Note: This blog is part of a series for marketers which describes the characteristics, values and preferences of various generations.

Generation ZGeneration Z

Generation Z, also known as digital natives, were born between 1998 and 2009. This cohort was born in a generation that experienced the exponential growth of technology over a relatively short period of time. Gen Zers are the first generation to grow up with the Internet and social media platforms, which makes them a very technologically savvy group. They are known to be highly educated, diverse individuals who value making a difference in the world.

Gen Zers spend a lot of time on their phones and online. They are exceptional multitaskers, and tend to search the web, message their friends and scroll through social media sites at the same time. Members of this group respond better to exciting, engaging content that is clever and visually appealing.

Gen Zers place a higher importance on some social media sites more than others. According to The Center for Generational Kinetics, “Gen Z views Facebook as being for ‘older generations.’” Gen Zers also dislike Facebook because it’s too cluttered and uses more personal information than other social media sites. Their top social media sites include Instagram and Snapchat, which allow users to have a more direct, personal relationship with friends and followers, and are also visually appealing because of the emphasis placed on photos and videos on these platforms. Snapchat’s emphasis on temporary content is also appealing to Gen Zers.

According to the Center for Generational Kinetics, “42 percent of Gen Z feels that social media has a direct impact on how they feel about themselves.” This statistic is important; it expresses how impactful social media is on the lives of more than 23 million individuals. If social media can influence the way a person feels about themselves, it can also greatly influence how a person feels about an organization or cause.

What does this all mean for public relations and marketing professionals? When communicating with Gen Zers, keep three things in mind. First, be knowledgeable of the platforms Gen Zers spend most of their time on to better reach this audience. Second, create content that allows Gen Zers to participate and feel as if they can be contributors. User-generated content draws this group in and gives them a sense of belonging and importance. Third, visual appeal is held at highest regard and should not be compromised.