It’s likely that nobody with any experience in marketing needs to be told what a groundbreaking platform social media is. Never before in marketing history has there been a platform so universal, so spread across national and cultural borders, so slickly and easily accessible, and so relentlessly current and up-to-the-minute.
But it is likely that even those with extensive experience in social media marketing do occasionally need to be reminded that it’s all very different when marketing to Generation Z on this platform. Theirs is a generation that was born right into the age of the internet. For them, social media isn’t just a daily habit; it’s something that’s been a feature of their lives from the moment they were old enough to use it. Most Gen Zers can barely conceive of a world without social media; but this also means that they’re a lot wiser to the many marketing tricks and tactics that have grown big on the platform.
In other words, social media marketing to Gen Z needs to be approached carefully if it’s to be at all effective. And here, we’ve gathered a few major pointers to be mindful of.
The Influence of Influencers
Like so many generations before them, Generation Z tends to have a little more faith in a product or brand when they’ve heard it recommended by someone they already have a pre-established trust in.
And in the age of social media influencers, this has never been easier. You hardly need to be backed by some billion-dollar name like Drake or Taylor Swift; there’s always some new and upcoming Instagram icon or YouTube star who’s getting big among the youth, but who is still willing to do brand collaborations at a reasonable rate. And not only does this give your brand the backing of a trusted name; it also gives it a face and a personality. Nothing is more frightening or off-putting to the average Gen Zer than a faceless corporation.
The internet age has made it increasingly easy to discern the personal tastes, wants and needs of individual customers; and as a result, this has become something of an expectation among Generation Z. In their 2016 analysis, Google reported that 26% of Generation Z expect to be offered a personalized shopping experience based on their habits and preferences. Marketing that treats the viewer as an individual, with individual interests, is far more likely to make an impact than the generalized, impersonal approach that Gen X or the baby boomers would be more used to.
Of course, having grown up on social media, Generation Z is also increasingly cautious about making too much of their personal information easily accessible. It’s one of the many challenges of marketing to the social media generation, and it’s one of the many reasons why marketers nowadays need to be more creative than ever.
As far as marketers are concerned, perhaps one of the greatest blessings of the social media platform is how it can provide immediate insight into how your target market react to the marketing – information which, usually, they are more than happy to offer up directly.
A 2017 report by Accenture showed that nearly half of Gen Z shoppers offer frequent feedback on their experiences. In other words, as long as you provide the means by which your Gen Z target audience can react to your social-media-based marketing (a comment section, a poll, or suchlike), you are pretty much guaranteed direct feedback on how effective your marketing has been.
Though that said, you will have something of an obligation to ensure that your brand reacts to this feedback by visibly taking it into account. Gen Z doesn’t tend to hold a brand in high regard if it doesn’t seem to be willing to engage in some degree of two-way conversation.