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Every generation consumes social media differently, and it’s certainly no different with members of Generation Z. Unlike Millennials, who favored social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, the youngest consumers of social media content prefer Snapchat, TikTok and Instagram. And this is leading them to consume entirely new types of content online in entirely different ways.
Individual expression and identity
More than any other generation, Generation Z appears to be focused on individual expression and identity. They are racially and ethnically diverse, and they expect social media content to reflect that. They prefer to consume content that highlights diversity and inclusion. They are open to discussion with others of differing value and belief systems.
So it’s perhaps no surprise that brands that are connecting the best with Generation Z are also the ones that are able to highlight all of their ways they are contributing to diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the workplace. Scroll across social media, and you are likely to see images of biracial couples, unconventional images of beauty, messages of support for the LGBTQ community, and inspirational slogans focused on making the world a kinder, more accepting place for people who are different.
As might be expected, social change is a big topic these days with members of Generation Z. They are more likely to advocate for specific causes they have researched through online social media platforms. And when they do advocate for certain causes, they are focused on the ones they think have the greatest impact on society. Some of them view themselves as “Social Justice Warriors” taking on a system plagued with old ways of thinking.
Currently, 30% of Generation Z feel that climate change is the single greatest issue facing society. So no wonder social media is filled these days with messages about climate change, saving the planet, and the importance of making the transition to electric vehicles. Green messaging is big these days. Digital marketers need some way to signal that they support this cause as well.
Where things get really interesting is when it comes to how young members of Generation Z purchase online. The old way of doing things – researching products via social media and then going to the website of a retailer to purchase the product – is now out-of-date. The new way of doing things is called social commerce. This involves transacting directly within a social platform. If you see a product you like on Instagram, for example, it means being able to purchase it within the Instagram app. This makes the transaction experience as frictionless as possible.
For digital marketers, this has to be music to their ears. For how long have they been talking about social commerce? It now appears to have gone mainstream, after first starting out on platforms like Pinterest and Instagram. So if you are a brand looking to sell online to young consumers, one priority is to bolster the social commerce capabilities of your social media platforms.
Who do they follow?
Finally, members of Generation Z seem more focused on following individual content creators and influencers, rather than specific brands. This opens up the opportunity to partner with high-profile content creators who represent the values and mission of your brand.
At the end of the day, members of Generation Z still love music and video games, just like teens and young adults of a previous generation. But they are consuming it via different social media platforms, and are much more expectant that brands will embrace social issues and social causes as part of the way they connect online. So if you are looking to connect with these young social media users, understanding this change in mindset could be the key to making your online presence as impactful as possible.