Fifty-four percent of Gen Z spends at least four hours per day consuming social media content. They see through blatant attempts to appeal to young people without understanding their values.
Cringe-worthy efforts to engage Gen Z through outdated slang, old memes and lapsed TikTok dances are transparent attempts that can have a negative impact on a brand’s reputation. Effectively reaching Gen Z audiences requires organizations and companies to communicate authentically, connect with young peoples’ values and create inclusive content.
Digital campaigns provide an excellent space for brands to address pressing social and environmental issues. Gen Z is deeply concerned about climate change, mental health, reproductive rights and gun violence. They appreciate companies that take a stand and actively contribute to positive change. By partnering with young creators and youth-led organizations to take a stance on key societal issues, brands can inspire Gen Zers to act and advocate for a better world.
Gen Zers are the most diverse generation in American history and want to see themselves represented in the media they consume. According to Pew Research Center, 25% of Gen Zers are Hispanic or Latino, 14% are Black, 6% are Asian and 5% are Non-white. Close to 21% of Gen Zers identify as LGBTQ+, more than any other generational cohort in the United States. Amplifying diverse voices is essential to creating a digital campaign that resonates with these young users.
It’s also imperative for brands to have a community management strategy that prevents hateful attacks on marginalized voices and creates inclusive online spaces. Gen Z wants to be more than passive consumers; they want brands to engage with them in the comment section, reshare their posts, listen to their feedback and highlight user-generated content on their social channels.
Fostering a positive, non-hateful online community will increase follower engagement. No influencer, youth advocate or consumer wants to interact with a brand that leaves them vulnerable to personal attacks, especially around significant moments like Pride Month.
Younger audiences want to see their voices, values and interests represented in the media they consume and the products they purchase. Brands need to speak to Gen Z through their peers and reach them on the digital platforms where they spend most of their time — because, as Gen Zers would say, it’s giving authenticity.
Jen Lambert is a digital advocacy account coordinator at BerlinRosen.