to better get engaged with moms (Form a deeper connection with moms).

-Guy from Vestopia (the only guy in the room) He said that alot of people that try to appeal to moms don't put the effort in to engage with moms. His company is  Vestopia (a platform for investors to look over the shoulder of finance resources). After the market crashed, they took that to a platform for online self help - one of the main audiences they want to engage with is moms.  He felt intimated to talk to moms because he is not a Dad. But felt this session was a great opportunity to learn how to communicate to moms.

-Judy is a paralegal for four judges and will be writing a session (unconference) so she wanted to see how it is run. She wished she had the resources .

-Sarah Kraft Mindful Mama - started as a print magazine now is relaunching on Earth day as a website. They provide editoral and video content for parents to get them involved in social media. She wants to learn more about growing a mom community.

-Danielle, from DMS Public Relations is a new mom, now is a consultant and used to work for Baby Center. But now that is a mom she really understands more about what mom needs. She is a Twitter junkie.

-Monica is a mom and founder Whojini - they provide an easy way for people/moms to ask for, save, organize and share recommendations. Moms can hook up with their social graph. She is at this session to get some feedback.

-Robbie is a strategy consultant with Peninsula Strategies (and a mom of three kids). She also helps businesses reach out to busy parents.

-Jackie is online community manager for Focus on the Family (marriage & parenting). She wants to learn how to reach out to moms and dads

-Lydia is young mom with 3 kids. Web designer and dabbling in mobile. Interested in rebranding herself in this digital world.

-Slyvia is an Aunt and a PR professional working with home decor/fashion/beauty. She does the online pitching.

-LiLing is a mom of 2 boys. She started another company (Trekaroo) with another mom friend and her husband that focuses on families traveling. Families need other families to find out if an hotel is great. Trekaroos her website.

Tips to reach out to moms/moms bloggers:

1. Try to build a relationship with the moms/moms community instead of a straight pitch

2. Always say who you are

3. If you want the mom to do something, create a relationship as a start.

4. Moms don't always trust information on the company site, but they do trust information that comes from their mom communities (so companies should reach out to the mom communities as a start).

5. It does not matter if the mom does not cover the product on her blog, she may still be interested.

6. Moms are using social media to share information - which is viral. Companies also need to be in the social media world to see that feedback - and reach out if there are product issues.

7. Theme is authenticy. Engage with moms as an interconnected women, wife with other interests.

8. Listen first. Then facilitate a conversation.

9. Savvy online marketeers do more then reach, seeking new ways to reach out moms by adding value to her social network. Tap her to spread brand info through her network.

10.Take your PR cap off and just start a conversation, maybe on Twitter. 

11. 80% of moms see their selves as household CFO. Outreach to those moms are lacking. Brand advertisers wonder where moms go online? To answer that - look at "lifestages". Moms with kids of different ages are looking for different things. Most "financial things" happen around important life stages like summer camps, private school, college.. Also look at moms/bloggers that cover that specific niche or do a search on TWitter. Rebranding of Charles Schwab is a good example of the right way to do that - they are trying to form communities.

12. Are moms bloggers jaded from being reached out to?  A suggestion was to do events with mom bloggers. That creates a positive brand image.

13. Content: One person that has a website with content wonders about the revenue model. For magazine it was $2 per word and got advertising so it was easy. Online they are trying pay for click which is working.

14. Giveways - how should I pitch giveaways to moms? 1. Ask the mom blogger how they do giveaways (would they do it for traffic or are giveaways part of advertising packages?). Find bloggers that cover the niche of your product to make it beneficial for both sides. Some bloggers may reach out to companies to ask for product - make sure they are serious about doing the giveaway versus just keeping the product. For reviews, you need to offer the product as review but understand it is the blogger's decision on whether they blog about it or not - and if they do they need to be honest to keep their online authenticity. Look for blogger that has disclosure information published on their website.

--- 8pm and the session has ended - but we have moved down to the Marriott Lobby because we want to keep the conversation going!!!

15. The way moms interact with online communities change with the ages of their kids (Digital Mom Study confirmed this).

16. Do moms use Facebook and other social media to share information, and if so - how can companies provide information that is useful enough for moms to share? We decided that if it is a travel site, don't just try to advertise your product - provide travel information that is useful to moms and then they will pass that around (it the travel site will get brand recognition).

17. How do moms pass recommendations to other moms? The group decided that Facebook and Twitter are places that moms are using.  But some moms still use email or their local moms clubs to share information. But moms that are using social media are telling other moms that they NEED TO START USING IT - BECAUSE THEIR KIDS ARE!

18. We all discussed how Facebook needs to stop targeting moms for only Botox and belly fat ads! The moms also try not to use any Facebook applications - just the feeds.

19. Twitter API's get 20x traffic that twitter does. Those twitter bots roams looking for information - which is great for market information but scary for moms (that twitter about a location and get an immediate reply for products in that location).

20. Companies should not "intervene" when someone makes a negative comment about their product - just let the conversation happen. A good way for the company to respond is to ask the person with the negative comment about their problem - use that opportunity to get feedback and help the customer. A good example of that is Comcast - they reply quickly over social media. Dell and HP are also good companies that use social media.

21. How should you (as a mom) manage social media overload? Tweetdeck is one suggestion. Just pick some times of day to engage - then turn off during other times of the day. Schedule 9am, 5pm and 10pm to check social media. We also suggested that moms should set their social media privacy/notification levels from the start.

22. We talked about how moms communicate with their families. It all depends on how the family member wants to be communicated with. Some couples text each other, some by phone. Mom use SMS for teens/tweens, sitters and sometimes their husband.

23. Discussion about #shread or #shreadheads for those losing.

Session ended at 9PM!! Thanks to everyone who attended, hope to keep this conversation going! We did not get to answer a great question about moms who have technical careers (like web designers) who are trying to find out where to determine where to focus their career efforts. We hope to have that important conversation another time. I will keep you posted.



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How long is the session?? Heh.


Oh my gosh this is sooooooo ON target with what I've been talking about to companies lately. (in fact Jumpstart emailed me your link because THEY are one of the ones who i've been chatting with!)

I would add, that moms don't always want to become a 'review' blog... a one night stand if you will, for product dispersal.

What do I get out of that..? some free product, maybe? but I'm more about creating a conversation with my readers AND the company!

A win/win from my perspective. And the thing is, it will take some extra work on the company's part... :)

So glad you were giving them the right advice. We're dynamic people and we like developing relationships.

A good way for the company to respond is to ask the person with the negative comment about their problem use that opportunity to get feedback and help the customer. A good example of that is Comcast they reply quickly over social media. thanks for the post.


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