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One of the most unique things about Generation Z is the fact that they have grown up in a world where social media has always existed. They weren’t alive in the time when getting in contact with long-distance friends involved an expensive landline phone call, sending letters, or booting up AIM.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have been a part of their lives from their earliest memories – so it is no wonder that Gen Z is influencing the way people use social media.
One area where we can most specifically see Gen Z’s influence is in relation to consumer behavior through these social platforms. According to Hootsuite’s report, a whopping 85% of Gen Z consumers use social media to discover new brands and products . Plus, they are 59% more likely to follow a brand account than any other age group.
But Gen Z is not just another age segment that brands need to target. This generation’s behavior and sentiment towards social media advertising are revolutionizing the way that businesses are marketing themselves on these platforms.
Here’s exactly how social media is changing because of Gen Z.
Social Media Is Fun – Which Means Your Marketing Needs to Be, Too
Generation Z views social media as a part of everyday life, and they often have a different appreciation for these platforms than other generations. Older age groups view social media as a tool to keep in touch with friends and family members – and to share content like pictures or status updates. Gen Z, on the other hand, sees social media as a source of entertainment and inspiration.
So, if you want to keep Gen Z’s attention, you need to plug into their way of life by ensuring that your content is engaging and entertaining. One of the most obvious (and effective) ways of doing this is to utilize influencers and micro-influencers for content promotion. Gen Z is not as averse to influencer marketing as other generations. In fact, a recent report found that 52% of young consumers thought that influencers were highly trustworthy.
But of course, your influencer marketing needs to be approached in an entertaining way – instead of just a typical promotion – if you are really going to engage with this younger age group.
A great example of this is Fashion Nova’s collaboration with Bretman Rock, a well-known influencer on social media. They created an entertaining video featuring some of their latest fashions on Rock’s YouTube channel – which received over 6 million views and 15,000 comments.
Of course, influencer marketing is not the only way to create entertaining content. Your brand should focus on the interactive aspect of social media by engaging with followers through interesting, funny, or educational native posts.
Gen Z Wants the Experience, Not the Product
One of the keys to reaching younger audiences is to rely less on hard sells and more on the “concept” of what your product can bring them. Essentially, this means that they are more interested in the brand persona and unique value.
Like many other generations, Gen Z wants to purchase from brands they know they can trust – and they often turn to consumers to do the research. Younger consumers are 99% more likely to rely on online reviews when making a purchasing decision.
Social proof is an extremely important aspect that influence’s this generation’s purchasing decisions. Gen Z uses social media to gauge what types of products they want basing off of other people’s experiences – therefore, reviews need to be a key aspect of your social marketing.
For example, The Pearl Source, a high-end jewelry retailer, did a fantastic job of establishing social proof by incorporating reviews into their entire marketing plan and using customer testimonials to build trust. Publishing these reviews across their platforms even helped them to rank higher in the Google SERPs and drive in more traffic.
Given Gen Z’s value on social proof, brands need to prioritize reviews across all of their digital outlets.
It is also important to note that today’s younger consumers have high expectations when it comes to a brand’s behaviors on social media. According to Sprout Social’s report, the vast majority of consumers these days expect businesses to give back to the community (or the world as a whole), use their influence in a positive way, and even raise and support moral standards.
One reason why this works so well with younger consumers is that it gives them a reason to be emotionally invested in a brand. So, ask yourself:
- What does your advertising strategy on social media make consumers feel?
- Will Generation Z respond to the emotions you’re igniting?
- How can you elicit a more emotional response from them?
They Watch Videos – Constantly
If you want to market to Gen Z, you simply can’t ignore the prominent rise of advertising via short, snappy videos on social media. In fact, the average Gen Z-er watches 68 videos on a daily basis across five social media platforms!
YouTube is, of course, the most common social media site for this type of content, but young consumers are also streaming on Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok, which is starting to become one of the most downloaded social apps for Gen Z.
One of the most important steps in building a video campaign that resonates is keyword research. This crucial step shows you which topics and queries are relevant across the major video platforms in regards to your business’s industry.
Ahrefs has a fantastic feature that allows you to conduct keyword research trends based on YouTube data.
Now, once you have a clear idea of what types of topics are trending on the major video platforms – you need to create that sense of individuality that pulls people into your channel.
A great example comes from Blendtec’s YouTube channel series called “Will it Blend?” Rather than strictly promoting their blenders by making smoothies, they blend up more interesting items – like the iPhone X, glow sticks, and an Amazon Echo.
Video is all about visual captivation – obviously. People – beyond just Gen Z – are loyal followers of certain video channels for a few key reasons:
- The content is super relevant to them.
- They love the personality that brings the videos to life.
- It’s highly original.
There is no need for marketers to fear Generation Z – they are already shaping up to be an incredibly influential consumer segment that is influencing the way businesses interact with customers. It is most important that marketers truly understand the motivation behind this generation’s actions.
Old strategies are simply not going to work with this bunch, especially on social media. You need to know what they want from a business, what interests them, and what influences their purchasing decisions. As the digital landscape continues to evolve – your social strategy will need to follow suit.