10 Reasons Your Social Media Brand Is Not Resonating with Gen Z

Now that marketers are finally getting a grasp on how to market to millennials, a new generation is starting to demand their attention: Generation Z. Encompassing young people born between the mid-1990s and now, this generation is coming into financial independence and already wields a buying power of $44 billion – which is a great reason to start paying attention.

Marketing to this generation can be tricky; it’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of treating them like their millennial counterparts. Here are some reasons your social media brand might not be resonating with Gen Z as much as you’d like.

1. Your Content Isn’t Accessible Across Digital Platforms

It’s no secret that our youngest generation is attached to technology – 79% of Gen Zers display symptoms of emotional distress when kept away from their personal electronic devices. If you aren’t tapping into this by making your content optimized across different devices, you’re missing out on targeting a huge part of your Gen Z audience. Make sure your content is viewable on smartphones, televisions, tablets, computers, and wearable technology.

2. You’re On the Wrong Networks

Facebook tends to come to mind first when thinking about marketing on social media, but the reality is that consumers aged 19 and younger prefer social networks like Snapchat, Secret, and Whisper. In fact, 25% of 13- to 17-year-olds left Facebook in 2014. Make sure that you’re posting where your targeted audience is hanging out online – which means Facebook by itself isn’t going to cut it anymore.

3. You Aren’t Using Social Proof

With 83% of Gen Zers choosing to trust product information from other shoppers on social media more than advertisers, you must rely on social proof to convince them that your brand is worth the investment. This generation is extremely selective in their purchasing decisions, so keeping customer reviews and testimonials front and center will impress them more than a flashy advertisement.

4. Your Brand is Faceless

Most members of Gen Z want their brands to have some personality, so snappy designs without some character behind them won’t catch their attention. To help Gen Zers connect with your brand, you need to be authentic and transparent: show behind-the-scenes action and pick a relatable spokesperson like a YouTube star to market your products. 63% of Generation Z would prefer to see social media influencers in advertisements over traditional celebrities, so getting Jessica Alba on board probably won’t make as much of a difference as getting Jake Paul.

5. Your Advertising is Too Perfect

Many members of this generation want transparency and authenticity, not airbrushed perfection. In fact, 77% of teenagers prefer ads that show real people in real situations and expect brands to depict people like them instead of “perfect” versions of themselves. Think more Wildfang and less Abercrombie & Fitch.

6. You Aren’t Using Video

A recent study showed that 9 out of 10 Gen Zers watch YouTube daily – so if you aren’t creating great video content and cross-posting it to your social media channels, you’re missing out on the most popular platform for young people today. Short, catchy videos will get you more attention than a lengthy blog post.

7. You Don’t Show Your Social Consciousness

60% of people in Generation Z want their jobs to impact the world, 26% currently volunteer, and 76% are concerned about humanity’s impact on the planet. In other words, much like their millennial counterparts, Gen Zers believe in doing good – and that their brands should do good, also. If you aren’t already involved in some sort of society-oriented work, consider getting on board to resonate better with young people.

8. You Don’t Interact with Them

Many Gen Zers expect responsiveness from a brand on its social media pages – in fact, 41% of young Instagram users regularly use the platform to directly contact retailers. If you’re ignoring messages and posts from your audience, you risk alienating them.

9. You’re Too Public

When compared with millennials, members of Gen Z are especially concerned with protecting their identity: 38% of them express concern about being recognized online versus only 29% of millennials. This means that they avoid anything that might track them or “out” them to their peers. By using anonymous social networks like Reddit and Whisper, you can connect with the more secretive members of this generation.

10. You Take Too Long

The average Gen Zer has an attention span of 8 seconds, which means that lengthy Facebook text posts aren’t likely to keep them interested. Focus on generating “snackable” content that’s quick, easy to digest, and gets to the point immediately. If your videos are too long or you rely too heavily on text-based messaging, you risk alienating a good part of your young audience.

As members of Generation Z come into their own, it’s more important than ever for marketers who want to keep a competitive edge to understand them. In what other ways have you noticed Gen Z being different than other generations?