“The kids are alright”: a phrase probably worth remembering if you’re a business that wants to expand in 2020. At a time where 40% of global consumers are Generation Z (McKinsey), savvy businesses will want to tap into the 44 billion dollar buying power of the younger generation (Forbes) to gain an edge on the competition.
The advent of the Internet has caused a seismic shift in the marketing landscape with traditional forms of marketing fast beginning to play second fiddle to their digital contemporaries. Barriers to entry in the marketing industry are lower than ever with small businesses who may otherwise have not had the capital to advertise via traditional methods now having the ability to market themselves at a fraction of the cost. While online ads may set businesses back a pretty penny, social media provides another means by which capital-constrained brands can advertise themselves to the masses. Good news if you’re a brand that wants extend its reach on a budget and even better news if your target market is the younger generation as more than 74% of Gen Z’ers spend their free time on social media according to the Institute of Business Management. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
A note of caution for those of you who may think digital marketing is all rainbows and unicorns, though: while the plethora of online platforms available to retailers means that there are more opportunities to extend your reach in 2020, the sheer volume of advertising that customers are exposed to, as well as the uptick in the number of players in the market, means that it now takes even more for a brand to stand out today. With Gen Z’ers confessing to paying attention to digital content for a mere eight seconds on average, if you’re a brand that wants to successfully market itself to the younger generation then you have a tough job on your hands.
But that’s where we come in.
So just how can Greenlink Digital help you to better market your brand to the so-called “unmarketable”? In the famous words of The Jackson 5, it’s easy as 1–2–3:
- Establishing a Strategy for your social media presence
- Helping you to produce relatable content
- Leveraging our network of partners and influencers
In this article, we will take you through the three main ways in which we can help your brand get down with the kids in 2020.
- Establishing and managing your social media presence
With studies revealing that Gen Z’ers spend an average of ~3 hours on social media per day, where should a brand that is aspiring to attract a younger audience market themselves in 2020? Social media, of course. For Generation Z, social media and product discovery appear to go hand in hand, with research from Bluecore revealing that 85% of Gen Z’ers profess to using social media to discover and learn about new products. A damning indictment of the need to be present on social media in 2020 indeed. So damning that it is predicted that digital ad spend across social media platforms will reach $517 billion globally by 2023, according to e-Marketer. And so, as savvy businesses increase their digital ad spend in response to the changing conditions of the market, those that fail to adapt will fall by the wayside. In the words of Kenny Sebastian: “Don’t be that guy.”
While social media presence is key, brands shouldn’t spread themselves thin, instead stationing themselves on the platforms which their specific targets frequent the most. A brand focused more on Generation Z would want to ensure that they are present on TikTok for example, where more than 40% of users are aged 16–24. However, a brand focused more on appealing to Millennials would be sure to be present on Instagram, an app used by 69% of Millennials daily (Facebook).
Merely being on social media is not enough. In an age where social media is fast being used as a platform for questions, comments and complaints, it is key for companies to be proactive on social media to protect the reputation of their brand. According to Microsoft, 47% of Millennials use social media to lodge complaints and ask questions about a brand’s product or service and about 60% lose interest in a brand if their query isn’t responded to within an hour. Therefore, if you are a brand that is stationed on multiple social media platforms, careful management of the communities on those platforms will be necessary to ensure that your brand’s reputation is protected.
Moreover, management of social media should not just be a reactive affair. The US fast-food chain, Wendy’s, for example, has gained a reputation for providing humorous and entertaining customer support which adds personality to their brand.
Added to this, we are now beginning to see brands make use of dedicated groups to drive a sense of community, with retailers such as Gap Inc already benefitting from online communities on Instagram.
Key takeaway: in 2020, it is not enough for your brand to just be on social media. Proactive use of social media and careful management of the communities on the platforms which you are present on is needed to both create and maintain a positive brand reputation.
2. Helping you to produce relatable content
In 1996, Microsoft founder Bill Gates famously uttered: “Content is king.” And if you’re a brand that wants to appeal to the younger generation in 2020, you’d better believe it, with a study from NewsWhip Research Center finding that Gen Z’ers respond best to content that is “funny, relatable or bizarre”.
The key to Generation Z is video content which is “relevant, meaningful, and authentic” (Forbes) and with the aforementioned 8-second attention span of this tough-to-please bunch, it’d better be short too!
Gen Z’ers are as cynical as they are savvy, passing up pristine and professional marketing campaigns in favour of raw and unfiltered content. 18 year old teen influencer Emma Chamberlain embodies this paradigm shift with her relatable girl-next-door-come-fashionista persona seeing her amass over 8 million YouTube subscribers and 7.7 million Instagram followers. Louis Vuitton were quick to capitalise on her influence, running a series of videos with Chamberlain while also enabling purchases through clickable video ads. This strategy saw an 11x return on ad spend for the brand (Vogue Business). Money well spent, huh?
Making use of user-generated content (UGC) is also a sure-fire way to engage your audience and provide social proof and one which we can help with. Sharing posts which your brand has been tagged in and adding other users’ stories to your own are just a couple of ways in which we can help your brand to gain higher impressions and credibility organically.
Key takeaway: in an age where content is king and the younger generation is far more selective with the kind of content it engages with and is receptive to, it is key for your brand to produce content which is, punchy, relatable and (preferably) visual.
3. Leveraging our network of partners and influencers
Generation Z is over traditional advertising, choosing to place trust in peers and tribes when it comes to their choices as consumers. That is where influencers come in. One of the most effective ways of promoting trust and interest in your brand is through use of micro-influencers in targeted tribes with more than 76% of Gen Z’ers saying that they follow an influencer on social media (Morning Consult) and 58% of millennials being found to positively react to ads when their favourite digital personality is featured in them (Smart Insights). Doritos made use of such micro-influencer partnerships, joining forces with Twitch’s influencer-focused competition brand Twitch Rivals to launch a tournament series which would provide aspiring streamers with the chance to win cash prizes and a year’s supply of Doritos. Doritos’ success in this instance was no mean feat. Twitch is known to be made up of many groups of tight-knit communities which stick to a strict code: a quintessentially Gen Z platform which is built around trust and authenticity and does not support any old brand that comes its way.
So what can we learn from this? If a brand can bring value to, and align with tribes and subgroups within the platforms which it is present on, it could give them a great advantage over mainstream influencer channels. We, at Greenlink Digital, through our network of influencers and partners, will provide you with the means by which you can gain a competitive advantage over your rivals, by enabling you to establish a bedrock of trust and credibility between yourselves and your target market.
Key takeaway: Generation Z are a notoriously skeptical bunch. Utilisation of influencer partnerships will allow your brand to gain the trust and social proof it needs to garner the support of the younger generation.
The past decade has seen the explosion of the Internet and the rise in prominence of digital forms of advertising with it. Brands must adapt to changing market conditions and ensure that they have a strong online presence to maintain their competitiveness, particularly if their target market is the younger generation. If this applies to you, then look no further than Greenlink Digital. Our trusted service will provide you with the expertise you need to build your brand and be down with the kids in 2020. It’s easy as 1–2–3.