Social media marketing through the prism of Generation Z

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Brands are continually increasing their presence on social networks in order to connect with audiences, especially younger ones.

Social media has become an indispensable part of Gen Z’s life, making it the perfect platform for brands to reach this demographic. However, it’s not as easy as hopping on an app and posting some content.

This generation is hyper-exposed to social media and can sense when branded content is outdated, disconnected, dishonest, or trying too hard. Another important factor is deciding on the right social channel to use, which determines whether Gen Z will see it or interact with it.

Here are some thoughts from Gen Z on the best ways to reach our cohort on different social media channels:

TIC Tac
For a generation put off by too obvious marketing, TikTok is the perfect platform. This app’s algorithm creates a “For You” page that creates a stream of videos catering to all of your individual interests. Not only does this make the app addictive, but it also leads a majority of this age group to download it, with 60% of all TikTok users being Gen Z. If anyone recommends a product they have bought and liked in a video, it’s almost impossible to resist the temptation to go buy it due to the personal nature of the interaction. Instead of coming in as a company with a product, it’s someone you relate to to tell you why you should buy it – probably something you would like due to the specificity of the algorithm. The algorithm also makes it easy to go viral on TikTok, causing the products to be sold immediately. A perfect example is Aerie’s crossover leggings, which sold out for months after a video of them went viral. The #AerieLeggings hashtag has over 12 million views on TikTok.

Instagram
Instagram is Generation Z’s go-to app for sharing and consuming content. The app’s format, which is designed to share photos with captions, allows users to share photos that express who they are through an aesthetic stream or an array of images. Generation Z is very active on the application because it allows them to see what both their entourage and their favorite celebrities are doing. The presence of “social media influencers” is very present on this application. These influencers post sponsored content in a way that matches the best way to market to Gen Z. The influencer will post a photo with the product or service they are marketing in a way that matches their personal brand. so that it pleases its audience. These influencers accumulate millions of followers who are fans of them and their lifestyle. So when they recommend something, the audience will probably listen. A good example is the fashion industry, where paid Instagram influencers act as localized models for brands. This creates an additional level of connection between the brand and the customer, as an influencer is more accessible, interesting and likeable than an anonymous model. Instagram’s new reels feature is also exploding online, seeking to mimic aspects of TikTok’s “For-You-Page” through similar algorithmic functions. The presence of Instagram DM group chats is also widespread in the app, making it easy to distribute the content in group chats.

Twitter
Twitter is an interesting platform for Gen Z users. While they may not have their own Twitter account or post on the platform at all, many Gen Z members see “broadcast content” on other social media sites that link to posts and Twitter accounts. Articles, memes, screenshots and ads posted on Twitter are often shown on other platforms with a much higher frequency compared to its competitors. On Instagram, you’re much more likely to see a Twitter screenshot than Facebook, LinkedIn, or Reddit, perhaps due to the small content style on the platform. So, content posted on Twitter can reach a Gen Z audience if done right. One unique method of attracting Generation Z to Twitter is the Personality Cult route. Brands such as Wendy’s, Denny’s and Ruffles are attracting wide engagement from young people by creating a personality cult around their social media posts.

LinkedIn
Advertising on LinkedIn can reach a Gen Z audience, but this cohort is unlikely to interact with branded content on this platform. LinkedIn may be one of the best platforms to connect with an older, mid-millennial generation X age group, which makes up the majority of social media users in the business space. For this generation, LinkedIn is primarily used as a marketing tool for self-branding. This is the space where you publish all your accomplishments to make yourself appear desirable to future employers and interact with others to develop your network. Some Gen Z users may even associate branded content on LinkedIn as fake or spurious due to the connection between LinkedIn and the corporate world. It’s also important to note that not many Gen Z people are actively browsing or browsing content on LinkedIn, so it would be easy for the content to be missed, ignored, or deemed irrelevant.

Facebook
If the goal of a business is to target a younger audience, Facebook is not the platform. It’s barely used by Gen Z, and when used, it’s for sharing content with the older generation or joining a Facebook group. For example, if you post a photo on Facebook, it’s because you want your parents and loved ones to see it. A person in this age group rarely, if ever, browses their Facebook feed because the content has an appeal to older generations. Another problem with Facebook marketing is that it is too direct. Ads in the app show only one product that you can click to buy. It’s not a good incentive to buy something for a generation that buys things based on trends or recommendations from people they trust, like influencers.

This story first appeared on PRWeek US.


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