Smart Social Tactics For Reaching Modern Consumers

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

According to Scientific American, social connection is not only the most essential part of being human, it is also a key ingredient in happiness and health. This is particularly true for both Millennials and Generation Z, two cohorts flipping the script for modern marketers. Based on our research, here are key expectations you need to know:


Hungry? Get food delivered to your door in minutes through Deliveroo or Postmates. Need a lift somewhere? No worries – Uber or Lyft has your back. Want to veg out for a bit? Netflix enables your inner couch-potato, on your schedule.

With nearly everything available at the touch of a button, younger consumers aren’t the most patient people. Surveys show they are emerging as the heaviest users of on-demand services around the world. Brands beware – they’re likely to be the most demanding consumers of all. A 2017 study by IBM found that 60 percent of Gen Zers surveyed will not use an app or website that is too slow to load. Younger consumers expect instant gratification, and marketers have no choice but to adapt to this expectation.


Speed isn’t the only factor playing into modern consumers’ expectations. Gen Z’s desire for brand transparency extends to their social media preferences as well. They are a serious bunch who know the world is an imperfect, and sometimes scary, place. One of the biggest mistakes a brand can make is portraying idealistic or fake narratives on their channels. Both Millennial and Gen Z consumers especially are realistic and expect authentic stories shared by real people – content more in line with their day-to-day life. This partially explains why they respond so well to influencer marketing, says Ryan Detert, chief executive officer of Influential. “These two generations look for authentic brands they believe in, that express their values and identity. When a brand tells you they are great, the natural response is “of course that brand tells me they are great” but when a peer or someone of stature tells you a brand is great, you are more apt to believe them.”

Privacy & Anonymity

A few years ago, rumor had it that Gen Z would be making a mass exodus from social media. Celebrities like Lena Dunham and Jaden Smith deleted their social media accounts because of the emotional turmoil of online haters. But instead of leaving, they simply transitioned to more private, anonymous and temporary options like Snapchat and Whisper. They also began to flock to dark social: messenger apps.

Privacy is one of the main reasons Snapchat is so popular among younger consumers.  First, it allows users to share messages and images, then deletes them within seconds. Also, it more closely resembles face-to-face interaction, which they value. Whisper is similar, allowing users to send messages anonymously and receive anonymous replies. Posts, known as “whispers,” contain text overlaid on images. Users don’t have to publicly identify themselves, which gives them more freedom to express their thoughts and opinions on topics they might not otherwise feel comfortable talking about with people they know.

Both platforms offer advertising opportunities, but connecting with younger consumers through incognito apps is tricky and will continue to be a learning process for marketers.

This article was updated on April 5th, 2022. 

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.