Gettys Images - ChayTee  2100x1400

Source: Gettys Images / ChayTee

Social media trends seem to be swiping through ever more rapidly these days, and it can appear hard to keep tabs on them.

But well-informed digital marketing strategies and finely curated campaigns can undoubtedly boost trade at a bakery business – as confirmed by the TikTok successes from brands, including Ooh & Ahh Cookies.

Among the biggest trends emerging right now are social searches and user-generated content (UGC), as highlighted during a talk at the recent International Food & Drink Event held in London’s ExCel Centre.

British Baker caught up with the speakers – Sam Chance, founder of hospitality marketing agency Scrumptious, and Katie Wood, founder of UGC agency Tality Social – to garner their insights into the respective areas.

Answering for searches

Scrumptious founder Sam Chance 1400x1400

Source: Scrumptious

Founder Sam Chance

Social searches are to be one of the hottest marketing trends for 2024, declares Chance.

This is evidenced by Hubspot’s 2024 Social Media Trends report, which found that one in four consumers today preferred searching for brands via social apps rather than internet browsers like Google. Unsurprisingly, those of the Gen Z and Millennial generations were leading the pack with a combined total of 59% favouring social searches, according to the report.

“Searching via social media allows consumers to do their own research, gaining insights and recommendations from people not directly linked to the business or product they are interested in,” Chance comments, adding the expectation that social searching will increase exponentially in the coming years.

He provides his top five tips to help bakery businesses best prepare themselves as follows:

  1. Ensure your business is listed on searchable platforms that your audience uses or have potential to use in the future
  2. Develop a social media content strategy that targets your audience and focusses on likes, comments and shares. Include calls to action that direct them to what you are trying to achieve and engage with current trends to grow your reach
  3. Work with influencers to build backlinks. Very similar to website backlinks, the more your business is linked from other social media channels, the higher your search ranking will be
  4. Use keyword and social listening tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Sprout Social or Brandwatch to find what people are searching for in your niche
  5. Short-form video content will explode in 2024, so make sure that when you upload your videos, they are SEO friendly. Name your files using keywords you want to target and add on-topic alt text.

It’s easy as UGC

Tality Social founder Katie Wood 1400x1400

Source: Tality Social

Founder Katie Wood

Wood notes UGC is any content that is presented from the user’s perspective. Appearing to have been created by individuals rather than by video production teams, it seem genuine and reflect the experiences, opinions, and creativity of the user (see below for a TikTok example).

UGC can play a significant role in shaping online communities, influencing purchasing decisions, and driving engagement on digital channels, says Wood. It also acts as social proof, showcasing real-life experiences and endorsements from satisfied customers, which can ultimately drive conversions and boost brand loyalty.

“By harnessing the power of UGC, brands can amplify their reach, humanise their content, and create meaningful interactions that resonate with their target audience,” she adds. “You can encourage organic UGC through campaigns and getting your customers to share to their social media and leave reviews, or you can collaborate with creators who can make UGC-style content for your socials.”

Wood lists the top five benefits of UGC as:

  • Authenticity – offering an authentic perspective and enhancing brand trustworthiness
  • Diversity – it showcases how people from diverse backgrounds and experiences use and appreciate your products or services
  • Engagement – it has the highest engagement rate as viewers like to connect with people they relate to, promoting loyalty and a stronger brand-customer connection through questions and comments
  • Community – it turns customers into advocates and builds a community around the brand
  • Credibility – it serves as social proof of a brand’s credibility by showing positive engagement.
@eatingwithtod Part 4 | VISITING MY FAVOURITE BAKERY IN LONDON 🍩 Down a cobbled street, you’ll find this amazing independent, family owned bakery that sells mouthwatering goodies. The beignets are naughty and change favourites literally most days. The mocha triple chocolate one was the best I’ve tasted and I’ve been there 5/6 times. Think coffee cake, on steroids. You’ll also find flavours from Morocco throughout the menu. Their sandwiches are efing delicious and coffee is rather bloody lovely too. I’d queue 3 hours to have one of these it was that good. @fortitudebakehouse 🗺️ Bloomsbury ⭐️ If you can’t take a date, take a mate! tag tag tag x #bakery #baker #coffee #pastry #food #eat #london #londonfood #beignets #london🇬🇧 #londoncity #foodie #foodreview #foodporn #foodblogger #fyp ♬ Rags To Riches - Tony Bennett