For the past decade, the media has focused intensely on Millennials and their impact on the economy and workplace. Today, the youngest Millennials are 23 years old — leaving the generation below them largely unknown. So, who is Generation Z?
Born after the year 1995, Gen Z grew up completely engulfed in the digital age. From smartphones to social media, this generation is tech-savvy and understands how important it is to manage their online perception. Characterized as fiscally responsible, diverse, competitive and entrepreneurial, this independent and future-focused generation is self-directed to ensure they stick out in the crowd and make an impact in their communities.
So, how can you communicate with Gen Z? Start by using these four tips:
Keep it short, but informative
Gen Z has an average attention span of eight seconds. They’ve grown up in the digital era, with information at their fingertips. As a result, they are accustomed to quickly filtering what is important from what is irrelevant in a noisy environment (read: all the communications brands are sharing). To succeed, tell (or better yet, show) them who you are, why they should care and what you can offer them. Quickly.
Instagram is the leading platform to engage Gen Z. The scrolling and story features on Instagram allow viewers to visualize and determine the benefits of the content in a short period. If the viewer is intrigued, they can then visit your page to learn more.
Treat each platform differently, but make your message available anywhere
From tablets to laptops to smartphones, Gen Z is known for multi-tasking across technology and platforms. They use each social media platform differently — meaning that your brand’s messages should be unique to each one.
Instagram is Gen Z’s way of building and showcasing their personal brand. Twitter, on the other hand, is used to learn about the latest news. Gen Z uses Facebook to see informative content, whether it’s celebrity gossip or a how-to video.
Don’t be afraid to share your message across multiple platforms, but that message must be unique each time it is placed in front of a viewer. Otherwise, it will be ignored.
Humanize Your Brand
As mentioned earlier, Gen Z is met with a host of marketing messages every day. How can you cut through this noise? By increasing transparency and humanizing your brand.
Gen Z wants to meet the people behind your company — and not just the CEO. Consider introducing audiences to everyday people associated with the brand and telling their story.
One of the most recent examples of this comes from Airbnb. On its website, the brand shares stories of hosts who have opened their homes to others. It is a simple, effective tool that allows the brand to put a human face on a large company.
Staying transparent is the key to gaining the trust of Gen Z — and with this generation, it’s the only way to build brand loyalty.
Make the audience a part of the narrative
More so than past generations, Gen Z has an interest in being part of brand stories. They want to feel like you are talking with them rather than at them.
To do this, provide opportunities for Gen Z to get involved. Consider running a social campaign that asks for photo responses (user generated content) or the use of a specific hashtag. This allows them to feel as if they are part of a bigger movement — something that they care about deeply.
One brand that effectively accomplished this for a great cause is Make-A-Wish. The #ShareYourEars campaign generated more than 400,000 hashtag uses and raised over $2 million for future wishes.
Gen Z wants to interact with you. Don’t be shy about letting them know what you can do for them and what they can do for you. In the end, it’s a win-win for everyone.
Reaching Gen Z isn’t easy. They’re more technologically savvy than past generations — meaning that your brand will likely have to work harder to impress them. However, they’re willing to become loyal brand ambassadors if you take time to build the relationship. Remember that this generation won’t be in the Millennial generation’s shadow forever — are you ready to reach them?