When Fast Company covered a study that claims these digital natives have 8-second filters back in 2015, it’s been regularly misquoted across the Internet as an attention problem. But it’s not a “problem”.
The keyword here is “filter”. You just need to interest these large-information-sorters in 8 seconds or else they move onto the next thing. Win them over, and they could be intensely focused on you. Still, 8 seconds is ruthless.
Today, social media marketing is a rapidly evolving beast that appears to have a new trend every week. So for our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report, we surveyed over 1,200 Gen Zs about social media and found what branded content engages them the most.
To cut through the noise, the general consensus is this: Be authentic. Be entertaining. Be funny.
But all three of those things can be tough to crack. With Gen Z’s fierce BS-detector and deep knowledge of meme culture, there are nuanced lines of approval. You’ve either got it or you don’t.
Let’s let the content do the talking. Here are companies doing it right.
Telstra is only recent to the TikTok game, but has already racked up millions of views for their mix of humorous (mostly humourous), eye-catching (but not overly ‘professionally shot’) and influencer (but actually relevant) short video content. Here’s how to use a payphone – remember those? Check out the life of a Telstra tower maintenance guy. Learn how to create epic video transitions with @andyescapes.
On the influencer side, social media-skit comedians The Inspired Unemployed on Instagram have been dubbed ‘the anti-influencer’. Their videos are so entertaining, that hundreds of thousands of people don’t mind when it’s an ad. For Afterpay, they made fun of fashion. For Jacob’s Creek, they made fun of wine. And dancing, lots of dancing.
Even a podcast can cut through the noise. Older Gen Zs and millennials are tuning into Shameless Podcast, where relatability is key. On Instagram, there’s the odd meme and pop culture commentary in text-based, bite-sized info in slides, but you’ll mostly find quick, quippy Twitter-like updates on everything from financial woes to health decisions.
At the very left of the left-field, the NSW Police Force. What better way to gain affection from young people than to speak their meme language? Between community initiatives and important news, law enforcers, too, can crack a funny spin on COVID-19, sniffer dogs, and drivers who don’t keep left. Let us know if you’ve found a more engaging police force on the Internet.
Frankly, there’s something humanising about the way many Gen Zs prefer to interact with brands.