#KidsInTheKitchen Runs a Best-Practice Hashtag Campaign

How Running a Successful Hashtag Campaign Can Help You Collect and Repurpose Authentic User-generated Content

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Two laughing kids are crowded around a metal mixing bowl. One is holding a wooden stirring spoon, the other one is cracking an egg into the bow. The hands of two adults are seen helping crack the egg and hold the bowl.

A social media hashtag campaign called #KidsInTheKitchen aims to get families to cook together and children to eat more vegetables. We wanted to know more about the campaign and the user-generated content they collected. So we talked to Brittany MacAulay, Marketing Coordinator at NatureFresh™ Farms.

All about the #KidsInTheKitchen hashtag campaign

Canadian eCommerce agency Northern Commerce developed the campaign for NatureFresh™ Farms, a family-owned supplier of vegetables in the US and Canada. 

The #KidsInTheKitchen campaign is also connected to a guide for parents to help them make vegetables more interesting to their kids. Notably, the guide is based on the user-generated content collected during the run of the hashtag campaign. Released as an eBook on the NatureFresh™ Farms website, it features advice, tips and recipes contributed by users during the campaign.

Brittany MacAulay

Brittany MacAulay

Marketing Coordinator at NatureFresh™ Farms

Can you tell us a bit about the #KidsInTheKitchen hashtag campaign?

Studies show that the majority of adults and children do not meet the recommended daily amount of vegetables. Since developing healthy eating habits starts at a young age, NatureFresh™ Farms set out to show kids that eating veggies can be fun! Once children understand how vegetables benefit their body, they are much more likely to develop a love for them. 

To encourage children across Canada and the United States to eat more vegetables, we launched the #KidsInTheKitchen challenge to get them involved in the kitchen. We used this hashtag to bring awareness to the fact that many children aren’t getting enough vital nutrients from vegetables and how easy it is to get them involved. 

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How could people get involved with the campaign?

Entrants were asked to share a photo of their children in the kitchen or a photo of their creation on Instagram, tag @nature_fresh, and include the hashtag #KidsInTheKitchen. 

We concluded this campaign with the creation of a helpful guide for parents — “The Ultimate Guide To Getting Your Kids In The Kitchen”. The guide features user-generated content from #KidsInTheKitchen with tips and helpful advice from influencers and experts who participated in our campaign. The guide includes:

  • Tips for making vegetables easy and fun for kids
  • Benefits of getting kids involved in the kitchen
  • Recipe and ingredient inspiration from NatureFresh™ Farms and influencers

Our goal with this guide is to continue to encourage kids to eat more vegetables and help ensure they develop a love for fresh eating, beyond the duration of the #KidsInTheKitchen campaign. 

How and where did you promote the hashtag campaign?

We promoted the campaign across a variety of channels. First, we created a dedicated landing page on the NatureFresh™ Farms website that included instructions, our Walls.io hashtag wall, why we are on a mission, and terms and conditions. We also leveraged the homepage banner to direct website traffic to this landing page.

Screenshot of the landing page for the Kids In The Kitchen campaign on the NatureFresh™ Farms website. The heading says “Explore Our Gallery Of #KidsInTheKitchen Inspiration” above the embedded social wall.
The #KidsInTheKitchen social wall embedded on the landing page on the NatureFresh™ Farms website.

Although our hashtag only pulled from Instagram, we used all of the NatureFresh™ Farms social media channels to promote the campaign. Throughout the 6-week campaign, we posted several organic Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram Stories to promote the campaign on a consistent basis. We also leveraged paid media on Facebook and Instagram, with the goal of optimizing engagement on the social posts and driving traffic to the landing page. 

NatureFresh™ Farms has strong relationships with parenting and healthy eating influencers, so we leveraged those relationships to reach a new and relevant audience we wouldn’t otherwise have access to. 

Finally, we leveraged the NatureFresh™ Farms email marketing list and sent two email campaigns explaining our mission and how they can get involved. 

How did you motivate people to take part and post with the hashtag? 

We incentivized the #KidsInTheKitchen campaign with $50 grocery gift cards for five random winners. We also used strong statistics and messaging that evoked an emotional response around our mission of encouraging healthy eating in children.

Promotional photo for the Kids in the Kitchen campaign. An adult and a kid facing each other and goofing around. The adult is holding carrot rounds up to their eyes. The child is laughing. They’re standing behind a table with vegetables, a chopping board with half a chopped carrot and a jar of oil placed on it. There’s a round sticker placed on the photo saying “You could win one of 5 $50 Grocery Gift Cards”.
A promo pic from the #KidsInTheKitchen campaign advertising the incentive.

We embedded the Walls.io feed on our website landing page. Featuring the hashtag wall on the landing page allowed entrants to immediately see their entry and acted as an inspiration to anyone thinking about entering. 

Why did you choose to set up a social wall with Walls.io?

We chose to use a social wall for this campaign to help us collect user-generated content, in addition to building brand authenticity and awareness. We researched and compared a few different platforms, and Walls.io checked off all the boxes on our list. 

One feature that stood out the most was the ability to automatically allow posts that had @Nature_Fresh in the caption. This helped to streamline and reduce the amount of manual work involved throughout the campaign.

We used the Moderation feature to ensure the submissions were relevant to the contest and the Native Posts feature to include posts that may have missed a step in the entry process. Best of all? Walls.io was fully customizable, easy to use, and has great customer support.

Could you tell us a bit more about how you used the Native Posts feature?

We used the Native Posts feature to manually publish posts that were intended entries but missed an entry requirement. For example, a few entries had the #KidsInTheKitchen hashtag in the comments instead of the caption. A few others tagged @Nature_Fresh in the photo rather than in the caption. This feature allowed us to manually pull these entries instead of asking the entrant to re-submit.

How has the response to the hashtag campaign been?

NatureFresh™ Farms received so much positive feedback from this campaign! We’re thrilled we were able to encourage healthy eating in children and align NatureFresh™ Farms as an ally to parents. We saw a spike in social reach across Canada and the US across organic and paid social and saw a dramatic increase in website traffic.

Would you do anything differently in your next campaign?

In our next Walls.io campaign, we would love to further leverage influencers to help expand our reach even more! Influencers have such a well-established relationship with their followers and allowed us to tap into a new and relevant audience.

We would also consider using the Walls.io wall page directly instead of a custom landing page. However, in this case, we wanted to communicate our mission and entry instructions.

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Include instructions for your hashtag campaign

NatureFresh™ Farms did an excellent job explaining the campaign to interested parties. A guide to entering the #KidsInTheKitchen challenge was featured prominently on the dedicated landing page.

Screenshot of the dedicated landing page for #KidsInTheKitchen under the headline “Follow These Steps To Enter”: STEP ONE Help your child make a healthy snack or meal that involves veggies. The more creative, the better! STEP TWO Post a photo of your creation on Instagram with the hashtag: #KidsInTheKitchen & tag @Nature_Fresh. STEP THREE In your caption, let us know how you get your child involved in the kitchen and how you make eating vegetables fun for everyone in the family. At the bottom of the screen, two buttons allow people to enter the challenge on Instagram or view the gallery of previous posts.
A screenshot from the #KidsInTheKitchen landing page.

Furthermore, the process was explained in various Instagram posts published by the @nature_fresh account. The campaign even went so far as to explicitly mention in one of the Instagram posts that users should set their accounts to public in order for the posts to show up under the hashtag.

This is something that is really important and that many people often forget about. Whether you’re using Instagram, Twitter or Facebook — if a profile is set to private, content from that profile will not show up under the hashtag.

Instagram post by @nature_fresh, image shows muffins on a cooling rack and overlays for “The #KidsInTheKitchen Challenge” and You Could Win 1 of 5 $50 Grocery Gift Cards!” Post caption: Stumped on what to make for our #KidsInTheKitchen challenge? Grab the family and try out our Sweet Pepper and Orange Cranberry Muffins! Ask the kids for help and give this treat a try. Once you whip this recipe up, post a photo of it on Instagram and use the hashtag #KidsInTheKitchen and tag @Nature_Fresh for your chance to win a $50 grocery gift card.⠀ Make sure your Instagram isn’t set to private so we can see your amazing creation! 🌟 Tap the link in bio to see the full recipe and to learn more about our mission to inspire kids to eat more veggies.
A NatureFresh™ Farms Instagram post pointing out that profiles need to be set to public for a chance to win a grocery gift card by taking part in the #KidsInTheKitchen campaign.

Promote your hashtag campaign on all channels

If you want a campaign to be successful, you have to promote it on a variety of channels — even if you’re not pulling content from them. The #KidsInTheKitchen campaign used only Instagram for the social wall but promoted the campaign everywhere else as well to drive traffic to the landing page.

A good mix of organic and paid content is essential. The campaign posted organic content not just on Instagram and Instagram Stories, but also on Facebook and Twitter, as well as paid content on Facebook and Instagram.

NatureFresh™ Farms also leveraged their email list and used influencers connected to the brand to spread the word about the #KidsInTheKitchen challenge.

Make content moderation easier

Moderating social walls can be quite a bit of work. NatureFresh™ Farms found a great way to work smarter instead of harder when it comes to handling posts on the social wall.

Through the use of an allow list for posts using the Nature Fresh™ handle, virtually no moderation was necessary. Since only posts using both the handle and the hashtag showed up on the social wall, there were no accidental off-topic posts to deal with.

When you design your campaign and are worried about getting too many accidental contributions to your wall (e.g. with commonly used or more generic hashtags), add a second hashtag as a requirement or ask users to include your handle in their posts.

To set up an allow list the way the #KidsInTheKitchen campaign has done, simply head to Moderation and then Settings in your Walls.io Dashboard. Activate manual moderation and allow-list your secondary hashtag or account handle. You can even add spelling variations. Only posts that use the handle or hashtag in addition to the hashtag you’ve specified in your Sources will automatically show up on your wall.

Screenshot showing the allow list settings for the #KidsInTheKitchen social wall

But there’s a second way to do this as well. In your Walls.io Dashboard, head to your Sources tab and add your primary hashtag as a source. Then, use the Filters field to specify that only posts that also feature your second hashtag, your account handle, or even a keyword will be let through. This is especially helpful if you have multiple sources but only want to narrow down one of them with stricter filtering.

Screenshot of the Walls.io Dashboard showing how to filter social wall sources using additional keywords or search terms. As an example, #KidsInTheKitchen is added as the main source for Instagram Business, and then filtered further using various spellings of @nature_fresh. As a result, only #KidsInTheKitchen posts that also contain one of the filter words will be shown on the social wall.

Missed a post?

No matter how well you explain the process, sometimes people will not follow the instructions or forget to add a hashtag, etc. It happens. No need to panic, though. You can easily save the day by manually adding missing posts to your wall.

NatureFresh™ Farms noticed that some users had tagged @Nature_Fresh in the photo or the #KidsInTheKitchen hashtag in the comments instead of the caption. This meant they did not automatically show up on the social wall. So NatureFresh™ Farms uploaded those posts manually, using the Walls.io Native Posts feature.

Monitor all uses of your hashtag and username so you can quickly spot posts that are using them incorrectly and not showing up on your wall. Then you can easily upload the missing ones to your social wall using the Native Posts feature.

The Native Posts feature is included in all our paid plans. You’ll find it in the Content tab of your Walls.io Dashboard.

You can add photos or videos to Native Posts, as well as copying over the caption of the original post and even the username of the original user. By then linking back to the post itself, the native post will be virtually indistinguishable from other posts on your social wall.

Here we see a post by @kids.eat.in.color that was added to the social wall using the Native Posts feature.

A side-by-side comparison of a Native post in the Walls.io backend, completel with image, caption, username and link and the way it shows up on the social wall just like any other post on the wall as well.
The left side shows the Native Post in the Walls.io Dashboard. The right side shows the post as it is displayed on the social wall.

User-generated content rocks

NatureFresh™ Farms and Northern Commerce found a fantastic way to make great use out of all the user-generated content contributed throughout the campaign. So instead of just letting those great ideas and recipes languish unused on the internet, they used them to create a guide book for parents called “The Complete Guide to Getting Kids In The Kitchen” and published it as an eBook that can be downloaded on the #KidsInTheKitchen landing page.

For one, this makes #KidsInTheKitchen and the content collected last past the expiration date of the hashtag campaign itself. People can still interact with the campaign by downloading the guide book, resulting in ongoing reach and engagement for the NatureFresh™ Farms brand.

But it also functions as an excellent reward for those whose tips and recipes are featured in the guide book. Even if they did not win the grocery vouchers — the primary incentive during the hashtag campaign — users were likely motivated by the opportunity to get featured in the eBook as well. And those that find themselves features in it likely cherish the experience of having their ideas and name in an eBook by a brand they love, plus a link to their Instagram account.

NatureFresh™ Farms found many ways to thank contributors and centre their personalities by introducing them and thanking them in the eBook, as well as linking to their Instagram accounts, websites and blogs — which, as we know, is an important currency for influencers and regular users alike.

Screenshot from “The Complete Guide to Getting Kids In The Kitchen”: “Thank you to Noelle Martin for this fresh, kid-friendly recipe!” next to @MotherHoodAndMeals’s profile photo and a link to her Instagram profile.
A screenshot from the #KidsInTheKitchen guide, showing one of the various ways contributors are presented in the eBook.

Another practical effect of offering the eBook as a free download on the website is that it’s a great way for NatureFresh™ Farms to collect email addresses for future marketing measures and newsletters.

Why #KidsInTheKitchen was such a successful campaign

A lot of our customers are doing a lot of things right. But #KidsInTheKitchen is just one of those fantastic showcases that demonstrate what a great campaign can look like. The campaign has paid detailed attention to many important factors, and you can tell that it’s caused the campaign to be tremendously successful.

From the campaign set-up to the promotional methods and the way NatureFresh™ Farms and Northern Commerce smartly solved potential issues such as posts not showing up on the wall for lack of hashtag use — every one of those measures contributed to the success of the campaign. 

Here’s a quick summary of the reasons #KidsInTheKitchen was such a successful campaign:

  • Set up a custom landing page
  • Explained the campaign by posting clear instructions
  • Set incentives that motivated people to post
  • Promoted the campaign on various channels — paid, organic and using influencers
  • Created emotive content and encouraged users to do the same
  • Used incentives (grocery gift cards and inclusion in the guide book) to encourage participation
  • Used special Walls.io features to include wrongly hashtagged contributions in the campaign
  • Came up with a great way to re-use UGC by publishing it in a book

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#KidsInTheKitchen is definitely a tough act to follow for other marketers, but with the right amount of preparation and planning, everyone can pull off a perfect campaign.