As a consumer PR agency, it is important for us to be able to communicate a brand’s message to its target audience. A huge part of that communication for brands comes from the increased use of social media. However, different age groups respond to social media in different ways. In particular, Gen Z. In this blog I will offer some Gen Z insights on how best to connect with them on social media to ensure brands can drive awareness and sales of their products or services.
What is Gen Z?
Gen Z, or Generation Z, refers to people born between 1997 and 2012. They are the first generation to have grown up with social media and smartphones as part of their everyday lives. As referenced by Search Engine Journal, ‘54% of Gen Zers said they spend at least four hours daily on social media, and 38% spend even more time than that.’ Their most used platforms are YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.
However, despite their increased social media use, they are the least likely generation to follow brands on social media. Their preferences for content also do not follow the generations before them. So how can brands really connect with Gen Z on social media?
Community and Authenticity
Gen Z are on the look out for all things authentic. When considering buying products, 79% of Gen Zers said they would purchase a product after seeing a recommendation by an influencer. But those purchases do not typically come from the ‘traditional influencer’ that first started to populate social media channels. Instead, Gen Z are taking recommendations from the influencer turned creator type that have built a genuine community with followers, and therefore any recommendations feel like they are coming from a friend. Products are placed within User Generated Content often as a detail in a larger story, which comes across as a more relatable and genuine way to market a product, rather than a traditional advert where selling is at the forefront.
As reported by Later, ‘YouTube is the most-used platform for Gen Z- with 88% spending their time on the app’. This means that currently YouTube is the platform to use to target this generation. Typically, the platform is known for displaying video content in short and long form to educate or entertain viewers.
Brands could consider creating educational content that provides value to viewers such as ‘how to’ videos on their products, vlogs or ‘day in the life’ videos to show behind the scenes content, or longer form videos providing depth to a related topic.
Gen Z seem to be drawn more to video content, so it is best to remember this for other social media platforms, such as Reels for Instagram, and creating engaging videos on TikTok.
Keeping up with trends
Platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts have always got a viral trend or song doing the rounds on their platform. Gen Z are often the ones to observe these trends and share or participate in them. Brands who take part in this viral content creation can connect with Gen Zers in this way and gain positive interactions and associations from their created media. Trends can be useful if you are a smaller, localised business because they can help your content to go viral, therefore increasing your overall reach to viewers and hopefully gaining new interest into your business.
Online Brand Persona
Some brands decide to take matters into their own hands. By this I mean, they become the influencer themselves. An example of this is the language learning app Duolingo gaining 6.7 million followers on TikTok by using their own mascot, Duo the Owl, to create content and jump on trending songs or ideas of the moment. Have a look at the example below:
As reported by Digiday, ‘The key to the team’s success is that the account is less about selling Duolingo to TikTok audiences…but entertaining them’. They say they have done this through social listening and only posting if they have original and authentic ideas- which resonates well with a Gen Z audience!
By creating Duo, Duolingo have humanised the brand, allowing more people to connect with the content and ultimately learn about what Duolingo has to offer.
Overall, these Gen Z insights show that what this generation really want from brands is authentic and trustworthy content that empowers them to make decisions when purchasing and entertains them as well!
Want more consumer PR related content? Check out Escapade’s blog posts on Influencer Marketing or Marketing Strategies from Rhianna’s Superbowl Performance!