What's with Gen Z and social media?
Gen Z, the digital generation, is growing to be the most prominent voice on social media, so how can marketers reach them?
Social media is so entrenched in every part of our day-to-day lives, but it seems that members of Generation Z have become the most affected by it.
Social media is at the wheel of cultural and global events and development, from quick fads that showcase new dance moves, memes, and viral challenges to substantive pieces on history, world events, and critical discussion.
As the most active group on social media, Gen Z has its foot on the accelerator, driving discourse and culture, often in new directions.
Marketers and media practitioners have definitely taken notice as they try to replicate similar viral success with their branded posts. Read on to learn more about how Gen Z interacts with and on social media.
Where to find Gen Z online
Unlike older generations, Gen Z responds most positively to video rather than text or images. The youngest generation's emerging social media “Big Three” is YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram.
Gen Z uses these platforms as viewers and, increasingly compared to other generations, as creators. In the new age of digital marketing, brand ambassadors, influencers, paid in-video advertisements, and company channels are the new way into the video digital arena.
That being said, profiles with consistent uploads and an active follower base that is addressed sincerely and frequently often get results.
Short-Form Video Content: Gen Z's favs
This probably comes as no surprise, but Gen Z is the most active on TikTok and other platforms where you can share short non-time-consuming posts.
Their interest in these platforms is actually growing and taking on non-traditional roles. In fact, almost 40% of the members of Gen Z respondents prefer searching on TikTok rather than Google for information.
This new change has led Google to index TikTok clips, and similar growth has prompted Google to start indexing Instagram videos.
Interestingly enough, YouTube shorts have not yet been indexed on Google, despite the ownership of YouTube. Nevertheless, this functionality likely is in the works, given that YouTube has been pushing YouTube shorts lately.
Why are short videos so appealing to Gen Z?
Everyone knows the old saying about a picture being worth a thousand words and a video being worth a million words.
Short-form video content resonates with Gen Z because content is more bite-sized, hence easier to digest.
Plus, information is shared and consumed quickly, resulting in a hypersocial environment – thus leading to more frequent dopamine surges in the brain’s reward pathways when socialisation occurs.
As a member of Gen Z, I have spent countless amounts of time scrolling through social media feeds, watching seemingly pointless, but also at many times valuable, clips. Short-form video content is simply addictive and is a great way to pass the time and avoid growing pains and, well, work.
Gen Z ranges roughly from ages 10 to 25, a period where a lot of maturation occurs. Social media, especially video posts, fills in a gap for many young audiences to teach them about various things and for young people to explore emerging and transient interests.
Capturing Gen Z: Be Realistic with your Posts
With all that in mind, be very particular about what you post to TikTok and YouTube Shorts. If you are a media practitioner and are struggling to fit your client’s products or messaging into these platforms, think twice about your content marketing strategy.
Some products and services simply do not work well with the platform and are irrelevant to most members of Gen Z.
Seeing that the oldest amongst the group is only 25 and that the majority aren’t property owners, home-related products and services won’t trend well, even if you have a creative approach.
Clickbait, distasteful, but works
Clickbait obviously has a negative reputation for viewers as something that misleads people to click on videos. However, to keep up with the low attention spans of Gen Z, many social media platforms, such as YouTube, are informally highlighting clickbait-esque content in their algorithms.
Seeing that the younger tail end of the Gen Z demographic is still not thoroughly familiar with many social media platforms due to their age, it makes sense that clickbait is coming back – and as effective as ever.
After all, younger audiences still haven’t experienced many things in life, so the shock factor and novelty will work.
Always Look to the Youth for the Future
While younger kids may not be as stratified as a consumer base as in the past, where they can mark things they want on magazines and catalogs, marketers would be remiss if they ignored the youngest part of Gen Z and Generation Alpha just because they have no personal income for the time being.
Despite parents driving purchasing decisions for these two groups, their children inform them about what they want due to popular social media platforms such as YouTube.
A notable case study of this in practice is the channel Ryan’s World, which featured a young child doing toy reviews. This channel garnered millions of views on each video and revolutionized online toy marketing.
There isn’t a tell-tale strategy for reaching Gen Z on social media, so pay close attention to their interests and personalize content as much as possible. Prioritize video content to reach a young audience, and always look for collaborations through influencers, popular channels, and paid in-video ads.
Relevance, authenticity, consistency, and quality will keep your GenZers coming back.
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