As Young People Leave Facebook: Is It Time To Switch Up Your Marketing Strategy?

It should come as no surprise, but the rules for using social media to reach your audience have changed — especially, if generation Z is your target market. A recent survey released by Piper Jaffray reports Instagram remains the top social network among teens while Facebook continues to fall. So if you’re looking to communicate and strengthen your brand, it’s time to consider new ways to reach your goals. To gain some insight into new strategies, we caught up with Vanessa Williams, a Senior Manager of Integrated Strategy at Ignite Social Media — a company behind the social media marketing of major brands such as Lowes, Warner Bros, Staples, and Crest to name a few. The company has also helped their clients snag nominations and win awards such as the Shorty Awards, Social Media Buzz Awards, and more.

Black Enterprise: Beyond the fact that Gen Z may not want to hang out in the same online social communities as their parents, why do you believe Facebook is losing this audience?

Vanessa Williams:The way users are sharing on social media has changed. People prefer sharing with smaller groups or even one-to-one as opposed to blasting an update to people they haven’t talked to in years. This audience grew up with technology and are much more comfortable storytelling and sharing updates by creating image and video content opposed to other generations.

Platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are innovating quicker and rolling out features that are capturing this audience’s attention. Some of these features include: Stories, Gifs/Stickers, Lenses, Augmented Reality. The constant Newsfeed updates on Facebook has hurt the platform. People don’t want to see content from three days ago, they want to see what is happening now. Also, Facebook has become so saturated with ads which are not appealing to the younger audiences.

What does this mean for social media marketing and businesses targeting this population?

If brands want to reach this audience, they need to look beyond Facebook. Depending on your brand and goals, Instagram and Snapchat are where you can reach these audiences. Also, the opinion of others matters to this audience so using relevant influencers and brand ambassadors to story tell on your brand’s behalf is another strategy to leverage.

Let’s talk about three social media trends brands should keep their eye on. In what ways should they think differently about reaching this audience?

This audience wants authenticity from brands more than any other generation. They want to support brands that support what they believe in and stand for. If your brand supports a cause, make sure to incorporate them into your social content. However, it must be in a non-self-serving way.

This audience is used to getting a response or answers quickly. Consider exploring the use of a chatbot to help answer customer service related questions. Lastly, if you aren’t already creating social-first video content, now is the time to start. Recent data from Animoto found that 57% of millennial consumers watch more video ads on social media than on TV.