Move over millennials, there’s a new generation taking over and they’re all marketers can talk about. This month’s social media and marketing news seems to focus on consumers under the age of 23, known as Gen Zers. Keep reading to see how brands such as Crocs are appealing to Gen Z, as well as how to leverage livestreams and Instagram to appeal to this younger demographic.
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Although it may not come as a surprise to many, a new survey from analysts at Piper Jaffray found that 70% of Gen Zers (people born between 1997 and 2012) “overwhelmingly prefer” when brands contact them on Instagram rather than through other social media channels. Snapchat comes in second place for branding, with just under 50% of teens preferring that brands use it to reach out to them. Meanwhile, Twitter and Facebook fared poorly, coming in behind email, text messaging, and website ads.
When you’re marketing to Gen Z, it’s important to keep one thing in mind. People in their early twenties and younger were born into a world already full of technology. As a brand, you need to know how they communicate, where they like to interact, and why some forms of content resonate with them and others do not.
There a few things that set Gen Z apart from their elders. For starters, they prefer social media—and in particular Instagram—over traditional forms of media like television or the grandfather of media, radio. Gen Zers look to their peers and macro-influencers to share products they love, and they aren’t afraid to share their opinions on brands they like, and hate, in return. Secondly, they love authenticity and have developed a blindness to overly-produced or unrealistic content. Unlike baby boomers, Gen Z doesn’t get their fashion inspiration from models in magazines or celebrities, they’re 1.3x likelier to get it from fashion influencers on Instagram.
Lastly, Gen Z is all about inclusion, and the youth will shame brands that stick to a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing. So how can you capture the attention of Gen Z knowing all of this? The answer is simple, influencer marketing and the content influencers create. It is authentic because it comes from real people, it is diverse because it is created by people of different backgrounds, and it’s made for social media, making it engaging when shared by brands. Keep reading for a perfect example of brand using Instagram to appeal to youth.
Crocs, along with other “uncool” brands like Fila, Champion, and Uggs, have made its way into the cultural zeitgeist in the past year. To pique the interest of Gen-Z customers, Crocs has relied on hashtags and paid influencer partnerships to drive up its user-generated content (UGC) creation and ultimately increase its footprint in the digital space. Because consumers are creating and propagating trends faster than brands can keep up, the new tactic has allowed the brand to keep relevant with a fast-moving, trend-driven audience. This tactic has also enabled Crocs to climb from the 27th best-selling footwear brand in the U.S. in 2017 to the 13th last year.
Let’s face it, when you think Crocs, you don’t immediately think high fashion.
But the brand was on a mission to be “in,” and Crocs knew that the approval of Gen Z would take their brand to the next level. Rather than Crocs throwing thousands of dollars at a creative agency in the hopes of creating a campaign that appealed to a younger audience, they let consumers do the talking. The brand partnered with influencers who created content showing their peers how to style the shoes previously reserved for grandmothers and those with a green thumb.
When brands are trying to appeal to a younger audience, the overly-produced, studio-shot content just doesn’t cut it. Influencer content resonates because Gen Zers crave authenticity and influencers are real people themselves. Their content shows other Gen Zers how to style Crocs in a way and on a platform that resonates with them.
New trend alert! Instead of the typical unboxing and hauling videos, influencers are now hosting interactive livestreams showcasing their shopping trips. While livestreaming isn’t anything new, influencers are using apps like BuyWith and Dote to get real-time feedback from their fans during their online shopping trips. The apps allow influencers to shop from popular brands like Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, and Asos directly on the platform and interact with their followers through a live chat. With Gen Zers’ spending power of $143 billion, there’s a big opportunity for the brands to sign onto interactive shopping platforms.
Have you ever been on social media and found yourself falling into a rabbit hole of videos unaware of how you got there? Well, that’s me, and millions of other young people, with clothing hauls and “come shopping with me” videos. Influencers are now taking hauls a step further by streaming their shopping trips to get their fans’ approval (or disapproval) of the items they ultimately purchase.
When you’re marketing to Gen Z, you have to reach them where they are, and that’s on social media. While apps like BuyWith and Dote are amazing for livestreaming, brands can essentially do the same thing with the livestream features on Instagram and YouTube, which is where influencers generally have their largest followings. Both platforms have livestream capabilities where influencers can host live videos and receive real-time chats from their viewers. As a fashion brand, this is an amazing opportunity to capture the attention of already engaged consumers. Start by giving influencers a credit to shop at your store. In exchange, the influencer can livestream their shopping trip on Instagram and YouTube.