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    Are Gen Z Influencers Right for Your Brand?

    June 09 2021

    From sparking viral dance challenges to spicing up relationships with a pair of magic leggings, Generation Z – or ‘Gen Z’ as they’re more commonly known – are shaping up to be a powerful generation of natural-born social media influencers. Yet despite their innate creative talents and pro-level content creation skills, brands and businesses alike are still learning how to engage, and market to this emerging consumer group. That’s where we come in. In this post, we’re talking all things Gen Z, from their buying power to the value of their influence, so grab a pen, stream Olivia Rodrigo’s Sour, and get ready to take notes. 

    Get to Know Gen Z 

    To understand any new consumer audience, and how they’ll factor into your brand strategy, you have to start by unpacking the basics – who they are, what drives them, and what things they value. The Gen Z consumer was born between 1995-2009, and currently makes up 41% of the world’s population. With a spending power estimated at $143 billion in the US alone – a figure that will only grow as more age into the workforce – Gen Z is poised to become a uniquely powerful audience of inclusive, progressive, global-minded, thoughtful consumers. As a Facebook IQ article details:

    [Gen Z has] inherited the wisdom of Boomers, the independence of Gen X and the confidence of Millennials, while developing their own “me is we” worldview. Gen Zers see themselves as part of something greater. By accepting and uplifting others, they see themselves rising too.

    Understanding the Gen Z Influencer

    The “me is we”  characteristics of Gen Z comes to life in the content they share on their social channels, primarily Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube. Gen Z’s core values of curiosity and reciprocity help shape their content creation. They are driven by authenticity, and demand the same in media representation and from brands alike. In some ways, the Gen Z influencer is the antithesis of the overly-curated millennial influencer, opting to share real, stripped-down experiences, and fresh perspectives with their communities. 

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    Where Gen Z influencers really over index on providing brand’s with unique value propositions, is in their effortless command of digital mediums, ability to cultivate engaged online communities, and passion for incorporating activism into their platforms. 

      • The Gen Z influencer is digitally savvy. As the first generation to be considered digital natives, Gen Z influencers are fully entrenched in the virtual component of modern life. Creating videos, adopting viral trends, and crafting whip-smart memes come second nature to the Gen Z influencer who’s likely never owned anything other than a smartphone. They are content creators from birth.
      • The Gen Z influencer is the “CEO” of building online communities. While the internet and social media aren’t things to be feared, they can prove overwhelming given the volume of information they constantly pump out. To ensure the content, brands, and media they consume are in line with their values, Gen Z looks to the first-hand accounts of trusted peer leaders like the Gen Z influencer to guide their value systems. Gen Z treats online relationships on par with their real-life friendships – just read through any Gen Z influencer’s comment section to see the unwavering support and group mentality. 
      • The Gen Z influencer is a catalyst for change. This generation “often puts aside differences and rallies around causes to benefit the greater good,” as Facebook IQ explains. And in turn, they expect the brands they partner with to do the same, and utilize their platforms to offer value to society beyond single platitudes. Gen Z influencers always keep authenticity top of mind when creating content. They’re less likely to endorse something they don’t believe in, which speaks volumes to the partnerships they do strike with brands and businesses.  

    Deciding if Gen Z is Right for Your Brand 

    Just like any influencer brand partnership, there’s a necessary evaluation process to take before deciding on a potential Gen Z influencer. Check out our Influencer Evaluation Guide and accompanying blog to ensure your potential influencer checks each box like brand alignment, shared values, and cultural credibility. 

    To get started, assess the following questions to help determine whether a Gen Z partnership makes sense for your brand. 

      • Is your brand applicable and/or accessible to a younger audience? 
      • Would a Gen Z influencer reach your brand’s target or untapped audience?
      • Would a younger audience find value in your brand given the right influencer and/or campaign? 

    Remember: Gen Z influencers are uniquely valuable, and can help your brand reach a new audience of interested consumers, but if there’s a clear disconnect between the two, don’t force it. Here’s a quick example:

     

    A Strategy!

    A Stretch . . .

    Scenario
    You’re a beauty entrepreneur with a cosmetic business that operates via direct-selling like Avon. Your tried-and-true sales tactics like shopping parties don’t really appeal to any younger customers, even though your products are geared to all ages.
    You’re a new residential community that caters to 55+ adults, offering luxury amenities, and retirement activities. You aim to lease 75% of your units after grand opening, and want to try out influencer marketing as a tactic.
    Idea
    Partner with a Gen Z beauty influencer to craft a series of trending makeup looks using your new product collection on TikTok.
    Partner with a Gen Z home & DIY influencer to shoot a series of Reels showing a behind-the-scenes look at the property. 

    Outcome

     Why It Works: Here, the influencer is able to create relevant, authentic content that appeals to their audience of target consumers. This helps modernize your brand and insert your products into trending beauty content and conversations. 
    Why It Doesn’t Work: Here, we have a great idea, but a mismatch in influencer based on target audience. The 55+ demographic is unlikely to be among the influencer's audience on Instagram, and won't see the intended content. 
     

    Recently, PLANOLY partnered with creator Deja Foxx, who founded GenZ Girl Gang, a community centered around bridging generational gaps. Deja shared how she uses PLANOLY to plan and schedule her content by leveraging a projector filter from TikTok. The standout video showcased how simple concepts can be maximized through the lens of Gen Z creativity. 

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    Whether you decide to work with a Gen Z influencer or not there’s an opportunity to learn from the younger generation. They’re launching viral trends, commanding attention from every audience, and creating content that’s original and authentic – a lesson any brand can apply to their strategy. 

     

    Learn more about Carrie Boswell, on PLANOLY

    Carrie Boswell

    Carrie Boswell is the Digital Marketing Content Specialist at PLANOLY. She is always finding ways to include pop culture and the Gen Z perspective into the content we create for marketers and small business owners.

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