Influencer Marketing for Gen Z: How To Promote Your Brand To Social Media’s Biggest Audience

Everything you should know about influencer marketing to Gen Z

Influencer marketing is hugely popular across social media as a means of reaching and engaging with target audiences – and so of course, it is an extremely effective way to reach Gen Z, a demographic that has practically been raised on the internet. Born between the years of 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the first generation to have grown up in an era defined by social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok, rendering them incredibly tech-savvy and commonly active online. As such, this generation is inclined to rely on influencer recommendations and peer input from social media as a way to determine their purchases or buyer behavior.

Succeeding in targeting Gen Z with influencer marketing requires a few tactics in your influencer marketing strategy. Finding the right influencers that can speak to and authentically connect with this young audience, as well as creating content that aligns with the values of this unique generation will be paramount to your success.

Understanding the characteristics and behaviors of Gen Z

A highly diverse, individualistic generation, Gen Z exhibits a range of characteristics and behaviors that can influence how they respond to marketing and messaging. A few factors to be aware of that when it comes to Gen Z include:

  • Digital natives: As the first generation to fully grow up in an era where the internet, smartphones, Google, and social media exist, Gen Z is defined by their high level of online socialization, connection, and their expectation of easily-accessible information. They are highly capable when using technology and pick up on new developments quickly.

  • Influencer-driven: Influencer recommendations are more trustworthy to Gen Z than traditional advertising forms, but they also tend to remain skeptical of branded content.

  • Values-driven: Gen Z is known for caring deeply for social and environmental causes, and may prefer to associate with brands that align with this.

  • Short attention span: Thanks to ease of information access, social media algorithms, and instant gratification, Gen Z has a shorter attention span and may be more selective of the content they consume.

  • Highly social: In an online sense, Gen Z is very sociable and values the opinions of their peers. They are also more likely to share content with friends or online audiences and often participate in online communities or fandoms.

Developing a marketing strategy for Gen Z

Focusing on creating a marketing strategy that is tailored to Gen Z’s unique traits will be crucial to your campaign’s success. Some key considerations include utilizing social media and other digital channels, as social media platforms will be the natural, most important route for reaching and engaging with Gen Z. It may also be worth your time to consider online video platforms and messaging apps that are popular with this demographic as a means to diversify your approach. You should also take care to create authentic content as GenZ is partial to content that comes across as genuine and trustworthy. Partnering with quality influencers with a good track record will be key here. Taking the time to incorporate values and causes, such as climate or environmental issues or other major social causes, will be perceived positively when done right and can help bolster your marketing efforts.

As with many things, you should use data and analytics to inform your strategy. By this, we meanresearch and relevant data collection on Gen Z’s behaviors, preferences, and buying patterns, as this can help to further enhance your marketing strategy and ensure that you go with the right approach. Finally, you should always aim to be flexible and adaptable. As Gen Z is a dynamic and rapidly evolving demographic, it’s important to keep on your toes and be open to continual marketing strategy adjustments to remain effective and relevant in the market. 

Using social media and other channels to reach Gen Z

The correct usage of social media platforms is necessary in order to connect properly with a Gen Z target audience. There are a few ways to ensure your approach is sound, starting with using a variety of social media platforms. Gen Z holds a presence on a number of platforms including Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and more. Consider researching which platforms are most relevant to your niche and simultaneously popular among Gen Z. Next, you should recruit influencers by reaching out to and partnering up with influencers that are popular with, or members of Gen Z to help cement your brand as relevant to this generation.

To take your approach to the next level, be sure to utilize interactive and immersive content. Gen Z values experiences and will respond favorably to content that is more interactive in nature such as live streams, polls, and challenges. Lastly, you shouldn’t be afraid of using paid advertising. Organic reach is great, but it can be limited – by paying to boost your content, you can specify the demographics and age groups you want to target.

Creating engaging and authentic content for Gen Z

Quality content is at the forefront of your influencer marketing strategy, as this is what users will be engaging with. Some tips for creating content that resonates with Gen Z include:

  • Be genuine and transparent: Gen Z values authenticity and will trust brands that come across in a no-fuss, transparent way. Avoid using language that is overly promotional or ‘salesy’ and consider sharing behind-the-scenes glimpses or footage to create a more relatable image for your brand. behind-the-scenes glimpses of your brand or company to create a more authentic and relatable image.

  • Use interactive and immersive formats: As previously mentioned, formats that get Gen Z involved and actively engaging with the content may yield higher success. There are a few examples of interactive formats that you can incorporate into your approach: 

    • Live streams: Platforms such as YouTube and Twitch are popular for large-scale live streaming showcases, while Instagram and TikTok can offer a more lowkey, interactive experience. Live streams can be used to showcase products, host Q&A sessions, or host other interactive events.

    • Polls and surveys: These allow users to provide feedback and input, and can be used to gather data and insights about your audience. A simple method of conducting polls can be done on Twitter, Instagram Stories, or YouTube.

    • Challenges: User-generated content campaigns and other challenge types can encourage users to engage with your brand and create content that can be shared on social media.

    • Virtual reality and augmented reality: Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) offer highly immersive experiences that can get Gen Z to deeply interact with the content on offer, and can also position your brand as technologically savvy or current.

Incorporating values and causes into marketing efforts for Gen Z

Gen Z is partial to brands that support the causes and issues that matter most to them. Of course, one should conduct adequate research to understand the current social climate as it changes regularly, but a few common causes that are prominent among Gen Z include: 

  • Sustainability and environmental issues: The impact of humans and human activity on the environment is concerning to Gen Z, and so they may be likely to support brands that display a commitment to sustainability and bring awareness to the importance of reducing harmful environmental impact.

  • Social justice and equality: Passionate about causes that relate to social justice for all groups of people and equality between genders, races, and other demographic factors, Gen Z prefers to support brands that promote diversity and inclusion.

  • Mental health: Mental well-being is a major point of concern for Gen Z, especially due to it being underrepresented in the past. Brands that speak on and prioritize mental health or offer resources and support for it will be viewed positively. 

  • Personal and social responsibility: Brands that promote ethical and responsible practices across the broad will be more popular with Gen Z due to their values in this regard.

While Gen Z is active across a range of social media platforms, each for its own features and offerings, the most popular platforms may additionally vary depending on certain countries or regions. As always, adequate research is recommended, but the most popular social media platforms among Gen Z globally include:

  • TikTok: The short-form video-sharing giant, TikTok allows users to create videos of varying lengths set to music and other trending audio tracks such as voiceovers and more. This platform is most popular with members of Gen Z and is known for its highly creative, quirky, and viral content.

  • Instagram: The original visual platform, Instagram allows users to share photos and videos and is the most popular platform for typical influencer marketing. Its popularity stems from its fashion, beauty, and lifestyle content, and has been boosted recently by the implementation of Reels, its short-form video format. 

  • YouTube: YouTube is synonymous with video-sharing and generally showcases larger-scale productions and longer videos. It’s particularly popular among Gen Z for entertainment and educational purposes. 

  • Snapchat: This messaging and multimedia app allows users to send each other photos or videos that disappear after a short period of time, essentially making them viewable only upon opening. Gen Z values this platform for its social and personal aspects.

  • Facebook: One of the original big social media platforms, Facebook may not be quite as popular as it once was, but it is popular among Gen Z for staying in touch with friends and family.

Case studies of influencer marketing for Gen Z

There are many examples of successful marketing campaigns targeting Gen Z, including a few that you should consider before constructing your campaigns.

Calvin Klein partnered with TikTok influencers to create content for its #MyCalvins campaign, which featured influencers showcasing the brand's clothing and accessories in creative and engaging ways. The campaign was successful in reaching and engaging with Gen Z and helped drive sales for the brand.

Airbnb launched a marketing campaign targeting Gen Z that featured a range of experiential activities, such as music festivals and sporting events, that were designed to appeal to this demographic. This campaign was also successful with Gen Z and helped drive bookings for the brand.

Coke launched a campaign focusing on a variety of interactive and immersive content, such as live streams and challenges, that were designed to appeal to the Gen Z demographic. The result was positive and boosted Coke’s sales following the campaign’s tenure.

Conclusion

Ultimately, Gen Z is becoming one of the most important demographics to target – as they age and become bigger buyers in the market, brands need to focus on tailoring their strategy to this unique generation to position themselves favorably in their eyes. Marketing to Gen Z effectively involves understanding the complexities of a generation that has grown up online, smartphone in hand, yet exhibits an increasing concern for the world around them, is tuned in to social issues, and shows a knack for being able to notice inauthentic or predatory practices from brands in the marketing space. By following best practices and continuously adjusting your strategy as needed, you can effectively reach and engage with Gen Z through targeted and authentic marketing efforts.

Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand?
Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 146.2M+ account database.
Candice is an influencer marketing enthusiast and marketing copywriter at HypeAuditor. When she’s not searching for the perfect music and filters for her Instagram Stories, she can usually be found keeping up with the latest gaming and tech influencers on Twitch and YouTube – or drinking a latte macchiato.
Topics:Basics
March 16, 2023
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Candice is an influencer marketing enthusiast and marketing copywriter at HypeAuditor. When she’s not searching for the perfect music and filters for her Instagram Stories, she can usually be found keeping up with the latest gaming and tech influencers on Twitch and YouTube – or drinking a latte macchiato.
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Want to partner with influencers who will be right for your brand?
Find the best creators with HypeAuditor Influencer Discovery and its 146.2M+ account database.