The focus on Millennials was so 2008: Generation Z has become the “It” demographic for 2018. The oldest of Generation Z-ers are in their early twenties and entering the labor force. Gen Z is also the most multicultural generation in US history–and they value cultural representation. Now is the perfect moment to recognize their purchasing potential. Smart social media marketers can capitalize on their interests and values, but you must use a deft touch.

Here are a few salient features of members of Gen Z:

1. Frugality
Coming of age during the recession means that members of Generation Z are more frugal than their older siblings and parents. These kids are optimistic but practical in their worldviews. Like their grandparents, Gen Z-ers are keen bargain hunters who are willing to pay for quality. Their thrifty habits have led to the rise of DIY (more on that below) and the popularity of “life hacks.” Members of Generation Z will of course spend money, but not as freely as Boomers or Millennials.

2. Savvy consumers and targets
These savvy consumers came of age in a more cynical time, so they are wary of more traditional marketing tactics. Gen Z-ers understand the difference between marketing and communication. For example, a sportswear retailer posts two blogs, one is a list of ideal clothing for different types of exercise (and it just so happens that they produce each item of clothing), the other is an article about a new type of fitness regime (a crossfit-pilates hybrid).  Gen Z-ers probably won’t read through the first (a blog post that is actually a thinly veiled advertisement), but they will read the second (an article that would be interesting to consumers of that brand). As we tell all of our Clients, marketing is about connecting–and Generation Z values connection.

3. Authenticity is Paramount
Generation Z-ers prefer real over ideal. Unlike Baby Boomers, Millennials, and just about every other previous generation of American consumers, members of Generation Z do not expect perfection. When choosing a brand of clothing, for example, Gen Z-ers would rather see photos of actual customers who styled themselves than pictures from a professional photoshoot. This tendency to enshrine the real is embodied in the rise of the Do-It-Yourself movement. While Millennial Ashleigh might have dabbled in DIY for her apartment decor, her Generation Z cousin Riley has embraced the DIY ethos in every part of her life from her upcycled vintage furniture to her bridal shower decorations.

4. Individuality over Brands
Stemming from their focus on the authentic, Generation Z is all about celebrating individuality. The marketing goal was once convincing the audience that they were a part of the brand or that the brand was a part of their identities (e.g., Dr. Pepper’s “I’m a Pepper!” campaign). Marketers focusing on Gen Z should instead show their audience that the brand will fit within the individual’s style/personality.

5. Influencer Marketing
Who you know continues to be more important than what you know, at least when it comes to branding. Social media influencers–YouTube and Instagram celebrities, e.g.–are more important than ever when it comes to brand exposure among Generation Z. This goes back to the previous points of authenticity and individuality. As we mentioned above, Gen Z consumers want to see real people using the products or services being marketed. Showing a popular personality trying your product or espousing your brand in the real-world is marketing gold for any brand that targets Generation Z.

6. Effect of the Internet
The first generation to grow up online was inevitably impacted by the internet.  Social media is even more important to Generation Z than to Millennials. They typically use multiple social media platforms, too. Gen Z-ers also tend to take a more global perspective in their viewpoints, a trait that is enhanced both by their internet connectivity and their generation’s multiculturalism.

Ready to take on social media marketing for the next generation? We’re here to help. At StartUp TakeOff, we understand the value of a strong team. We also know that finding the right people can be nerve-wracking and time-consuming, so we made it easy for our Clients. Choosing the wrong partners can be a costly misstep for any entrepreneur, which is why StartUp TakeOff’s founder, Stefani Thionnet, has assembled a diverse group of marketing experts from across the industry who will provide you with solutions that save you time and money. Our team of marketing industry veterans will get to know you and your brand so that we can provide solutions perfectly tailored to your needs. The best people often strike out on their own, but we’ve brought them together to get results you will love.

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