We recently held Gen Z 101 at our London HQ, where guest speakers Kata Bleyer, Senior Digital Marketer at Coca-Cola and blogger/influencer Mercedes Benson joined a number of our team at We Are Social to share their insight on communicating to a Gen Z audience.

For those of you who were unable to attend, here are the six key learnings I took away from the event.

Listen to your community managers
Your community managers are on the frontline every day, interacting with your audience. Take advantage of this. Trust them, and ask their opinion about what type of content works, and what they feel generates the most engagement, and what kind of conversations are happening in your marketplace right now. These qualitative insights will help support your quantitative feedback.

Mobile is everything
Gen Z aren’t sitting around on their desktop computer. Mobile-first has been a buzzword for years and years but with Gen Z it’s even more crucial. They consume almost all their content on the move and they’re always in a heads-down mindset. If your work isn’t mobile optimized, it’s not going to reach a Gen Z audience.

Talk the talk - but don’t try too hard
Brands who ‘dumb down’ to try and appeal to a cool, young audience can fall into the trap of becoming a bit cringe - the social media equivalent of your mum trying out some Beyonce moves on the dancefloor. Using the latest social slang (on fleek, bae - you get the idea) will usually make your brand seem a little too desperate to connect with the cool kids. Also be careful of telling jokes - while everyone enjoys a good LOL, if you have to explain yourself, the joke is over.

Find influencers that are authentic to your brand
Influencer marketing is increasingly powerful; but don’t just do it for the sake of it. It’s important to find influencers who are an authentic fit for your brand - Gen Z are digital natives, they’re smart, and they’ll see through an influencer relationship that feels forced. Content produced should feel natural to both an influencer’s existing approach, and to your brand. Be willing to truly collaborate to get the best results.

Biggest isn’t always best
Likewise, biggest isn’t always best when it comes to working with influencers. A good fit is more important than the size of their community. Establishing an early relationship with an up-and-coming influencer can be hugely beneficial - everything mainstream started small at some point, so it can pay off to go straight to the source. Look out for the people that the big influencers themselves are following - that’s always a key indicator of future potential.

Build long-term relationships
Influencers don’t want to be ‘used’ for just one post - think of influencer marketing as a relationship, not a one night stand. Just like a relationship, nurture it by building mutual respect, show a genuine interest in what they’re involved in away from your particular piece of content and your own brand goals. This will reinforce their interest in you, and potentially encourage them to go above and beyond in the long run.