WARC’s Gregory Grudzinski outlines why social media parenting advice is confusing new parents and how brands can help.

Imagine this: you're a new parent, bombarded with advice from every corner of the internet. Social media feeds overflow with tips, tricks, and testimonials. Yet, a nagging doubt lingers: is any of it reliable? It turns out you're not alone. A recent study by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital revealed a surprising paradox: 80% of parents rely on social media for parenting guidance, yet 40% struggle to distinguish fact from fiction in this constant information stream. (For a deeper dive into these statistics, check out WARC DC's Baby Category Report.) 

Take my advice…

Parents looking for a place to share learnings and experiences online can be deluged with opinions, bits of advice, and time-saving “hacks.” Most are shared with the best of intentions. 

Invariably, some if not many, of the persons offering this info may be overestimating their child-rearing experience or lacking the knowledge to provide beneficial guidance beyond “what worked for me”. 

Further complicating the issue is the rise of "mompreneurs" – social influencers who market parenting products on social media. These players create doubt in parents’ minds due to the conflict of interest between offering advice and promoting products.

Credible sources exist. The C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and many sites like these, offer evidence-based advice on a host of topics – but they lack the social connection that prompts parents to turn to social media in the first place. 

An opportunity, not a problem

This is where baby category brands can take advantage of established reputations or earn shoppers' confidence by serving as facilitators of accurate information and fact-based discussions.

Established marketing channels can be used for disseminating trustworthy advice. Including safety certifications on products and distributing educational content on social platforms can build a brand’s credibility as a partner in a parent's journey. Teaming up with trusted experts like pediatric hospitals and facilitating the creation of online communities for open discussions among parents can also solidify this role.

Brand trust has the potential to be the most insightful and highly predictive customer experience metric to drive long-term growth.–” What We Know About Brand Trust,” WARC 2023

There are brands that do this today, but the fact that nearly half of the parents on social media are still looking for guidance suggests we either need more of them or they need to do a much better job promoting themselves, or both. 

Here are some specific tactics brands can employ to build or reinforce their role as trusted advisor to new parents:

  • Adapt social media content strategies to incorporate non-promotional, evidence-based information addressing common parenting questions. 
  • Move beyond typical category & brand imagery of babies and happy parents. Use visuals acknowledging the existence of challenges and offer solutions through informative content and alliances with expert pediatric resources.
  • Embrace test & learn. Regularly assess brand trust through surveys and research to understand the qualities and media channels that resonate most with parents.

By implementing strategies like these, baby category brands can deepen brand trust and build loyal and lasting customer relationships.