With its spending power on the rise, Gen Z has become a more relevant demographic for brands worldwide.
If you haven’t tapped into this opportunity for growth yet, it’s time to do so and adapt your strategy based on the characteristics and desires of young people.
Don’t know where to start?
Read this guide, and you’ll learn about:
- What Gen Z is
- Which social media platforms it uses
- Why Gen Z influencer marketing is a must for a brand
- How to create real relationships through influencer marketing
Without further ado, let’s jump into this fascinating topic!
What is Gen Z?
Generation Z (Gen Z) is the generation of people born between 1997 and 2012 who succeeded Gen Y (aka Millennials).
How do Gen Zers differ from Millennials?
Well, they aren’t just familiar with the internet and technology; they identify with it. This is the first generation of true digital natives that grew up with the internet, smartphones, and social media.
They’re characterized as the "iGeneration" and "Homelanders" for this reason.
With this definition of Gen Z, we have an idea about the demographic involved. However, we’ll need to expand further into behavioral evidence to understand Gen Z.
Society is changing rapidly, which seems to be strengthening young people's passion for the environment, politics, and social justice.
In fact, 55% of Gen Zers say they are extremely interested in environmental issues. This even affects their buying habits, which reflect their beliefs.
To sum up, Gen Z people are:
- Interested in the values and social impact of companies
- More conscious consumers
- Likely to use digital capabilities to interact with brands
Let's now look in depth at which platforms they use and why they prefer them.
What Social Media Platforms Does Gen Z Use the Most?
Social media platforms have become an integral part of Gen Zers' daily lives.
Initially, these platforms were created to connect people with each other and make communications much easier globally.
However, Gen Z uses social media differently. Gen Zers use social platforms to have fun, educate themselves, acquire new skills, stay informed about current trends, etc. For them, it’s a way to stay plugged into the world.
In a recent study, it was discovered that 94% of Gen Zers use social media. That’s a high number!
What does this statistic mean for brands?
Potential customers, interested in a wide array of topics and industries, are one click away. That’s why having an online presence helps brands tap into a pool of new leads.
However, not all social platforms are created equally, and some come with more benefits for businesses than others.
Let’s see which platforms stand out from the rest in terms of usage.
YouTube is one of the favorite video-sharing platforms for Gen Zers. This platform has become their go-to source for entertainment and education.
While YouTube is an old platform, it remains on top. In fact, 85% of teens use YouTube, making it the most popular among teens.
It seems that young people have largely abandoned other traditional media like TV and radio, as YouTube has taken over this role. In relation to this, we’re getting data about the behavioral characteristics of Gen Z.
Young people choose YouTube to form deeper relationships, as watching videos with others helps them feel more connected to them.
At the same time, 7 out of 10 Gen Z teens watch videos to relax. Not only do they consume online content but they also create a good part of it. Over one-third of social media influencers belong to Gen Z.
What does this mean for brands?
Because Gen Zers enjoy watching user-generated content (UGC), brands can easily engage with them. For instance, you can collaborate with relevant content creators and influencers to produce videos that convey your brand’s message in a fun and engaging way.
The rise of TikTok is mainly due to Gen Z teens preferring short-format videos. More than half of the platform's US users are Gen Zers.
In fact, in a survey, 20% of respondents said they spend 5 hours or more on TikTok every day. This is truly shocking. Nevertheless, the success of TikTok isn’t accidental.
It’s the platform that brought to the fore short videos that are very easy to consume in a continuous stream.
Initially, the platform became famous for the trends it created through the use of royalty-free music, in contrast to other platforms, such as YouTube.
It seems that TikTok has discovered what the new generation needs and used it to create a successful platform. That's the need for fun, quick, easy-to-consume content.
This platform is a good opportunity both for new brands looking for the attention of new users and also for collaboration with creators.
TikTok offers opportunities to leverage user videos for advertising campaigns, making it easier for brands to promote their products or services through UGC.
Influencer marketing is booming on TikTok. In fact, 34% of TikTok users have purchased new products because of influencers.
Instagram is still one of the top social media platforms for Gen Z. Actually, 64% of Gen Zers use Instagram at least once per day.
While Instagram started as a platform for sharing photos, nowadays it’s far from just that. It’s been trying to emulate the trends from other social media platforms, such as:
- Stories that were used mainly on Snapchat
- Instagram Reels imitating TikTok’s short-form videos
Despite these changes, the platform remains one of the most loved social apps by Gen Z, as they prefer it for most online social activities.
In fact, 76% of Gen Z people use Instagram to post or share content, while only 45% do the same on TikTok. Also, young people prefer Instagram to communicate with friends and family.
So it’s a platform that’s used differently from the others. Another positive thing about Instagram is that a huge number of users and creators are active on the platform, with more than 1.4 billion monthly active users.
Within this vast user base, it’s easy for brands to find established creators related to their niche.
Twitch is a famous live-streaming platform where users can interact, chat and entertain. It’s a popular platform for Gen Zers, who love to watch video-game streaming.
Therefore, if you’re looking for new ways for your brand to interact with a male audience, you should include Twitch as a channel in your marketing strategy.
On the platform, there are many influencers with a large, loyal audience and daily traffic, because, through Twitch's live-streaming services, the audience connects more easily with the creators.
Let's clarify that gaming isn’t the only content available on the platform. You’ll find anything from live unboxing videos and reviews, to food and drink content.
Believe it or not, Snapchat is one of the leading social media platforms for Gen Zers.
Its revolutionary storytelling features with time-sensitive access to photos and videos are highly popular with the young audience.
In an era of visual communication, 95% of Gen Z have used visual communication when messaging friends.
Also, Snapchat's filters and use of augmented reality (AR) in content creation are especially loved by users as they enjoy experimenting with their looks.
This platform is so popular because it makes it very easy to communicate with friends in a direct and fun way.
At the same time, it has been discovered that 92% of Gen Z prefer using AR for their purchases, encouraging brands to use new technologies that attract Gen Z consumers’ attention.
Having seen the favorite platforms of Gen Z and how to connect a brand with them, it's time to identify the reason a Gen Z influencer marketing strategy is so important for businesses.
3 Reasons Why Gen Z Influencer Marketing is a Must for Your Brand
Influencer marketing is a great practice for brands that want to engage a Gen Z audience on social media, as it allows professionals to build relationships and drive brand awareness.
Through collaborations with genuine micro-influencers, brands can use social platforms to target young audiences in an organic, authentic, and impactful way.
Audiences connect more with content made by people they relate to and trust, leading to an increase in earned media value gained through user-generated content.
Let's dive deeper into the reasons why influencer marketing is effective when it comes to targeting Gen Z users.
Reason #1: Gen Zers are the future
Gen Z is the next generation of consumers, and businesses recognize that they need to engage and attract this influential demographic to remain competitive.
Gen Z makes up a big part of the total population, and it's estimated that Gen Zers are expected to account for 40% of consumers.
Gen Z's impressive purchasing power makes it valuable to businesses looking to grow their audience.
Therefore it's important that brands take advantage of the opportunity to target it.
To be relevant to a Gen Z audience, brands need to remain up-to-date on the latest trends, speak that audience’s language, and offer new experiences that keep it engaged.
Reason #2: Gen Z is trained to avoid ads
Because Gen Zers are bombarded with ads, they’ve "trained" themselves to avoid them.
Rather than consuming more traditional advertising, such as television commercials, Gen Z shoppers prefer to turn to UGC and influencers to inform them.
UGC is content, such as product reviews or hashtag campaigns, that’s created by customers and so is often more powerful and trustworthy than ads.
Gen Zers are more likely to trust the opinions of real people. They view influencers who present themselves as reliable sources of product information.
Also, they feel that traditional forms of advertising lack authenticity and transparency, which are values that are important to them.
Reason #3: Gen Z trusts influencers and content creators more
Because many Gen Z consumers feel closer to influencers, having a lot in common with them, they trust them.
In particular, Gen Z trusts influencers more than ever before due to their relatability and unbiased opinions.
Influencers often engage with their followers in various ways, from hosting meet-ups to live streaming their daily lives on social media platforms. This interactive quality has appealed to Gen Zers and has led content creators to develop loyalty among their followers.
Actually, 44% of Gen Z has made a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a social influencer.
The bond formed between influencers and Gen Zers can be attributed to the fact that Gen Zers value self-expression, relatability, and authenticity.
All those reasons indicate why influencer marketing is something brands should take advantage of.
How to Connect With Gen Z Through Influencer Marketing
The most important characteristic of Gen Z members is that they associate more with the values and experiences they receive from others.
Their goal is to create a better place by prioritizing their relationships with others and valuing well-being.
With that in mind, this section explores what a brand needs to look out for to effectively connect with Gen Z through influencer marketing.
Step #1: Be transparent
People from Generation Z have effectively changed how brands advertise their products. This is due to their growing need for transparency and honesty from the companies and products they trust.
To ensure Gen Zers' trust, brands should be crystal clear when communicating their features, benefits, and offerings.
Companies should remain authentic in their ads and never mislead consumers with inaccurate information or empty promises.
Additionally, brands should strive to be informative with their customers so that Gen Zers understand their policies, licensing, and other information.
Portraying a brand as honest and transparent not only helps win over Gen Zers but also encourages them to learn more about the brand and build a long-lasting relationship with it.
Furthermore, companies should use trusted influencers to help them share their message and reach the right target audience.
Lastly, sticking to your brand values is one of the most important things you can do as a business.
It not only shows customers that you are trustworthy and reliable but also helps build loyalty and stronger trust in your brand.
That way, your customers become brand ambassadors and share your values with others.
Step #2: Promote a sense of responsibility
Gen Z buyers want to ensure that the products they buy and the companies they support are acting responsibly and are helping to create a sustainable future.
As a result, many companies have had to rethink their approach and have become more proactive in promoting their corporate social responsibility initiatives.
Companies committed to donating to charities or reducing their carbon footprint are more likely to be viewed favorably by Gen Z.
The impacts of social responsibility on Gen Z’s purchasing decisions can be tracked using data from various surveys.
For example, a 2017 survey found that more than two-thirds of Gen Z respondents were interested in learning more about a company’s social responsibility initiatives before deciding whether or not to make a purchase.
So, Gen Z is all about striving for a more sustainable tomorrow and therefore appreciates brands that share the same values.
Step #3: Don’t be too promotional
When it comes to how Gen Z appreciates brands, the expectation is that the brands aren’t too sales-driven but rather a reflection of self-identity and values.
To appease this highly discerning target audience, many brands are striving to find the right balance between promotional messaging and authentic representation.
After all, Gen Z isn’t as interested in buying products or services as in seeking meaningful relationships with brands they feel connected to.
To achieve this, brands must prioritize making a genuine connection with their consumer.
One way for brands to avoid appearing too promotional or “sales-y” is through interactive marketing tactics.
This generation loves to engage with content posted by brands, so UGC is an effective type of content.
Additionally, teaming up with influencers who share the same values and target market is a great way to extend the reach of content.
If a brand wants to be successful, it must be authentic, relatable, and provide experiences that add value to the customer’s life.
Step #4: Be where they are
It has become increasingly important for brands to be present on the same platforms as Gen Zers, so their message can be heard.
The first step for a brand is to take the time to understand the nuances of Gen Zers and tailor its message to appeal to their sensibilities.
A brand's presence on digital platforms is essential to capture the attention of Gen Zers and project itself as a reliable brand by delivering content that resonates with its audience.
Furthermore, brands need to be proactive in their social media marketing strategy and on digital platforms where Gen Zers are likely to be present.
By being present on the same platforms, brands gain more visibility and exposure with Gen Zers. This allows them to create relationships and express their message with clarity and consistency.
As well as being where Gen Zers are, brands should understand the importance of authenticity, relatability, and consistency to be properly aligned with this generation’s values.
Additionally, they should strive to create a unique, personalized experience that’s tailored to Gen Zers and relevant to their lives.
Let’s wrap this up!
Now Over to You
To recap, in this guide, we learned the value to a brand of reaching Gen Z through influencer marketing.
While many trends come and go, it seems that the new generation of young consumers is more appreciative of businesses based on their values and social impact.
That's why Gen Z is looking for options through people they trust, and that’s the reason why influencer marketing and UGC are here to stay.
Do you want to start Gen Z influencer marketing campaigns?
Then start with Insense.
Book a free demo with our team, and we’ll show you the easy way of connecting with amazing creators.
We can't wait to hear about your campaigns!