Marketing From Your Couch

by Ellie McMurtrie, Public Relations Co-Op

Most people in business under the age of 25 have had to write a tweet for a corporate account. As Generation Z ventures into the world of water coolers and swivel chairs, social media acts as a north star, a task we are all faced with and perhaps the one way we can outperform our older colleagues. Oftentimes, writing posts is delegated to us as an after-thought, but a quick scroll through corporate social media accounts will prove that Gen Z is permanently changing the face of marketing. 

Traditional marketing tells a story that, over time, gives the brand a voice that consumers grow to recognize. While this method has been effective in digital ads, commercials, and billboards, it’s mostly fallen short when applied to social media marketing because there’s a distinct difference between these mediums that many large companies have failed to recognize: social media accounts were designed to represent an individual. Nebulous corporate voices are disingenuous on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok because people use these platforms to connect on a human level.

The most important key to casual social media marketing is using a singular voice. Rather than a tweet coming from the ambiguous “we,” tweets shared from an individual lift the corporate veil, giving the brand a more believable personality. Given the time Gen Z has spent online, it’s easy for us to recognize ads and immediately scroll past. Take for example this tweet from Macy’s using the plural compared to this tweet from HelloFresh using the singular. The corporate language of the first tweet is unrelatable and easy to scroll past, while the casual nature and use of the singular in the second better fits the voice of social media.

While anyone can change the voice of a tweet, capturing a casual or humorous voice is a difficult but equally important step. As trends change quickly online, a Tweet that would have been funny a week ago may not stand the test of time. Gen Z is particularly helpful in this area as our generation dictates these trend evolutions online. The worst thing a company can do is try hard to be relatable or funny and miss the mark by saying something outdated. 

Lastly, a social media account should never be taken seriously. Of course, postings should be consistent with a companies values, but traditional grammar and professional fronting isn’t necessary. Take for example this TikTok from Duolingo. While obviously a joke, consistent posting like this has established Duolingo as a “Gen Z brand”, increasing their visibility in a growing generation of consumers. This video seems inappropriate at first, but in the context of Duolingo’s evolving Gen Z style branding, it’s actually another ad, more likely to appear in someone’s feed than something more traditional.

As Generation Z steps into the business and consumer world, we increasingly influence what successful marketing looks like. It’s time corporations take their social media presence less seriously and pass along that responsibility to their token Gen Z employee!

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