Your brand has an Instagram page, and perhaps you have a TikTok account; however, your presence on social media does not necessarily mean you are engaging with Gen Z. In fact, unless you understand how Gen Z uses and interacts with social media, your presence on the various platforms may be having a negative impact.
Before understanding how brands can engage with Gen Z effectively on social media, we need to know why it is essential to do so.
Gen Z, or Zoomers’ are the largest generation in Australia we have known. They are also the first generation to be raised in a digital environment and shaped in the 21st century . Their individual and collective digital action is impacting culture at a speed and scale that is unique. Unlike previous generations, Zoomers’ are not just the next consumer group; they are a new kind of relationship brands need to engage with . In other words, their connectivity and ability allows for greater immediacy and intimacy with brands.
It is also anticipated that by 2031 their income will reach $33 trillion, surpassing that of millennials . How Zoomers spend money differs from millennials.
For example, 48% of Gen Z will often or always get input from friends and family before making a purchase, as against 44% of millennials. Other differences are that 19% of Zoomers prefer to get information from online influencers, whereas only 13% of millennials will. Also, 30% of Gen Z believe YouTube ads are the most trustworthy type of ad as against television, print, radio, and social media .
Other data shows higher percentages. For example, a 2017 review of Gen Z’s found that 78% had used ratings and reviews to purchase items and that 48% frequently asked the opinion of friends or family before making a purchase .
This demonstrates that Gen Z doesn’t make purchasing decisions in a vacuum; shopping has become a social endeavour.
Given the size and income of Gen Z and the way they influence shopping to be a social endeavour, brands need to engage with Zoomers. However, brands must be aware of how Gen Z uses social media to engage effectively.
Gen Z uses social media in different ways depending on what they are seeking to achieve.
Gen Z uses Snapchat when they want to interact with a large group of friends (25 – 40 people). Snapchat allows them to post a short video or take a photo and send it to all their friends. For many Gen Z, Snapchat is the preferred social media platform for posting or sending videos of themselves .
Given this usage, brands should use Snapchat to show off their fun side.
Gen Z uses Facebook for sharing events or creating group events. They will also use Facebook to interact with brands to find coupons and deals. For brands wanting to engage with Gen Z on this platform, it is essential to share coupons, specials and sales as events on Facebook .
Like Snapchat, Instagram is popular with Gen Z. Part of the popularity is that the Instagram format is highly visual and easy to scroll through quickly. Gen Z use Instagram to
Many Gen Zers also use Instagram to project an image of themselves to the world and get positive reinforcement for that image. Because of this, they are picky about the content, types of images, and even the time of day they post .
Brands that want to use Instagram to attract and influence Gen Z should post high-quality photos and videos to their feed and share stories to share authentic moments.
Gen Z comes to Twitter to learn about everything happening in the world around them – from news to pop culture to Internet trends – and to connect with the communities and interest groups that matter to them. Gen Z is especially leaned in on Twitter; nearly half of all Tweets sent over the course of the year in the US came from Twitter users aged 16 to 24 . The impact of Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter and what impact that will have on Gen Z remains to be seen.
This demonstrates that Gen Z is quite targeted and specific in how they use social media, which comes back to the point made at the beginning of this article. It is not sufficient for brands to have a social media presence and think it is enough. Brands need to understand how Gen Z use social media and mirror their use in profiling the brand to achieve impact and attract loyal customers.
Brands need to know how to engage effectively with Gen Z.
There is arguably no point in interacting with Gen Z through earned or traditional media. To create genuine connections, it is essential to leave traditional media outlets such as television and newspapers and get on the right social media platforms. As stated above, it is not just about being on social media platforms ; it is knowing how to use the platforms in ways that mirror Gen Z. This brings us to the second tip.
Reports have shown that creating a social media presence for Gen Z consumers is highly significant for a brand to maintain its relevance. Younger consumers want to know more about the brands they like and how they communicate with their audiences .
Gen Z appreciates and acknowledges when a brand does its research and caters to them. Older generations may ignore a brand’s effort to relate; however, Generation Z respects a brand that shows them how much they know about their audience.
Brands that understand and align with the values, habits and lifestyle choices of Gen Z are likely to communicate better and have successful marketing, advertising, or PR campaigns .
To understand, Gen Z businesses should not make the mistake of thinking they are mindless youngsters who can’t get their faces out of their phones. They hate being lied to by corporations; they value companies that are authentic and transparent with their audiences.
This generation is known for its “cancel culture” and will not hesitate to boycott brands over problematic behaviour like misleading advertising and poor communication. If you’re a small business just starting up, don’t be afraid, be honest about your experiences running a brand and its intricacies. Gen Z admires brands that embrace their faults and expose their hardships, and they respect brands that share human behaviours .
Given the size and income of Gen Z, brands need to adjust their marketing and messaging to engage and build brand loyalty with this generation.