Brands are continually building their social media presence in order to connect with audiences, especially younger ones.
Social media has become an indispensable part of Gen Z life, making it the perfect platform for brands to reach this demographic. However, it’s not as easy as jumping on an app and posting content.
This generation is hyper-exposed to social media and can sense when brand content is outdated, out of touch, dishonest, or overdone. Another important factor is deciding on the right social channel to use, which determines whether Gen Z will see it or even interact with it.
Here are some thoughts from Gen Z on the best ways to reach our cohort on different social media channels:
For a generation put off by overly obvious marketing, TikTok is the perfect platform. This app’s algorithm creates a “For You Page” that creates a stream of videos that cater to all of your individual interests. Not only does this make the app addictive, but it also forces the majority of this age group to download it, with 60% of all TikTok users being Gen Z. If someone recommends a product they have bought and liked in a video, it is almost impossible. resist the temptation to go buy it due to the personal nature of the interaction. Instead of it posing as a company offering a product, it’s someone you identify with telling you why you should buy it – most likely something you’d like due to the specificity of the algorithm . The algorithm also facilitates virality on TikTok, causing the products to sell 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 is the go-to app for Gen Z to share and consume 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 feed or image board. Gen Z are very active on the app as it allows them to see what both their entourage and their favorite celebrities are up to. 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 appeals to its audience. These influencers accumulate millions of followers who are fans of them and their lifestyle. So when they recommend anything, the audience will likely listen. A good example of this is the fashion industry, where paid Instagram influencers act as localized models for brands. This creates an extra level of connection between the brand and the customer, as an influencer is more approachable, interesting and enjoyable 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, allowing content to be easily distributed in group chats.
Twitter is an interesting platform for Gen Z users. Despite not having their own Twitter account or posting on the platform at all, many Gen Zers see “ streaming content” on other social media sites that link to Twitter posts and accounts. Articles, memes, screenshots and announcements posted on Twitter are often broadcast on other platforms with 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 platform’s style of content. So content posted on Twitter can reach a Gen Z audience if done right. A unique method of attracting Gen Z to Twitter is the personality cult route. Brands such as Wendy’s, Denny’s and Ruffles are attracting broad youth engagement by creating a cult following around their social media posts.
Advertising on LinkedIn may 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 for connecting with an older age group from Gen X to mid-millennials, who make up the majority of social media users in the professional space. For this generation, LinkedIn is primarily used as a marketing tool for self-branding. This is the space where you publish all your achievements to make yourself 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 dishonest due to LinkedIn’s connection to the corporate world. It’s also important to note that few Gen Zers actively scroll or browse content on LinkedIn, so it would be easy for content to be missed, ignored, or deemed irrelevant.
If a company’s goal is to target a younger audience, Facebook is not the platform. It’s barely used by Gen Z, and when it’s 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, scrolls through their Facebook feed because the content has appeal to older generations. Another problem with Facebook marketing is that it’s too direct. Ads in the app simply showcase a product that you can click to purchase. That’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 United States.