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Written by Charlotte Soto on Sep 30 , 2021

Gen Z has arrived — here’s how to get their attention.

Here, you’ll find:

  • How Generation Z feels about ads
  • Why social is so key for this demographic
  • Stats around this generation
  • Best practices for creating Gen Z-focused campaigns

As ultra-tech-savvy digital natives, members of Generation Z are leaving their parents’ homes, graduating college, and entering the workforce.

With over 67 million people born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is rapidly becoming the largest U.S. consumer group. Their 40% of the market wields an incredible $143 billion in spending power.

Reaching Gen Z has never been more critical for a brand’s success. Here are some effective social media marketing strategies to help brands connect with a Gen Z audience.

Group shot of best friends, summer in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

Although Gen Z is aware of paid social, they aren’t afraid to be influenced. (Image via Rawpixel)

Understand what Gen Z wants and needs

A McKinsey & Company study found most Gen Zers have an “undefined” identity, meaning they don’t see themselves through the lens of one or two stereotypes. 

Instead, they experiment with different ways of expression and allow their identities to develop over time. This makes unisex messaging and products very appealing to them. 

The same study found that Gen Z is more racially diverse and inclusive than any other generation before them. 

Tap into where Gen Z gets their information

There’s no better place to reach Gen Z than social media. According to a recent study, most feel driven to socialize and stay informed via social media platforms.

They spend an average of three hours every day on their favorite social apps, making them the largest group of mobile commerce (or m-commerce) consumers. Generally, the most popular platforms for Gen Z are Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and Pinterest. 

Although Gen Z is aware of paid social, they aren’t afraid to be influenced. For example, the super-trendy #tiktokmademebuyit videos have a staggering 5.2 billion views. 

Produce creative, eye-catching visual content

If brands want to stand out on social media feeds, they need to customize content to Gen Z’s tastes. 

Studies have shown they prefer bite-sized, jam-packed multimedia messages and videos over static images. Posting short-form videos stuffed with stylish visuals is a guaranteed way to catch Gen Z’s attention.

Leverage gamification and interactive experiences

Gen Zers are serious gamers. A staggering 94% of this generation play games on various devices. They enjoy engaging with social media content by thinking, swiping, and tapping.

Including gamification elements into posts is an excellent way for brands to provide users with fun escapism while boosting their brand’s image. 

These elements include trivia quizzes, polls, rewards for user engagement, and social media scavenger hunts. Gamifying content is a surefire way to attract new customers and stay connected with existing ones. 

Understand the importance of influencers

A short video posted by a famous Instagram influencer can trigger hundreds of thousands of followers to buy everything from the sweater they wore to the chair they sat on. 

Gen Z considers social media influencers as more reliable than traditional celebrities. Not only are they dependent on these influencers for fashion and lifestyle inspiration, but they also trust their opinions. 

Purchasing a product vouched for by an influencer has never been easier. Personalized Amazon pages and Instagram closet accounts can be stocked with influencer favorites. 

Followers can now easily emulate their style with just a couple of taps. Partnering with influencers is a great way for businesses to reach a targeted section of this demographic.

lavender cake with Gen Z on top

Gen Z trusts word-of-mouth marketing more than previous generations. (Image via Pexels)

Showcase your brand’s beliefs and values

No other generation before Gen Z has shown such strong interest in consumer culture. Generation Zers are twice as likely as different generations to care about equality issues and three times as likely to believe a brand should serve their community and society. 

How eco-conscious and sustainable a company is truly matters to Gen Z and plays a big role in whether or not they will purchase from them. 

Around 50% of Gen Z have reported that helping the environment is important, while 61% are willing to pay more for ethically produced products. Brands shouldn’t be afraid to show off their sustainability efforts and any positive work they’ve done within their communities. 

Want to reach more Gen Z consumers? Let’s build an effective social media marketing campaign today.

Repurpose customer testimonials

Gen Z trusts word-of-mouth marketing more than previous generations. Because WOM is a significant factor in their decision-making, it can be super helpful for brands to promote positive customer testimonials. 

Not only will this build their brand’s rep, but it also provides social proof that strengthens their credibility with Gen Z.

Gen Zers want to feel heard. Always responding to positive and negative feedback is an excellent way for businesses to show their willingness to accept and listen to criticism. 

Develop a strong brand personality

To be unique is to be remembered. Gen Zers appreciate humanized brands they can talk to, joke around with, and build an emotional bond over time. 

Brands should aim to create a 3-D personality that fully aligns with this generation’s beliefs and values. 

Posting funny memes and sending out witty responses is a great way to catch Gen Z’s attention. However, staying on top of trends is crucial, as recycling outdated memes or posting out-of-touch content can seriously turn them off.

Make the shopping experience a breeze

As the first truly digital generation, Gen Z has high expectations for seamless m-commerce transactions. Being redirected out of an app or having to input financial information is disruptive to them. 

Businesses should invest in ways to make moving through the funnel as easy and distraction-free as possible. 

Offering third-party payment options, such as PayPal and pay-it-later services, allow shoppers to side-step entering their financial info, increasing the chance they’ll complete a purchase.

The takeaway

Now that Gen Z makes up a massive portion of the market, it’s never been more critical for businesses to reach them.

Connecting with Gen Z consumers comes down to understanding who they are, what they want, and how to grab their attention on social media. 

It may seem like a daunting task, but they’re far more open to trying new brands on social media than the generations before them. By leveraging the right social media marketing strategies, it’s easy to tap into this generation and its mighty e-commerce spending power.

Charlotte Soto

Charlotte Soto

    Charlotte is a lead digital strategist at HawkSEM. Through SEO, email, content, and managing website redesigns, she has helped drive digital strategy for several brands including Fortune 500 companies. In her free time, she enjoys binge-watching Netflix, spending time with family, and traveling.

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