Latest posts by Tim Cameron-Kitchen
Targeting a young audience? Micro-influencers just may be the answer. Aiming to capture this audience (those born after 1995) can be lucrative, as Gen Z now accounts for around 40 percent of all consumer shopping. The best part is that Gen Z is fairly easy and cheap to market to — if you know how.
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Below, we explain why Generation Z will ignore your traditional advertising efforts and your attention-grabbing ads, and what you can do to capture this audience.
- Gen Z is technology-focused
Also known as iGen, this generation has grown up with a steady stream of technology.
While baby boomers might be technophobes and millennials are tech-savvy, Generation Z are the experts when it comes to social media and the internet. As such, they’ve been exposed to a lot of online trends, including micro-influencers. As a general rule of thumb, members of Gen Z are quick to adapt to technological and virtual change, making them the perfect audience for digital campaigns.
What does this mean for your business?
You’ll need to keep up with technological advancements and get to grips with the fast-paced nature of Gen Z. When advertising your business, you’ll need to suss out technology early in the game before a new platform becomes old news.
- They take notice of influencers
Influencer marketing seems to be more effective than traditional advertising when it comes to young audiences. In particular, Gen Z women find that influencer content sticks in their minds, with one in four Gen Z-aged women claiming this is how they typically learn about new products.
Even though male peers are less likely to name influencers as their primary source of information, this entire generation laps up more commercial content on social platforms than anyone else, regardless of gender.
It’s safe to say you should spend a healthy portion of your marketing budget on social media. Try to limit your traditional advertising spend to reflect the taste and preferences of this age group.
- Gen Z seeks diverse audiences
According to Business Insider, Generation Z is “the youngest, most ethnically-diverse, and largest generation in American history,” explaining why this group prefers minority representation.
It’s no surprise that members of Gen Z will choose to pay attention to influencers who reflect the eclectic mix of their peers. Major influencers with mass appeal aren’t as appealing to Gen Z, who prefer personalities with a smaller slice of the pie.
While Gen Z might all recognize Kylie Jenner, they’re less likely than millennials to watch her content. These teens instead subscribe to more accounts than other generations, favoring choice over fangirling.
This is exactly why working with micro-influencers can prove so effective. Once you’ve allocated a healthy spend to influencer marketing, avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. Instead, spread your sponsorship funding across multiple, lesser-known accounts, and you’ll find that you have a better reach despite their smaller audience sizes.
- Gen Z hates advertising
Traditional advertising doesn’t get far with this demographic — neither does any form of outright advertising.
In short, this generation hates to feel sold to and mentally shuts off if exposed to blatant adverts. Thus, marketers need to get creative to reach Gen Z, namely making their campaigns subtler and less promotional.
Micro-influencer content often fits this bill. Rather than watching a commercial, this generation likes to listen to a peer review or watch a how-to demonstration. Brand-led content is ineffective, meaning your messaging needs to come through another medium.
Above all, Generation Z respects the independence of influencer content. Micro-influencer campaigns often feel like disguised ads. Each campaign feels completely different from the other, allowing your product to be the chameleon that consumers are curious about.
- Generation Z thrives off active relationships
Need another reason why Gen Z hates ads? They can’t interact with them.
Major influencers might be too busy to chat with their large fanbase, but micro-influencers (those with audiences of around 50K followers) have a much more manageable following, allowing them to interact with users in real-time.
For Gen Z, this chance to engage feels both valuable and reciprocal. Importantly for Generation Z, micro-influencers can take specific feedback points and apply them to their content.
While this serves as another reason to invest in multiple small-scale social campaigns, it can also prove a lesson for your brand’s internal marketing.
As Gen Z values interaction, it’s a great idea to start investing in job roles that focus on social communication. Make tasks like responding to social comments and creating interactive content a top priority.
- Authentic content entertains Generation Z
For Generation Z, the mundane parts of everyday life that feel authentic are the most entertaining. When micro-influencers create content like this, the results are diverse.
While millennials might have been riding a brand sponsorship wave, Gen Z has missed the boat, preferring less luxurious content formats. As such, you’ll want to steer away from polished advertisements and conventional social formats.
Instead, Generation Z audiences will respond well to more meaningful, authentic content. Share conversations with your internal team, ask real people questions on the street, and cast a diverse crew for any high-end promo you might be planning.
- Micro-influencers are more trusted than celebs…
… at least in the eyes of Generation Z.
A recent study reveals that 52 percent of Gen Z trusts the influencers they follow on social media, while only 44 percent of this demographic trust their favorite celebrities and athletes.
This information illustrates Generation Z’s reliance on social media and indicates major influencers who cross the celebrity threshold aren’t seen to be as trustworthy as smaller influencer accounts.
You won’t impress Generation Z with celebrity endorsements and name dropping. This fact makes this lucrative customer segment a fairly affordable market to attract, as it requires more imagination than investment to work.
In other words, you’ll need to put little in to get a lot back.
- Generation Z flocks to micro-influencer hotspots
Gen Z tends to pay attention to functionalities within platforms like Twitter and IGTV, for example.
While most of us might incessantly refresh our Instagram explore page, Generation Z is always looking for upcoming talent in more unexpected places.
How can you find out where Gen Z is currently exploring? You’ll need to keep your finger on the social media platform pulse. Try to actively follow Gen Z accounts and micro-influencers to understand their latest migration patterns.
- Gen Z is migrating to new platforms
As well as flocking to micro-influencer hotspots, Generation Z is actively creating them by populating new platforms like TikTok. This video sharing platform has quickly amassed 500 million global users each month, with 66 percent of its users under 30.
Platforms like TikTok are allowing micro-influencer marketing to grow by creating a level playing field for all influencers to start growing audiences and gaining exposure.
While trying to make it big on Instagram might feel like fighting a losing battle, gaining traction on TikTok may not be. There’s no advanced algorithm that pushes known accounts to the top. Instead, Generation Z uses platforms like this to beat social giants and take back control of minority visibility. User-generated content is particularly popular with this crowd.
As a brand, you should spend time on elements of content rather than a finished product. Think stickers, filters and even hashtags that individuals can use to promote your brand on their behalf.
- Gen Z prefers short content
Major influencers post long-form content regularly. But this just isn’t Generation Z’s vibe. This generation would rather watch eight-second clips of content from a variety of small sources.
Put simply, Generation Z is a mobile-first generation that has never used desktops as a primary device. As a result, their tolerance for long-form content is much lower, meaning smaller chunks from smaller sources is their favorite way to consume content.
What does this mean for my business?
If your business is repositioning its focus to Generation Z, you’ll need to focus on three things:
- Technology: Your focus must be on technology and specifically how Gen Z likes to use it. We used Instagram as an example still populated with members of Generation Z, yet different functions like IGTV tend to engage this age group versus the average user.
- A new pace: Content quickly becomes outdated, and project times are much shorter. You can’t afford to spend time scrutinizing your long-term strategy or being precious about production value. Soon, the entire scene might change anyway.
- Different values: If you’re not part of Generation Z, it might be hard to wrap your head around the generation’s focus. Try to adapt to these newfound values and understand the need for shorter, more realistic content.
Do you have a business with a Generation Z target audience? Learn how to team up with the right micro-influencer for your next winning campaign.