Social media is essential – we know that. We also know that brands must treat social media as a living, breathing thing that will starve if you fail to interact with it or feed it. Just ask Gen-Z. They know this all too well. In fact, they can show us a thing or two about how to treat and evolve your brand on social media.
Gen-Z and post-millennials were born after 1996, which, of course, was an absolute boom in technological advancement. They don’t know life without a smartphone, internet, social media, Wi-Fi, and tons of other technological tools that are available at our fingertips.
This generation, in particular, holds the key to understanding the best ways to utilize social media. So, we wondered: What can marketing and advertising professionals learn from Gen-Z and post-millennials about their behavior on social media?
Authenticity is very valuable to post-millennials – especially amid their daily dose of heavily filtered pictures, celebrity influencers with airbrushed skin, and forced-feeling sponsored posts that are often splattered across their Instagram feeds. In fact, 80% of Gen-Z consumers say it is authenticity that motivates them to follow and buy from a brand.
Overly produced digital experiences and posts turn post-millennials off as they look for a safe haven among a sea of noise and photoshop. While some brands access authenticity easily, others are not so lucky, and consumers can tell when it’s forced.
SocialMediaToday reports that 57% of consumers think that less than half of brands create content that resonates as authentic. That makes a big difference for brands who face backlash in their comments section and mass unfollowings. In fact, on average, 20% of consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they felt their content was inauthentic.
Key Takeaway for Marketers: Value user-generated content and use it to your advantage. Add human elements to apps and websites.
Change the World
Everybody wants to make a change, but post-millennials want to change the world. As consumers and as young adults, these individuals desire a safer, cleaner, more accepting world. Since their birth, this generation has been surrounded by political and social tensions and constant environmental concerns.
So, when they’re looking to make a purchase, chances are they want to buy from a brand who is socially, environmentally, and economically responsible.
Key Takeaway for Marketers: Stand for something that is bigger than your products or services. Do good and spread the word.
Make it Quick – but Meaningful
Due to their constant on-the-go mentality, post-millennials have short attention spans. That means that easily digestible content is king – looking at you, TikTok. The video app giant has exploded with success because it takes only seconds to produce laughs, likes, clicks, and other forms of engagement.
According to an article from Business Insider, Gen Z-ers multitask across at least five screens daily. Whether they are conscious of it or not, they’ve likely got a little case of FOMO. This means that posting content to many different channels and platforms is crucial to reach them.
But the impact also matters to post-millennials. While your messaging needs to be short and sweet, it also needs to be significant and relevant to their own lives and personal brand.
Key Takeaway for Marketers: Be an agile marketer – post across many channels and appeal to young consumers with speed, simplicity, and an impactful statement.
Learn it Yourself, Do it Yourself
Largely self-taught, Gen-Z and post-millennials grasp information quickly and learn how to master technology faster than any generation prior. Because of this, they have a do-it-yourself mentality that they demonstrate on their own social media channels, such as their Instagram page or Twitter feed. Post-millennials know that they themselves are a brand – and that it will serve them well to stay on brand. Since their childhood, they’ve cultivated a social media presence – a feat that many brands should envy and take note of. Gen-Z learned early on how to monitor their success on social media; they know what sort of content will do well – in fact, they are even aware of the best times to post.
This presents post-millennials with a unique opportunity: translate their ample technology skills and social-media know-how into a new business venture. You can find many post-millennial YouTubers as young as 9-years-old who have boosted their social media to make them millions.
Key Takeaway for Marketers: Encourage the post-millennial do-it-yourself mindset by utilizing tutorial videos – and don’t underestimate this generation’s business ventures and ideas.
What We’ve Learned
The way that Gen-Z and post-millennials behave on social media offers a wealth of opportunity, resources, and information for marketers and advertisers. Let’s review a quick recap of the takeaways:
- Value user-generated content and use it to your advantage. Add human elements to apps and websites.
- Stand for something that is bigger than your products or services. Do good and spread the word.
- Be an agile marketer – post across many channels and appeal to young consumers with speed, simplicity, and an impactful statement.
- Encourage the post-millennial do-it-yourself mindset by utilizing tutorial videos – and don’t underestimate this generation’s business ventures and ideas.
Now is the time to recognize this generation as the next largest consumer group in the United States, meaning now is the time for brands to adapt and react appropriately.