The digital generation is unique. They grew up in the age of the internet and are savvy users of online content.
As a marketer from an earlier generation, this can be both a challenge and an opportunity.
By understanding the behaviors and values of younger audiences, you can create content that leaves a lasting impression. Accounting for digitally savvy users will increase conversions and yield higher ROI on your marketing spend.
Millennials vs. Gen Z
There’s no clear definition of the digital generations. Most folks agree that Millennials and Gen Zers are the most digitally savvy audiences given their age.
However, there are still meaningful differences between each generation.
Millennials’ spending habits differ dramatically from previous generations. Also known as Gen Ys, Millennials exhibit a strong preference for experiences over material goods and will match their values with their spending.
This means that you should create content that appeals to their adventurous, ethics-focused lifestyle. Like protecting the environment, or reducing harm to indigenous populations.
Gen Zers, on the other hand, are a little more skeptical than millennials. While Gen Zers are true digital natives, they also tend to have a more realistic worldview.
They’re far less likely to be taken in by content that ends in a sales pitch and are more likely to be swayed by inventive, creative, and authentic material.
Digital generations use multiple platforms to consume content. As a marketer, it’s your job to ensure that you post high-quality content to each of your social media pages.
To achieve your social goals, you need to understand the differences between each of these social media channels and platforms.
TikTok is a great space to connect on social media with Gen Zers. However, it’s easy to look out of step if you aren’t up to date with the latest trends.
You can get the most out of advertising on TikTok by creating branded hashtags and encouraging users to use your tags when creating their own content.
Beyond this, you should also focus on creating your own original content and tapping onto trending sounds, memes and dances. When posting on TikTok, be sure to find and use contemporary trends. This can be particularly useful if you’re trying to shift your brand image to appeal to younger users.
Instagram allows you to post quality content and connect with both Gen Zs and Millennials. The best Instagram marketing strategies usually involve high-quality images or short videos.
When posting to Instagram, consider highlighting your consumers and foregrounding your values. Major brands like Nike show that the most popular Instagram content is often value-driven and attempts to connect with users on a deeper level.
You should also consider tapping on the entire range of Instagram content formats. Start attracting brand awareness with Instagram Reels, attract followers with your Instagram Posts (ensure that they’re aesthetically cohesive), and use Instagram Stories to nurture and sell.
Facebook’s popularity has dropped significantly in the past few years as far as teen social media use is concerned. However, it is still a lucrative platform to connect with digital generations.
For both Gen Ys and Gen Zs, Facebook acts more like a newsfeed than a social channel. They tap onto it to see what’s happening in their neck of the woods.
You can post longer form marketing content to your Facebook page and encourage users to leave comments on each post. Facebook is great for building engagement, and you can “pin” top comments to posts to gain extra engagement from other users.
Do also ensure that you post content that resonates with younger users on Facebook by creating consumer personas during the planning phase of your marketing strategy. Like Instagram, short Facebook videos work well, but consider longer-form text captions too.
Consumer personas are designed to help you visualize your target audience. While they aren’t entirely accurate, they’re still a useful tool to help you imagine an audience and create tailored content.
Create four to five consumer personas that you believe represent the digital generation. You can use a range of data points to help inform your representation:
- Use your CRM to track and identify your hottest leads;
- Use form fields to capture relevant user data;
- Use feedback from your sales team;
- Click onto your social media followers to see who they are;
- Interview focus groups.
Using these insights, create imaginary personas complete with demographic data, goals, and personality traits. This may feel a little Machiavellian, but creating personas ensures that your marketing is suited to the digital generation.
Value-based content marketing is a hot trend amongst millennials and Gen-Z.
Both groups want to buy from brands that align with their values and will take the time to watch branded material if it is high quality and connects with their sense of ethics.
This is something that popular brands like Google do well.
Google’s recent marketing campaigns have highlighted the need for inclusive and accessible digital content. By foregrounding their positive contribution, Google can improve the strength of its brand amongst younger users who care about the way businesses operate.
You too can follow suit by foregrounding your business’s values and ethics. For example, if you run a yearly fundraiser for non-profits, send your marketing team along to take produce a few short videos. Or, if you only use sustainable suppliers, create a series of Instagram posts that highlight the positive change you have made.
Marketing to digital generations can be tough. Millennials and Gen Zers are savvy online users and are quick to turn their attention away from adverts.
As a marketing professional, however, you can increase your appeal by understanding your audience and creating consumer personas.
Use these personas to post value-driven content that younger users will love. Be sure to keep up with current trends, too, as TikTok and Instagram move fast in today’s social media age.
BIO: Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest in the United States. She enjoys writing about better living through education and technology. She is frequently lost in a mystery podcast.