- Gen Z has $44 billion in purchasing power.
- Since they spend nearly 75% of their free time online, it is critical to have a social media strategy to target them.
- Your strategy should focus on making mobile a priority, utilizing influencers and practicing social responsibility.
As millennials grow older, a younger generation is now emerging into the workforce. Generation Z, or Gen Z, is anyone born from the mid-'90s to the early 2000s, and they're the next age group to affect purchasing processes.
They make up approximately 25.9% of the U.S. population and boast $44 billion in purchasing power. If you don't have a social media marketing strategy that caters to their needs, you're missing out on maximizing revenue and growing your customer base.
It’s essential to understand Gen Z as a whole to gauge what type of buyers they are. They grew up with technology, and as such, it's a powerful tool they use in all areas of their lives, especially shopping. On average, 74% spend their free time online, with social media influencing 80% of their purchases. This continues to affect the way they interact with and buy from brands.
Gen Z doesn't respond to outbound marketing practices that used to be so effective. Instead, they want brands to come to them. It builds an organic relationship between brand and consumer, and with 89% of marketers increasing their inbound marketing budgets, it's essential to use this strategy to market to Gen Z.
To further your social media reach with Gen Z, there are a few things you should do:
Make mobile a top priority.
Practice social responsibility.
Here's more on these three tips so you can effectively communicate with Gen Z.
1. Use a mobile-first strategy.
Unfortunately, 45% of marketers are unsure about their mobile marketing strategy. Since smartphones are Gen Z’s device of choice, you must optimize all areas of your social media for mobile. More and more social platforms are including ways to make in-app purchases and focus on creating content that looks stellar on a mobile screen.
Instagram Stories recently came out with "shopping tags," letting users tag brands in their photos to promote their apparel. This allows followers to click through and check the brand out themselves. They also have a "Swipe up" feature so that, if users swipe up on a product image, they're taken directly to that specific product page. Since 53% of Gen Z use smartphones to make online purchases, these social features are invaluable.
This is just one example of how to use a mobile-first strategy to build brand awareness and push online consumers down the sales funnel. Simplifying the purchasing process through social media provides a painless, positive customer experience so they keep coming back. Since 40% of consumers will not recommend a business they had a bad experience with, it's essential to avoid this.
When Gen Z consumers navigate your website to make buying decisions, it should be easy to do on multiple devices. If you want them to invest further in your brand, you must optimize your website for mobile by doing the following:
Increase site speed. You can optimize images and run your website through Google's Test My Site, explicitly created to test websites' performance on mobile.
Include mobile-friendly contact forms. This makes it easy for users to reach out to you, leave feedback, connect to customer support and more.
Compress images. Not only do they slow down your site, but big files don't fit properly on mobile screens and provide a negative UX.
Break up text with heads and subheads. If your content is challenging to consume, your audience won't bother to read it.
Design mobile-friendly opt-ins and popups. Collecting emails is an essential part of your business growth, so using opt-ins optimized for mobile is crucial.
2. Incorporate influencer marketing.
Gen Z is more cautious about what they buy and who they buy it from. Unlike the generations before them, they're less eager to trust brands right away and prefer to do their research before purchasing. They trust celebrity endorsements, but only if they come off as authentic. Because social influencers create personal connections with their audience, especially on platforms like YouTube and Twitter, it's easier to market to Gen Z using this strategy.
It's in your best interest to invest in influencer marketing when catering to Gen Z. Influencers are well known in their social communities and build massive followings based on likability and trust factors. Nielsen research found that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know. Because Gen Z craves authentic and familiar interactions, they're more likely to purchase based on an influencer's recommendations as opposed to regular advertising.
To add influencer marketing to your strategy, research which influencers work best with your audience. It should be someone they're already familiar with who has their trust and can convince them to check out your products. Their views and attitudes must align with your brand so your marketing message comes from the right person.
Pay attention to which influencers your Gen Z audience is following and engaging with to get an idea of who you want endorsing your content and products. Use search engines and influencer marketing tools like Buzzsumo or Followerwonk to view lists of influencers that match your branding and criteria. Once you have a set strategy, track the results of their post to measure engagement.
3. Be socially responsible.
Moving into the future, consumers care more about a brand's ethics and behavior than they did before. Millennials and Gen Z alike are consciously choosing to buy from businesses that are inclusive as well as socially and environmentally conscious. They're three times more likely to believe that a business's purpose is to serve communities and society. Positive values are a reliable indicator that Gen Z is willing to buy from your brand as opposed to another.
It's essential for Gen Z consumers that your brand adopts a socially responsible attitude and gives back to the community. Emphasize this in your social media marketing strategy by highlighting what your brand believes in and how it's making an effort to contribute. Create campaigns to donate proceeds to important causes. Make it your brand's mission to give back to others and Gen Z will follow closely behind.
Use social media to promote positive practices. The popular shoe brand TOMS used Twitter to create the #WithoutShoes hashtag to promote their campaign. For every user who took a picture of themselves without shoes, TOMS gave a pair to a child in need. The campaign donated shoes to 296,243 children across 30 countries and gained further popularity among their audience.
As new generations move into the workforce and make up a higher percentage of overall consumers, it's vital to create new strategies to cater to their needs. This includes optimizing your social media marketing strategy. Gen Z differs from the generations before them because they turn away from outbound practices and welcome inbound strategies instead. It's a must for your brand to put mobile first, leverage Gen Z's favorite online influencers and show social responsibility.