Generation Z, born 1995-2010, are thriving in their youth, making waves across social media with their unique personal branding, self-expressive attitudes and digitally creative campaigns.
Generation Z have been nurtured with personalised, interactive technology from a young age. In fact, we are now entering a time where our youngest students don't remember a world without tablets, Facetime and Snapchat. They are the true digital natives of our society, powering through education and more recently entering our workplaces, tech savvy, forward thinking and with the natural power to earn influence. Generation Z's social behaviours and heightened expectations will create positive change for businesses but, the challenge we face is, that they are looking to work, purchase and forge relationships with organisations that successfully engage them.
In the last decade, we have experienced the social media revolution. The explosion of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram onto our smart devices have advanced the concepts of personal blogging. The simplification of technology has gifted Generation Z with an innate ability to understand the creation process of photographs, videos and various social media content. The power to influence is at their fingertips and, companies should be tapping into their skills to help leverage brands.
This trend and new form of marketing, uses social media to reach targeted audiences with a much more personalised approach. Influencers that demonstrate and review products and services online, create a deeper sales connection, motivating their followers purchasing decisions. In many ways, social media influencers have heavier influence over Generation Z than celebrities and this is because influencers create narratives that their audience can relate to. A recent Google survey reports, 70% of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities and, 4 in 10 millennial subscribers say their favourite creator understands them better than their friends. Generation Z can smell commercial sales talk from a mile away and are looking for authentic and relative content, which social influencers are successful in therefore, building trust and loyalty from their fan-base.
Generation Z are realistic about the future and are not so optimistic about current economies, politics and changing environments. The world of social media has unveiled many of the planet's hidden secrets, corrupt systems and climate related tragedies, which has encouraged an active attitude in Generation Z towards making change for the wider society. In 2019, we should expect to see lots of real conversations, debates and movements happening across a variety of niches. There are lots of people finding their voice, fighting their own cause and social media provides a platform to drive social change.
Digital and social media has nurtured Generation Z's pragmatic mindset to create change, they believe companies should make positive changes towards a more sustainable future and actively look to work with companies whose goals align with their own. What's more, Generation Z won't be shy to rebel against politics. In society, young attitudes are often perceived as 'offended' and 'entitled' but they live in a world, where instant access to Google will uncover any truths. In fact, Generation Z are known to 'fact check' their parents and are upfront about challenging social statements. Generation Z's natural ability to filter engaging and genuine content should make organisations question their engagement strategies and whether practices reflect their culture, values and policies.
Generation Z have grown up with their toys and devices having a personality, they expect things to move, speak and personalise their experience. Personalisation and interaction are the roots of engagement for Generation Z. Apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter have simplified the meaning of digital interaction by incorporating filters, polls and gamification. These expectations are nurtured in the minds of Generation Z from a young age and they expect that level of personalisation and interaction through the content they engage with.
Gamification is the concept that the more an interface feels like a game, the more likely the user is to interact with it. Organisations are now adopting gamification techniques through their marketing, attraction and retention strategies. Gamification works well with users because it stimulates their mind, engages them in the content and drives forward thinking. Gamification techniques can also be personalised and digitally interactive, the perfect model for Generation Z.