Parents might be all over Facebook, but their children aren’t following suit. This means the 70 million companies using Facebook to reach moms and dads need a different social strategy to engage their Generation Z offspring. Members of this generation were born between the mid-’90s and 2000s, and they’re shaking up the social media game.
Why do roughly half of Gen Zers shy away from Facebook? They’re not trying to buck the system or rage against the machine. In truth, their generation never really adopted Facebook in the first place, and this stems from their upbringing. Gen Zers are part of the first generation to use technology as a tool and not a toy, and they crave a private, moderated experience. They’re especially fond of visually compelling platforms where they can watch and discover, as 71 percent of teenagers dedicate at least three hours a day to watching videos.
Members of Gen Z also favor curation: They’re happiest when they can let in what they want and filter out the rest. This is why you’ll see more teens and tweens active on Snapchat and Instagram than, say, Facebook or Twitter.
It’s not that Facebook is bad — it’s just not where Gen Zers go to relax, socialize, or learn. Companies that want to connect with this new generation will need to cater to their preferences and treat them as the creative, intelligent individuals they are.
Branding for the Next Generation
Like all emerging generations, Gen Z is incredibly influential to society and family life. No fewer than 70 percent of Gen Zers gently push their parents into purchases, and this means that businesses should start conversations early and often to maximize their efforts. The catch? They have to get their message right the first time.
Although a good chunk of Gen Z communication is digital, organizations can’t assume that marketing to their group online is always a slam dunk. Members of this generation live on social media, so they’re quick to cut the noise and never look back. It’s hard to find middle ground.
Companies can’t simply buy ads on social platforms that Gen Zers favor and forget about them, either. Marketing on Instagram and Snapchat requires a different approach than other platforms. The marketers using them should create relevant, compelling content that adds value at every turn, fits the social platform itself, and doesn’t feel out of place on curated social feeds. Does that sound like a tall order? That’s because it is!
It’s not impossible to win over Gen Zers, though. The key here is being extremely deliberate in ongoing engagement. Brands that can react swiftly to new preferences will be more readily accepted into a Gen Zer’s daily life.
Navigating Gen Z’s Favorite Social Networks
Want to truly get Gen Z on board with your marketing efforts? First, brush the digital dust off your business. Then, concentrate on these strategies when you’re ramping up efforts on new social networks.
1. Dump that old playbook.
Forget what you know about Baby Boomers, Generation Xers, and Millennials. If you want to be successfully curated into Gen Zers’ feeds (and lives), take a step back and look through a different lens. Accept that all the old social media techniques you used to woo consumers just won’t work with this young, tech-minded population in the same way. Gen Zers are unlike any generation we’ve ever seen, and they’re definitely different than the Millennials who came before them. They’re especially excellent at sniffing out insincerity and staleness.
To reach this generation, always aim for authenticity in your social strategy. One great way to do this is by emulating or working with influencers. Because these social stars understand curation and live and breathe the social platforms they specialize in, influencers will be able to create amazing content that still blends in seamlessly on feeds. You can even create influencers within your business. After all, you don’t need to have millions of followers to tell a unique, relevant story.
2. Hire Gen Z to sell to Gen Z.
As Gen Zers age, hiring employees and consultants from their generation will only increase your ability to communicate with them. Sure, they might not have the decades of experience that older workers do, but they’ve practically been doing business online since they were 10. They’ll help your business stay relevant by suggesting new ways to reach their peers organically and naturally.
3. Talk with Gen Zers — not at them.
If you don’t spark relevant conversations with Gen Zers, you’ll miss opportunities left and right. You don’t have to be perfect, but you should study their preferences rather than just assuming they’ll go along with what you’ve done for years. These are savvy consumers who expect to be treated with value, and we should meet them where they are.
To get to know Gen Z, our camps and programs use social media as a helpful listening tool. After all, we’ve adjusted to new generations for 40 years to better engage with them, and we’ve never looked back.
4. Exercise your creative acumen.
To get Gen Z to listen, you’ll need to flex your creative muscles.
One way to do this is by sharing exciting corporate origin and journey stories, as members of this generation are innovative and driven by causes they care about. Help Gen Z consumers realize that your business exists for a purpose and not just for profit. Give them a role in your storytelling so they understand they can have a place in your legacy if they commit to your brand.
Above all else, don’t try to pigeonhole Gen Z into the pegboard you designed for their predecessors, as they’re unlike any generation we’ve seen before. Instead, jump on Instagram, hit up Snapchat, or watch some YouTube. Get ready to uncover what makes Gen Zers tick so your brand can stick around when they take the reins.
Feeling overwhelmed as you’re trying to plan a Gen Zer’s summer? Keep things on track with this handy month-by-month guide.