MEC talks moms ‘n’ social media

The agency releases the results of its latest research at a breakfast event at (its client) Milestones in Toronto. (With video interivew.)

This MiC writer has reached the age where more than a few of her Facebook friends’s profile photos are no longer of themselves, but of their very small progeny.

Yes, when little people are born, Facebook profiles – along with good night’s sleeps – are one of the first things to change. It’s the modern way, and one that MEC recently found might be more entrenched than you’d think.

The media agency, which has its Canadian headquarters in Toronto, yesterday released the results of a study that called on a group of moms (MEC declined to specify the size of the sample) to record their every social media move for more than a week.

What the study found was surprising, even given the well-known fact that Canadians are some of the most Facebook-connected in the world – 100% of the moms who participated said that they were in some form of social space in January 2011, the month in which the study took place.

Almost all (93%) of the participants said they had visited Facebook during that month, far and away the most popular of social media sites. Blogger was #2 with 48% reach and Twitter trailed behind in #8 with only 14% reach in that demographic.

‘Moms are using Facebook as the hub of their communication,’ Sharon Dixon, manager, analytics and insight, MEC, said in her presentation. ‘They are looking for old friends, looking for help and advice, keeping up with their friends and family, and following their children. It is one-stop shopping for communication.’

There are two types of ways this demo (overwhelmingly 25 to 54) communicates, Dixon said: reflectively and emotionally. Reflective posts are usually impersonal, but emotional posts tend to be highly personal, and brands should stay in the realm of the former, she emphasized.

Brands are not friends-friends – they are Facebook friends, which is an entirely different animal, she said. Moms don’t want advice from someone, or something, they barely know. Also, they are suspicious of product reviews on the site that are 100% positive – they only trust communication when it appears honest.

How brands treat their ‘friends’ on Facebook loomed largely in MEC’s ‘top 10 lessons’ gleaned from the study’s results, the first of which was ”Like’ does not equal a relationship [with moms]. It means ‘you can talk to me, but not that we are best friends.”

Along the same lines where #8 and #9, which (respectively) warned brands not to talk about themselves exclusively – moms wanted brand to tell them what they could do for them – and to not get in the way of people’s natural communication norms. Intrusive communication – and anything that indicated an invasion of privacy – was also looked down upon.

In closing, Dixon said not to let mobile slip below brands’ horizons – moms may not be using smartphones like their kids, but they do use mobile features when killing time, looking for places on maps, and comparing prices.