BabyFirst is growing up.
Despite its name, the 10-year-old television network is geared toward a child's caretaker and not so much the child. "You can't just park a 12-month-old in front of the TV," admitted Guy Oranim, BabyFirst's CEO.
"Babies are not the ones buying products," Oranim added. "In our case, this is a misfortune turned fortune. We can bring direct access of brands directly to young mothers."
Enter the era of Facebook.
The young millennial mothers who make up most of BabyFirst's traditional TV audience began to ask for more content from them, specifically advice on common parenting topics. BabyFirst, according to Oranim, has a higher percentage of viewers who are 18- to 49-year-old women than other women's or baby-centric networks.
"We wanted to create more content for moms because they're looking for it from us," he said. "They considered us experts."
But even as Facebook videos began to grow in popularity, BabyFirst wasn't sure that was the right space for them. Oranim thought there'd be no way moms would show those videos to their children. What if the kids got a hold of the phone and started posting all kinds of nonsense by accident?
So, BabyFirst broadened its scope by becoming a major video publisher on Facebook for millennial women and mothers regarding topics like home décor, motivational videos, parenting advice and more.
Frequency was a key to success.
"Some of our competitors post 200-400 times per week," said Oranim, incredulously. "We post only videos, and only two to four times each week."
With that strategy combined with the useful and genuine videos, BabyFirst's Facebook page grew 20 fold in just six months, and every video view is organic.
Each video that BabyFirst creates is carefully managed from the ideation/brainstorming stage all the way through production of "every second of every frame."
"If it's not good enough for a mother to share it, we don't bother producing the video," said Oranim.
Up until recently, BabyFirst produced all of their videos without any brand sponsorship. But that didn't mean brands weren't included in BabyFirst videos along the way.
During a how-to video dedicated to saving a scorched pan, two products make an appearance—dish soap and dryer sheets—for a fraction of the video. While the brands behind those products didn't sponsor the video, they received massive exposure. The video, which is less than a minute long, has been viewed over 95 million times.
Sharpie also came away the big winner in a video that shows parents how to make their own "Shrinky-Dink"-esque toys with their kids. The video instructs parents to draw on a piece of plastic with a marker, in this case the BabyFirst team used Sharpies, punch a hole in them and bake safely in an oven. More than 100 million people watched that video, without the Sharpie brand, having any involvement.
"In order for people to share your video, they have to believe in it," he said. "Most millennial mothers or women are active in the social media space. They're open to friendly advice, rather than advice coming from some kind of authoritative figure."
BabyFirst is now reaching out to brands for projects that will come out in a few months.
"If you're more focused on creating great brand messaging, then Facebook is a fantastic platform," Oranim explained, "because it's coming from your friends."