• Elana Joelle Hendler

Getting Social with Generation Z

Gen Z wantGen Z want intimate, authentic connections via Instagram and SnapChat.
Unlike Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y, Generation Z is growing up with technology in their hands literally from day one. There’s no technology learning curve, and social media is a natural, effortless and seamlessly integrated part of how this generation functions in everyday life.

The youngest of Gen Z can intuitively unlock your iPhone before they can speak, but the oldest of this generation are highly connected teenagers with a very real and growing buying power. If you have a store or product that trends younger and you want to explore new territory on the social media front, you’re going to have to think past Facebook and beyond the laptop; you’re going to have to play with this younger generation on their social turf.

Remember, Gen Z has grown up with cellphones, iPads, iPods, laptops and smart TVs. They use them interchangeably and in new ways that surpass even Millennials. Also, they use technology very differently than you do.

A teenager is more likely to discover a new product from a YouTube video tutorial she’s watching on her iPad or smart TV than from your Facebook posts you assume she’ll see on her laptop while browsing.

Gen Z uses YouTube instinctively as a search engine the way the rest of us use Google. So, if Gen Z is your target, send product samples to a Gen Z blogger on YouTube for review or post a video with the right tags.

Do the same on Instagram. Send samples to influencers. Post your own visually enticing content with your products using relevant hashtags. Try different points of view and post often. Take note of the results, stick to what elicits engagement and leave the rest. Instagram marketers beware: steer clear of sponsored posts, at least for now. Millennials and Generation Z generally do not appreciate paid advertising on their Instagram feed, and the jury is still out on the effectiveness of this new stream of paid social marketing.

Lastly, connect with Gen Z by showing them who you really are. Transparency creates loyalty with this crowd in particular and the most relevant way you can do this is on SnapChat. Essentially, SnapChat allows you to give consumers a quick insight into what you’re doing and who you are in quick images and videos with 10 seconds of viewing time before quickly disappearing. It requires little effort or editing and authenticity is rewarded. If you’re serious about targeting Generation Z, it would be worthwhile to read up on the power of SnapChat.

Facebook is just not where it’s at for Gen Z. In fact, many of them are actively deleting their profiles, interested in the more intimate and authentic connections they can create using Instagram and SnapChat. If they are using Facebook, it’s more like how the rest of us use LinkedIn. Since most of Gen Z’s parents have Facebook and are actively monitoring, Facebook for this generation does not offer the same benefits it did for Millennials back when parents didn’t know how to use Facebook.

Consequently, Generation Z has turned to social channels such as YouTube, SnapChat and Instagram for connecting in a more intimate way, and as a result, this generation is more likely to share their brand loves on these channels. If you’re intrigued by gaining access to this growing segment of the retail market, engage with these newer social mediums. Generation Z may be a customer fragment worthy of your attention for creating brand adopters and loyal shoppers for years to come.

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