Social media is everything from part of a GenZ’s daily life to the bringer of doom, death and fake news. Depends on your point of view. But whatever your view, you can’t ignore it if you want to understand, interact and market to GenerationZ.

Most business people understand and use social media to a degree. After all, LinkedIn is one of the go-to sites or apps on a regular basis for most office dwellers. The ‘world’s largest professional network’ has about 660m users in more than 200 countries. That’s an impressive reach.

And the reach gets longer as more than two new members sign up for LinkedIn every second of every day! This is for more of a mature market with the biggest chunk, 37%, between 30 and 49. Only 24% are in the 18-24-year-old category.

GenZers will use LinkedIn and Facebook, but that’s for work mostly or to keep up with family. For friends, for social, it’s Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok. That last one, TikTok, is perhaps the least understood by older audiences, and it’s worth taking a look as it perfectly encapsulates the challenges for bosses, marketers and everyone else trying to reach GenZ.

It was only launched about three years ago yet it already has 800m active users, way more than LinkedIn. TikTok’s is the most downloaded app on the App Store, with more than 1.5bn downloads. And where 24% of LinkedIn’s audience is in the 18-24 bracket, that figure rises to 41% (16-24) for TikTok. They spend on average 52 minutes a day on the platform. Not far off an hour. Ponder that.

Perhaps a key insight is that TikTok makes it really easy to upload your own material in bite-sized chunks.And video is the medium, whatever the message. Incredibly, it only took a year after launch for there to be on average one million videos viewed every day. In the last year over one billion videos have been viewed on the Chinese platform.

Now, okay, many of those videos feature people doing stupid dances or pranking their friends or otherwise behaving in a teenage way, but the point is that TikTok has devised a way to engage with GenZ that GenZ really like. Here they can come and express themselves, explore and refine their own personal brand.

Nowhere is this better represented by the Hype House. This aptly named Spanish-style luxurious mansion in Los Angeles is the backdrop and showcase for numerous TikTok videos, put up by famous content creators like Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio. The beautiful youth come here to create content which they post to their colossal audiences on TikTok. This is the ultimate expression of the personal brand, a concept organisations need to grasp if they’re to incorporate GenZers into their own corporate brand.

Video, personal brand, the genuine over fake, honest over highly polished, constant disciplined work –these are all messages organisations need to listen to if they’re to fully engage with the generation now entering the workforce and soon to mould it in its own shape.

Look at any videos or stills out of the Hype House and you’ll see gorgeous youth, male and female and other, mingling, posing and creating. Let’s be honest, put GenX in such a situation and you’d probably not get a lot of work done but the orgies and the drink and drugs would be pretty spectacular.

Not so with GenZ. They work at it, they honestly do. As Nosheen Iqbal, a GenZer journalist, put it: ‘We have more to do than drink and take drugs.’

Victoria Moss, Fashion Features Director at the fashion app Drest put it more succinctly: ‘GenZ uses the internet to search for connection. GenX takes cocaine at vegan dinner parties.’

 

“They are perhaps the most brand-critical, bullshit-repellent, questioning group around.”

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of Innovation at JWT

“GenerationZ are Millennials on steroids.”

Lucie Greene, Worldwide Director of Innovation at JWT

“GenerationZ are self-starters, not selfie-takers.”

Lucozade Energy report

“Millennials– Self-centred. Generation Z – Self-aware.”

Ernst & Young

“Generation Z characterises itself by highlighting the need for passion and motivation in their work.”

Claire Stradling, Manager of Charities and NFP