How can marketers keep up with the always evolving and multi-media consuming Generation Z?
The social media game is changing, and fast. First, traditional marketing was spun on its head by the diverse and demanding Millennial generation. But now, we are dealing with a new beast. A generation that has never heard of the dial-up computer, cannot conceive of a world with landlines and answering machines, has no idea why Blockbuster ever existed. That’s right, we are talking about Generation Z.
But first, let’s cover the basics. The Generation Z consumer was most likely born between 1996 and 2015, they have a spending power of over $143 billion which includes influence over 90% of their parents’ buying decisions, and when they are done with you they are DONE.
But how do companies stay ahead of the curb with such a formidable foe nipping at their heels? Here are some strategies that might help you out.
1. Don’t Market, Persuade.
Research shows that Gen Z consumers have a low tolerance for brands that constantly promote themselves. Gen Z kids don’t want to feel like you are manipulating them, they want to feel like your communication is authentic and sincere. Transparency is key. How many of your posts are self-promoting? How many highlight aspects of your life or business? Gen Z will most likely want the latter, so focus on authenticity to reel in that $143 billion.
2. Focus on user-generated content
This ties in with authenticity. Say you have a business that attracts a lot of customers from out of town and they leave great reviews on Google. Use those reviews to your advantage. If Gen Z feels like your brand is trustworthy and authentic you’ve got their dollars in your hand.
3. Keep Up with the Jones’s
By posting curated content that might not necessarily tie in with your brand, you can show Gen Z consumers that you are ‘down with the kids’. Because you know what is relevant to them, they will appreciate reading your take on a trending topic. Plus, this strategy can help diversify your feed away from self-promotion and towards fun and fresh topics that peak Gen Z interest.
Gen Z consumers want brands that are not just trying to turn a profit but are making a difference in their communities. If you’ve ever heard of ‘cancel-culture’ you can be sure that it is not just a threat, it’s in practice. Gen Z is not the consumer that is willing to overlook your CEO’s multiple sexual harassment complaints; they will stop buying from your brand until they see a change. Only a few retailers are safe from ‘cancel-culture’ like Target, Wal-Mart, or Forever 21 but most likely your brand isn’t. Safeguard your brand from ‘cancel-culture’ by supporting local causes, especially ones that influence minority communities like LGBTQ+, black women in need, or even small businesses.
5. Don’t fake followers!
Buying followers in any form does not equate to engagement. The current Instagram algorithm favors engagement over followers. If you want to rank higher on the Gen Z radar, interact with them. Leave comments on their photos and respond when they react to yours. Gen Z will enjoy and value the interaction but will also be quick to call you out when they find out half your followers are from Vietnam when you are based in Dallas.
So remember, to bag that $143 billion Gen Z market, authenticity, interaction, and empathy are key.