Gen Z is the next big market for brands—but many marketers are still at a loss on how they can reach this demographic.
What are their interests? What platforms do they prefer? Why would they buy from one brand but not another?
We share 10 tips about Gen Z that marketers need to know before updating their strategies.
Choose the Right Platforms
There are more social media platforms now than there were 10 years ago—and that has had an impact on the demographics using them.
Facebook has been viewed as the network for Boomers and older Millennials to keep in touch with friends and family. Twitter is very much a Millennial and Gen X zone.
This is primarily because of the ephemeral nature of the content and its brevity—they can post seconds-long videos that disappear after a short while.
There is also a large entertainment component to these platforms—they aren’t as heavy as Twitter, yet allow for personal and political discourse.
For marketers trying to reach Gen Z, it is imperative that they choose the right platforms—there is no point in creating content for this group if they can’t see it.
Sell a Lifestyle
Hard selling doesn’t work for most demographics, but especially not for Gen Z. This is a group that knows the internet inside and out—they can’t be fooled by gimmicks.
While the marketing focus for companies has been on proving the benefits of their products, this is not a message Gen Z will respond to.
Instead, marketers should center customers by showcasing how the product will improve their lifestyle and experiences.
Messaging should highlight the gaps in the customer’s life and describe what can be used to address that need—the product should be offered as that missing solution.
Posting images and videos of Gen Z models, influencers, and ambassadors within lifestyle settings that would appeal to the demographic will work better than product images themselves.
To brainstorm content ideas for lifestyle selling, brands can use mind maps to develop the focus of their materials.
Personalization is Key
Personalization is an extremely important part of any marketing strategy—and it should be incorporated across different platforms.
In email marketing campaigns include the names of subscribers—not only in the email copy but also in the subject line.
Personalize the copy for the receiver—send emails based on users’ previous purchases and their interests in your company.
Even social media posts and advertisements should be tailored toward different target segments within the Gen Z market.
Gen Z may be a moniker used for a set demographic but that doesn’t mean that they are one homogenous group of people.
These customers have their own interests, likes, and dislikes, as well as their own relationship with a brand—this needs to be kept in mind when creating and disseminating content.
Focus on Micro-Influencers
Marketers have found a great deal of success with mega-influencers, who tend to have thousands or millions of followers.
But Gen Z doesn’t always react positively to such grandiose figures.
Mega influencers have greater reach but they do not always offer the personal connection that leads to better conversions.
Marketers should instead consider pivoting to micro or nano-influencers—those who have less than 100K or even 10K followers.
Not only are these influencers far less expensive, but their engagement and conversion rates also tend to be higher.
And influencers with smaller followings often have personal interactions with their followers, which can make their brand endorsements more meaningful.
This is one of the primary reasons why Gen Z will actively comment on posts by small influencers and participate in their influencer giveaways.
To reach Gen Z, marketers need to target the people they involve themselves with online—micro-influencers are a great way to accomplish that.
Video marketing has been hugely successful even among Millennials and Gen X—but it is Gen Z that has completely embraced the format, as Visual Objects found.
Creating a YouTube channel dedicated to content that would appeal to Gen Z—how-to guides, explainer videos, and content with entertainment value—will be a step in the right direction, according to Google.
But long-form videos aren’t the only way to reach this demographic—short, ephemeral content on Snapchat and TikTok is the best method to engage Gen Z.
Younger generations spend more time on these platforms—even more than on Instagram—so these channels provide a prime opportunity for tapping into this audience.
Creating short content should be high on the agenda for marketers aiming for this audience.
Marketers can use video making tools to design branded videos of varying lengths that can be easily shared across platforms.
Posting on social media is only one step in the process—it is an invitation to start a conversation with your audience.
Being responsive has always been a crucial part of social media strategies—marketers schedule social posts for high visibility times so that more followers can comment.
But leaving these comments without replies is not a good look for brands—whether the comments are negative or positive, a response is necessary.
Gen Zers online look for how well brands respond to comments and reviews—the better the engagement, the more likely they are to engage with the company.
Conversations help to make the brand relationship more stable and they encourage customer loyalty—hence the need to prioritize this aspect of content marketing.
Privacy and security have been a massive issue over the past few years.
For brands marketing to this target audience, it is imperative to be transparent about how they are getting information from customers and what they are doing with it.
Send notifications to subscribers about your commitment to maintaining customer privacy. That is how you can win over Gen Z.
Authenticity has become a priority for younger demographics—they don’t want to see photoshopped models and filtered photos.
Real people in real settings make for more genuine content and display an achievable lifestyle that filters and photoshop obscure.
Marketers should focus on running more user-generated content campaigns that cut down on content creation but also highlight real people who Gen Z will better relate to.
And this doesn’t extend only to content—the conversations brands have online need to be authentic.
A number of brands have begun to sign off their posts and comments with the name of the employee who is on social media duty at the time.
Sometimes those who run social media for brands appear on TikTok and Instagram Stories, giving the brand a human name and face.
Adding that human element makes brands appear more approachable, which will help draw in audiences from all demographics.
Inclusivity in Marketing
For brands to engage with Gen Z, it is necessary to push for more diversity, visibility, and inclusivity in marketing materials, because they are more diverse than previous generations.
Visuals should include people of different abilities, ethnicities, genders, orientations, socio-economic, and social backgrounds.
Creating and sharing case studies that educate the audience will go a long way in keeping their interest.
As they say, actions speak louder than words, so brands shouldn’t simply pay lip-service to a cause—put policies in place that reflect those values.
Gamification in Marketing
Video games are a massive draw among younger audiences—but brands can’t be expected to enter a whole new industry to reach this target segment.
However, there are gamification models that can be incorporated into marketing campaigns to encourage engagement from young followers.
AR filters on Instagram and Snapchat are interactive and fun—they also have the potential to go viral.
Social media contests encourage participation from followers and more—and they don’t require too much investment in time and money.
Gamification is a great way to boost audience engagement from younger demographics—to reach Gen Z, this could be an area to look into.
Gen Z isn’t the mystery that many brands imagine them to be—this demographic is passionate about learning and improving, but they also demand authenticity and realism from brands.
Standing by company values and finding ways to reach younger audiences where they are will hold brands in good stead when aiming for this target market.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita regularly writes about digital marketing, visual design, and small business growth.