Do you ever feel like the world is advancing in fast-forward mode? In tech, at least, this certainly seems to be the case. And as technology continues to evolve, the opportunities for authentic content marketing and brand awareness evolve as well.
Just compare the two most recent generations to get a snapshot. Millennials grew up mainly being exposed to brands via television commercials, billboards, print media, and in-person conversations with friends. However, with Generation Z, there's been a whole new assortment of methods for kids to connect and engage with brands, plenty of them fueled by social media trends. Many corporations are even beginning to hire young people to offer advice on how to best build youth engagement.
Connor Blakley is one such participant in this new hiring trend. As the founder of youth marketing consultancy YouthLogic, Connor has worked with brands like Sprint, NPD Group, and Modell's on connecting with younger generations. Here are the top methods for building youth engagement that consultants like Connor can provide -- and what brands can do to stay relevant in this evolving business landscape.
One of the younger social networks (and a recently public corporation), Snapchat is continuously adding features and rolling out new opportunities for advertising. With every update, fresh terrain crops up for brands to conquer. Historically, when ad opportunities and features launch on social networks, the cost per acquisition and general engagement rates are at their highest, due to less competition.
Snapchat, in particular, represents an incredible opportunity for brands to engage with young users because its demographics are largely skewed toward the younger end of the spectrum. Sixty percent of Snapchat's users are under the age of 25, and nearly 25 percent are under the age of 18. Whether utilizing a branded story or sponsored geofilters, brands can develop visual engagement in a way many other platforms don't yet allow.
Gen Z is the generation most likely to turn to Instagram for news on product updates from brands. Twenty percent of Gen Z uses Instagram for brand awareness, with only 6 percent of Millennials doing the same. As a result, brands need to pay much more attention to Instagram to keep those young consumers aware of what's happening.
However, companies need to be careful with how they present themselves on Instagram. While many young people are using it to engage with companies and stay knowledgeable about what brands are up to, that content still needs to be high-quality. If companies are overly promotional or don't dedicate enough attention to the quality of their photography and posts, they risk damaging consumer relations and losing followers.
Due to the rising prominence of visual interaction via FaceTime, Snapchat, and Instagram, genuine face-to-face interaction -- with both individuals and brands -- is a tricky ordeal to navigate. As brands plan events, they need to think about what Gen Z desires from parties, conferences, or meet-and-greets. No matter what the context is for the event, brands need to help offer an experience Gen Z can't get anywhere else.
Furthermore, with the prevalence of social media, social media-friendly event planning is crucial for encouraging attendees to share content. This includes having Instagram picture stations with cool backdrops and staging. Take the time to make the entire setting aesthetically appealing so that no matter where attendees take a picture, your brand will be showing off its good side.
4. Live Streaming
With the emergence of Facebook Live and Instagram Live, brands are now able to create authentic and candid video content. Similar to reality TV, live streaming allows consumers to get a real, undoctored view into what the brand stands for. Just as with regular content styles, live streaming requires brands to think about the content their consumers most want to see live.
Whether it's taking them to an exclusive event, doing a Q&A, or offering a talk on a specific subject, live streaming is an incredible option for having a dialogue with young consumers. Just make sure you understand why you're utilizing live content versus a standard recorded video. The best live streams aren't preplanned and scripted; rather, they engage audiences in real time and allow them to have a truly "live" experience.
Regardless of the industry, today's youth has a number of different expectations of brands. In order to survive the next decade, businesses need to adapt to changing consumer desires. Leveraging the new tools available to marketers, brands can boost youth engagement and capture the hearts and minds of tomorrow's top spenders.