The phenomenal growth of social media has impacted almost every aspect of a young consumer’s life over the past two decades. Today, a significant number of youths spend a large amount of time on various social media platforms. Generation Z population has been surrounded by the internet for their entire lives (Greenfield, 2008). They use social media as a tool for receiving instant information. The term Generation Z refers to individuals born after the generation of the Millennials, who are born between 1995 and 2015 (Chen, 2017). They are expected to account for 40% of all consumers by the year 2020 (Finch, 2015). Moreover, a vast majority, i.e. 75% prefer to shop online rather than in-store, a trend that is set to grow in the near future (Sweeney, 2018).
Businesses, particularly those in the e-commerce industry, have started to capitalize on this phenomenon. Most of them today employ a range of online marketing strategies to influence their buying decisions. This includes:
- social media advertising,
- email marketing,
- online press releases,
- website re-designing and blog writing,
- search engine optimization and,
- affiliation programs, among others.
Who is Generation Z?
The generation after the millennial is generation Z. The generation is born in 1996 and has brought new expectations as consumers, employees and citizens. Generation Z is determined to be highly connected and is living in the era of high tech communication and technology-driven lifestyle with extensive use of social media (Arora & Sharma, 2019). As they have grown up in a fully immersed digital world that they have produced a level of dependency on social media as compared to older generations. It was found that only 22% of Generation Z can comfortably go less than an hour without using the internet (Ananda & Milano, 2015). This generation uses social media to comment on reality, environment and manifests their opinions through different social media platforms (Dolot, 2018).
The use of social media for advertising
Social media refers to websites or applications that enable users to share information and participate in social exchanges (Evans, 2008). It can take many different forms like social networks, social blogs, microblogging, rating, wikis and social bookmarking (Kumah, 2012). The social media has revolutionized the way of generating money, building the reputation and seeking employability (Helal, 2017). Social media have that capacity of providing different values to businesses such as:
- improved brand popularity,
- facilitating word of mouth communication and,
- sharing information in an expertise context.
It helps e-commerce firms to capture the behaviour of their customers and this leads to better insight into their customers’ expectations (Manneh, 2017).
Social media platforms enable e-commerce businesses to entail benefits in terms of targeting and efficiency. The cost of implementing a social media marketing campaign is more affordable than traditional methods. Moreover, it enhances the market share by reaching areas and prospects who may not be accessible due to temporal and locational constraints (William, 2019).
Strategies used for social media marketing and its impact on Generation Z
Generation Z is pushing marketers to come up with innovative new strategies to approach their interests. In a world where 81% of Generation Z regularly uses social media to make their purchase decisions, it becomes imperative to adapt to their interests (Artemova, 2018).
The communication channels should employ social media tools to announce, contact, educate and connect with prospects. It gives more opportunity to regulate and enable feedback that communicates for every experience (Ananda & Milano, 2015).
Another important strategy is to advertise on leading social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Youtube and Instagram. This strategy tends to trigger customers with advertisements as an external stimulus. They are cost-savvy and enables feedback to improve on products and meet customer expectations (Artemova, 2018).
Multimedia usage for Generation Z
Consumers are using the web to have look at the product they want to buy, and compare. It is now easy for businesses to create and publish videos and pictures online. This aspect tends to influence and attract new buyers with the appearance of the product (Bajpai & Pandey, 2012).
The social media has helped in obtaining information regarding the different aspect of products and services in the market. It has helped the consumers to connect and discuss brands. Consumers opinion about the product and services are now increasingly dominated and has empowered the consumer.
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