How to Reach Generation Z on Social Media

By Alex Plaxen, February 15, 2018

Generation Z is changing the rules of social media as most of us know it. This generation grew up with social media and, unexpectedly, may be the most private generation yet. They understand the balance of public and private social media profiles more than any generation before them. Their consumption of content is less about being broadcasted to; they instead prefer to be an active participant in content creation and community development. Influencers with personal relationships with their fans have the most impact on Gen Z.

Snapchat

According to a study by advertising and PR agency SCG, more than 70 percent of Gen Z reports using Snapchat more than six times per day, so it’s the natural place to begin strategizing. Snapchat is the most valued platform for keeping in touch with friends, according to 89 percent of Gen Z social media users in the same study. This means they’re resistant to advertising; it is considered invasive here, the equivalent of a telemarketer to older generations.

Gen Z does trust influencers and figures in the community though. Influencer marketing is going to be your most effective strategy on Snapchat. Ask industry influencers to take over your event’s Snapchat. Provide them with guidelines, but don’t dictate content. Promote your takeovers through email and other social channels to boost engagement and views.

Instagram

Remember when we told you Gen Z values their privacy? On Instagram, this is going to make it much harder to find who you’re looking to reach. Gen Z has started creating “rinsta”
(real accounts) and “finsta” (fake or friends-only) accounts. During the registration process, ask attendees
for their social media handles so you can engage with them—but set clear expectations and explain why you’re asking for access. Transparency is key here.

After you’ve collected their Instagram handles, follow them and send them a direct message. Use their names and any information you may have collected in the registration process to personalize the message. For example, to connect with a first-time attendee, mention how excited you are to have them join you for the first time. Remember, there is a fine line between personalization and being a creepy stalker. Approach with caution.

Facebook and Twitter

Surprisingly, Facebook still has a hold on Gen Z, with 81 percent reporting they use the platform, according to the SCG study. Facebook is still a great place to build community. Create a group for Gen Z to collaborate and exchange opinions and ideas easily.

Use email targeting to let these attendees know you’ve created a place online just for them. Then invite them to help plan unique experiences at the event with you. This same tactic can be done on Twitter by creating an event hashtag they can use to find each other and share information.

Bottom Line

Across all platforms, keep in mind that Gen Z values authenticity and personal connections when engaging with brands. Be clear about what value your Gen Z attendees will get from engaging with your event online. Build one-on-one relationships if you can, and don’t be afraid of imperfection. Be real above all else.


Alex PlaxenAlex Plaxen is an industry thought leader in social media strategy for events and speaks at top industry events around the globe. Connect with him on social media (of course), @aplaxen.

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