10 April 2018
Meet Nicola. She’s 29, married to Daniel and lives in the south-east of England.
Most importantly for today’s tale, she’s a first-time mum to gorgeous, bouncy seven-month-old George.
It’s morning nap time. As usual, George is fighting sleep, which she finds hard to believe as she’d happily be put in a blanket herself right about now. Now it’s coffee beans. Why is she left with beans? Who drank all the ground? The grinder will be too loud for a baby already looking for excuses not to sleep. Looks like instant is the way to go.
She goes to check on George and he’s still fussing. She tries some soothing words and backs out of the room. Fingers crossed.
Some kind of prayer later and the baby is finally settled. A coffee is in her hand and she sits on the sofa, phone at the ready. She clicks on her local Facebook mums group and types:
“Any good tips for getting them down at nap time!?”
Followed by a grumpy face emoji.
THE CHANGING FACE OF FACEBOOK
Nicola is one of the 75% of parents who log onto Facebook daily. But the platform’s new algorithm means organic posts from brands are now virtually invisible. So how can they break through the noise to get their audience’s attention?
Ads and sponsored posts? They might be more pricey now, but they promise visibility at least.
Nicola checks her newsfeed. Erica’s had her baby! She likes the post, but secretly knows her son is cuter.
Beside it is a targeted post of shoes she already decided not to buy. Below that, an endless stream of boring and uncreative adverts. Why can’t Facebook get rid of that kind of content too, she muses.
Just as she’s about to close the app and open Instagram, something catches her eye. One of her fellow new mums has shared a link, with a message:
“This is so addictive! And you can win baby stuff!”
BREAKING THROUGH THE NOISE
It turns out to be a game on a baby brand’s Facebook page. Nicola gives it a go. On her first turn, she doesn’t even get close to completing the challenge of reaching 100 points. Next one, a little better. Her friend was right. It is addictive!
Before she knows it, Nicola has spent 20 minutes perfecting her technique. In doing so, she’s won a 50% off voucher for one of the brand’s products. Awesome! She feels like she’s achieved something for George as well as herself.
She knows it’s a marketing tactic, but it doesn’t feel like she’s been sold to at all. It was just a fun way to spend nap time.
It’s unlikely we humans will stop making babies, so baby product brands will always have an audience. But that audience is unique in that they suddenly become customers, then drop out as their babies get older.
So they must constantly recruit new customers. Therefore harnessing these stolen moments on social media is crucial, and brands need to think outside the box to break through the noise. 72% of mums like a brand’s Facebook page, but they won’t see its content unless it’s truly meaningful and relevant.
Keeping audiences interested and actively engaging with it is vital.
ANOTHER STOLEN FACEBOOK MOMENT
Since George woke up, Nicola has had her hands well and truly full with a soft play session followed by a messy lunch.
He’s tired but there are no tears, even as his second nap time approaches. Perhaps this time sleep will seem like a treat rather than the struggle her son seems to see it as.
He’s out like a light. A relieved Nicola feels another coffee coming on, and while the kettle’s boiling she checks to see who has commented on her nap-problem post.
Success? A well-known yoga teacher in her local area has replied to recommend a white noise machine, including a link to purchase. She’s a parent herself, and says she swears by it.
Nicola decides to give it a bash. Anything’s worth a try to get her little angel to sleep better. A couple of clicks, and it’s ordered.
As is the case for 74% of parents, Nicola’s first point of call is to go to social media when looking for help and advice. Parents trust other parents, and this is where ‘micro-influencers’ can really benefit brands.
Partnering with these individuals, who sometimes have as few as a few hundred followers, is a highly effective tactic for reaching niche audiences. 82% of people who receive a recommendation from a micro-influencer follow it through to a purchase.
THE NEXT TOUCHPOINT
After thanking her yoga buddy for the recommendation, Nicola’s thumb keeps scrolling. Every other post seems to be a video, and that auto-play feature on Facebook makes them hard to look away from. Another sausage dog video? Nicola can’t help but watch their little legs run.
A little further down is a video featuring the same baby brand as earlier. She watches intently as little bubbles of info pop up on their products’ benefits. Looks perfect for George, she thinks. Brilliant.
Ah! Why not return the favour from earlier, she thinks. She comments on the video to tag her mum friend who recommended the game.
“That’s my good deed done for the day!”
Cisco predicts that video content will account for 85% of web traffic within five years. The most powerful videos on Facebook are inspiring or useful to their audience, but they become even more effective for brands if that audience is already engaged.
Having already played that fun game earlier in the day, Nicola is ready and willing to listen to what this brand is saying.
THREE KEY TAKEOUTS
Parents spend 1.3x more time on Facebook than people without children. Particularly mums of young babies, who find it invaluable in those fleeting moments of calm. So brands can successfully grab their attention, and not always by paying through the nose for ads and sponsored posts.
To do so right now, these three tactics are key: rewarding content that they actively want to engage with, harnessing the networks of micro-influencers and powerful video content that encourages shares and comments.
Back to Nicola and George. Sounds like someone’s waking up, so her downtime is over once again.
Whilst being online throughout the day, she’s interacted with some brands in a positive way and ignored those that didn’t seem worth her limited time.
She knows which ones she’ll remember tomorrow.