A majority (83 percent) of moms make recommendations about brands in-person, compared to 53 percent of moms who make recommendations via social media, according to The Mom Next Door:  How and Why Moms Make Recommendations, a study released at the M2Moms conference by The 360PR MomSquad (part of 360 Public Relations) and Mom It Forward.

The majority of moms (59 percent) rated in-person recommendations at the top of the scale for trustworthiness, while only 14 percent of moms rated recommendations via social media as “most trustworthy.”

According to the study, close to three-quarters of moms (71 percent) make recommendations about brands, products and services to other moms at least monthly, with half of moms (50 percent) making recommendations about brands daily. 

“We call these moms the recommender-moms and it’s clear they’re looking to connect offline, though social media plays a role, too,” says Laura Tomasetti, CEO at 360PR. “Brands need to get to know the mom recommenders in their sphere and balance online activity with high-touch opportunities to engage these uber-influencers.”

While the study demonstrates the power of in-person, it also found that online social networks are important microphones for Gen Y moms.  As compared to Gen X moms, Gen Y moms of 0 -3-year-olds are more comfortable relying on recommendations from moms in their online social networks. They are the heaviest users of newer social platforms, like Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram.

“Social media has an important role to play, especially with younger moms,” says Jyl Johnson Pattee, CEO of Mom It Forward, a social media community. “Fifty-eight percent of moms use social media for more than one hour daily, with Gen Y moms indexing the highest.  Interestingly, Facebook and Twitter are popular across the board – with no generational differences among moms.”

The study amplifies the role of “the mom next door” in brand marketing today, finding that 93 percent of moms are influenced by other moms’ recommendations. Moms surveyed said they interact with other moms most often at daycare/school drop-off (58 percent), at a friend’s house (54 percent) or other off-line get-together, such as meeting for coffee, working out or shopping (48 percent).  Moms of older kids (9+) indexed higher for at-work conversations with other moms, while moms of younger children (0-3) indexed higher for conversations online.

While special offers continue to be the top motivator of mom recommendations (61 percent), more than half of moms said they make recommendations because it’s fun (54 percent) and gives them a sense of pride (51 percent).  Moms said they rely on online reviews, including those by bloggers they read regularly, particularly for bigger purchases.