Some things just go well together: milk with cookies, popcorn with movies, social media with moms. And every year, the entrepreneur moms in our Leading Moms in Business competition show us why—why social media works so well for them, that is.
As evidenced by the hundreds of entrants that leverage social media and the significant number of mom-run marketing companies, these socialites by nature love to network and spread the word, making them the best advocates for a good cause, a stellar service or the latest mommy gadget.
Through her web-based marketing company, Moms Wear Your Tees (ranked No. 15), entrepreneur mom Scarlet Paollcchi spreads the word about her business as well as her clients’ businesses. She stays active on Twitter and Facebook in both capacities and also helps her clients increase targeted traffic to their websites through social media marketing. The former retail manager turned stay-at-home mom, launched her Nashville-based business in 2009 as a creative outlet and a second income for her family. “I got into social media after becoming a mom,” explains Paollcchi, 34. “And networking seems to be part of the package of being a stay-at-home mom, so I naturally started building networks.”
She attributes the aforementioned social nature of moms as to why they’re so good at marketing and making the most of social media. “We love to share things that we enjoy doing or causes we care about,” says the entrepreneur mom. “And social media is the most effective way for us to communicate with all our peers at once.”
Adds entrepreneur mom Heather Ziehl, “Women in general are natural marketers, chatting with friends and sometimes even sharing information or advice with complete strangers. We’re great word-of-mouth advertisers without realizing it.”
A Wider Net
What started out as a joke among four “housewife” girlfriends living in Bel Air, Maryland, is now a full-fledged business and notable brand. The self-titled True Housewives offer concierge services, consulting, event planning, marketing, photography and website design. The True Networkz arm of their business focuses on introducing its members and providing opportunities for them to collaborate, develop professionally and get involved in their communities, both online and off.
“The core of our business is connecting people,” says Ziehl, 33, “so social media was a no-brainer.” The entrepreneur mom and her team started on Facebook in May 2010 with four members, which eventually grew to more than 1,350. They’ve since created a company fan page and joined Twitter and LinkedIn.
A visit to the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages shows how essential social networking is to True Networkz (ranked No. 100). The entrepreneur moms post information about past and upcoming events, promote and tag other area businesses and encourage members to network and share resources. True Networkz’s growing fan and customer bases are equally active on the social networks, linking to one another, sharing business relationships and commending the True Housewives.
“It’s important for companies, especially small businesses, to be accessible to their customers,” Ziehl explains. “And because social media facilitates a conversation between a company and its customers, it’s one way of capitalizing on this need to be connected.”
A Powerful Dialog
This conversation Ziehl speaks of is why entrepreneur mom Joann Woolley uses social media for her San Diego small business. Ironically, the business’ service involves conversation on the opposite end of the spectrum; Sign4Baby (ranked No. 43) offers sign language programs for parents and their infants.
“Social media [allows me] to stay connected and ‘in conversation’ with people,” she says, “and has made it far easier for me to get the word out about Sign4Baby.” Although the social media trend was barely a blip on the radar in 2007 when she launched her business, she created a Facebook fan page in 2009 following encouragement from a friend. Woolley, 32, admits that in the beginning she wasn’t sure what to post and didn’t post often enough. But since then, she’s become so active in her social networks that “I’ve built a good reputation for being an expert at what I do,” she says. Though her blog came later, she plans to build her followers there, too.
As someone who has mastered many levels of communication, Woolley’s support of social media is a true indication of its power. “It’s simply not possible to connect with as wide of an audience without social media,” she says. Not only that, Sign4Baby wouldn’t have been able to amass as many votes as it did in this year’s Leading Moms in Business contest. The entrepreneur mom’s fans and followers helped her improve her ranking by more than 100 spots from last year. For garnering votes the way she did, Woolley focused on engaging her fans and spelling out her strengths. For example, she created a Twitter campaign with the top 20 reasons to vote for Sign4Baby.
That interaction aspect with customers is essential in a business’ everyday social networking, too. “It’s dynamic—we all want interaction,” she says. “So if your marketing efforts aren’t fun, you won’t keep your followers and your success will dwindle.” And in today’s internet-using, social networking society, losing those followers could mean the end of that business.
Moms Wear Your Tees
Bel Air, MD