In a new trend, Australian researchers have noticed that word-of-mouth in mothers' groups and communities had fast become a major influence in mothers' buying habits.
While in the past, mums' primary source of sharing information used to be face-to-face at mums' groups or playgroups, the growing popularity of virtual communities specifically for mums has opened the door to a new trusted source of information, they added.
They study found that mothers trust mothers and that mothers tend to trust the opinions of other mothers when they recommend a product.
"Thus, it is not surprising that social media makes a contribution towards the buying behaviour of its users, but what is surprising is the strength of these non-face-to-face opinions in online mothers' groups and communities," explained Rebecca English from Queensland University of Technology.
Repeated interactions with the community and the accumulation of trust make the effect stronger as the community matures.
"We found the effect is strongest among mothers with the same number of children who are the similar ages," added marketing expert Raechel Johns from University of Canberra.
According to English, in terms of implications for advertisers and marketers hoping to increase sales, fostering word-of-mouth was essential in these online environments.
"Recommendations from other mothers are more powerful than any other structured promotion," she concluded in a paper published in the International Journal of Web Based Communities.