Generation Z is known for being many things: the TikTok dancers, phone addicts, and also social justice advocates. Born between 1997 and 2012, this generation has grown up fast, and they’re ready to enter the workforce!   

During the pandemic when the world turned virtual, time felt endless. Gen Z turned to the familiar platforms of social media. It consumed most of their time. Even now, with things beginning to turn “back to normal,” the dependency on technology remains. So the question is, how do you market to a generation that has grown up with these platforms? Here are a few tips to think about when incorporating social media through owned (or organic) and paid media tactics into a marketing plan to reach Generation Z.  

Owned Media 


Gen Z has adopted this term to describe a brand’s page that looks professional, has a well-developed brand identity, and most simply, looks good.  This consistency on a social media page shows that a company is put-together and cares about its reputation, product, and consumers. It creates a sense of trust between a consumer and a brand. If a consumer wants that aesthetic, they want the brand too. 


One great thing about social media is that it makes connecting with other brands and consumers easier. For example, partnering with other brands for giveaways can encourage individuals to engage through tagging their friends in the comments and resharing your post to their stories. Collaborating with other brands, especially, can create a sense of community and can also be a way to share followers. Just remember, relevancy is key so choose brands with the same (or similar) target market.  

Sharing Your Voice 

Social media also allows brands to have direct two-way communication with their customers, and not just about their products. After surveying 150+ “Gen Zer’s,” 75.2%* said in comparison to others, a company’s stance on social issues influences them when purchasing a product or service an average to far above average amount. Brands can truly own their own voice and can filter their communications to reflect what they stand for by reporting on their own news and also global news.  

Paid Media  


The term “influencer” has become a common term. It can also be a great marketing tactic as influencers truly can influence consumers to buy a product or service. 76.5% of Gen Zer’s surveyed* said that they’re likely to be influenced by public figures. When choosing an influencer to work with, there are numerous factors to consider. Look at things like an influencer’s persona, geographic focus, what platforms they use, their follower engagement, and their content. 

Paid Social Media Ads 

Advertising on social media can drive consumers to your page, increase brand awareness, and ideally result in a conversion. Surveyed Gen Zer’s answered*, on average, that first Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok were their top three most-used apps. On TikTok, brands can pay for a trending hashtag. These are called #HashtagChallenges. For example,  leading up to the draft in 2020 the NFL did a hashtag challenge called “#GoingPro.” This let TikTokers feel like a part of the draft, which led to them gaining 580 million views. Brands can also create their own sounds on the platform, linking back to their original post.   


Podcasts have been around for a while now, but have recently grown been in popularity. Gen-Z is pro at multitasking, and podcasts are the perfect way to capture their attention while they do this. 48% of Gen Z are listening to at least one podcast weekly, with trends indicating this number is increasing. Find podcasts that reach your Generation Z target market, connect with the hosts, and cross-promote your brand get on their platforms. 

Overall, the market is evolving, and Generation Z is leading the change. Having a well-thought digital presence matters now more than ever. Creating a cohesive aesthetic, identifying ways to collaborate with other brands and influencers, having direct conversations with your audience, and exploring platforms such as social media, podcasts, and others can help you catch the attention of Gen Z. 

*Survey conducted fall 2021 among Rhode Island college students.