You were the first one to know when her baby kicked inside the womb. You saw how she gobbled down that big, juicy burger the night before she delivered. You wiped a tear when she posted a picture of tiny, pink feet. You guessed she would name her child after the first letter of her husband’s name. You watched her tear her hair out during the growth spurts. But you also saw how she got emotional when her baby first said “mamma” If you answered yes to any of these questions, chances are you follow an Instagram mom. And you probably have a love/ hate relationship with this so-called world of mom influencers and their happy babies, perfect marriages and multitasking perfection.
Mom blogging is in vogue today and almost every new mother out there wants to become a mom blogger or an influencer. Some are in it for the almost celeb status these Instagram moms enjoy, which can be promoted to them easier thanks to services like Kenji. Some are in it to share their experiences. Most of them are in it to make sense of their new world full of baby stuff and to capture the special moments of their baby as he grows up. Along the way, they talk to us about the brand’s they use and the philosophies and methods they follow to raise a happy, healthy, smart baby. They use all forms of social media – blogs, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter & I sure don’t need to tell you about Pinterest for being the mom haven of pins.
For my post today I could very well write about things from my perspective, since *ahem-ahem* I also fall into this category of Instagram moms but I shall save my notes for later. Today I detach myself from being the subject and bring you different sides of the influencer moms equation.
Why do the Instagram moms splash their life on social media?
For me personally, I joined the world of Instagram purely for the sheer richness of visual content. I loved looking at pictures of food, nature and cute cats. I love getting likes on photos I publish and some friends have even told me that I can buy automatic Instagram likes. This was before I ever dreamt of having a baby.
But mom influencers are ruling Instagram today. One of my favourite Instagram moms, Katerina of One Up Baby says she joined Instagram to show other new moms about some of the practices of baby and child development which worked well for her.
Most moms or new parents begin on Instagram with merely documenting their baby’s moments. Soon they share activities, food ideas, funny things they said or how they are bringing up their baby. A desire stems to share their stories and showcase the products and brands they use. They may choose to micro-blog – share their perspectives on a social media channel like Instagram or Facebook, or go to a traditional blog where they write more detailed articles or posts. Soon sponsored brand endorsements and reviews follow.
Says Katerina of One up Baby “I feel very responsible to be seen as an Influencer. I am careful about the advice I share. I do make it clear that what I share is my personal opinion. The audience must adapt the advice to suit their particular situation. I also make sure I never give medical advice of any sort. That is something they must check with their doctors.”
In doing so, mom influencers share a lot of pictures of themselves, their families including children and their homes. Some of these pictures are stunning to look at and in tune with the visual treat that Instagram promises.
But is all this real?
I know my pics are real. I know most of the other mom bloggers I know also do share real pics of the insides of their homes. Their children are real. Sure their photos are artistic and creative. But isn’t that what Instagram is for? To showcase (not showoff) fancy looking pictures and make things look appealing? Flat-lay – think of it as an art form! When it comes to social media, authenticity is a big problem. Of course people only post what they want their followers to see, which is why people get the idea of how perfect the lives are of so many social media stars. But for me, as I used the services of companies like NGP Integrated Marketing Communications and spoke a couple of my blogger friends, I was able to understand the importance of being real on social media, especially when you have a business to run.
Says Katerina, “My Instagram feed is my real world. My Instagram stories show the candid me as I am in my yoga pants and hair flying. Of course, a filter is added to my photos to maintain the aesthetic look of my feed. This doesn’t make it unreal. Viewers shouldn’t feel pressured when they view such photos. Don’t put yourself down. Take the best from what you see. Get inspired, but try not to feel like there is any inherent pressure for you to look or act a certain way.”
Surely the internet is not a safe place
Sometime in May last year, around Mother’s day, I put up a picture of my son and me in a precious moment of play. A few weeks later a friend who admins a Facebook group alerted me of a fake profile who had applied to join her group, using this very photo as the display picture. My world crashed in that moment when I realised that my son’s photo was being used by a stranger. I reported the profile and got all my friends to do so too. The profile got taken down by Facebook soon enough, but yes nothing is safe out there. And I was back to sharing his photos again. Does that make me a bad mother? I am careful now about what I share now.
No photo, word or action on the internet is safe. But still we continue to share our personal photos. Some mom bloggers choose watermarks, some refrain from showing their children’s faces and some don’t mind. When I asked Katerina how she feels about having adorable photos of babyS on the net, she said that the internet is abundant with pics of cute babies and we must take basic precautions. “Safety of children is important in the online and offline world. I make sure none of my personal information is out there – where I live, which school my daughter goes to or my car number plate.”
10 years from now won’t the children mind?
I have often wondered about this. How will babyT feel when he is a teen and reads about his diapering days on my blog? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do have the power to delete stuff if he wishes it. However, he is born and being raised in a “social” world where people recognise him in malls etc. and it may just be a way of life for him.
To understand this better I asked a mom-influencer with slightly older kids how they felt about their mom being fabulously famous!
Children today find social media very normal and they know how to find the balance between online and real life.
Now let’s ask the other parent – Fathers
Fathers or rather the husbands sometimes bear the brunt of our Instagram limelight lives. It has been very novel for my husband when babyT and I get recognised in restaurants or malls and people come up to us to say hello and even take a picture with us. 🙂 While this is mildly amusing, when I ask the same husband to click photos of me holding a product or me and babyT in a candid moment a loud sigh is heard. 500 takes later we are still not satisfied with the click and sometimes we bicker about it too.
Nonetheless the husbands are supportive of our efforts largely. Dino Dad, Karan who is the better half of Shubhreet from Raising Karma, says that “social media is the future and most of us live our lives on it. It is a good feeling to receive likes and comments on your photos and posts. Being an influencer has helped a lot of new moms find a new identity, meaning and joy. Most of these moms have put their careers on hold to bear and raise children. I see the kind of high Shubhreet gets when a follower connects with her to tell her that she is an inspiration and has made a difference to her life. The joy is unparalleled and I am proud of her for that.”
The one thing that most of the husbands agreed on and I spoke to quite a few of them was that they wished their almost celeb wives would spend less time on posting updates when they were spending time together as a family. We hear ya, boys!
Let’s ask an audience member shall we
Before I became a mom or a mom influencer for that matter I followed a lot of food bloggers on social media. And I learned so much from them. Somewhere they inspired a love of cooking and making food look gorgeous. Any influence as positive as this is commendable. So too with mom influencers.
Meghna a mom of a6-year-old son says that she finds mommy bloggers a good resource for new moms because in the “early days of motherhood is when she needs a lot of information.” She is struggling to balance ancient wisdom from the elders in the family and modern methods of baby care. In other mother’s experiences, she finds the answers she needs.
However, Meghna has a peeve in the way some influencer moms endorse brands. “It is unlikely that a particular product will be perfect. Mom bloggers must provide genuine reviews and even mention the flipside or cons of a brand/ product. In case this is missing it is a big flag to readers that this is a paid review and so meaningless.”
Which brings me to the question…
How do brands look at mom influencers?
Pallavi who conceptualised and runs Superbottoms is a good friend and I love her for the fact that she loves us Instagram moms too. 😉
Pallavi and Superbottoms have been one of the foremost brands who believe in the virtue of influencer-moms and the value they can bring to a brand. She sees them as partners who have helped build the category of cloth diapering by spreading the word about it to their audience and new moms. Parents have a first-hand experience and review of how cloth diapers work and are eager to try out the product. They may go to another brand but as long as more and more people adopt cloth diapers she is happy.
She adds that at times, especially for new businesses and seemingly complex but personal concepts like cloth diapering, mainstream media is not effective to spread the word. Influencer moms use videos, photos, blogs and personal experiences to bridge this gap.
But Pallavi speaks from both the perspective as a brand and a mother herself that sometimes influencers don’t display brand loyalty. They tend to endorse multiple brands in the same category. This is not just reflective of their self-. brand as a blogger but also confuses the audience. Influencers must not lose their personal touch and must aim to be genuine and authentic.
Mom bloggers and influencers do make our view on Instagram a whole lot colourful and richer. And they are a growing tribe. Brands, media agencies and the audience is beginning to see them as a value-adding force. After all moms and babies are one of the biggest consumers in the market.
Have any favourite mommy bloggers? What do you love about them?
This blog post is part of a series for the #AtoZBloggingChallenge where my theme is
New Age Parenting: Parenting in 201x.
Read my theme reveal post here.
To read all the posts for the #AtoZChallenge go here – #AtoZ2018
You may also find this post on Cloth Diapers very helpful.