What Women Won't Ask Their Friends on Facebook

By Leslie Meredith
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Moms with kids under 12 are four times more likely to turn to friends and family for product buying advice than the social networks they participate in, a new report suggests.

While more than 80 percent of moms who participated in the study use Facebook and two-thirds update their statuses daily, only 24 percent use Facebook to seek or solicit product advice, according to a survey of 583 mothers by MomConnection, an online research network.

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Garage sales, babysitters and soccer game scores are the stuff of Facebook updates, mom-to-mom. While online moms seek product advice offline, they also do their own product research online.

Moms prefer direct interaction with the brand they’re interested in:
• 81 percent have visited a brand's web site for more information.
• 65 percent have signed up to receive a newsletter from a brand.

The survey revealed a distinction between the types of products mothers give advice on and the types of products they seek advice about. Moms consider themselves experts in the categories that most reflect their daily activities. The average mom gives buying advice across eight product categories. The most popular topics are toys, entertaining, cooking and baking tools, shopping and health remedies.

Moms are more likely to seek advice rather than give it when it comes to financial services, home repair, cars, home entertainment equipment, computers and cell phones.

Don’t jump to the conclusion we’ve reverted to an era of June Cleaver anxiously waiting for Ward to walk in the door, briefcase in hand, at the stroke of six, when she’ll ask him whether it’s time to get the “Beave” a cell phone. Today’s moms are resourceful and turn to other mothers who have established their expertise online. Enter the mommy blogger.

Once the purview of a few tech-savvy moms with spare time and a message, mommy blogging has become big business. BlogHer network consists of 2,500 blogs referencing 20 topics, all written by women for women. More than 15 million women visit the BlogHer network each month, accounting for more than 73 million pages read, according to Nielsen ratings as of March 2009. The BlogHer’s 2009 Social Media Study reported 43 percent of the 42 million active female Internet users visit blogs for advice or to get recommendations. Most important to makers of consumer goods, 85 percent said they were significantly more likely to make a purchase decision based on customer experiences reported on blogs.

Corporations have caught on to the mommy blogging trend, reaching out to these influential women and the women who follow them online. Wal-Mart recruited mommy bloggers for its Elevenmoms program to share ideas for saving money, living green, and host a YouTube show on behalf of Wal-Mart. Frigidaire selected “Frigidaire Moms” who get to try out new appliances and then write about them. Chevy sponsors the “Mid America Mom Squad,” inviting mommy bloggers to test drive a Chevy for a month.

“This means – for one whole month – starting this past Wednesday – I get to test drive a Chevy Traverse," wrote St. Louis mommy blogger Danielle Smith on Mommy Madness. "Some moms are getting the Equinox. Every week we have the car, we will be assigned a new task – we’ll take a family outing to the Pumpkin Patch, head to the grocery store (they are giving us money for groceries that week) and we get to take a friend with us to get a massage from Massage Envy.”

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