A beaming, sun-kissed mother gently caresses her infant son who floats peacefully in a bathtub full of fresh flowers. Candid laughs between a mother and daughter wearing matching aprons as they make brownies in an immaculate, minimalist kitchen.
The familiar tropes of ideal motherhood used by mommy bloggers and Insta-moms are the pitfalls of highly-curated influencer culture gone wild. But perhaps the biggest mommy blogger misstep today is in the name itself. By creating content specifically for moms, about moms, by moms, they’re pigeonholing an entire generation of moms as just that — moms. The entire mom-blogger-influencer sphere has become a saturated, “sea-of-sameness” bubble that’s out of touch with the times.
A new wave of real mom influencers and content creators is filling the void by giving modern motherhood a new voice
A new wave of real mom influencers and content creators is filling the void by giving modern motherhood a new voice — one that’s grounded in unapologetic self-expression and amplified through the multi-platform personal brands they’re building.
They’re creating, connecting, and interacting with each other in a dynamic, social community of their own making, where they wield enormous power over each other’s thinking. A new “user-generated and user-owned” hub for online mom culture is emerging within these decentralized, peer-to-peer channels, where anyone, anywhere has the power to be an influencer, and huge reach or follower counts are no longer proxies for true influence.
Now, real moms influencers have more power to influence behavior simply because they’re part of the same tight-knit audience networks they’re influencing. If just one hundred of these moms each reaches only two hundred people, they could yield 2x as many brand website visits vs. a mega-influencer with 25x the reach.*
In the post-Insta mom era, marketers must earn — not buy — their way into these digital word-of-mouth conversations. And the easiest access point is often the most overlooked: their own community of customers and fans. By activating the advocacy and influence of their loyal “mom tribes”, marketers can turn them into fierce brand evangelists whose collective power to “influence” is far more powerful than even the most famous Insta-moms.
What drives real mom influencers (vs. all moms)
Tastemakers using culture to mold a holistic version of themselves, not followers chasing the next best thing
Today’s emerging “real mom-influencers” are infinitely diverse in terms of demographics and lifestyle; “mom” is both too narrow and too broad a word to define them. They’re united by a shared drive to build independent, multidimensional lives and personalities that include but go well beyond motherhood, and they’re entering the mamasphere with hyphenated identities: They’re Moms, but they’re also Activists, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Writers, Epicureans, and Artists who are thought-leaders and tastemakers across all different facets of culture, from business and politics to fashion and design. Social and cultural capital — not wealth or fame — confers influence, and it’s earned by having a unique, interesting personality or point-of-view or being the “first” to discover something new.**
Unapologetic self-expression is the new “aspirational”
These real mom-influencers don’t necessarily set out to become influencers, they’re dynamic content creators building multi-platform personal brands to amplify their voice, express themselves, and have fun— no filter needed.**
Somebody on Twitter shared a TikTok video of mine saying “I don’t know who this rich mom is, but look at her wardrobe.” It went mega viral. Now, these kids on TikTok know me as ‘your rich mom.’ I kind of have this alter ego.
Case in point: “regular” moms are now going viral on Tiktok every day.
Chriselle Lim, a 35-year-old mother of two who worked in fashion for over a decade, says, “TikTok is where I feel I’m able to express the fullest evolution of myself as a fashion blogger, businesswoman, and mom…my voice is a little bit of everything.”***
Lim captures the new zeitgeist of this post-Insta mom influencer era, where being influential is less about curating conventionally “aspirational” feeds for the masses and more about unapologetically expressing yourself.
Decentralized online mom culture: Anyone, anywhere can be a power broker
By actively sharing their own user-generated-content on public platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, real mom-influencers like Chriselle and Katy — known more popularly as @torturedbytoddlers — are creating a new, decentralized online mom culture within their own peer-to-peer networks and communities where anyone, anywhere has the power to be an influencer.
How real mom influencers consume and create content (vs. all moms)
“There were these beautiful mom accounts with perfectly edited photos…and then there were these meme accounts. I thought, ‘I could do that!’ So, I just started. I post what is on my mind,” says Katy, who attributes 90% of her page’s growth to other accounts organically sharing her content. “The funniest thing is when I meet a follower in real life, it’s usually a friend of a friend or something. My page grew and I have made other mom ‘friends.’ I am in no way a celebrity,” she claims, “I’m just an overly- caffeinated suburban mom who expresses her feelings through snark.”****
LolaGeek, shown with a “haul” from Zulily
So I went on a Zulily binge a few weeks ago, and the reason why I like to make these is because the Zulily site doesn’t show you buyer reviews, and I have many comments on the things that I have bought from Zulily. So I figured if somebody’s searching for something, they can find reviews… but in the middle of filming these they actually did add user reviews for some products!
—LolaGeek, 2.5k YouTube subscribers
Breaking the mom influencer mold — it’s easier done than said
Word-of-mouth among moms has always been one of the most powerful marketing tactics, and there’s a huge, untapped community of real mom influencers out there looking for an audience who are unofficially “sponsoring” their favorite brands, websites, or products every day.
Marketers looking to capitalize on this highly influential but underutilized audience need to look no further than their own base of mom customers and fans — their “mom tribe.” Brands can find potential influencer-advocates based on “loyalty actions”: repeat purchasing, posting positive reviews, referring friends, engaging with a brand’s social media content, or creating user-generated content featuring or tagging a brand or product. Then, they must cultivate a two-way, mutually-beneficial relationship by celebrating, nurturing, inspiring, and rewarding this community of moms on an individual basis to incentivize advocacy and activate their influence.
By empowering moms with new tools and platforms to amplify their voice, build their own brands, and become their own influencers who tell compelling brand stories through their personal lens, marketers can turn them into fierce brand evangelists and earn — not buy — their way into these powerful digital word-of-mouth conversations.
*Estimates based on custom Dirt Marketing Moms Syndicated Segmentation Study (2020) and Matchmade 30-day average CTR for different influencer tiers (2020); 40% of real mom-influencers have visited a brand website featured in UGG posted by others (YouGov) vs. 0.4–1.5% CTR for influencers with 500K+ reach (Matchmade)
**Insights and data based on custom Dirt Marketing Moms Syndicated Segmentation Study (2020)
***“The Viral Moms of Tiktok Are Redefining What It Means to Be Cool”, Oprah Magazine, 2020
****“Here’s What Life Is Really Like Behind The Scenes for Mom Influencers”, Mabel + Moxie, 2020
Thanks to Eric Pakurar