The biggest truth, though, might be this: Social media is a huge and defining presence in the lives of most Gen Z members. Instagram is arguably the epitome of visual branding in the age of social media. Brands that want to connect with young people must understand how to engage people and build an Instagram following. In 2013, the brand launched a social campaign that depicted real stories from PayPal users. Unfortunately, many business make the mistake of creating posts for themselves instead of their followers and potential broader audience. The content and the person presenting it work together to humanize your brand, solidifying your values in a visual representation. What are their personal interests? They also show how their people put company values into play by making a positive difference in the broader community. Brands must take authenticity on social media very seriously. Ultimately, it’s this sense of authenticity that makes people care.
Young buyers are tech-savvy and can spot marketing-speak a mile away. Show them your authentic brand voice instead.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Whether you call them “Digital Babies,” “Generation iPad” or “The iGeneration,” there’s no arguing that Generation Z is growing up. Born in 1997 and later, this cohort’s members already are playing valuable roles in society. They’re also extremely savvy, which means marketing to them is a challenge. After all, they’ve been raised with smart devices in their hands and a world of information literally at their fingertips.
Several distinct characteristics describe this age group. The biggest truth, though, might be this: Social media is a huge and defining presence in the lives of most Gen Z members. That prevalence, in turn, has driven other trends in marketing and commerce. Brands find themselves needing act more like humans and less like a carefully scripted position statement.
Today’s young buyers have more options than ever before in terms of how and where they spend their money. Businesses must future-proof their offerings by factoring Gen Z into their social-media strategies for 2019 and beyond. Help them answer the question, “Why should I choose you over the next brand?” and you’ll create a devoted base within the next big generation of consumers.
Here are several ways to can play to this crowd’s preferences as you tailor new messages and craft new campaigns.
Instagram is arguably the epitome of visual branding in the age of social media.
Of the three major platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), Instagram is the clear-cut winner among Gen Z. This trend contributes to the universal shift toward a more visually oriented online experience.
Brands that want to connect with young people must understand how to engage people and build an Instagram following. Instagram is a natural pairing for some brands, such as clothing and restaurants.
Other industries don’t have it so easy. Financial-services providers don’t initially appear to have much visual appeal. Yet PayPal used Instagram to reinvent its image in a highly relatable way. In 2013, the brand launched a social campaign that depicted real stories from PayPal users. Adopting a format similar to that of “Humans of New York,” PayPal posted visual representations of individual users and detailed how the service solved a problem or made their lives easier. The campaign led to a 327 percent increase in engagement.
PayPal recognized how to inject everyday realism into its image. Unfortunately, many business make the mistake of creating posts for themselves instead of their followers and potential broader audience. You’ve seen these images time again, often in the form of visuals that mimic coupons or flashy discounts. Businesses should concentrate instead on content that connects with people on a personal level.