Ever feel like you need a decoder ring to decipher the mysterious land of Gen Z? Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z has redefined the digital landscape, shaking up established norms and introducing fresh marketing challenges. Fear not though, we're here to unveil the secrets of Gen Z's social media savvy and reveal how you can win in the new marketing arena.
New Kids on the Digital Block
Raised with smartphones in hand, and weaned on a diet of internet and social media, Gen Z has a radically different perspective on the digital world. And considering they're the largest generation ever, their presence has a strong pull on the global economic strings. Traditional digital marketing, so successful with millennials, is falling flat with Gen Z, demanding a reinvention of our marketing playbooks. Let's dive in!
Championing Creator Collaboration
Gone are the days of traditional influencers selling unreachable dreams and promoting branded merchandise. Gen Z's discerning eye demands a dose of realism, favouring authentic creators over aspirational influencers. A perfect illustration of this shift is TikTok star Alix Earle, whose genuine content and unique voice have earned her a staggering 5 million followers.
Traditional influencers who thrived in the 2010s by selling aspirational lifestyles are losing their appeal among Gen Z. As this generation has become more discerning and aware of marketing tactics, authenticity is now prized over aspiration. In this era of the creator economy, Gen Z appreciates:
Original content that is relatable and genuine. TikTok's Alix Earle, with her skyrocketing popularity and 5 million followers, exemplifies this trend.
A sense of transparency and honesty from the creator, making them feel more connected and trusting towards the creator.
Bring Your Brand to Life with Personality and Authenticity
It's not just about collaborating with creators, brands themselves are stepping up their game, becoming influencers in their own right. Some brands partner with known creators to cultivate their online personality. Take Fizz, a personal finance brand that's gained popularity thanks to its TikTok representative, Kyle Prue.
Others take a more internal approach, appointing in-house faces or mascots to represent the brand. Think Duolingo's owl mascot, which has captivated over 6.5 million followers on TikTok, or the offbeat, Gen Z-inspired content from bag brand Baboon to the Moon.
Brands need to develop a persona to resonate with Gen Z. This requires being authentic, relatable, and engaging. This could be achieved through:
Partnering with popular creators who share your brand's ethos. For instance, TikTok creator Kyle Prue effectively showcases Fizz, a personal finance brand, through content similar to his own.
Using mascots or staff members to represent your brand. Duolingo, for instance, uses its owl mascot to connect with its 6.5 million TikTok followers.
Promoting a tone that resonates with Gen Z. The bag brand Baboon to the Moon, uses a snarky and spontaneous tone that their Gen Z audience loves.
It's All About Engagement
Quantity of followers? Meh. Quality of engagement? Yes, please! Gen Z isn't about brand loyalty; they're about connecting with content that resonates. Focus on crafting posts that generate active engagement and visibility rather than chasing follower count. Building local profiles can establish a personal bond with customers, boosting interaction. An excellent example of this is a Connecticut Barnes and Noble TikTok account that's gathered 16,000 followers and nearly 682,000 post likes!
Gen Z's attitudes towards brands are shifting, making them less brand-loyal than previous generations. What matters to them is engagement. Here's how you can capitalize on this:
Focus on creating content that spurs interaction, rather than just gaining followers.
Utilize local social media profiles to connect on a personal level, showcasing specific offers or events. An example is the Barnes and Noble location in Canton, Connecticut, with 16,000 followers and nearly 682,000 likes on TikTok.
Catch the Trend Train
Trendspotting is the name of the game. Brands can achieve astonishing success by hopping on viral trends or using popular templates. Don't hesitate to go simple and quick - platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels favor engaging, in-the-moment content over curated aesthetics. Here are some tips:
Monitor and act fast on trends on platforms like TikTok, Reels, and YouTube Shorts.
Simplified content often works better than high-quality, aesthetically pleasing content. Remember, engagement is the key!
Google Business Profile: Your New Best Friend
Once you've hooked your Gen Z fish, your Google Business Profile (GBP) can reel them in. Gen Z turns to Google for local business info, making your GBP a crucial tool for conversion. Keep your profile mobile-friendly, current, and loaded with crucial info like store hours, GPS directions, payment options, and in-store highlights. Ensure your GBP is:
Marketing to Gen Z is a balancing act. It requires flexibility to adapt to new platforms and trends, while maintaining a consistent and authentic voice. By harmonizing your online, social media, and local presence, you'll be perfectly positioned to appeal to this unique and influential generation. Get ready to ride the Gen Z wave!
About The Author: Lovetto Nazareth
Lovetto Nazareth is a digital marketing consultant and agency owner of Prism Digital. He has been in the advertising and digital marketing business for the last 2 decades and has managed thousands of campaigns and generated millions of dollars of new leads. He is an avid adventure sports enthusiast and a singer-songwriter. Follow him on social media on @Lovetto Nazareth