How to Market to Parents Through Social Media


In “Parents of Young Children Prime for Social Marketing” eMarketer displays the results of a study tracking active social media parents’ intent to purchase big-ticket household items including MP3 players, video cameras and computer equipment.  The study found that parents of young children are more likely to intend to purchase these items.  eMarketer concludes that: “For marketers looking to target new families interested in buying such items, social is an especially good place to look.”

While I agree that parents spend a lot of time on social media sites, I know from experience that their activity is mostly focussed on “look at how cute my kid looks in this picture” and “read this clever/witty/brilliant/precocious thing my kid said today.”  I would argue that due to the personal nature of their social media activity, and their desire to protect their children, parents may not be receptive to brands inserting themselves into “private” social sharing. 

Imagine posting a picture of your kids in their adorable Darth Maul and Lady Gaga Halloween costumes and then being notified that Sony had commented “too bad you didn’t capture that moment on video with a new Sony Handycam.”  For a parent, that’s kind of creepy.

Parents' Purchase Intent

Parents' Purchase Intent

When targeting parents on social media sites, Marketers need to establish a relationship and earn trust before sending overt marketing messages.  Here are a few guidelines to get you started:

  1. Create personal “brand ambassador” style accounts on Twitter and in forum usernames.  Parents will be much more receptive to talking to @SuefromSony than just @Sony. 
  2. Use a real photo in as your profile picture instead of a company logo. If you are concerned about your own privacy you can add an effect to the photo or even obscure part of your face.  This will still be better than using a corporate logo or an avatar.
  3. Instead of inserting your brand into conversations, listen to what parents are saying and look for cues that they are open to getting general advice , tips, or tricks related to your product/service offering. 
  4. Offer genuine assistance without focusing the conversation on your brand. Let them know you are easily reached and happy to help in the future. 

Keep the above tips in mind and you will be well on your way to starting a genuine conversation with your potential customers.  This approach will go a long way in keeping your brand top of mind – just as much as, if not more than, if you had dropped your product name and flashed your logo a few times!

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