If you’re still marketing through Facebook, you’re missing the world’s soon-to-be-largest demographic: Generation Z. The post-millennial youth are an entirely different group than their predecessors, and their buying habits are equally unique.
Who Are Gen Z?
Generation Z is the next moniker in the progression from Generation X and Generation Y, and roughly refers to individuals born between 1996 and 2010. Members of this generation have lived their entire lives in the presence of social media and were raised with a smartphone in hand. By 2020, this generation will represent 40 percent of consumers, making it the generation to watch for brands and retailers.
The world’s newest generation is already making waves in the economy as Gen Zers reach adulthood and begin exercising their purchasing power. The value of the Gen Z market is already over $44 billion. Tapping into this market requires an intelligent and well-crafted social media strategy, a strong brand identity, and a socially conscious image.
Social Media Campaigns
Members of Generation Z live their lives through social media. They prefer apps like Snapchat and Instagram, and they largely avoid Facebook. Twitter campaigns still effectively reach Gen Zers, but a lifetime of social media use narrows their interests to influencers, not ads. To reach the generation, your marketing team needs to be digitally fluent, with a strong internet connection and the latest social media management tools.
Snapchat commands the biggest audience for the 13–17 age demographic, and users can visit as many as 18 times a day. Ten-second videos that feel like a message from a friend perform much better than polished advertising, requiring an intimate understanding of the platform. If your marketing team doesn’t have a resident Snapchat expert, it’s time to hire one.
Instagram’s video and “stories” formats appeal to Gen Z in a similar way. Video ads are successful marketing tools on the platform, and stories function similarly to Snapchat, making them an ideal focus for a marketing campaign. The Instagram demographic trends a bit older than Snapchat, but consistency across platforms will increase user engagement.
Influencer marketing was the fastest-growing online marketing method in 2017. These social media celebrities use a combination of relatability, trustworthiness and attractiveness to capture the attention of Gen Zers at a subconscious level, making them an astonishingly effective marketing conduit.
Tapping into the influencer market could help your retail brand reach Gen Zers. For every dollar spent on influencer marketing, you can expect a return of $7.65 in media value. Influencer marketing should be a main avenue for your social media campaigns, especially on Instagram.
Corporate Social Responsibility
Generation Z is patently aware of the world’s most complex and intractable problems, and have positioned themselves as change makers. They’re conscious of climate change and social justice, and they embrace social causes and diversity. As one of the most inclusive and progressive generations in history, Gen Z looks for companies that share their strong personal values, finally building lasting relationships with brands that they develop trust in.
Corporate social responsibility initiatives can give your brand the chance to develop a compelling narrative that appeals to a younger audience. These stories are also the perfect content for a cross-platform social media campaign, which can help you tie your marketing campaign together into one cohesive brand image.
Capturing the attention of Generation Z requires expert knowledge of the way this group consumes information and advertising. If you’re looking to corner this demographic, be sure Gen Zers are part of your marketing team. They can help keep your marketing team connected to the new trends across all of social.
Victoria Schmid enjoys writing about technology for the “everyday” person. She is a specialist in online business marketing and consumer technology. She has a background in broadcast journalism.