December 6, 2021

Gen Z don’t hate you as much as you think

It’s always Gen Z vs everyone else, but why?
Danielle Dullaghan
Danielle Dullaghan

Social Media Strategist

When it comes to creating branded content and campaigns – there’s a noticeable growing generational divide. While marketing teams are typically made up of millennials, Gen Z doesn’t use social in the ways we might expect.

In this article, we’ll provide some essential tips for catching the attention of informed, socially engaged Gen Z users.

#1. Authenticity first

If there is any generation that appreciates transparency, it’s Gen Z. Trust is rooted in their values.

Gen Z want transparency when it comes to the quality of your product but they also want to know where you and your brand stand on the societal issues that shape their world and define their future. If they detect a lack of authenticity in your commitment to confronting those issues, they won’t hesitate to take their money elsewhere – Gen Z are clever, if they detect a lack of authenticity then you’ll need to repair your relationship with them.

“I would never, ever, buy from a brand that tests on animals and it’s surprising how many secretly still do and think they won’t be found out”

Caitlin, age 17
#2. Ditch the traditional celebrity

Gone are the days of impactful Hollywood endorsements from movie stars. For the most impactful “celebrity” campaigns in 2021? Use transparent content creators.

Approachable, inventive YouTube and TikTok content creators are the best possible advocates for your brand and the relationships they build with their followers can add real value to your marketing strategy. Brave Bison’s influencer campaign with VOXI is just one example of how impactful this can be.

#3. Pick the right platform

It isn’t just consumer behaviours that set Gen Z apart from the generations that went before. These lifelong digital natives use social media in a specific way, and that requires specific strategies.

Like Millennials, Gen Z tend to be online throughout the day and make heavy use of social media, especially on their phones. One factor that’s very different, however, is the role of video content. The most popular social media platform for this generation is not Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, but YouTube. In fact, it’s estimated that YouTube will drive 82% of total internet traffic by 2022. That’s another major reason to get influencers involved in your social media campaigns.

It’s important not to overlook the traffic that can’t be traced by web analytics. Safety concerns and a desire for privacy have driven Gen Z to make more and more use of “dark socials”, such as messenger services i.e Snapchat.

 “99% of the time I’m on my Snap. I only post on my main TikTok or Insta account when I’ve got a decent video to share”

Sam, age 14

Making your content easy to share on private channels – i.e, with branded GIFs – is one way to ensure you’re reaching the dark social accounts that paid ads can’t get to. While you won’t be able to know the precise extent of your content’s reach, you’ll be inserting your brand in front of Gen Z in a subtle and an organic way.

#4. Don’t sell yourself short

Gen Z love short visual content like GIFs and TikTok videos, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. A quick look at the most popular videos on YouTube is enough to prove otherwise. Creator video channels with longer content attract, and retain, a large and loyal following among younger viewers. You’ll be inserting your brand in front of Gen Z in a subtle way.

“I do love a movie or a Netflix show. But on social media, I think short-form content works best.”

Harrison, age 15 (@harrisonpresenter)
Bridging the generational divide

Authenticity, relatability and the right choice of platform will earn you far more respect with Gen Z than harsh cold, selling.

Aim to offer Gen Z something they can’t quite find elsewhere: helpful video tutorials, high-quality entertainment or a sense of community. By creating powerful, relatable content you’ll be able to build relationships that will last well beyond the duration of a single digital marketing campaign.

So with transparency, engaging content and the right platforms you can walk brand in hand with Gen Z.

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