When Molly Moodle spoke on the Generation Z panel at Social Day UK...
In the summer of 2017, I bought a ticket to Social Day UK and attended the full day event in London.
I was blown away at the quality of content the event provided, this was not for someone who wanted to learn how to use social media (no problem with that btw), this was for social media marketers who wanted to know the what the latest news, features and future of social media would be.
This year, the event extended over the course of three days. Due to an over lapse in the diary with existing dates, I couldn't attend the full three days of Social Day as I was speaking at the Venues and Events Expo on Thursday 31st May, and I was the official Event Broadcaster of ZC Live on Friday 1st June, however I was keen to attend Social Day on Wednesday 30th May.
I was extremely excited however when I received a message from Stuart and Lucy Hall, the Founders of Social Day UK, asking me to be a part of their Generation Z panel. I couldn't say yes fast enough!
Fast forward to Wednesday 30th, and I arrived at Congress Centre in London, ready to talk at this year's Social Day UK.
Not only was the event a fantastic opportunity to catch up with ContentCal Founder Andy Lambert and KPS Digital Director's, Dan and Lloyd Knowlton, I full on met my absolutely social media idol who I follow religiously on social media, and that was the lovely and wonderful, Debbie Doodah!
I somehow stumbled across Debbie's twitter page around a year ago and loved her branding and honest and helpful tips. This then led me to subscribe to her newsletter and soon enough, I become a super fan...
On the panel...
Before stepping onto the panel, I was a little nervous.
I had a quick moment to try and remember all of the research I did, and all the chats I had with my university students, work experience placements and staff who fell under the category of Generation Z.
I was also worried about how I was going to tell everyone that through my research, I discovered that Gen-Z are not as interested in using social media as they used to be!
I'm now sitting on the panel looking out to the audience with two fascinating Gen-Zer's.
The Panel begins...
On the far left is Founder of Influencer, Ben Jeffries and between us is Founder of Fan Bytes, Tim Armoo.
The panel was hosted by Lloyd Knowlton who kicked off with some big questions for us.
I won't go into the full Q & A, but what I loved about the panel was our clear similarities and differences with what is happening with Generation Z.
Whilst Ben discussed the power of influencer marketing and the impact it makes on promoting to Gen-Z, Tim believed that large budgets didn't necessarily need to be spent on big influencers on a campaign, but on what is culturally relevant at the time.
With Tim's experience working with Snapchat, he provided great insight into the power of brands being culturally relevant to Gen-Z, with Ben adding how influencer marketing has helped with the success of platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat.
I joined in on the debate to discuss the digital media generation gap that is already building on social media between people in their early twenties, using myself, my university students I occasionally lecture to and the Molly Moodle Media team as an example.
The Digital Generation Gap...
Every morning, I enjoy checking my Facebook and Instagram accounts, not just because I manage a social media agency and checking in for work purposes, but because I enjoy finding out what has been happening in the World since I last checked in.
Yes, it was really annoying when Facebook and Instagram updated their algorithms, which took the content out of chronological order, but to be honest, it wasn't enough to put me off the platform for good.
However, through my research of Generation-Z, it seemed that the damage had been done. Not only did a lot of Gen-Zer's come off Facebook, or severely reduce how much they use the app, but their trust in the platform had dropped. Facebook for them had become a platform for advertisers and businesses to constantly promote themselves, and they feel like, and I quote, that they "don't want to be sold to anymore".
With just 5 years between me and my team, I realised our social media behaviours were totally different.
Even on Instagram, the celebrity culture which we mentioned as being a positive factor to keeping Generation Z online, was actually something I discovered put them off, because these celebrities are constantly endorsing products, which again made Gen-zer's feel like they were being constantly sold to.
Getting into the discussion...
Overall, we boiled down to what we think is the best way to market to Generation Z and what we think the future holds.
Firstly, we summarised that in order to connect with Gen-Zer's, you need to be culturally relevant. Stop trying things that you think they will like, just go out, do your market research and find out how young people are actually using social media and how you and your brand can be a part of their conversations, especially in Whatsapp where sharing links and media is a daily occurrance for most people.
Another point was being authentic and realistic with your content.
Right now, Gen-Z are sharing meme's in private chats, tagging each other in funny videos, it is content that is relatable and relevant to them that are getting the most interactions.
Marketers need to find out how they can make their brand all of these factors, without being cliche.
YES it is a hard balance, because you can't just think "ooh I'll make a meme because they'll like that", you need to find out WHY the meme is funny, what's the relevance of it, and how can your brand be a part of something everyone is talking about.
Lastly, we we're asked, what is the future of marketing to Generation Z and I absolutely loved Tim Armoo's answer, "let's be honest, we don't actually know, no one does".
And that really was the perfect answer.
No one can really predict how people's social media behaviours are going to change, especially Generation Z.
We may have our predictions, but really, it's all about keeping your finger on the pulse and moving with the times.
I had a really fantastic time at Social Day UK, the event was a huge successful and I am cannot wait until next year's event.