A recent article in AdWeek reveals 81% of Gen Z shoppers are influenced by what their friends buy. The new research comes from a student data company, Amplify, in partnership with Canadian newspaper, The Globe and Mail. The first of Gen Z, born in 1997, are graduating college the summer of 2019 and entering the workforce for the first time.
The same poll found that only 10% of Gen Z’s purchasing decisions are made by what celebrities are doing. When asked what they do before they make a purchase, 80% of the Gen Z shoppers polled said they do online research.
The next generation of shoppers are searching curated media, reviews, shopping sites, YouTube channels, SnapChat and Instagram feeds for trends and products, then checking with their friends for validation on their purchase. Once a celebrity is talking about it, it’s saturated the market; it’s no longer new and different. Everyone has access.
This describes a culture shift. Celebrities used to have influence because they represented what was aspirational—now what they are paid to promote is too attainable.
Take that to the next level and paid “micro-influencers” and “nano-influencers,” said to be the gatekeepers of social media, are going to have even less impact on Gen Z buying.
This is because everyone is getting paid to post. Even Amazon reviews can be bought. Consumers have to be smart and search for unpaid third-party endorsements and testimonials like media they respect and people they trust.
The only thing that is going to have impact is authenticity. Brands need to identify and nurture relationships with their impactors—consumers who genuinely use and appreciate their products—and motivate them to tell their circle of friends online and offline, no matter how large or tight their following.
To convert your buyers into your impactors you need to give them the same three things you want from them.
- Give them feedback: If you want your consumers to be talking about your brand, you need to show them that you are listening. Pay attention to what they are saying on social and connect with them directly.
- Give them loyalty: If you want your consumers to stay loyal to your brand, show your loyalty to them and that they are not just one of millions of people who you are trying to sell to. Reward them for their purchase, give them more to talk about to sound smart and informed.
- Give them attention: If you want your consumer to give you attention on their social feeds, you need to do the same and provide media opportunities for them that give them a platform to be heard and expand your reach and theirs.
You can get media publicity for your brand without influencers but having influencers without media publicity as a platform is moot. True ambassador programs, discounts and rewards will only go so far and continue to get increasingly more costly and less effective and efficient. If you want influencers to have impact for your brand you need to impact their personal brands in return by giving them a mega phone for their message and yours.
Note: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author(s) and contributor(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher and editors of WholeFoods Magazine.