How Gen Z Are Reinventing Social Media

Generational structures are created purely for marketing purposes. But, there are differences in the way generations use social media. 

There was once a time where being a millennial went hand in hand with being made fun of. Often the butt of the joke, Millenials were met with remarks about avocados, having a “made-up job” or not being able to afford a house because they spent their deposit on caramel-soy lattes.

Enter Gen Z (those born on the cusp of 1997 and onwards). 

These social-media-savvy, ‘snowflakes’ have changed the social media landscape whilst simultaneously taking the heat off of millennials. Most commonly, Gen Z is known for the popularisation of the term “Ok Boomer”, their love of memes, and being TikTok connoisseurs. 

Gen Z has given us a lot to work with – they develop trends and are an enigma to the many brands who try and market towards them. Which is why we thought we’d explore exactly how Gen Z are reinventing social media.

Snackable Content

Gen Zers don’t like to waste their time. They choose to opt for visual, snackable content that they can consume quickly over content that requires dedicating a lot of time. 

The snackable content they use tends to be video orientated such as; Instagram stories, Facebook stories, Snapchat and TikTok. It’s estimated that by 2022, video content will drive 82% of all internet traffic, and a big chunk of this will come from, or be aimed at, Gen Z audiences! 

As well as craving bite-sized content, Gen Z also opts for content that is engaging and optimised for mobile use. Gen Z spends more time online than their Millennial counterparts, choosing to view visual and engaging content. So, the more engaging your content, the more attention you’ll likely receive from Gen Z. In fact, the amount brands starting to focus more on snackable content is a prime example of how Generation-Z are reinventing social media.

If your brand is trying to appeal more to a Gen Z audience, using snackable, direct content will gain their attention. 

Emoji trends 

Emojis have come a long way since their former life as MSN emoticons. Gen Z has created a unique trend of using emojis across social media. And it’s a stroke of genius. The best part about it is that there is no thought process behind it whatsoever. 

Before our own eyes, “No” became “No❤️  ”, the cowboy emoji has become an everyday occurrence despite knowing, approximately zero cowboys. And, we won’t even try to explain what these mean; “👁 👄 👁 ” “🥺 👉  👈 “, because quite frankly it’s still up in the air.  

The current trend for using niche emojis is getting more popular by the day and is yet another example of how Generation-Z are reinventing social media. And we doubt this trend will slow down anytime soon. Keeping up with the latest emoji trends might just help your brand appear more current and reach Gen Z.

They value privacy

Unlike previous generations; Gen Z is very conscious about their online privacy. Despite being known as a generational group who lives for the internet and constantly has their smartphone to hand, 88% agreed with the statement “protecting my privacy is very important to me”.

Gen Zers tend to have “Finsta” (a “fake” or private Instagram account) where they share real aspects of their life and have a main Instagram account to share constructed content. This has only recently become popular; previous generations prefer to share their content with anyone.

However, their privacy revolves mainly around their personal content. When it comes to being target by ads, they usually don’t mind too much. According to Mobile Marketer, 38% of Gen Zers want online ads to be relevant to their browsing history. This is worth bearing in mind when it comes to targeting them with ads!

They’re obsessed with TikTok 

Anyone who is a regular TikTok user (we’re guilty of that) has probably noticed that Gen Z runs the shop. In their little corner of the internet, they have solidified their presence on the platform.

Gen Z on TikTok has gifted the world with political activism, questionable dance moves, hours upon hours of bullying ‘Baby Boomers’, history lessons and well-informed rants. All in all, some very unparalleled content. 

One example of Gen Z’s influence is their impact on the former president, Donald Trump’s rally in Oklahoma. After learning that attendees would need to reserve their seats/ tickets, Gen Z spread the word across the site. This led to thousands of Gen Zers booking tickets but not attending. Trump’s rally was cancelled as a result because the audience in attendance was so small. This is a prime example of how Generation-Z are reinventing social media.

If your brand is trying to reach out to Gen Z, setting up a TikTok account is a great way to get their attention. 

To find out more about why advertising on TikTok is an excellent idea, head to our previous blog post

They can make a meme out of absolutely anything

If there is one thing we know about Gen Z, it’s that they love a meme. Asking a Gen Z to choose their favourite meme is similar to asking a mother to choose her favourite child. Near impossible. 

Memes have become an entity that doesn’t even need to make sense. It’s true what they say; a meme can speak a thousand words. No social media scrolling session can be complete without forwarding a meme to your friend with no explanation, only for them to reply with “a mood” – and for this, we have Gen Z to thank.

Gen Z has a special knack for turning anything into a meme (yes, really). We’ve seen; Bernie Sanders, Gossip Girl, “powerful” Shaggy from Scooby-Doo and even the stock market. There is absolutely no way to predict which small and insignificant moment will next become a viral sensation so keep your eyes peeled!

Creating original memes is a clear indication of how Gen Z are reinventing social media. Staying on top of viral memes and even making your own is a sure way to get your brand noticed on social media, especially with Gen Z!

If you want to see exactly what we can do for your brand, get in touch!

Contact us via our contact page and find out more about our paid social, PPC, design and content services.