What Gen Z Wants You to Know about Social Media

By Amanda, GCS Content Manager

Zoomers (members of Gen Z, born between 1997 and 2012) are perhaps best known for their passion toward worthwhile causes, use of popular slang, and, regrettably, the baffling decision to bring low-rise jeans back into fashion. But this generation is also more likely than others to be active on social media, with 84% of Gen Z claiming at least one active social account as of 2024.

What does this mean for social media marketing, and how can organizations best keep up with a Gen Z audience? I did a deep dive into Gen Z social media preferences, and here’s what I found.

Authenticity is king.

A clear, authentic message is the key to reaching this generation of digital natives. Gen Z is most drawn to brands that demonstrate support for causes they care about, which can be an advantage for mission-oriented organizations. However, to attract a Gen Z audience, you also have to communicate your mission and vision through clear and authentic social media messaging.

Utilize honest, transparent language to shape your social media messaging and to highlight your organization’s authentic voice. Videos and “behind-the-scenes” content can also give your platform a more authentic tone and help you build a larger Gen Z following.

Hashtags are out.

Or at least, long blocks of 20+ hashtags are now considered, as the kids say, “cheugy.” However, the more intentional use of hashtags is still recognized as an easy way to categorize and find relevant content online. Our recommendation? Don’t overdo it. The sweet spot is 2-5 relevant hashtags per post, depending on the platform. Bonus points for doing your research and choosing hashtags that are generating high engagement!

Related: Threads recently rolled out its own version of the hashtag, aptly named tags. Try it out and let us know what you think.

Ads are… in?

Forbes recently reported that 80% of Gen Z consumers have purchased products or services after seeing them advertised online. At first glance, this might seem paradoxical to the younger generation’s preference for authenticity, but the rise of influencer marketing and user generated content lends this data some valuable context.

What does this mean for GCS clients? Mission-oriented organizations should keep this in mind when considering the role of social media in fundraising and development. As Gen Z continues to mature and grow their share of the economic pie, organizations may find that a strategic and authentic paid social plan can yield an increasingly higher return on investment.

Don’t skimp on the graphics.

This one isn’t surprising, considering Gen Z’s known preference for “Instagrammable” photo ops. This love for the aesthetic extends to graphics, animations, and videos — so don’t take shortcuts when it comes to including design in your social media strategy. Notably, Gen Z also shows more interest in augmented reality (AR) than previous generations, so incorporating AR videos into your content calendar could be worth the extra time and effort.

Trends change quickly, but our team keeps up with the latest in social media marketing so you don’t have to. If you’re not already utilizing our social media services, contact us today to learn how we can support you.