When Bob’s Red Mill was founded in the late 1970s, it was just Bob and Charlee Moore in their Oregon storefront, chatting with shoppers and building a presence in the local community.

The employee-owned company is still doing that in store and at their mill. Now, though, most of that customer engagement happens online. And the CPG brand is turning to user-generated content to do that.

Since beginning to work with Curalate for its social commerce initiatives, the brand has launched multiple UGC contests to drive customer engagement and brought those contest submissions onsite via shoppable UGC galleries to drive revenue.

Across its multiple contests, which included an effort to get customers to share pictures of Bob’s Red Mill packages in their pantry, has netted the brand more than 1,500 pieces of user generated content.

The team at Bob’s Red Mill has taken that content, tagged it with product data in Curalate, and made it shoppable in on-site UGC galleries, ensuring the contest drives revenue in addition to engagement. In fact, visitors who engage with these galleries spend 550% more time on site and convert at a 370% higher rate.

To learn more about what’s fueling their success, we talked with Cassidy Stockton, Digital Communications Manager, about how ugc can fit into a CPG brand’s marketing strategy.

A Q&A on CPG UGC With Bob’s Red Mill

As a CPG brand, how does lifestyle content, specifically user generated content, fit into your overall marketing strategy?

We view user generated content as the ultimate testimonial for our products. Using UGC on product pages improves our ecomm conversion rate and provides inspiration for our customers.

How has your content strategy changed over the last few years since fans started sharing recipes and your products on Instagram?

As more people have moved to sharing visual content around our products, we have found it to be a wonderful touch point with our customers. We rely on their images to help round out our social media strategy and find that images shared from customers perform better than brand-produced content.

Does Pinterest still play a role for you?

Absolutely. Pinterest is a key marketing channel for us. With so many people using it to plan meals and shop for products, it’s a natural fit for our brand. We consistently see a positive return on ad spend when we use promoted pins and Pinterest continues to be a noteworthy traffic driver for our website.

How do you encourage your audience to create content? Are you working with any influencers to help create that social content?

We encourage our audience to create content through a few different tactics. We run periodic contests to encourage social sharing around seasonal topics and we solicit reviews from our ecomm customers. We find that our customers are more than willing to share their culinary creations with us and have had some incredible content come out of our contests. Yes, we do work with influencers to create social content that we post on our channels. We find this to be mutually beneficial in that it provides us with a wide variety of content and showcases our influencer partners to give them new followers.

We saw that Bob’s Red Mill ran a #bobspantry contest encouraging customers and fans of the brand to share a picture of their pantry back in September. What was the motivation behind running this contest?

When we ran our first UGC contest during the 2017 holiday season around #PaperBob, we realized that a lot of our customers have pantries full of our products. We discussed a few different tactics we could take during the fall when people traditionally get back into baking and are often restocking their pantries in prep for the holidays. We know that a lot of people put our products into different containers or have special ways of organizing their Bob’s collections, so we thought we’d put a call out to our customers. Our fans did not disappoint.  Many of them are very proud of the way that they store our products and it was fun to see the variety.

Fans seemed really excited to participate in this! How much UGC did you collect from this #bobspantry contest? Can you share any findings about the overall results from that contest?

We collected about 160 entries during the contest period. Our marketing team found it really interesting to see how people manage the products. It was really eye-opening to see the variety of items people purchase.

Do you have any similar contests like “Share Your Pantry” involving social content planned for 2019?

Right now, the only contest we have planned is to bring back #PaperBob during the 2019 holiday season. This has been our most popular contest to date, garnering 800+ entries the first year and 500+ the second year. These types of contests require minimal set up using the Fanreel tools, which allows us to tack on these highly engaging activations fairly easily. Often, we’ll think of a fun contest idea while planning campaigns.

As a CPG brand, how do you connect the dots between social marketing efforts and in-store sales?

It’s a real challenge, that’s for sure. We have seen a lot of success using geo-targeted paid social to encourage sales in-store, but generally view social as a way to deepen an existing relationship with our consumers and build community around our brand.