It All Starts With Z – Meet The New Generation Of Influencer Marketing Trend Spotters

Young and wise

Unless you happen to be Justin Bieber or Hermione Granger, most teens know all too well what it’s like not to be listened to. In fact, the experience of having your ideas overruled by a (hmm) ‘wiser’ adult is pretty much a rite of passage for any teen without a hefty recording contract or magical broom.

Thankfully, influencer marketing is one space where the voice of Generation Z teens is not only heard but actively sought out.

After all, this is the group that pretty much decides the fate of new social media innovations, and therefore heavily influences the direction of the market. The huge, sustained popularity of Snapchat, with around 160 million daily users is a perfect example of Gen Z’s kingmaker status. As is the rapid emergence of Musical.ly, which you can read more about here.

And this particular audience is not just having a major say on where influencer marketing takes place. They have actively redefined the way marketers have to think about influence of any kind, with a study by Defy Media revealing that while 54% of teens follow a You Tuber on social media, only 42% follow TV or movie stars – or, in other words, a more traditional type of celebrity.

The next big thing

So with such vast influence on the social media and marketing worlds (not to mention the fact that Generation Z could form almost 40% of consumers by 2020), brands and influencers need to listen very carefully to what this audience has to tell them.

Admittedly, it’s a precarious balancing act to undertake. Stumble into a Gen Z conversation where you clearly don’t belong and your credibility with this audience could be torpedoed for good.

But, staying actively curious about their behaviour and preferences could point you in the direction of something truly exciting.

Right now, for example, so-called anonymous social media has got Gen Z audiences excited, with apps like Whisper providing teens with a safe, judgement-free place to share their secrets and make their confessions.

Smart brands (and their Gen Z savvy agencies) haven’t failed to notice this big new part of an important audience’s lives. Recently Unilever used Whisper as a platform for a Dove campaign,blending effortlessly into the spirit of the community.

Trend spotting, not trend hopping

But, before you shut down all your social channels and direct your full attention towards Whisper, it’s worth remembering that Gen Z have notoriously short attention spans.

Ok, anonymous social networking seems like it’s found a niche. But for every new platform being released, like anonymous live streaming app Dusk, there is another like Yik Yak (which was recently valued at $400 million) that is shutting down.

The key, like any aspect of social media influencer marketing, is being able to use your own judgement.

Gen Z has a universe of valuable knowledge, opinions and interests that can help you shape your own strategy more effectively. But, if you find yourself hopping distractedly from one new trend to the next, in search of that perfect place to join the conversation, then you might find yourself on Whisper –  confessing in secret why your engagement levels are so depressing (and hoping your boss isn’t on their too).