Also known as the iGeneration, Gen Z are the next wave that marketers need to start focusing on.
Why? Because, by the end of 2020, they will literally make up for 40% of the total number of consumers in the U.S., Europe and the BRIC states and 10% of the rest of the world. Shifts will therefore have to take place in the way marketers advertise and market to this demographic.
WHO ARE THE GEN Z?
Being the youngest generation in the market after millennials, Gen Z (Generation Z) are born after 1995. That means they could currently be aged between 4 to 24 years old. Today, Gen Z make up for 32% of the world population.
This generation grew up with a diverse set of norms that makes them behave, think and act in a certain way. For instance, they have grown up with an unlimited information flow that’s never been available around them before, which makes them true digital natives. Many believe that this is a generation that is more educated and strongly believes in diversity, ethnic mixing and the absence of gender roles.
While many marketers find it difficult to understand this generation’s needs with everything simply available to them on the internet, we believe it’s quite simple. Simply, Gen Z seek and reach out for brands that unravel their lifestyle and understand their habits.
LOOKING THROUGH THE EYES OF A GEN Z
To be a successful marketer, it is essential that you understand that customer needs are ever changing. It is therefore imperative that you collect enough data about your target audience and tailor your strategies accordingly.
Let’s look at some interesting data about Gen Z’s behavior and interests:
Ø They spend 75% of their time online.
Ø Their lifestyle revolves around apps and smartphones.
Ø Social media and digital influencers are their inspiration and role models.
Ø They boast a purchasing power of $44 million.
Ø They are more careful when it comes to using offensive language.
Ø They are more active across various social media platforms – TikTok being the latest and most used.
Ø Gen Z are more likely to see the correlation between climate changes and human activity.
Ø The average GenZer had their first phone at the age of 11.
Ø Their preferred means of communication is the smartphone.
Keeping these statistics in mind, content creators and marketing managers need to tailor their social media marketing strategy in order to effectively reach out to this demographic.
So how can you tweak your social media marketing strategies to maximize engagement from Gen Z?
1. BE AUTHENTIC
Fake likes, fake followers, fake reviews? This doesn’t impress Gen Zs.
Gen Zs prefer to follow brands or accounts they can relate with. They want to see real people, real scenarios and make real connections with brands they can trust. This is why you shouldn’t be using mass following hacks and techniques to simply increase numbers on your accounts that are void of content. Instead, approach your audience with meaningful content and spark conversations.
Jay Shetty, an award winning digital strategist, viral content creator and storyteller follows this exactly. By creating podcasts with some of the most inspirational social figures such as Eva Longaria, Alicia Keys etc., he is able to connect with an audience that seemed so far out of reach. Using this technique, Jay has been able to collaborate with other businesses that ask him to advertise for their products and services online through honest feedback and reviews or live podcasts. His page is therefore constantly loaded with fresh and new content that attracts millions.
Also, Gen Zs are more likely to follow an account that incorporates real people they can relate to. That’s where influencer marketing comes in. Influencer marketing is known to attract more followers and build more trust for a brand. However, when approaching an influencer, you have to make sure that their beliefs are not so far away from the values that you promote as a brand, otherwise you risk losing your credibility in front of Gen Zs.
2. ENGAGEMENT IS KEY
It goes without saying that this demographic is one of the most active social media users, that’s why they can either make or break your brand.
Having grown up with Amazon and Rotten Tomatoes, this is a generation that believes in open communication, honest ratings and reviews.They believe in transparency therefore they spend a greater time going through reviews and would never follow an account that is not interactive or doesn’t look credible. Moreover, they are an interactive generation that likes to engage in polls and quizzes.
YouTube sensation, Lilly Singh aka – IISuperwomanII, uses this strategy a lot. Creating hilarious, relatable and fun videos on YouTube, Lilly Singh is able to rack up an unbelievable following on YouTube. At the end of her videos, she usually asks people to leave a comment on what they would like to see and actually does make the effort to deliver these in her next videos. She also notices when her fans do something spectacular. For example, one of her fans known as Sickick, posted a freestyle on her vlog and came up with a song about it. Lilly Singh later featured it on her channel.
3. GO FOR A MOBILE FIRST STRATEGY
Even though Gen Zs are tech-savvy and are conversant with many devices, their smartphones will always come first.
As they have grown up in a highly digitized world, they can easily tell a great UX experience from a bad one. Since they are more likely to make purchases from their smartphone, you need to make sure you have an awesome online presence but also that your UX experience is optimized to keep the Gen Z traffic flowing in.
Here are a few recommendations that you can aim for:
Ø Keep your site’s speed up.
Ø Make sure your images are compressed and viewable on mobile devices.
Ø Since your primary aim is growth, design mobile friendly opt ins and popups that can collect emails.
Ø Break down your texts with subheadings to allow easier reads.
Remember, Gen Zs prefer to use their smartphone for almost everything, regardless of the nature of the transaction or activity. If you look at 3-months transactions in the banking sector, unlike millennials who prefer to maintain a personal relationship with their bankers, 50% of Gen Zs have never entered a branch.
Their lives are more digitally-focused and so should become your brand!
4. GEN Z CONSUME WITH A CAUSE
Gen Zs are more focused and interested in gender, racial, income equality and environmental issues. They are more likely to support and follow a brand that believes in these causes. Unlike millennials who are more drawn towards brands that take a social stand, Gen Z expect brands to be active in supporting these causes.
For example, Ben & Jerry’s social media marketing strategy includes raising awareness about its contribution towards social responsibility. Since 1980, they have supported various causes that are directly related to the company’s scope. One of the first causes they endorsed was against the use of the Bovine Growth Hormone on cows for the damages it induces and the economic damage it inflicts on family farms. They also highly encouraged their employees to find ways to give back to society.
When consumers know about these causes that your company endorses and how you actively take part, their chances of buying from your brand and becoming your loyal customers are very high.
5. DON’T JUST STICK TO FACEBOOK
Facebook may have been the biggest social media network at one point, however, the introduction of YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok have completely altered this balance. Sticking to one of these platforms could make you miss out on so many opportunities.
For instance, although Gen Z prefer watching videos on YouTube, they are more likely to log into Instagram to discover new trends and brands.
Moreover, while TikTok earlier was only used by teenagers, it is now literally unavoidable by all generations. As brands grow, using TikTok videos creatively could be the perfect way to increase their awareness and build loyalty.
Given that Gen Z are typically between the age of 4 – 24, it is better to collect data on how they use social media platforms and study each by activity. Here’s a glimpse:
6. KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE!
You thought a millennial’s 12-second attention span was low? Well guess what, a Gen Z’s attention span is as low as 8 seconds. Yes, you read that correctly.
Gen Zs have a shorter attention span than any other generation. This is where the trend of bite size videos comes into play. People are more interested in viewing content that is short, to the point and precise. This means that in order to drive more social media engagement from this generation, your content should take the form of memes, emojis or GIFs to get the message across, short and quick!
Go for visuals instead of plain texts, this will be more attractive and eye-catchy.
Remember, the main aim is to make it short and simple.
THE BOTTOM LINE…
Generation Z is more progressive than any of the other generations combined. Their personalities are more fluid which makes them many steps away from the norm. While most of this generation is still in their teen years, marketers are still finding a way to get their head around their lifestyles and habits.
It is evidently notable that this is a demographic that believes in transparency and in greater good. Being amongst those that are highly tech savvy, brands have to find a way to be digitally present in their lives.
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