When we talk about the Internet as a powerful tool for marketing, we often use words like “viral,” “impact,” “word of mouth,” and “influencers.” For businesses that sell products or offer a highly specialized service, the dream result of a digital campaign is for their cause to be taken up by influencers with big followings—one or two blog endorsements and a glamorous Instagram shot and the rest is the stuff of marketing case study history. The reality of this working is getting big in Facebook groups.
Perhaps no one online community evidences this phenomenon as perfectly as the wholly unique tribe that is the mommy network. As a new mom, I’ve had occasion to witness the truly amazing force of this demographic of Internet-using women. When a great product or service gains favor among a segment of moms, the impact is like digital dominoes—for brands that make it into the spotlight, the momentum is accompanied by soaring sales.
Individual Facebook groups, alone, can have thousands of members that fit your target audience (I belong to one called Pregasauruses & Mammasauruses that has 4,315 members). The comments stream in nonstop, round the clock. What is the best brand of baby sunscreen? Which airline is best with gate-checking a car seat? Which organic oatmeal did your baby like best? Check out the forums of any major parenting website and you’ll see similar, seemingly endless questions, worries, anecdotes, opinions… And when something catches on—like, for example, this Baby Banana toothbrush that a clever mom somewhere discovered was also great for teething—you’ll see the Amazon sales figures climb.
Making Facebook Groups Work For Your Business
So what can businesses—even those without something to market to parents—learn from this network? (Well, for one, reconsider: Can you think of a better way to market to moms?) But two: Don’t underestimate the influence of a passionate online community. Uncover those niche populations among your target consumers and get them on board—send samples, invite them to events, seek their input, court their favor. You will more than break even on the initial cost of acquisition when the momentum builds and the Internet engines start churning in your favor—for free.
The Flip Side
Of course, there is a dark side to marketing to a passionate online community: if your product fails to live up to standards—or among moms, endangers anyone’s child or breaks too easily—recovery is a massive uphill battle. Word of mouth in these communities is often one-way; introducing a new perspective via messaging from the brand down is incredibly difficult. It’s yet another good reminder that in the end, all the hype in the world won’t last without good quality (but hopefully that’s a lesson your mom taught you).