Reaching Gen Z on Social Media – 9 Strategies That Work
Sociologists are beginning to analyze Generation Z, that group born between 1995 and 2012. The group possesses a huge variety of demographic characteristics because of the age range, so it is a bit difficult to generalize all of them.
But we do know some things, and these will impact how marketers develop their campaigns to a group that outnumbers millennials and has about $44 billion in purchasing power.
Here is what we do know:
- They do not know a life without devices and the Internet
- Based upon surveys, they spend about 74% of their leisure time online, and the majority of that time is on social media
Go Where the Target Is
This is nothing new. But Gen Z’ers use of social media is a bit different than previous generations. Here is what we know so far.
- They Love Snapchat. According to a recent survey of high school students, 79% say they use Snapchat every day, and a large percentage of these use it several times a day. Marketers who want to reach them there must learn how it works and how to be there with short, creative ads. Making them interactive is even better. They appreciate humor and even a bit of irreverence.
- Instagram Stories Are Beating Snapchat. Since its launch in 2016, Instagram Stories have gradually surpassed Snapchat, even though its format is exactly the same. Basically, users can post photos or videos that will be wiped after 24 hours. And they can use filters, drawings, and stickers just like Snapchat. The recommendation for marketers is clear – learn how to use Instagram stories and place frequent short ad copy, couched in humor and entertainment.
- YouTube is Big. Gen Z’ers do not watch television. Rather, they watch videos and their favorite venue is YouTube. This is where their influencers hang out. If marketers use video (and they should), no matter where they first posted it, they must also post it on YouTube to increase viewing potential. Be where they are.
Honor Their Values with Your Posts
- Content Must Show Diversity. Gen Z does not “see” color, ethnicity, or gender identity. They are totally committed to equality and justice for everyone. Posts and ads should reflect diversity – if they don’t, no “connection” will be made.
- What is Your Brand “Contributing?” Like their older millennial siblings, Gen Z does want to see social responsibility from the brands they choose to patronize. It’s important to post stories about activities that demonstrate contributions to the environment, sustainability, charitable causes, etc.
- Technology and Entrepreneurship are Highly Valued. This is a generation that believes in technology. They believe it can be used to make important changes. Anyone who doubts this notion should review the response to the Florida school shooting. They went after the NRA and wielded such power that Florida passed gun control legislation, which no one thought was possible. And, through the use of social media, they were able to spawn a nationwide movement of school walkouts to protest lack of action on gun control. Additionally, Gen Z’ers do not place as much importance on college as those before them. They believe that it is possible to be an entrepreneur and make a “difference” without a degree.
- Research Gen Z Influencers. You can find them on YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Access their videos to understand their sense of humor and their priorities. Your marketing videos should emulate the style and humor of these influencers. And if a marketer can connect with one or two and get “mentions” or endorsements, that accomplishment is “gold.” Influencer marketing is big with this generation, however, their influencers are not the nationally known figures that previous generations listened to.
- Talk to Them. Marketers should “round up” a group of Gen Z’ers to have a conversation. They will learn what types of content appeal most to them, what they want brands to stand for, etc.
- Smartphones are “King.” Gen Z’ers “live” on their phones. And considering that some of their social media platforms are only accessible via mobile devices, marketers must make sure that their ads and posts provide an easy and streamlined experience. This generation expects a great mobile experience.
We don’t know all about Gen Z yet as many of them are still quite young. But there are certain indicators of how they gather information, who they look to for advice, where they hang out on social media, and what they expect from brands. This is a generation that wants quality products, perfect online experiences, and to be entertained. They are impatient, understand that they have power, and are willing to use that power in deciding who will get their dollars.