Social Media – How it has revolutionised parenthood.

It is no secret that the internet has changed people’s lives. It’s altered how we interact with each other, how we do business and how we study.  The internet has also had an interesting effect on parenthood.  For student parents out there, long distance studying is now possible thanks to institutions such as the Open University.  However its not just studying that the internet has made easier for parents. Statistics show that parents, and in particular Mums are now some of the top social media bloggers.

A study by Nielson into Online Media landscapes found that mothers aged between 25 and 35 were 95% more likely to spend time on Facebook than any other online consumer. The study also found that experienced Mums spend more time on social media sites than any other social group. Another study found that in the US 90% of Mums are online compared to 76% of women in general. 3.9 million women with children in the US write blogs of which only 13% primarily are exclusively about parenting. A large majority of mums are discussing other subjects not relating to motherhood.

Blogging is also big in the UK. On the 12th of May female bloggers from all over the UK will come together in a one off event in London to network, inspire, share and learn. Cybher was set up by business woman and Mum, Sian To.  Sian explained why she thinks social media and blogging is so popular with parents:

“The early days of parenting can be pretty lonely, social media allows you to easily build relationships that you don’t have time for when you have a new family to look after she said  “I really wish that Twitter had been around when my children were babies. There wouldn’t have been any of those lonely night feeds as there’s always someone to talk to at all hours of the day or night.”

Sian has seen how social media has developed and has integrated it as part of her business. “My personal social media journey began when I was looking for additional places to get press coverage for my clients (I’ve been in PR for 18 years). I found a few blogs that I liked and that inspired me to write my own.” She is clear on the importance of social media in business now. “Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and blogs are now an essential part of the way I promote my clients and my own business.”

Another businesswoman and Mum who is convinced of the importance of social media on their business is Naomi Timperley. Naomi came across US company Baby Loves Disco (a party company for children and parents) in 2007 and persuaded the owners to let her bring the business in the UK. She has since featured on Dragons Den with Baby Loves Disco before launching her own social media company.  Naomi outlines her thoughts on social media as a marketing tool:

“I have social media for every business I’ve had – my first foray was when I launched Baby Loves Disco in the UK  @blduk and I used Facebook and Twitter to promote the events and my network. We had no advertising budget so used social media alongside PR to spread the word. I really enjoyed using Twitter in particular and this then led me to launch my social media consultancy Social Media Boom @naomitimperley as I became a bit of a whizz on it and was able to share my knowledge and enthusiasm for it with others. I launched Enterprise Lab @enterpriselabuk @yenterpriselive in November 2011 with my Co Directores @ketan_makwana and @therealsabian who I met on……Twitter! Again we have used our networks on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to spread the word about what we do! Put it this way if Jesus was around he’d be on Twitter!”

As a Mum, Naomi says social media has been an important business tool. “I work from home so it’s invaluable to me.  I also think if your a lone worker you have instant office banter and help at the flick of a switch!”.

Naomi finally outlines why parents use social media “For lots of reasons – one being it gives parents a voice and outlet – why do you think there are so many mummy bloggers and why are brands so interested them – because they have a voice and influence!”

It is certainly true that parents and Mums have an influence on the internet. A recent example was Mumspanel’s collaboration with charity CLIC Seargeant and their Yummy Mummy week – to help raise awareness of parents who have a child with cancer. Using one influential mum blogger they gathered together key mum bloggers to create a network of spokespersons for the campaign who discussed events, gave interviews and shared images and other resources. Using the twitter hashtag #dosomethingyummy Mumspanel asked people to spread the word about the campaign. They received 1089 tweets that had the potential to reach an impressive 1,541,974 people from 222 contributors. 80 bloggers wrote 152 blog posts based on writing prompts provided over 4 weeks.

The internet has allowed parents and Mums in particular to have a huge influence. So use your power, share your experiences and get yourself online!

Rebecca 

Photo courtesy of geograph.org.uk

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