Social media has completely dominated our daily lives and with this, marketing strategies have had to develop, quickly.
To combat this, brands are now utilising user-generated content (UGC): content like photos, videos, reviews, and testimonials, that are created by consumers rather than the brand itself.
From social media competitions to products going viral, internet users can skyrocket your brand’s popularity each time someone uploads their experience.
So, let’s get into how this style of marketing can benefit your brand.
Authenticity and Trust:
User-generated content shows the authenticity and credibility of a food brand.
When customers share their experiences and recommendations, it adds a layer of trust.
ie. The Lafayette Bakery has gone viral in the past few months for their “Suprême Croissant”. TikTok users, especially, are posting videos reviewing the food as well as their experience waiting in queues and even with the staff.
This has created an overall hyper-charge surrounding the “need” to taste these products for yourself.
UGC not only showcases the brand’s products but also establishes trust by demonstrating that real people have had positive experiences.
Increased Reach and Engagement:
Accounts that create content relating to a food brand typically reach a wider audience, beyond the brand’s existing followers.
This form of organic sharing can amplify your brand’s message and even create loyal customers.
ie. American Content Creator Keith Lee has 13 Million followers on TikTok and has a series of food reviews. He is frequently asked to review small restaurants or bakeries that don’t get much business, hoping people will see his video and be influenced to buy from them.
Creators with large followings can seriously impact customer engagement with your food brand: Their target audience is likely to be the same as yours.
When viewing someone else’s experience, people are more likely to buy from the brand that is mentioned, as it’s being praised by someone they deem trustworthy.
User-generated content allows customers to share their stories and experiences with a brand, creating a powerful emotional connection.
When people see others enjoying a brand’s products or services, they are more likely to develop a positive perception and feel a sense of connection with the brand.
ie. It was speculated in the late 2010s that Starbucks employees were purposefully spelling customers’ names wrong. However, it could just be an occasional human error, rather than some big scheme. This all caused a spike in Instagram users posting photos of their Starbucks cups, tagging the company and commenters laughing about it.
An emotional connection was made, and the brand can still benefit from it, even if it’s not entirely intentional.
- Nutella, “Spread the Happy“: They encouraged fans to share their Nutella stories on social media.
- Starbucks’ “White Cup Contest“: The campaign resulted in artistic and unique cup designs shared by customers, creating a sense of community around Starbucks.
- Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke“: This generated a massive amount of UGC, with people excitedly searching for and sharing bottles with their or loved ones’ names, creating personal connections.
- Ben & Jerry’s “Flavour Graveyard“: This sparked nostalgia among customers and allowed Ben & Jerry’s to gauge interest in potentially ‘resurrecting’ discontinued flavours based on popular demand.
What It Comes Down To
User-generated content has become an indispensable asset for food brands.
Encouraging customers to share their experiences and stories strengthens the brand-consumer relationship and boosts brand visibility and awareness.
You don’t need to be famous to have content made about your brand, just market it well, (maybe with a little help from Toast), and someone will find it.