Gen Z and Social Media: 3 Ways Their Use is Different

We all thought that Millennials were obsessed with social media, but Gen Z is taking this to a whole other level. Gen Z is beginning to garner purchasing power, and they’re attracting attention that has been bestowed upon Millennials for a long time. This makes Gen Z and social media use quite unique.

Millennials are growing further into parenting and adulthood, so there’s room for Gen Z to emerge. They are the first generation to be fully raised in the world of smartphones and social media. Therefore, Gen Z and social media use is a different in many ways than the age that came before them.

Take a look at how Gen Z’s use of social media is different, as well as ways for marketers to best connect with this particular generation of consumers.

Gen Z and Social Media: How They’re Different

1. Gen Z Prefers Visuals

In comparison to other generations, Gen Z favors social media platforms that contain less messaging and are more visually oriented. Only 51% of U.S. teens are using Facebook, so the days of long Facebook posts and long-form blogging are fading.

Social platforms like Snapchat and Instagram are visually-oriented, therefore growing increasingly popular among Gen Zers. They tend to consume, create, and engage a lot more with photos and videos. A great vacation, fantastic look, or an awesome concert is communicated best with snaps, videos, and pictures.

person using instagram on smartphone

2. Gen Z Chooses Entertaining Content Over Interacting With Friends

Millennials still use social media to keep up with their business contacts, friends and family, and personal interests. On the other hand, Gen Zers see social media as a source of branded mass entertainment content.

They are as likely to follow social media influencers as they are to support their friends. They don’t want to catch up with anyone – they only seek entertainment.

For example, Millennial teens used to post social media updates and check out what their peers were doing. Gen Zers use these platforms as content consumption hubs and time-fillers. Also, they don’t tolerate brand interruptions in the age of ad-free video streaming.

Therefore, brands need to create material that Gen Zers will want to watch and that cuts through the noise. In their world, brands are the creators of entertaining content that is not directly related to the products they offer.

Gen Z’s use of social media is more focused on entertainment than on staying in touch.

3. Gen Z Appreciates Their Digital Privacy

gen z and social media use on iPad

They know that social media has the power to make or break people. They are respectful and wary of that power, unlike Millennials. Thus, Gen Zers prefer anonymous-minded platforms that give their users the option of hiding their content from others present on the same network.

These platforms address Gen Z’s desire for digital privacy. They believe that their behavior on social media could affect their future, including their dating lives, job prospects, or even credit scores.

Older generations seem less cyber-ware, and some studies show that Millennials find social media more alluring. One out of three Millennials would like to go viral while Gen Zers are more conservative in terms of data privacy.

Gen Z and How Their Emotional State Affects Brand Marketing

Gen Zers are aware that social media affects their emotional wellbeing. Therefore, they’re ready to leave it to reduce stress and balance their emotions out. Despite them loving to make purchases and follow brands on social media, they know that social platforms are capable of harming their lives.

facebook on smartphone

Low self-esteem, insecurity, and fear of missing out are emotional states that can be caused by social media use. On the other hand, Gen Zers love social media because it also allows them to connect and have a positive effect on their self-esteem and friendships.

It’s a struggle that marketers need to understand because it determines the types of content that Gen Zers are more likely to engage.

How to Market to Gen Z on Social Media

Gen Z use of social media is much different from other generations. However, they are young, and their habits will continue to change as they mature. The time to understand them is right now, as they are four times more likely to convert on social media than Millennials. Plus, 95% of Gen Z owns a smartphone and will spend up to 10 hours a day online.

Include their user-generated content in your ads

Gen Zers like to see themselves represented in content and onscreen. Therefore, including images of them across your marketing would be the right move.

For instance, Gucci incorporates Gen Zers in much of their social media marketing. They pay attention to what resonates with this generation of consumers. By proving that they understand them, Gucci draws them to their brand.

Deliver uplifting and inspiring content in small portions

Gen Zers experience different emotional struggles that result from their online habits. Many of them claim that they’re quitting social media while others frequently take breaks from these platforms.

Their excessive use of social media leads to depression and anxiety, which is why brands should create inspiring and uplifting content to cater to this audience, helping them build their self-esteem.

Also, to help them avoid information overload, you should publish content in small portions. For example, create video ads that are six to 25 seconds in length in which you encourage a healthy emotional balance (in a way related to your brand).

Follow their popular culture

Keep track of the current pop culture and the new wave of trends. To empathize and relate to Gen Zers, you should research their preferences and habits continually. The best way to do it is to keep up with their icons and influencers. Find some recent studies and research to understand this generation and create the right content.


eClincher is a social media marketing platform designed to support all your social media marketing efforts, and we can help you navigate these differences between the generation of the young to audience to your brand or business:

  • Stay on top of all their social media interactions.
  • Schedule and publish posts.
  • Keep track of live social feeds.
  • Monitor hashtags, mentions, and keywords.
  • Curate valuable material that they can share with their followers and peers.

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