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How to screw up social media marketing to Gen Z

How to screw up social media marketing to Gen Z David Zaleski

Cold corporate speak

Generation Z are teens who were raised in a digital environment where marketers were not totally in control. Let's face it, every aspect of brand marketing encountered a harsh learning curve during the advent of the internet, and young people were practically raised online. This generation is much more savvy at avoiding pure manipulation by commercials, banner ads, and corporate messaging. If your social media posts and communications regurgitate the same Baby-Boomer marketing jargon that's worked in the past, you're fooling yourself if you think it will work on them. Hire young social media managers who can at least talk the talk and connect with Gen Z in a more authentic way.

Treating Gen Z like Millennials

It seems like only yesterday that marketers got a grasp on how to communicate with Millenials, especially through social media. It might be tempting to conflate this group with Generation Z. After all, what difference does a few years make? Well, it turns out that a 10 year age difference in this fast paced digital world is like a lifetime. Generation Z has a completely different set of role models, vernacular, and media habits. Don't make the mistake of thinking a perfect Millennial marketing message will work on Gen Z as well.

Ignoring new and untested social platforms

It can't be said enough: Generation Z perceives Facebook and Twitter as their parents social platforms. Yes, Gen Z is on those networks, but these social outlets are not where influence occurs. Kik, Snapchat, 4chan, Instagram, and even Tumblr are all unique places that Generation Z is spending time. These new networks are special to young people and scary for marketers because they're generally untested. You need to dive in and take risks. You may not find scale right away, but you might become a trailblazer for effecting consumer behavior with this new generation.

iMedia traveled to ThinkLA's Social Breakfast where we spoke with 20th Century Fox's Katie Lavin. Here's her advice to marketers looking to make an authentic impact on younger consumers.

Learn more about ThinkLA and upcoming events.

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Video edited by associate media producer Brian Waters.

"Ten friends do a selfie in a park" image via Shutterstock.

David Zaleski is the Media Production Supervisor for iMedia Communications, Inc. and Comexposium USA. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Film & Television Production, specializing in editing, animation, and...

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to leave comments.

Commenter: Lynn Salton

2014, December 03

The more I read these articles the more I begin to wonder just how little these authors actually know about marketing. "...connect with (potential customers) in a more authentic way." This is a new concept? I've understood for this 25 years. Anyone who has every written effective copy knows this. Regurgitating Baby Boomer jargon? It didn't work on the Boomers, why would anyone assume it would work now?

You can't talk to Gen Z the same way you talk to Millenials? Newsflash... every generation/demographic has different vernacular/role models/media habits. These demographics/generations are all about seven years in apart... over the space of ten years you can have three distinct groups with their own very distinct vernacular/role models/media habits. As a matter of fact were on the cusp of a new one right now.
If these are revelations to digital marketers it's no surprise that online advertising is about as successful as direct mail used to be, but more expensive. These articles seem to do nothing more than promote a younger version of the marketing hacks they're trying to replace.