It seems like nobody can stop talking about Generation Z. Already, this group of teenagers to young twenty-somethings are projected to account for 40% of all consumers by the end of this year! This young group of shoppers is going to be extremely influential in the upcoming years, which is why it is so important that relevant businesses look to see how they can connect with this specific demographic.
However, if companies had difficulty trying to connect with Millennials in the past, they will only find it more difficult with this next group of consumers. It can be super tricky to not only capture their attention, but keep them engaged long enough for a conversion. These young shoppers are notoriously skeptical and don’t usually trust businesses or products easily.
Businesses and marketing teams will have to find ways to engage with Gen Z by figuring out how to utilize the mediums they are most comfortable with or spend most of their time on. Since this generation grew up with technology, they are by far the most comfortable with it and the most eager to adopt new and changing trends.
Perhaps the most powerful weapon in this battle is video marketing. According to one study, the average Gen Z consumer watches 68 videos per day, and 71% stated their preferred form of entertainment consumption is streaming videos, particularly short-form. Because this generation has grown up with instant gratification and are used to shorter videos from sources like Vine, Snapchat, and Instagram stories, they are more likely to stay interested and finish a small clip.
Here are several ways you can create the kind of short-form video content that will capture the attention and interest of this generation.
Use Social Media to Tell Consumable Brand Stories
Of course, social media is widely used by this Generation – since it has practically existed for as long as they have been alive. Gen Z uses social media far more than Millennials do, with their top three favorite platforms being YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram (notice that Twitter and Facebook do not top the list).
One of the best ways to build your brand’s following on Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat is by using video to fuel fantastic storytelling.
Another aspect that makes this generation truly unique is their fascination with learning new skills and techniques through short-form videos. Gen Zer’s are very interested in education, but they prefer to consume this kind of content in quick, short bursts. Social media video is the perfect platform to share quick how-to videos to capture attention while promoting your brand.
For example, you can use your social media channel to share different ways to use your product or service. The natural food brand Follow Your Heart does a great job of this with their Instagram account. Their story shares step-by-step instructions for different recipes, such as their vegan scrambled eggs or a mac ‘n’ cheese sandwich with their dairy free cheese shreds. These videos take less than a minute to finish, but they are still interesting and promote their brand in an engaging way.
Additionally, you can give a peek behind the scenes and share how your products are made. Share tutorials for various and unique ways to use your products and offer meaningful content that offers some kind of benefit to your audience.
Connect with Relevant Influencers
Generally speaking, Gen Zer’s feel very connected to influencers and look to them for advice and brand recommendations. Four out of ten Gen Z consumers agreed that they find influencers trustworthy and they often view their content in order to learn about new brands or products.
Partnering with the right influencer can certainly help you gather attention (and conversions) from these young consumers. The key here is finding the digital creator that can bring your brand to the right audiences in a meaningful and genuine way that doesn’t scream “paid promotion.”
Now, these collaborations may not be entirely obvious, and they can also be an opportunity for your brand to reach new segments through an influencer’s promotion. For instance, Nike recently collaborated with Bretman Rock, a popular Instagram and YouTube personality. Bretman’s audience is largely made up of younger viewers, and he is an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ rights and being true to yourself. He was also a former track star, so his collaboration helped Nike to reach this younger audience while still being in line with the influencer’s personality. In this Nike ad, Bretman talks about the importance of being true to yourself and using sports as a creative outlet.
Your collaboration needs to make sense with both the influencer’s primary audience and your brand. Be sure to enter these influencer collaborations with a sense of caution. It might be better to partner with a “micro-influencer” with a smaller audience reach. These tend to have higher engagement levels and reach a more relevant audience – as opposed to a big-name influencer that may not necessarily speak to your customers.
Use Trends to Your Advantage (But Be Cautious)
Generation Z is often defined by the trends that they participate in. Whether it be the clothes they wear, the songs they listen to, or the slang they use, trends are important to establish connections within this age group.
When some brands want to engage with younger generations, they attempt to “fit in” by integrating trendy concepts while trying to somehow connect it to the messaging. Unfortunately, this can actually do more harm than good. According to a report from Sprout Social, 38% of social media users unfollowed a brand when they used slang or jargon, and 32% disengaged because a brand was trying to be humorous when it had no reason to.
It is important to keep this in mind as you create short-form videos. Short funny clips tend to have higher engagement and share rates because they are enjoyed by the majority of audiences. However, your videos do not necessarily have to be super funny, especially if the humor is not in line with your brand voice and personality.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid trends altogether. They can certainly be a great way to connect with Gen Z, but only if it makes sense with your brand messaging.
Starbucks did a great example of this with their recent launch of the new Cloud Macchiato drink. The day before the launch, Starbucks sent out some teaser videos that combined a hint of their launch (clouds) with trendy Instagram video content. They posted three separate ASMR-type videos that all featured cloud shaped objects. ASMR (which stands for autonomous sensory meridian response) has been super popular on video platforms and Gen Zer’s tend to be huge fans of this kind of content. By using this type of trendy video, Starbucks was successfully able to use a current trend to promote a new product in a way that made sense and didn’t come off as “trying too hard.”
Short-form video offers the perfect opportunity for brands to make easily consumable content that this younger generation will engage with. Be sure that your content remains meaningful -even though it is limited in terms of length. Share stories or information that your audience will appreciate, use appropriate influencers, and integrate trends only when applicable.
In the end, Gen Zer’s are just like any other consumer group, in that they are looking for connections to brands that interest them. By creating concise, yet valuable video content, you can adapt to the changing standards and capture this highly influential audience segment.