With COVID-19 limiting human contact, Gen Z is taking the world by storm… via internet. While born in the years 1995 to 2010, Gen Z has the spending power over $143 billion. Today, they represent the most racially and ethnically diverse generation to date.
You may be asking yourself, does Gen Z marketing matter for my business? And does it make a difference if your target audience is not Gen Z? While generation differences often lead to discussions, arguments, and disagreements, understanding Gen Z as their consumer and social media behaviors is important as it reflects changing times in the United States.
Here are the three biggest takeaways on how to fit in best with the “new kids” on the block:
1. Gen Z wants content that is authentic, genuine, and highly individualized to their needs.
Gen Z gravitates towards internet influencers, vloggers, and personalities because of their relatability. Incidents like Hillary Clinton’s five swipes to get into the NYC subway (2016) and Bill Gates guessing a bag of Totino’s Pizza Rolls to be $22 (2018) leave us scratching our heads, feeling awkward and distant.
Some celebrities have taken note of this, using their social media to discuss challenges with mental health, relationships, and social justice. Singer and actress, Selena Gomez uses her Instagram for personal reflections, no makeup looks, and insights to her everyday life. During the height of George Floyd protests, she invited notable black activists to do Instagram takeovers. Her newest HBO show, Selena + Chef invites viewers into her kitchen and learns with her from master chefs. They, too, get to enjoy and relish in her normalcy (burned food, spilled mishaps, etc).
As such, the barrier between fame and everyday people is less prevalent. With these videos and photos presented primarily on social media platforms, users connect with others on personal levels.
Authentic Branding Tips for Small Businesses:
- Share insider tricks and tips! In your social media, feel free to let users into your kitchen, meet the chef, introduce your trade, and meet your employees! The more intimate your space feels, the more people can participate in your work!
- Themes ranging from self-improvement to Candyland can help users feel familiar with your business. They are all uplifting and positive. They also encourage an aesthetic and message that make this experience fun, yet cohesive.
2. In an era where information is so accessible, Gen Z is more capable and familiar with connecting to people around the world at early ages.
Gen Z was born into an age of instantaneous networking and connecting. Many take to online platforms to make a name for themselves. Especially when students are surrounded by peers and numerous outside influences, Gen Z uses social media as an escape, often portraying a particular lifestyle to match a personal brand they’ve created for themselves. Often, this includes highlighting their own individuality.
In addition, they are taking to social media platforms to learn and master new skills. One platform that has re-imagined learning techniques is TikTok. With 15 second videos, users can string up to four videos (one minutes) to create a memorable video. While Gen Z makes up 41% of users on the app, different creatives have taken advantage of this platform as well – including Bill Nye the Science Guy who creates and explains his projects in 30-60 seconds. Other teachers use their TikTok accounts to connect with students and enhance learning techniques (Q+As, songs, dances, positive messages, DIY hacks, etc). The collaboration amongst intergenerational groups and skill levels make for diverse content within the platform.
Creative Tips to Stand Out from the Rest:
- Instagrammable spots are currently very trendy. If you have an awesome decoration, wall, or sign that you think is picturesque, you can use that to attract selfies and food pictures!
- Storytelling is key. Keeping every piece of content concise and purposeful will ensure that user attention does not drift.
- Be creative in your marketing strategy! People enjoy “new” content and strategies – think outside the box and get excited! The more you’re passionate you are about your campaigns, the more it will radiate from your work.
3. They are informed, smart consumers.
With their phones always in hand, Gen Z is most likely to base a restaurant selection or store recommendation on reviews. Google, Yelp, Doordash, any review is important. Swipe after swipe, they look through pictures of food, drinks, menu selections, and bundles of reviews before making informed decisions. They are no stranger to research. Gen Z is not shy to rate and comment on places they do not feel have given them quality service and products. Making sure that one’s business information and reviews are not only accurate and positive, but transparent.
For larger companies, 68% of Gen Z expects brands to contribute to society and will put their money where their values are. Major brands like Dove have lobbied and campaigned around “Real Beauty,” using their products and visibility to uplift self confidence (2004). Likewise, Aerie’s #AerieReal worked to eliminate the advertisement practice of airbrushing (2016). Today, the brand ambassadors (otherwise called “Role Models”) include women of different bodies, backgrounds, and disabilities. As such, these campaigns contrast drastically to previous leading brands like Victoria’s Secret who have kept to their previously winning formula. In January 2020, the company reported a 12% drop from holiday sales.
Social Media Monitoring Tips to Stay Relevant and Aware:
- Always respond to reviews! Customers like responsive service.
- With good reviews, thank the customer for coming and invite them to visit again!
- When there are bad reviews, respond to them as graciously as you can. Apologize, offer a discount, reimbursement, or even a survey response so that you can better your own services!
Change is no surprise for any generation. With Gen Z changing the landscape for marketing strategies and consumer behaviors, it’s important to see how these tips and tricks apply to your business. Millennials have already gotten on board and have adjusted quickly to responsive and socially aware campaigns. It’s only a matter of time before Gen Z grows to become your target market.
Still worried? My Pocket Partner wants to make it easier for you by taking on your workload so you can get back to growing your business. If you have more questions on what we can help your business, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for customized solutions.
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