Born after 1996, Gen-Z users are technology savants who use social media to get entertainment, find inspiration, and make their voices heard. Members of this group are fans of TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat, and these four platforms are fighting for the lead with regard to Gen-Z user numbers.
If you are looking to reach your target audience on one of these platforms, it’s important to understand which platforms they prefer, why they prefer them, and what motivates them to buy from one brand and not another.
Read the rest of this article to discover the answers to all these and other questions, as well as some of the best practices marketers can use to reach Gen-Z on the social media networks they are most often using.
Table of Contents:
- How to Reach Gen-Z on TikTok
- How to Reach Gen-Z on Snapchat
- How to Reach Gen-Z on Instagram
- How to Reach Gen-Z on YouTube
How to Reach Gen-Z on TikTok
Many experts consider TikTok to be the most direct marketing path to reach Gen-Z. The popular video app has become the primary tool for reaching younger consumers.
Recent statistics show that by the end of 2021, there will be over 37.3 million Gen-Z users on TikTok, a number that surpasses Instagram by over 4 million.
The same study also reveals that by 2023, TikTok will surpass Snapchat in total US users, as evidenced by the graph below:
Formerly Musical.ly, TikTok has extremely strong engagement among Gen Z, and the members of this generation use the platform not only for entertainment, but also to increase their knowledge about weightier issues like politics, climate change, news, and much more.
Although a lot of other platforms also offer the same type of content, TikTok’s aesthetic and unique video style make the social site more appealing to young people.
- The platform is less polished than Instagram and more public than Snapchat.
- Unlike YouTube and Facebook, TikTok users tend to not only consume content but also post their own videos.
- And unlike LinkedIn, the majority of content on this platform is mostly for entertainment, as opposed to information and education.
A recent study from IRI shows that women in the US aged 17 to 23 use TikTok videos as their primary source for learning about new products – a source that is only surpassed by recommendations from family and friends.
Through dozens of conversations with Gen-Zers, TikTok was commonly mentioned as being the first place where they noticed new products. The platform’s appeal is highly aligned with this generation’s overall desire for more authentic, organic content as opposed to “manufactured” engagement. This is why many brands are diving into TikTok marketing head first.
Best Practices to Reach Gen-Z on TikTok
1. Celebrate Diversity
Gen-Z is the most ethnically and racially diverse generation yet. The members of this generation want to be understood, and not defined.
Many of the individuals belong to minority groups. For instance, one out of six adult Gen-Zers identify as part of the LGBT community, and 48% are non-white.
They want brands that care about the issues affecting them, and they want to feel represented in various advertising media.
So, if you want to connect with your Gen-Z audience and grow your online presence, make sure you champion their diversity in your campaigns and also ensure diversity in development and production.
Think about it from every angle, including the people who are in front of the camera, as well as those who are behind it. Think about who is scripting it, and who will see it, and everyone in between.
2. Move Away from Labels
When marketing to this influential generation, it’s important to move away from labels and focus more on the future of data.
Although nearly half of this generation isn’t even old enough to drive a car, they are certainly driving finance, marketing and sales strategies across the world.
Brands that want to build loyalty among this generation must understand the challenge they face in marketing to an audience whose digital prowess allows them to constantly experiment and discover, and who value their freedom to continually reinvent themselves.
3. Sell a Lifestyle
On TikTok, Generation Z users don’t respond to hard selling. This is a group of users who know the internet inside and out, which means they are less likely to be fooled by gimmicks.
So far, companies have focused their marketing messages on providing the benefits of their products and services, but this isn’t the message that Gen-Zers will respond to.
What marketers should do instead is to focus on showcasing how their products or services will improve the customer’s lifestyle and experiences.
Messaging should specifically highlight gaps in different aspects of the customer’s life and then describe exactly what they can use to address that need.
By offering your product as the missing solution, you make it a lot more likely that you’ll get Gen-Z users to take the desired action, such as:
- Joining your list to learn more
- Signing up for a free trial/demo/sample of your product or service
- Making a purchase, etc.
How to Reach Gen-Z on Snapchat
Snapchat is all about “being in the moment“. Content on the social platform disappears after just 24 hours, which means that users are there for raw and real content as opposed to the highly curated content that you’ll find on Instagram, Facebook, and other social platforms.
With over 293 million daily active users, 60% of whom are Gen-Z members, Snapchat is holding firm to its lead as the most preferred texting platform for teens.
Snapchat currently has the lead in terms of usage numbers from the Gen Zers. However, as you can see from the image above, the platform faces serious competition from TikTok, whose numbers from this particular demographic continue to climb at a phenomenal pace.
It’s worth understanding how you can make the most of Snapchat to reach your target audience, and in that spirit, here are a few of the most powerful best practices to follow.
Best Practices to Reach Gen-Z on Snapchat
1. Provide a Personalized Experience
One sure way to get your audience’s attention on YouTube is to personalize the content you provide.
Gen-Z users are used to the kind of deep personalization that technology provides these days. They want to be able to customize, try, and influence the products or services they buy.
If you want to capture and hold their attention and loyalty, give them an opportunity to engage with your brand and allow them to contribute to future developments.
When serving Gen-Z, you should also prioritize effective customer service, as well as a reliable mobile experience.
2. Engage Frequently
In order to engage well on this platform, you must engage frequently. This will help make your communication with this generation more effective.
Keep in mind that this group of users grew up with emerging technology. They were plugged into it from birth, and have never known a time without social media, iPhones, or an instant connection through the internet.
Some experts believe that this is one of the reasons why this generation is constantly immersed in social media, with about 44% of Gen-Z using social media hourly.
3. Use Gamification
Games are a massive draw for young audiences, and by using gamification as part of your marketing strategy on Snapchat, you will be able to effectively reach your target segment.
There are many different gamification models that you can incorporate into your social media marketing campaigns as a way to encourage more young followers to engage with your brand.
For instance, Snapchat has AR (augmented reality) filters that are interactive and fun. These also have the potential for going viral, which makes them ideal for use by marketers.
Your gamification strategy might also include social media contests to encourage participation from followers.
Contests don’t require a lot of investment in money or time and are a great area to look into if you want an easy way to boost engagement from younger demographics.
Just keep in mind that this group views technology differently than millennials do, and they tend to be more private, preferring to post their content on platforms where the content only lasts a set period of time.
This is one of the main reasons why these digital natives find Snapchat so appealing.
How to Reach Gen-Z on Instagram
65% of Gen-Z is active on Instagram.
This survey conducted by Likeable.com shows that Gen-Z respondents mentioned Instagram as being their most used social media platform.
The reason behind it was that the social media site made it so they didn’t have to use any other platforms if they didn’t want to since most of the popular posts from the other platforms show up on their Instagram timeline or Explore page.
For the most part, Gen-Zers use this social site to follow celebrities and accounts that discuss topics that are of interest to them.
With the amount of time this generation spends on Instagram, it makes sense that you should focus on finding new ways to engage them and increase the effectiveness of your communication on this social site.
Best Practices for Reaching Gen-Z on Instagram
1. Partner with Influencers
Gen-Z users trust social media influencers a lot more than they do traditional celebrities. A recent study shows that 56% of Gen-Z and millennials have made a purchase of a product or service after seeing a post about it from someone they follow.
On a platform like Instagram, you can target popular influencers as part of your strategy to achieve a much wider reach.
Just make sure that you find Instagram influencers and choose to partner with the ones that your Gen-Z audience can relate to in order to help you build trust.
2. Well-Curated Account
Millennials are digitally fluent, but Gen Zers are digital natives. For them, understanding social platforms and using technology comes naturally and is extremely intuitive.
This group also just expects technology to work. This means, for instance, that if a social media post isn’t easy to consume, they will quickly move on and look for the information they need elsewhere.
This generation likes to follow accounts that are well-curated and put together in a cohesive way. Even their own feeds are highly curated, and they will quickly delete any photos they post if they think it takes away from the overall look and feel they are going for.
3. Quality over Quantity
Another way for you to reach your Gen-Z audience on the platform is to focus your strategy on more quality than quantity.
If you constantly post new photos in your feed (more than once each day), a lot of people will start tuning you out and stop following.
While making sure you update your Instagram feed regularly, you need to make sure you’re only posting high-quality photos that your fans want to engage with. One of the best ways to do this is to use graphic design programs to watermark your images, add effects, remove blurriness, crop for visibility, and otherwise optimize the image for your audience.
You can use other features of Instagram, such as stories, to allow you to share more of your content without going overboard.
You can also experiment with any new features released in order to figure out how to leverage them for your marketing strategy.
Additionally, you want to make sure you connect with your target audience by using a variety of posts, stories, live videos, and IGTV (you can post longer videos to your story or IGTV section of your Instagram profile).
4. Leverage Visuals
This platform is known for its exceptional photos and videos, which is where the term “Instagram-worthy” sprang from.
In order to reach more Gen-Z users on this site, you must post images and graphics of the same theme and color scheme to create a feed that stands out and entices Gen-Zers to follow your brand.
This collection of images on your profile should be well lit and graphics shouldn’t be overcrowded with too many different colors, fonts, or excessive text.
Make sure to include captions for your pictures that are longer than a few words so you can communicate value and share a clearer message on how you can help your audience.
In fact, this area is a great way to include tips and tricks, as well as advice on topics that your clients commonly ask about.
How to Reach Gen-Z on YouTube
YouTube draws engagement in all age demographics. However, the majority of users don’t use the platform for discovering new products, as they do on platforms like Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram.
However, the video-sharing site does hold a lot of potential for helping you get your brand in front of your Gen-Z audience, particularly the older half of that generation.
Until now, your main audience may have been made up of millennials, but like everyone else, millennials are aging, with older ones well into their 30s now.
If you want to focus on a newer and more active audience on YouTube, you must turn your attention to Generation Z, and here’s how you attract their attention.
Best Practices to Reach Gen-Z on YouTube
1. Keep it Real
With Gen-Zers, you have to keep it real or you’ll suffer the consequences. This generation values authenticity and transparency above all else. They’re tech-savvy and discerning, which means they’ll quickly spot misinformation.
Gen-Z isn’t fooled easily, and if you want to connect with this segment of your audience, you must avoid being all talk and no action.
To gain their trust, you need to be open about your purpose and make sure your behavior respects the world around you.
This particular segment of the population is very quick to switch to alternative brands if they don’t feel that you’re practicing what you preach, but if you follow through on your promises then you’ll be well on your way to securing the loyalty and love of your Gen-Z audience.
2. Personalization Is Key
As a marketer, you know the importance of personalization in any marketing strategy. You should incorporate it in your YouTube marketing strategy to help you connect with more users from the Z Generation.
Of course, personalization is easier on some marketing channels than on others. For instance, in email marketing, you can include the names of your subscribers, as well as details pertaining to them and their previous dealings with your company in the email copy and subject line.
But, on social media, personalizing the copy for the receiver isn’t as easy. However, you can still tailor social media advertisements and posts toward different segments of your audience, and those within the Gen-Z market.
Keep in mind that although the term “Generation Z” is a label for a set demographic, it doesn’t mean that this group is homogenous.
In other words, these customers can have their own different interests, likes, dislikes, etc., which means that their relationship with the brand will be unique. This is something to consider when creating and sharing content on YouTube.
One way to create content that feels personal while adding something original to your digital marketing mix is to transform podcasts into YouTube videos. If you and the other people in the podcast are all in the same room, you can simply record a podcast with everyone present.
Remote video podcasts can also be created by having each person on the podcast use screen recording or host a webinar. One benefit here is that you can also release the audio-only podcast, which is great for listeners on-the-go, while also including the recorded video where viewers can see everyone involved and feel that personal connection that sometimes gets lost with audio alone.
3. Keep Videos Short and to the Point
On YouTube, you can have videos of any length, depending on your audience and their needs. However, when focused on reaching Gen-Z users, it’s important to make your videos long enough to be comprehensive, but not so long that viewers will start to drop off.
Also, caption your videos to make your information more accessible to a wider audience. Keep in mind that you are dealing with a younger audience with shorter attention spans so make sure you only share one key message in each video.
Whether you are creating product demo videos, how-to guides, explainer videos, or content with entertainment value, keep it short and concise to maintain engagement among this demographic.
4. Host Online Courses
A way to really engage Gen Z is to create online or purchase PLR courses and optimize them for your brand. You have to make sure whatever it is your teaching is something Gen Z will enjoy learning, but that shouldn’t be hard.
Because Gen Z is such a diverse generation, online courses are a great way to help you identify and reach a more specific target audience. While it would be nice to reach the millions of Gen Zers with the same marketing strategy and content, that’s just not reasonable.
Isolating the interests, behaviors, trends, and other relevant factors among specific portions of Gen Z will help you to isolate target audiences, create online courses for them, and help you to develop a more dedicated following than if you just tried to reach all of Gen Z in a generic way.
Gen-Z is a technologically fluent generation that keeps up with all the latest advancements. But, although this generation is unique, it isn’t difficult to understand.
I hope this article has given you a better understanding of the generational POVs and how you can use the different platforms discussed in this article to help you reach Gen-Z in a more effective way.