Marketing Strategies to Reach Gen Z that Actually Work - Virtual Stacks U.K. Ltd.
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Marketing Strategies to Reach Gen Z that Actually Work

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While Millennials have dominated the digital age for years, a new tech-savvy generation is quickly changing the way we use the Internet — including digital marketing. This new generation is known as Generation Z (or Gen Z), and it’s important to understand how to effectively reach this generation in the coming years in order to see continued success in your marketing efforts. Millennials and Gen Z do share some similarities in their values, interests, and lifelong immersion in the digital era. However, there are some important differences that can make a big impact on how your brand is able to connect with your audience online.

Keep reading to learn who Gen Z really is, some of the best marketing strategies to reach Gen Z, and what the rise of TikTok means for Gen Z and social media marketing.

So, Who Is Gen Z Anyway?

Generation Z is the latest categorized generation, although the exact cut-off years are still a little fuzzy. Generally speaking, someone considered to be a member of Gen Z was born from the mid-late ‘90s up to 2010. For comparison, Millennials are frequently defined as being born between 1981 to 1996. Navigating the digital landscape is second nature to Gen Zers, who have grown up with digital literacy at the forefront of their life experiences. Gen Zers are more likely to use their phone for multiple hours per day, more so than any other generation before them. To them, being on social media isn’t just a craze: it’s a natural way of life.

The most important social media platforms to target to reach Gen Z include:

  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube
  • TikTok (more on this one later)

Influencer marketing is a powerful way to reach these digital natives, but your brand will have to be smart and meaningful in its strategy. Gen Zers want to clearly know your brand’s values and know that your brand’s actions line up with those values. They also want to know what is real and trustworthy, which is why the most popular brands and influencers in terms of followers are often not the most trusted by Gen Z. Stick to small to medium size spheres of influence in order to optimize authenticity and connection with your Gen Z followers. Finally, social media is a prime opportunity to drive in-store purchases from Gen Z customers who frequently discover new products online that they want to later buy in-store.

Marketing to Gen Z

As with any marketing strategy, knowing your audience well is the key to success. Gen Z is similar to their older Millennial counterparts in some ways, but the differences are still very important. Marketing to Generation Z requires new marketing strategy methods that your business simply can’t afford to be missing.

At their core, Gen Zers are independent, focused, hard-working, determined, responsible, competitive, and self-starting. Rather than brands influencing Gen Z, it’s Gen Z that is influencing brands in their focus and trends. Understanding them better can help your business better anticipate what’s next on the horizon for your industry. While still young, the buying power of Gen Z is enormous, especially when it comes to how they influence parental spending habits for the youngest of the generation. 

How does Gen Z really compare to Millenials? Both generations share similar social, digital, and mobile behaviors having largely grown up with today’s modern technologies, and both generations are quick to incorporate technological tools that make their lives easier. However, Generation Z tends to put greater value on privacy, traditional values, and competition. Gen Z greatly values their individuality, but they also value rights for equality just as much. Their responsible nature shines also through with their values on transparency, authenticity and financial security.

So, what do these values mean for your business and how Gen Zers make purchases? Their pursuit of authenticity means Gen Z will waste no time or money on things that do not exhibit high quality and value to them. They also want to feel a personal connection with the brand and items they purchase, which can be through highlighting the user’s individuality or upholding the user’s personal values. Due to their social nature, Gen Zers also highly value the opinions of their friends and community members when it comes to swaying their purchasing decisions. Additionally important are the elements of mobile accessibility and overall convenience of the purchasing experience. These busy young ones simply have no time to waste on tedious or non-user friendly processes.

With all this in mind, how can your brand position itself to be a Gen Z ally? Keep these tips in mind:

  • Be clear on your brand’s values, and show how you act on them without appearing fake or pretentious. Show that those values truly mean something to your brand.
  • Don’t shy away from authenticity and the reality of the world. Gen Z knows the world isn’t perfect, and they don’t want brands trying to tell them otherwise. Be positive, but also be real.
  • Make Gen Z part of the experience. Connect with them and collaborate with them. Make them feel valued and their voices heard in your marketing.

This Is TikTok’s Time

With new generations come new social media platforms to be used in new and unique ways. These platforms aren’t just for users to interact, however. They are also the future of where brands will be marketing to and connecting with their audience. This isn’t to say you should ignore the current popular social platforms like Instagram, but your marketing strategy will also need to adapt to and start including newer platforms. TikTok is a rising mobile-based video-sharing social media platform among Gen Z with prime opportunity for brands to make their mark in new and creative ways.

At its simplest, TikTok can be described as a mashup between Instagram and its short-form video sharing platform predecessor, Vine. What makes TikTok so different is its large focus on music and comedy, although other trends also abound. TikTok may have initially gained popularity with younger Gen Z trendsetters, but it has quickly become a platform that many generations and people of a wide range of interests can enjoy — just more proof that Gen Z is already leading the way when it comes to trends in technology! TikTok currently has over one billion users.

What makes TikTok stand out the most among its social platform peers are the uniqueness of its content and how that content is distributed among users. 

TikTok’s video time limits range from 15 to 60 seconds long. However, TikTok truly shines in its creative tools to combine video with an enormous range of audio, including sound effects, music, TV dialogue and more. TikTok is about much more than sharing videos — creativity through the use of customization is the star of the show. TikTok is content-first. This is where Gen Z can really shine in their individuality and creativity through their native digital skills. Users frequently replicate and transform each other’s video content formats to actively participate and shape ongoing trends. This process frequently occurs through examples such as replicating dance challenges or joke-telling formats. 

So, how can your brand or business take advantage of TikTok’s unique content to reach your Gen Z audience? Focus on ways to get your audience to participate in content creation such as fun, simple challenges that are easy to copy with each user’s own unique twists. Incentives such as prizes may encourage even greater engagement among Gen Z and increase your brand awareness.

TikTok’s content distribution is also vastly different from other social media platforms. While private TikTok accounts exist, TikTok is primarily public-focused. The point is to share content with anyone who’s interested. Remember how we said TikTok is content-first? How that content is distributed proves this. Follower counts have no bearing on whether or not videos are popular due to TikTok’s advanced artificial intelligence (AI) that quickly learns which content users like best, thus sharing it to more and more people over time. A single video from an account with no followers can have thousands of views in a single day, if the content is right.

As TikTok continues to skyrocket in popularity, celebrities and brands are chiming in alongside their audiences to create engaging content. However, there is still much to be developed when it comes to brand marketing with TikTok and TikTok Ads. 

So, what should brands do to grow their audience on TikTok?

First and foremost is authenticity in your content. Don’t force anything that doesn’t seem right for your brand image or your audience, especially when it comes to Gen Z. On the other hand, it’s still also important to stay on top of the trends of TikTok to know what’s performing well and what isn’t.

Consider some of these tips for growing your followers and engagement on TikTok:

  • Discover which hashtags relevant to your brand are popular among your followers, and post videos with those hashtags to increase visibility.
  • Take advantage of TikTok advertising.
  • Collaborate with social media influencers on TikTok to promote your brand or products.
  • Stay on top of trends, but also be original in your video content.
  • Try out engagement with the duets feature on TikTok.
  • Make sure your videos are well-rehearsed, are recorded with clear video quality, and use relevant sound effects.
  • Enjoy yourself!

TikTok is the next great social media frontier for brands that want to connect with their Gen Z audiences as they continue to grow into powerful consumers. It’s a great opportunity to connect, learn, and have fun doing it.

Digital Marketing for Every Age

If you’re looking to connect better with your customers and followers online (especially those from Gen Z), then your brand likely needs a complete digital marketing strategy. From social media marketing to SEO services and more, our digital marketing experts at Virtual Stacks Systems UK have the experience and industry knowledge to develop a comprehensive online strategy for your business. Contact us today to discuss your digital marketing needs!

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