Many brands today have learned that establishing partnerships with influencers can be a good way to reach a wider audience and drive engagement. However, this has become an increasingly difficult task as big influencers tend to get a lot of solicitations and have high compensation requirements. More and more, brands are looking to micro-influencers to get their brand message out in an authentic and effective way.
Little Bellies, an Australian-based organic food brand for babies, toddlers and young children, is a brand that’s successfully activated its highly engaged following of parents to cultivate community, generate lots of quality content and amplify its brand message.
About Little Bellies
Little Bellies is Australia’s fastest-growing baby and toddler food brand (and largest baby and toddler snack food brand). They are currently expanding into the U.S. and Canada and are set to appear in over 6,000 stores in the U.S. by the end of this year. Little Bellies food products are divided into three main age groups:
- Baby Bellies – Infants 12 months and under
- Little Bellies – Toddlers (12+ months)
- Mighty Bellies – Kids around 5 years of age
Why Little Bellies decided to implement a user-generated content (UGC) marketing strategy
As the marketing manager for the Australian FMCG distributor DKSH Grocery Connect, Georgie Scott is responsible for all of Little Bellies’ marketing in Australia. Like most growing brands, they have big goals around building awareness and driving sales, but not always the big budgets to match them. With multiple food products for kids of various ages, they need large volumes (and wide varieties) of content to promote their entire range of products to parent audiences.
Scott says, “Even though we are the fastest-growing baby food brand in Australia, we still have relatively modest marketing budgets. The great thing about harnessing UGC with Stackla is that it lets us have more content readily available to get our message out.”
Little Bellies also recently underwent a rebrand which forced them to start from scratch. They quickly recognized that UGC from happy parents was the most influential and trustworthy content they could use to power their marketing.
As Scott said, “UGC works well for us because parents are really discerning about food products for their children. The fact that we are able to access and publish content from real parents, mostly mothers, who are recommending our products to other mothers makes this strategy quite powerful.”
“The messenger is just as important, if not more important, than the message itself.” – Georgie Scott
How Little Bellies uses Stackla to power its digital marketing with UGC
For their rebrand, Little Bellies revamped its website, social channels and digital ads. They wanted to showcase content from real parents of happy (and adorable) babies, so Little Bellies relied on Stackla to help discover, organize, rights manage and publish the content their customers were already creating on Instagram.
With Stackla, Little Bellies easily aggregates and surfaces all their best customer visuals, then makes use of Stackla’s tagging functionality to categorize UGC for its different age-specific products.
Scott said, “When the content comes in, I’m able to allocate that to the corresponding webpages of the Baby, Little and Mighty brands. Under each age range on the website, you’ll see that at the bottom of each of those pages the UGC content is specific to those different sub-brands.”
To engage customers, promote purchases and inspire more parents to share photos of their babies and toddlers, Little Bellies launched its Play with Food campaign.
“When I was a kid, we were told not to play with our food,” Scott shared, “But it’s a natural thing kids do, so this campaign was all about getting messy, playing with finger foods and the importance of playing with foods for motor skill development. We got some very cute content from that campaign.”
For the Play with Food campaign, parents were encouraged to post photos of their children using the hashtag #LetsPlayWithFood. Then, within Stackla, the Little Bellies team collects and rights manages all that precious content to use on their webpages and social channels.
Scott said, “We, of course, use Stackla to get the rights approved to use these photos in our marketing, but we’ve never had anyone say no, they don’t want us to feature their baby. They like seeing their kids on our site and social channels.” In fact, Scott said, “some people will actually reach out if they’ve approved a photo and haven’t seen it in our marketing yet.”
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Little Bellies is also integrating UGC with their digital AdRoll ads via dynamic content feeds from their Stackla Asset Manager. Scott says, “Featuring UGC in our digital ads makes our products seem more authentic and relevant. I think it encourages more parents to interact with Little Bellies and share content with us. People are seeing everyday babies, kids and toddlers using our product in the ads which is great for the brand.”
With the launch of their new Organic Baby Bowls—purposefully designed to support natural child development by promoting spoon-feeding—Little Bellies created their We Love Spooning! campaign. Scott said, “We wanted to get people to understand the benefits of spoon-feeding instead of eating from a pouch, as many other baby food brands offer.”
To help generate engaging UGC for this new product and campaign, Little Bellies decided to take advantage of Stackla’s new Organic Influencers tool.
Building an active community of parent brand advocates
A fast-growing brand with a passionate customer base, Little Bellies had a problem every brand would love to have: many of their customers wanted to get more involved with them. However, Little Bellies didn’t have the technology to manage all of those customer inquiries. Scott says, “We started to have so many people contacting us, saying ‘we love your products,’ many were asking about samples and some were micro-influencers or people trying to make a name for themselves.”
Also, with the launch of their new Baby Bowls and We Love Spooning! campaign, Little Bellies needed a streamlined way to organize and motivate their enthusiastic community of customers. Luckily, Stackla’s Organic Influencers was built specifically to help brands turn their authentic advocates into an active community of content creators.
“When Stackla introduced its Organic Influencers tool, that was great for us because we were already getting so many people asking how they could get involved. Before we had to give people lengthy responses on social media but now we can just direct them to the advocates page on our website. It saves a lot of time from a community management point of view and is an easy way for people to sign up with us.”
With Stackla, Little Bellies now has a centralized location to manage their community. Little Bellies’ private Organic Influencers advocate portal gets shared with interested parties on social media, and they also invite people to “Become an Advocate” in the top navigation of their site.
Once customers join the Little Bellies advocate group, Scott and her team use Stackla’s Organic Influencers tool to create campaign-specific creative briefs for the community to take part in. Naturally, one of their first creative briefs was to help generate content for their We Love Spooning! Campaign.
In the creative brief image below, you can see how Stackla’s Organic Influencers tool allowed Little Bellies to not only explain the message and purpose of the campaign to advocates, but also show them visual examples of the specific types of content they wanted the community to create.
Little Bellies generated more high-quality content to help fuel their campaign by clearly and proactively asking parents to submit photos of their baby’s first spoon-feeding experience with their Organic Baby Bowls. The benefit for them was a wealth of fresh, authentic content and the added bonus of building a stronger, more personal bond with their customers.
“The ability to craft creative briefs has really helped us communicate more clearly and easily with our growing community of passionate customers. To see the way people are engaging with the brand in our Organic Influencer’s community is very exciting,” Scott said.
After using Stackla over the last few months, Little Bellies has gained the rights to over 640 pieces of UGC, had over 360 happy customers join their advocate community and launched at least four creative briefs—with one creative brief alone generating over 300 pieces of new content.
Since adding Stackla-powered UGC to their webpages, the average session duration on their site has increased by 158 percent. Plus, the UGC and advocate content they share across their Instagram and Facebook channels regularly outperform their branded content.
“We’ve always had cute baby content on our social media channels,” Scott said, “but because the UGC is real and authentic, it makes us more accessible to parents and we definitely see more engagement on those posts.”
“UGC is definitely helping to build our brand value and equity. Our main measure is increases in sales and the rate we’re growing, and that’s a result of everything we’re doing—UGC and community building included.” – Georgie Scott
What’s next for Little Bellies?
As far as the next steps with UGC, Scott says they primarily “will continue to do what we’re doing because it’s working well for us. We will definitely put out more types of creative briefs to get more people involved in expanding our brand message.”
Two things Scott says Little Bellies wants to try is placing more UGC in their print promotions and using Stackla’s email capabilities to promote their new category of Baby Bowls. This will help reinforce the We Love Spooning! message.
Scott says “Because I work across numerous brands, what I’ve found really useful is that Stackla is a great way to not only easily get UGC but also to quickly check in on how things are going. Stackla serves as a collection point of what people are saying about our brand without me having to go and check across multiple platforms. It allows me to get a bird’s eye view of what’s going on.”
In regard to working with the Stackla team, she said “they have been really great at helping me if I’m too busy. I can just ask for help in getting set up with something I haven’t quite got the time to look into myself. It has made getting different things up and running within Stackla so much easier.”
“I think why Stackla’s great for us is that we can set the platform in a look and feel that we want to create and over time the content we get from UGC will fit that look and feel.” – Georgie Scott
If you’re interested in learning more about Stackla for UGC and our Organic Influencers tool to grow your brand and cultivate a community, book a demo with us via the link below today.