A Quick Guide for Small Businesses: Social Media Marketing to Gen Z

There is heightened attention on Generation Z, or Gen Z – individuals born roughly between 1997 and 2012 – who are drastically transforming social media landscapes.

Unlike previous generations, Gen Zers likely don't remember a time without technology. Having always had the internet with a quick tap on their smartphones and tablets, Gen Z behaves and thinks differently due to being raised in a tech-savvy environment.

And with the rising spending power of this young generation currently entering adulthood, businesses are eager to determine the best marketing strategies given that Gen Z habits are significantly different from preceding generations.

Which brings about the question: how do you market to this group?

How to effectively market to Gen Zers

When creating your marketing strategy, it's essential to understand some key elements, such as Gen Z's dependence on social media and attachment to mobile devices. It's also vital to determine where your target audience is socially networking. According to this Pew Research Center study, teenage girls are more likely to use TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. Meanwhile, teen boys gravitate toward Twitch, Reddit, and YouTube.

To help, here are some tips that may be useful as you build out your marketing plan for this young generation:

  • Allay any concerns. This generation has been living through a world of instability during the past few years. The erosion of trust means businesses have the added challenge of earning Gen Z's business. Some reassuring approaches include promptly responding to concerns or outages, being direct during interactions, and using testimonials from actual customers.
  • Relatability. Being a socially conscious business goes a long way in influencing purchasing decisions for a majority of Gen Z shoppers. Consider committing to a cause that brings long-lasting change. A quick way to capture Gen Z's attention is by embracing activism through volunteerism, pro bono services, partnering with a charity, and providing disaster relief.
  • Invest in brief videos. Snapchat and TikTok are popular with Gen Z because they offer quick, interactive video content. Need help creating short-form videos? These ideas may help you get started. To promote engagement and demonstrate to your Gen Z audience that you are paying attention, don't forget to answer your followers' comments promptly.

Taking Note of Gen Z's Rising Buying Power

In under a decade, Gen Zers are forecasted to become a sizable segment of digital product buyers, making it all the more important to incorporate them in your plans as you build your business strategy. 

According to research and advisory firm Gen Z Planet's recent report, Gen Z's disposable reached $360 billion in 2021. This substantial amount provides an opportunity for businesses to launch campaigns and efforts to build loyalty. 

Currently, the Gen Z population is between the ages of 10 and 25. While they're likely not yet the CEOs and heavy investors of society, they're certainly escalating their economic impact through these vital ways:

  • The oldest of Gen Z graduating from college are also getting hired as full-time employees, allowing them to influence the market directly with their disposable income.
  • Those in their pre-teens and teenagers are commanding their parents' spending, from basic needs to entertainment.
  • Meanwhile, Gen Zers in their late teens and early 20s influence older adults by starting trends, such as straw hats and tie-dye, which went viral on TikTok.

While Millennials are the biggest consumer group and Boomers still hold the largest buying power, Gen Z's purchasing power is rising. Businesses that take the time to understand their spending habits and how to market to them will do well in the long term. For example, if a Gen Z consumer disagrees with the morals of a company, they will not only boycott the business and its products but influence their friends to do the same. 

TikTok is the top online platform for teens, Gen Z

Because this generation has become very attached to their mobile devices, it makes sense that social media is the best way to reach them. Brands that capitalize on advertising to Gen Z via social media are more apt to be successful. Understand what drives this generation and strive for relatability and authenticity, experts recommend

As far as social media is concerned, TikTok is the most preferred out of all the platforms for the Gen Z group. Coincidentally, TikTok was recently touted as the best word-of-mouth platform for small businesses, besting Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

According to a study from Material, users are twice as likely to recommend products and services found on TikTok compared to other traditional platforms. They are also one and a half times more likely to persuade others to try those products and services. 

Some stats TikTok shared about its users include:

  • Nealy 4 in 10 are in the top thirds of spenders;
  • Half of users are satisfied with their purchase;
  • Close to 3 in 5 users find new products and brands through the platform.

The Takeaway: It's clear that small businesses need to act fast in creating strategic plans targeting Gen Z. By doing so, they stand to make the most gains in creating life-long customers in this young but influential generation.

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