While the rest of us were sanitizing our groceries, Gen Z wiggled its way into the workforce and our culture, making their impact and spending power that much more real. Not only are they smart and technologically savvy, but they value social responsibility more than their predecessors – putting a new pressure on brands. In order to create marketing content that’s relevant and meaningful to this newly emerging audience, we’ll uncover how Gen Z responds to media, how their entrepreneurial behavior motivates them, and how you can incorporate some of their values into your social media marketing strategy.
Born between 1995 and 2009, Gen Z has a collective spending power of approximately $150 billion, which showcases a growing opportunity for businesses to understand their consumer behavior.
Gen Z is driven and motivated by social good. In fact, more than half Gen Z members even evaluate organizations based on their vision and moral standards before buying anything from that brand.
What is more, 97% of Gen Z members look to social media not only for shopping inspiration but also to create awareness for social issues.
To connect with this demographic, brands need to identify values that align with their mission and showcase their dedication towards social good – especially issues such as hunger, sustainability, and climate change.
Gen Z members tend to be more independent – they like to do research and dig deep into problems they care about, products they’re interested in, finding creative solutions to many of their problems. For example, the viral TikTok tile table. A group of Gen Z users made dupes of a popular piece of furniture and shared it online. They were able to achieve the look without breaking the bank. Their digital savviness makes them the ideal, informed customer. This mobile-first generation doesn’t remember a time without smartphones, and can often see through gimmicks of the past. Beyond research and focus groups, marketers now also have to consume more digital content to understand this prominent demographic.
What also sets Gen Z apart for a marketer is that they often blend their online and real-life communities together so creating unique in-person experiences isn’t going to necessarily set you apart from other brands who are actively launching more experiential marketing efforts. Brands will have to rethink the way they consume and create content to understand the Gen Z mindset and think creatively as far as social media goes. Larger brands are reducing the time towards adoption and hiring younger creatives to directly reach the target audience. For example, Duolingo became viral on TikTok overnight, and it’s all due to one Gen Z social media coordinator, Zaria Parvez. She really leaned into Gen Z culture and created a mascot that thrives on Gen Z memes and popular events happening in pop culture. To learn more about Duolingo’s success, view or attend our digital event series, PLANOLY Presents: Reels Resolutions where Zaria Parvez shares her top tips and tricks for brands to create meaningful communities online.
Gen Z values authenticity, integrity, and a strong work ethic more than social status or perception. They strive to show individuality in the way they dress and push for open conversations. The way they approach the conversation is a lot like how they approach any content they consume. If they believe a brand needs to speak on a matter or be more transparent, then they have no problem calling them out online and in public. This behavior is part of the reason for the growing trend in brands becoming more human. No comments are deleted and there’s an expectation that brands and businesses communicate frequently through direct messages. Some companies even leverage their executive-level employees to build a stronger persona behind that brand.
Gen Z business owners use social media to generate revenue in many ways, whether that be creators posting sponsored content or brand owners driving sales. Part of how they do this is by building a personal connection with their audience on social media. That means showing their faces on Instagram Stories, keeping an open dialogue, and creating lots of behind-the-scenes video content.
Some Millennial business owners are slow to join the Reels party, as putting your face out there on social media isn’t as comfortable for older generations as it is for those who grew up posting to Music.ly and TikTok on the daily.
Luckily, hiring Gen Zers can transform the way you market your business. Take advantage of their tech skills and willingness to share on social media to create content that captures a Gen Z audience and keeps your business relevant. It’s always important to adapt as times change, and younger hires are invaluable resources for this purpose and many more.