In the past few years, Gen Z has emerged as an influential consumer group. They have a unique relationship with social media, which makes them a valuable market for brands and businesses.
Why is understanding Gen Z important for my business?
Gen Z uses social channels to shop online and offline, why this matters for your brand's social strategy, what types of content perform best on these platforms for Gen Zers (and why), where you should be engaging with Gen Zers online (i.e., what sites/apps should you be using), and finally how you can use those insights as part of a broader marketing strategy directed at Gen Zers (and other millennials).
Gen Z trusts social media more than older generations
You may be thinking: what does this mean for Gen Z? Well, it means a lot. Their trust in social media is higher than the trust they have for traditional media (TV, radio, print), the government and religious institutions — even banks.
Gen Z expects brands to be socially and politically conscious
Gen Z is more socially conscious than older generations, because they have grown up in a more diverse and connected world. They are also the most likely to be comfortable with fluid gender roles.
What does this mean for businesses? It means that brands need to be more socially and politically conscious in order to appeal to Gen Z.
Gen Z is more likely to boycott brands they dislike
Boycotting a brand means Gen Z will not purchase products or services from that company. In fact, Gen Z is more likely to boycott a brand than any other generation.
There are a few reasons why Gen Z might boycott a brand
-They don’t agree with the company’s values
-The company has been accused of unethical behaviour
-The company doesn’t support a cause they care about
-They don’t like the products or services the company offers
What can businesses do to avoid being boycotted by Gen Z?
The answer is simple: be authentic. Be transparent about your values and what you stand for as a company. Be ethical in your business practices. And finally, support causes that your Gen Z customers care about.
Gen Z is more likely to share their political views online
This trend started in the 2016 US presidential election, when Gen Z became more politically active on social media. And it’s only grown since then. In the past year, we’ve seen Gen Z use social media to voice their opinions on a variety of political and social issues.
What does this mean for businesses?
It means that brands need to be careful about the political and social issues they take a stand on. They need to make sure their values align with those of their Gen Z customers. Otherwise, they risk alienating a large portion of their customer base.
Gen Z is more likely to share their social causes online
These social causes can range from environmentalism to gender equality. And Gen Z is more likely to share their support for these causes on social media than any other generation.
What does this mean for businesses?
It means that brands need to be aware of the social causes their Gen Z customers care about. They need to make sure they are supporting these causes in some way. Otherwise, they risk being seen as out of touch with the values of their Gen Z customers.
TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram are the primary digital touchpoints for Gen Z
Most Gen Zers say they're using TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat as their primary digital touchpoints. TikTok has exploded in popularity, with over 1 billion active users, and provides unique opportunities to reach Gen Z consumers. The app allows users to create and share short videos, which can be up to 10 minutes long. It’s similar to Snapchat in many ways — one of the reasons it’s so popular with Gen Zers — but it has its own unique twist, their algorithm is recommendation based.
TikTok is a channel that provides unique opportunities to reach Gen Z consumers.
The platform is extremely popular among teens and young adults who use it as an outlet for creativity and expression. They can personalize their videos with filters, special effects, and music from TikTok's library of tracks. Users can also comment on other videos within the app; this encourages interaction between followers or friends who watch each other's content regularly.
Social media is in many ways an extension of the self for younger consumers, which makes it an incredibly powerful marketing channel
Social media is in many ways an extension of the self for younger consumers, which makes it an incredibly powerful marketing channel. Younger generations have grown up with social media and are used to communicating through it. They can find information about products and services they want, connect with others around that product or service, and even make purchases through social media.
What does this mean for businesses?
Ecommerce companies should start considering how young users of TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat can become their biggest customers down the road.
Social media is not the place you go to make a sale. It’s the place where you build trust with your customer, and then sell them things.
Read why Namecore is the Gen Z trend you need to know about for both niching AND community
Influencers have a significant impact on Gen Z consumers' brand preferences
Influencers are a reliable source of information for Gen Z consumers. This makes them a key tool for brands looking to reach this demographic. Influencers can help build trust and credibility in your brand, which is important for attracting Gen Z customers.
Create a connection
Gen Zers feel more connected to brands that have influencers on their team because they feel a sense of community and belonging when they see someone they follow working with a company or product they love.
Develop relationships with influencers
Influencer marketing is all about finding influential people in your industry who are relevant to your product/service/company and working with them to promote it in exchange for some sort of compensation (paid advertising isn't always necessary). The great advantage of using social media influencers is that their followers trust them more than they would a company's own advertisements or product descriptions. Influencers can help increase sales by creating content around your topic area (i.e., if they're into skincare or fashion).
Top Tip: Optimise your Product Descriptions
Optimising product descriptions means writing engaging copy that leverages key words so that when people search for those terms on Google, YouTube or Bing (or any other search engine), they'll find your website instead of competitors' websites first.
YouTube drives ecommerce sales more than social channels because it's not just a channel, but a search engine
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, and it’s not just any search engine—it’s one that delivers highly targeted content. YouTube videos are optimized to rank based on a variety of factors, including relevance and authority.
Digital marketing offers laser-like targeting
The ability to deliver highly targeted results means that brands can easily connect with customers looking for products or information related to their brand or industry. More importantly, you can build trust by connecting with real people who find value in your content. This is especially important when it comes to Gen Zers who have grown up using social media platforms like Snapchat and Instagram as the primary ways they interact with brands online.
Retail still plays a big role
Gen Zers prefer to discover new products via social media — but they still like to make purchases in-store at retail outlets (Hubspot, 2021). Retail stores provide a physical space to try on and test products before buying them.
Stores are also becoming more social media-friendly: many now have Wi-Fi available, so shoppers can share their in-store experiences online with friends and followers in real-time. Some stores even have dedicated spaces for taking photos and videos.
This trend is being followed by ecommerce sites, which are increasingly incorporating social media features into their platforms. For example, many now allow users to post reviews and photos of products they've purchased.
By doing so, they're making it easier for Gen Zers to find and purchase products that have been recommended by people they trust.
Digital media is the answer
The fact that Gen Z is the most diverse generation means there's no single way to reach them. And while older generations may be sceptical of social media, it's an important channel for this next generation of consumers. Brands should take advantage of these platforms by developing their own personalities through influencers and YouTube channels, as well as using them to drive ecommerce sales.
Interested to learn more?
Get in touch with the social media and ecommerce pros here, and we'll help with setting up your account, creating your content and managing the day to day traffic on all your social media accounts. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 07513 472371.