Gen Z is pushing the marketing standard like never before. This group may be the toughest generation to win over, and many brands struggle to find the right appeal. If you’re not sure who counts as a Gen Zer, it includes anyone born between 1997 and 2022 with the oldest members of this generation turning 26 this year. Not only does Gen Z account for 40% of consumers, but they also have over 44 billion dollars in buying power – so it is time for your brand to market to this younger generation!
Tailor Marketing Efforts to Social Media
Targeting a specific audience can be a challenge, but Gen Z can be an especially difficult demographic to market to because traditional marketing tactics aren’t very effective on them. They don’t spend much time consuming traditional media like TV or magazines, so any marketing efforts on these platforms likely won’t reach them. Since Gen Z grew up in the age of high-speed internet, they are used to having what they want when they want it. In this case, commercial-style advertisements won’t appeal as much with their short attention spans, so it’s best to keep content bite-sized, interactive, and interesting.
In addition, this generation uses mobile phones more than any other generation, and marketers should keep this in mind when trying to target this younger audience. Gen Z spends an average of 4.5 hours a day on social media, beating out their millennial counterparts who only spend an average of 3.8 hours a day on social media. With this in mind, platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter are going to be your best bet.
Here are some must-haves tactics to use when marketing to Gen Z on social media.
- Influencers are In: Gen Z perceives celebrities as being out of touch and is twice as likely to purchase from an influencer compared to millennials. They may have fewer followers than celebrities, but they often have more authentic relationships with their audiences, which is a big reason why the generation trusts them.
- Keep Content Visually Engaging – but Short: As we’ve mentioned, Gen Z has an attention span of 8 seconds, which is shorter than that of a goldfish. Make sure to keep your content short, captivating, and engaging.
- Personalization is Everything: While older generations believe personalizing their data is creepy, this generation loves to have their feed personalized to what they like. Brands should utilize polls to find out what their followers enjoy and target their ads towards specific groups.
Gen Z was the only generation who grew up alongside the internet and social media; therefore, they see brands as accessible and expect more from them. They anthropomorphize brands to an unprecedented degree, interacting with them as if they are people. If your brand is looking to catch the attention of Gen Z, you’ll have to build an authentic relationship with them.
If you can find a way to create a digital community with your marketing strategy, you will surely win this generation’s respect. One company that implemented this strategy during the Covid-19 pandemic was Chipotle. Chipotle hosted events with celebrity guests during the pandemic, simply asking their Twitter audience to join a Zoom meeting to have a group lunch. Trust and community are extremely important to Gen Z. They are on a quest to make the internet more real, so implementing these strategies is a sure way to win them over.
The Importance of Authenticity
This younger generation can smell marketing tactics and inauthenticity from a mile away. Take Pepsi’s commercial with Kendall Jenner for an example. While Pepsi thought this commercial was timely and inspirational, it came off as highly controversial. Gen Z’ers viewed it as Pepsi trying to insert themselves into a political conversation for the sake of publicity, and the commercial came off as insensitive and tone-deaf.
Gen Z is also all about being socially conscious. They are more likely to buy from brands that are committed to equal representation, diversity, sustainability. One example of a brand that Gen Z’ers love is the underwear brand Parade. Parade has a focus on inclusion and body positivity as they seek to normalize stretch marks, body hair, and are advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. Gen Z knows they can vote with their dollar, so it is important to clearly represent your brand’s values and create an authentic presence online.
When creating a brand voice that will appeal to Gen Z, consider the following:
- Empathy and Understanding: In order to appeal to younger demographics, you have to know how they use social media. Hire a Gen Z team member to help identify what messages sound authentic and relevant.
- Market on Popular Platforms: This generation doesn’t spend much time on Facebook, so make sure your brand has a presence on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
- Utilize Live Video: Gen Z is not a fan of overly performative content, they are on a quest to make the internet more real.
- User-Generated Content: By reposting users’ content and interacting with them through your brand lens, you can save on marketing and capture Gen Z’s attention.
Gen Z has immense expectations for the companies they buy from, but winning their trust will almost guarantee their loyalty to your brand. It is time for you to refresh your marketing efforts and tailor them to this new generation.