Written by Jenna Bunnell
The Gen Z tag covers those born between the mid-90s to early 2000s. Thanks largely to the timing of their birth, Gen Z are vastly unique in their mindset and behavior.
They’re the first generation group to grow up amidst the rise of the internet and social media. Therefore, Generation Z largely consists of digital nomads, each hyper-connected and super informed.
The sheer amount of time they spend on their phones and the rise of what is high velocity sales and mobile commerce means there’s a lot of untapped market potential in Gen Zers. But, you have to reach and engage them.
In this blog we’ll explore how marketers can reach this demographic through social media. Here’s how to market to Gen Z audiences and win them over!
Choose the Ideal Social Media Platform
There are more social media platforms than there were ten years ago. The timing of each social media platform’s birth has a major influence on the generation using them.
For example, Facebook is the unofficial app for older Millennials and Baby Boomers. Twitter is mostly a hub for Gen Xers and Millennials. Instagram is largely a mixture of Gen Zers and Millennials.
The newer social media apps like Snapchat and TikTok are where you’ll find an audience consisting largely of Gen Zers. New social media features like Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and Reels also hold that sort of appeal.
There are no concrete studies to explain this behavior. But experts believe the fleeting nature and brevity of content on these apps is part of the appeal. Gen Zers can post short videos, and in some cases, this content disappears after a time limit elapses.
In conclusion, social media marketers designing a strategy to reach Gen Z should have Snapchat and TikTok high on their priority list. After all, there’s no point in creating content for an audience that won’t see it.
Selecting the Right Content Format for Generation Z
Multimedia is always the way to go with Gen Z audiences. For starters, this demographic is highly video-centric thanks to the immersive experience of growing up as video tech evolved. Therefore, they’re more likely to embrace an interactive experience like AR in the furniture industry than other generations.
Gen Zers have the shortest attention span — the average is about 8 seconds. Therefore, long-form text content is useless to a demographic that opts for short, scannable information snippets.
The characteristics above mean only a particular content set will hit the mark with Gen Zers. They include:
- Event live-streams
- Hashtag challenges
- Dance video challenges
- Influencer Marketing
- AR content
- Memes and entertaining visuals
- Account takeover
Always remember to maximize the appeal that visual content holds. You can push the boundaries of creativity as long as you keep the message concise and straight to the point. Even if your SaaS brand is trying to break down complex concepts like the difference between on premise and cloud, always keep it simple.
Stay Authentic With Your Content
The younger generation doesn’t want to see airbrushed models and unrealistic standards. For them, authenticity is a priority.
They want to see content revolving around real-life people in real settings. Gen Zers are more likely to relate and engage with your content if the lifestyle it exudes is achievable.
With that in mind, it’s best to focus your social media efforts on user-generated content. Candid content like short Q&As with industry leaders and video testimonials from previous customers will appeal to a Gen Z audience. You can also go in-house with your content. For instance, an authentic BTS video about how your remote team works seamlessly from different time zones is a good idea.
The human element adds an authentic touch that’ll make your brand more approachable. It’ll draw in Gen Z audiences and may even appeal to prospects from other demographics.
Authenticity doesn’t stop at the type of content your brand puts out. The conversations the brand drives online also need to remain authentic. That’s why brands now have customer service techniques on social media where they sign each post with the employee on duty’s name.
Use Your Content to Promote a Lifestyle
Old school, hard-selling tactics are fast falling out of favor with most demographics. For Gen Z, it’s plain as day that they don’t work. This demographic knows the ins and outs of the internet and is less likely to fall for cheap marketing gimmicks.
A few years ago, the best social media marketing tactics revolved around showcasing your product’s benefits. This aggressive message is one Gen Zers are likely to ignore. Instead, you should focus your social media campaigns on highlighting how the product will boost their experience and lifestyle.
Your social media strategy should involve using video marketing to deliver messages that pinpoint gaps in a customer’s experience and explain solutions to that pressing need. You should offer the product or device as the solution, showcasing how it adds to the user’s experience.
Say your brand offers broadband services. For Gen Z in the workforce, a lifestyle message can be a social media post about how a fast internet connection can boost productivity.
For example, every niche has influencers and models that appeal to Gen Zers. Posting videos and images of these influencers using the product in real-life settings will leave a mark on your audience.
A great example of a brand that knows how to sell a lifestyle is Nike. Their tagline “Just Do It” indicates the never-say-die, “no matter the odds” lifestyle that they sell. Their social media campaigns usually center around a cult hero who overcomes hardships, using their products along the way.
Personal Social Media Content
Personalization is a core component of many marketing strategies. Marketers executing email campaigns will often include subscriber names in the subject line and email copy.
While it may be impossible to achieve this level of personalization with Gen Zers, you should strive for it.
This generation is not a homogenous group. Therefore, audiences within different niches will have distinctive likes, interests, and dislikes. Furthermore, each customer will have a unique experience with the brand.
It’s important to keep these variables in mind when creating social media content for a Gen Z audience. You can check who views your Instagram profile and take a look at their interests. This insight will help you create polls, live video sessions, and interactive content that allows your audience to express their perceptions.
Education and Entertainment Should Go Hand in Hand
Gen Zers no longer view social media primarily as an entertainment source. It’s a way of life. The pages they follow and brands they interact with are a part of their identity and affect their real-life experiences.
Fast, real-time sharing features amplify the rate at which news and other important info are spread on social media. For example, not many Gen Zers watch the daily news segments. And that’s because they get their news on Instagram and TikTok.
For the average Gen Zer, social media is the all-knowing source. Say they hear about your local restaurant brand from a friend. The average Gen Z is likely to check the brand’s Instagram page before thinking of a Google search.
Say your company offers digital enterprise transformation services. The same applies for a Gen Z inquiring about using your product. Their first thought will likely be to search for a tutorial video on your YouTube page.
The idea is that you don’t forget educational content while also putting out engaging content. Consider the important info your average Gen Z customer will likely need and put it on your social media platforms. Of course, educational content should also remain short, concise, and engaging.
Opt for Micro-Influencers
Sure, plenty of past campaigns involving mega influencers have been successful. But it may not always be the best approach to reach Gen Zers on TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram.
Mega influencers provide superior reach. But they simply can’t offer the personal connection that’ll foster better conversions with a Gen Z audience.
Consequently, decision-makers in marketing teams should fully consider pivoting to micro-influencers with 100k followers or less. In fact, a network of influencers with 10k followers can boost your social media conversion numbers and foster high-velocity sales.
Plus, you’ve got to remember that Gen Zers know how marketing and the internet work. They know when a campaign is sponsored. Therefore, there’s no reason to “pretend” like the content isn’t sponsored. Gen Zers will still engage with it as long as you leverage creators they love.
A Gen Z audience recognizes that micro-influencers tend to be more selective and are likely to promote relatable brands. Your audience knows the creator isn’t getting millions for the sponsored posts. Therefore, it must be a product they like and use.
Recently, TikTok influencer Keeoh (67k followers) partnered with energy drink giants Red Bull. One of the sponsored posts was a magic trick video featuring a Red Bull drink. The content was a funny, frat house trick that’s likely to resonate with Red Bull’s young, boisterous audience. Genius, right?
Add Gen Z to Your Audience
You can engage and cultivate a Gen Z audience on social media with the intentional marketing efforts above. Plus, you can always use marketing tools with apps like Instagram to maximize your conversion.
So start taking full advantage of them today!
Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated unified cloud communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. She has written for domains such as AirDroid and European Business Review. Here is her LinkedIn.