Gen Z and Social Media Marketing: What You Need to Know

Updated: Mar 31, 2020

Just when you think you’ve figured out Millennials, here comes Generation Z.

Born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, Generation Z (or Gen Z) is the first generation to have no memory of a time before the Internet and smartphones.

From the beginning, they were thrust into a world where the way we communicate and interact is constantly changing, and as a result, adapting to these changes is very natural for them.

Herein lies the challenge for digital marketers. Young people are constantly bombarded with so much new information that nothing stays relevant for long.

So how do we set up a marketing strategy in such a fluid culture?

One constant trend of Gen Z is their devotion to social media, but while other generations can be found on more traditional platforms like Facebook, there are three social media platforms that attract Gen Z users more than any others: YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.


If there is one thing we must learn about Gen Z it’s this: video content is everything. The upcoming generation does not view social media like the Millennials did when they were teens.

Gone are the days when social media was about updating statuses and sharing blog posts.

According to research done by Forbes, 89% of the Gen Z population uses YouTube every week. While YouTube is nothing new, Gen Z is making use of it more than any other group.

With so many families moving away from traditional television, the high-quality content that Youtube provides is gaining even more popularity.

YouTube is now a platform that not only encourages self-expression but also generates mainstream entertainment, making it the killer app for Gen Z.


The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about YouTube Marketing is usually YouTube Ads. Sure, ads are a great way to get your message out there and can be extremely effective, but there are also other ways to use the platform.

Start by creating a YouTube channel for your business, and then providing valuable content for your targeted audience. To provide value to a younger audience, it’s important to find creative ways to make your videos entertaining, while still drawing these potential customers to your business.

Unlike ads, which are temporary, having a permanent library of quality videos can help you generates leads and create customer awareness for months if not years to come.

Good videos can also draw viewers to your website. Experienced YouTubers will often provide some sort of freebie, which the viewer can take advantage of by clicking on a link in the video description.

This link can take them directly to your site where they can access this free content while being exposed to all the other content and services you provide.


It’s hard to believe we live in a world where Instagram is outpacing Facebook to become one of the dominant social media platforms, but it’s a fact.

According to Business Insider, Instagram is now a daily driver for nearly 65% percent of teens, while Facebook is sitting at a meager 34% for the same age bracket.

Why is this?

It would seem that teens are now flocking to Instagram for the same reason they are flocking to YouTube, visual media.

From the very beginning, Instagram’s primary focus has been (unsurprisingly) on photography. Now with their IGTV platform, they are pushing even more into the world of video content, reinforcing the idea that, for Gen Z, video is key.


Just like YouTube, Instagram also offers paid advertisements. While this is a very important part of social media marketing, we must go deeper if we’re to make a long-lasting impact on today’s young adults.

We have to make a significant connection.

Don’t get too focused on getting a whole lot of likes and followers at first. Likes and followers are important, but they should only be the byproduct of good marketing.

Focus on identifying your audience and creating targeted content that draws them to your company and your overall message.

Most Gen Z users want to know the brands they interact with are genuine, so don’t be afraid to be real. Like and reply to your follower’s posts.

This can help them see that your brand has real people behind it and that it’s not just some faceless corporation.

Liking and commenting on posts from targeted users, who are not currently following you, could also generate brand new leads for your business!

Interact with your audience, create relationships, and turn potential leads into loyal customers.


According to Thomas Law, Gen Z is much more concerned about maintaining their privacy than Millennials ever were.

It should then be no surprise that Snapchat has become so popular within this age group, with around 51% of teens saying they use the app every day.

Snapchat is far from a traditional social media platform. In fact, it lies somewhere between a social media app and a messaging app.

Unlike tweets and Facebook posts, which last forever, pictures or videos sent through Snapchat only last a few moments before disappearing. There are also Snapchat stories (something that Instagram has incorporated), which can be shared with your friends, disappearing after 24 hours.


Unlike other platforms where you have time to edit and polish your content before posting it, Snapchat provides raw, real-time interactions with your followers.

While the idea of this can be scary, it actually makes it easier for brands to make authentic connections with potential customers.

In a world full of fake news, Gen Z users want transparent interactions with their brands, and Snapchat is the best place to make this happen.

One setback to using Snapchat to market your business, however, is that there is no real way to help your potential customers find you within the app (other than purchasing Snapchat ads).

So the best way to get new followers organically is by promoting your Snapchat handle on other social media platforms.

For instance, if you have a sizable following on Instagram, start promoting your Snapchat handle to them. This will allow you to make an even deeper connection with an audience you’ve already started building.

Gen Z is a fascinating generation.

As society has continued to become more and more fast-paced, these young people have had to learn how to continuously adapt to the ever-changing world, while also figuring out how to leave their own stamp on it.

The challenge of marketing to this group is being able to adapt and grow as quickly as they do.

While YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat are currently being favored by Gen Z users, other apps like TikTok are quickly gaining traction and may possibly overtake them in the future.

So, what do you think?

What are some other creative techniques we can use to generate Gen Z leads on social media? If you consider yourself to be a member of Gen Z, what approaches speak to you the most?

Let us know in the comments below!

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