Title: Mothers influencing mothers: the use of virtual discussion boards and their influence on consumption

Authors: Raechel Johns; Rebecca English

Addresses: University of Canberra, Kirinari Street, Bruce ACT 2617, Australia ' C/o School of Curriculum, Faculty of Education, QUT Kelvin Grove, Victoria Park Rd., Kelvin Grove Q 4059, Australia

Abstract: Mothers represent a large segment of marketing dollars and traditionally, word of mouth was spread from mother to mother in a face-to-face environment, such as the school car park or mother's groups. As families have evolved, so too has the traditional mother's group. Limited academic studies have explored online mothers' groups and how they impact on consumption. In order to explore the nature of this online influence and how mothers are influenced by other mothers online, a study was conducted through the use of observation and qualitative questioning. The data suggests that trust between mothers is generally high and mothers tend to trust the opinions of other mothers when they recommend a product. This is similar in other reference group contexts, however, mothers are communicating about brands frequently and influencing behaviour. This leads to a number of managerial and theoretical implications discussed in the paper.

Keywords: social media; online influence; reference group; family; mothers groups; word-of-mouth; WoM; virtual communities; web based communities; online communities; trust; product recommendation; brands; brand communication; behavioural influence; virtual discussion boards.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2014.062945

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2014 Vol.10 No.3, pp.319 - 338

Published online: 26 Jul 2014 *

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