Why Small Businesses Need to Know Gen Z’s Social Media Habits

By on October 2, 2019

Generation Z, those born after 1996, are anticipated to make up as much as 20% of the United States workforce by 2025.

This technology-minded group has grown up with Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and many other platforms that older generations may not be as familiar with.

Using social media multiple times each day, the average Generation Zer comes in contact with a high amount of marketing content daily.

As this generation matures and becomes a major portion of the consumer market, small businesses need to be ready to attract their attention online.

It’s important to think through the following characteristics when considering how to appeal to Gen Z:

  • Gen Z is the future consumer
  • They engage with visual content
  • They use fewer platforms

With these insights, small businesses should be able to leverage social media in ways that will yield major long-term benefits.

Gen Z Is The Future Consumer

There are an estimated 61 million members of Gen Z in the United States. That’s about two-thirds of the baby boomer population, and it exceeds Gen X’s numbers.

Gen Z is about to become a part of the workforce, which is likely to cause enormous changes in the workplace. This large, efficiency-driven generation is also about to fully enter the consumer market, changing it forever.

In fact, they’ve already made several of their consumer preferences known. According to IBM research, many (60%) claim to value authenticity in a brand, wanting to engage with companies who are concerned with their opinions.


Image Source: IBM

While many Gen Zers trust brands they know, the image above shows that some companies struggle to provide helpful responses on social media. This diminishes their trust in a business.

Independent, globally-minded, and entrepreneurial at heart, Gen Z is creating its identity in the marketplace. Harnessing the power of social media to accurately reflect your brand is one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd. 

They Engage with Visual Content 

Gen Z has been digitally engaged for their entire lives, growing up with major social media outlets. They’re adaptable to technological change, more so than any generation before them.

Social media experts say that Gen Z is likely to engage with visual content. Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and even YouTube present perfect opportunities to appeal to them.

According to a study by The Manifest, Snapchat attracts much more engagement from Gen Z than from older generations.

Younger generations’ clear preference for visuals is also evident in Facebook’s declining popularity with Gen Z.

Additionally, Gen Z is also much more likely to trust and engage with Instagram marketing content. Particularly, they respect social media influencers who are paid by companies to boost their brand awareness.

Despite the financial stake influences have in posting Instagram ad content, Gen Z is more likely to trust a public figure than direct messages from brands.

Actress Sarah Hyland is an example of an influencer that has successfully engaged with Gen Z.


Image Source: Instagram

Members of Gen Z appreciate influencers like Hyland for their style, looks, or celebrity status. They follow influencers’ accounts, which exposes them to the marketing content they post.

Small businesses should gear a greater portion of their social media marketing strategy toward visual content and celebrity brand endorsements to capture the volumes of Gen Z customers.

They Use Fewer Platforms 

While Gen Z is generally more engaged than other generations with social media, they only use certain platforms regularly.

According to the study by The Manifest, Millenials are more likely to spread their attention across several apps. Gen Z spends increased amounts of time on fewer platforms.

Based on the chart above, visual content is most important to Gen Z. They spend the vast majority of their time on YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat as opposed to less visual apps like Twitter and Facebook.

Small businesses that adjusted to millennial preferences, advertising across all apps, should reconsider their strategy for Gen Z because they aren’t utilizing social media in the same ways.

Consolidating marketing content within the most-used platforms  is a cost-effective way to make an impact on the youngest generation.

Their Preferences are Impacting the Market

Gen Z’s spending power will have a large impact on the market within the next 10 years. Companies will need to consider the habits of their youngest customers.

They use social media differently than others, so small businesses have a lot to gain by rethinking their social media strategies.

About Sydney Wess

Sydney Wess creates and processes editorial content as a Content and Editorial Associate for Clutch.
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