Two people looking at social media posts on a smartphone, with one person pointing at the screen.

How To Social Media: Capturing Gen Z’s Attention

If you ask a Gen X or Millennial about their early childhood, they’d probably mention riding bikes, picking up a landline to call friends, or knocking on doors to play – a far cry from today’s norms.

Enter my generation, Gen Z, or Zoomers.

For us, technology has always been a part of our lives. Social media isn’t just a want; it’s a necessity. Instead of exchanging phone numbers, we shared usernames. Social media intertwines with pop culture, trends, and, importantly, marketing.

Read on to learn how to tailor your social media marketing to Gen Z, straight from the perspective of a Gen Z marketer!

How Much Time Does Gen Z Spend Online?

It may seem like Gen Z is glued to their phones, but how much time are we actually scrolling on social media? A McKinsey Health Institute survey broke down the amount of time spent on social media by each generation. Unsurprisingly, 35% of Gen Z reported spending two hours or more on social media each day, whereas Millennials came in second with only 24%.

Marketers have noticed this online residency in younger generations, and have leaned heavily into marketing online to target these users. While this may have been an easy money-maker at first, nearly everyone has caught onto the profitability of social media. Gen Z has become fluent in skipping ads the moment they realize it’s sponsored. Don’t get me wrong, social media marketing is still very profitable and here to stay, you just have to do it the right way.

How is Gen Z Using Social Media?

What do Google, Yahoo, YouTube, and TikTok have in common? They all function as search engines. In a 2023 survey, users aged 13-39 were asked if they used social media to search for content, news, and products. The majority of each age group said yes. This reveals a new dimension of search intent. Unlike traditional search engines, TikTok and YouTube provide an engaging and visually appealing way to discover diverse answers to their queries.

The Right Way to Reach Gen Z

To make your branded content resonate with younger audiences, you need a tailored approach. Here are my top tips for creating content on Gen Z’s favorite social media platforms: TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Don’t Sleep on Organic Content

When scrolling through socials, Gen Z is looking for entertainment, education, news, product reviews, pop culture, humor, and more. One thing they’re not looking for is advertisements. Branded organic content gives you the best of both worlds; you get to build awareness and share CTAs, while still getting to create a community.

Speak Our Language

Think of the most engaging brands on social media. One standout for me is Duolingo. They masterfully combine humor, brand recognition, and internet memes into captivating organic content. While not in every post, their main call-to-action serves as a reminder to log back into the app for daily lessons. They’ve built a loyal community by focusing their social media content on younger audiences. Instead of treating Gen Z as an afterthought, Duolingo places them at the forefront.

Here are my favorite takeaways from Duolingo’s content strategy:
Strategic use of slang: Using trendy phrases in a way that feels organic to the content is a surefire way to stay relevant with younger users.
Stay on trend: Building a brand voice that allows you to lean into trends organically helps content resonate with Gen Z without being cringe.
Be consistent: Users are more inclined to hit the follow button when you’re reliably posting content they like. Social media requires preparation and consistency to stay top-of-mind.

Make Your Ads Worth Watching

Social media ads, especially short-form video ads targeting Gen Z, must provide either value or entertainment. No matter how strong your call to action or messaging is, it won’t matter if people aren’t willing to watch. So when creating that next Reel or TikTok, ask yourself if this is something your target audience would want to engage with, or if you’re just tooting your own horn.

Outsource and Conquer

Feeling stuck? Let a digital marketing agency handle the heavy lifting. Your social media strategy shouldn’t be one-size-fits-all, in fact it should be the opposite. We’ll help you develop a customized game plan, built on a strong brand foundation, to achieve your unique goals. Partner with us today and let us manage your social media and content marketing!

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