12 Ways to Successfully Market to Gen Z by Leveraging Social Media

As entrepreneurs and businesses are always on the look out for new ways to make money and target demographic audiences, it’s important to always think about the next generation of young adults that are just waiting around the corner. Described as the country’s first fully digital generation and typically made up of consumers under the age of 20, Generation Z holds an impressive combined purchasing power of $44 billion, making it a promising market for any brand hoping to thrive in the near future. Yet marketing to this generation can be problematic for many businesses, especially those still keen on more traditional ways of engaging with their audience.

Like millennials before them, Gen Z consumers prefer to make their purchases in brick-and-mortar stores, according to an Accenture study. But social media has the biggest impact on their shopping choices, with two out of three Gen Z members interested in buying via social channels directly. A perfect example of this would be the world of fashion and how so many individuals are creating their own style and fashion followings of their own through social platforms like Instagram. However, it’s not just about social. It’s also happening with online content as well. Take a look at these top social media fashion bloggers and see how they are not only growing a following online but also making some serious money and growing their own brands in the process. If this is something of interest to you, be sure to check out this fashion blogging guide on how you can get started with a blog of your own.

Below, 12 entrepreneurs from YEC share their insights on how marketers and brands can leverage social media to successfully appeal to the growing Gen Z customer base.

1. Tailor Your Content

Creating the right content for the demographic is key to reaching and resonating. Every channel that has your audience on it has the potential to be useful in growing your consumer base. So for Gen Z, channels such as Snapchat and Instagram are obvious initial options. Good content will transcend channel. Paying attention to what your audience likes is the key to reaching Gen Z or any group.

Brennan White, Cortex

2. Let Them Take the Lead

We see a lot of brands swing and miss when it comes to trying to connect with younger people on social media. I think one of the best ways to approach people is to not force it. People can tell when a brand is trying too hard from a mile away. Instead let them take the lead, see what they want, the language they use, the sites they visit and what goes viral, and work around that in a more genuine way.

Sean Ogle, Location Rebel

3. Focus on Video Sharing Apps

Gen Z is increasingly visual and loves telling the stories of their lives with video, as well as hanging out with video hangout apps. Facebook and Twitter may not appeal to them; instead, focus on Instagram and Snapchat where you can create more “genuine” experiences and interact with them at their level. Apps such as Houseparty will probably become increasingly popular.

Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

4. Reach Them on Multiple Platforms

Most people today are active on multiple devices and platforms but this is especially true of Generation Z. You should assume that they are active with email, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media sites. It’s not enough to just have their email address, for example. In order to communicate with them, it’s best if you can reach out to them in as many ways as possible.

Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

5. Use Social to Get Hyper Local

Gen Z customers are both hyper-connected and crave in-person experiences. The biggest opportunity companies have is to appeal to their user base by figuring out where their largest fan bases are located and creating pop-up events that surprise and delight. Aside from the lift in loyalty, events create a lot of content that’s typically shared, which will help boost social media following.

Mark Krassner, Expectful

6. Use Digital Brand Ambassadors

Generation Z is perhaps the first wave of consumer that is truly, fully native to the digital landscape. As a result, Gen Z can be quick to tune out messages that don’t stand out. The best way to their hearts is by leveraging brand ambassadors online. If someone they already follow and admire is sincerely singing your praises, Gen Z will be much more likely to give you a second look.

Ryan Wilson, FiveFifty

7. Showcase Experiences

Gen Z members, as well as millennials, prefer experiences to hard product sells. Even if you’re a product company, use video and photos on social media to showcase how your products can enhance a travel, dining or unique experience.

Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

8. Don’t Try Too Hard

There’s no use trying to “fit in with the kids” on social media. They’ll notice if you’re using their jargon wrong or trying too hard to be one of them. Say what you need to say in simple, short terms and cater your posts to the audience you always market to. Every generation is on social media.

Kevin Conner, BroadbandSearch

9. Create Hundreds of Unique Ad Sets

Generic advertising is increasingly less effective, especially on social media. Younger audiences respond very well to ads that appear to be tailored specifically to them. Facebook ads allow you to target hyper-niche groups with unique ad copy that will help your message feel extra personal.

Nicholas Haase, Startup Drugz

10. Specialize in the Unusual

You have to think two generations ahead. That means developing attractive, engaging and unconventional content with relevant subject matter. It could be opposing or comparing social issues, trends, fashion, technology and business. Creating strategic topics with searchable keywords will also help.

Patrick Barnhill, Specialist ID, Inc.

11. Remember, Looks Are Everything

Generation Z will judge your brand based on appearance. What does this mean? Gen Z members will instantly devalue your brand if your site looks outdated, isn’t responsive, or you don’t have an established social presence. Because of their visual instinct, Instagram and Snapchat are two of the top social platforms for brands to share their story and grab the attention of the elusive Gen Z.

Duran Inci, Optimum7

12. Sell Directly on Social Media

Now that you can make payments directly through Facebook and Snapchat, use it to offer your products and services so that your audience can make an immediate purchase rather than making them take more time to navigate elsewhere.

Angela Ruth, Calendar

Are You Ready for Generation Z?

If you were to look at some of the most successful businesses and brands over the last several decades, you will find many that made a great portion of their earnings off an individual Generation set. With the internet now fully accessible around the world and mobile devices in everyone’s hands, targeting such an audience is now easier than ever before. If you enjoyed this expert round up, I recommend you also take a look at our previous ones on how to form a partnership in business and ten ways to grow your brand as your business grows.

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