Everyone and their dog is on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, (and now) Snapchat. While the aforementioned platforms are pretty emblematic of “social media”, we thought we’d take you through some ‘subcultural’ (if you will) platforms as well as some up-and-comers that are taking the Millennial and Generation Z demographics by storm.
So we can all start off on the same foot, we’re going to clarify some definitions. If you’ve been confused over where the Millennial Generation ends and Generation Z starts, you’re not alone. There’s actually no hard and fast line between the two. Some say that Generation Z starts in the mid-late nineties, while others say that the early 2000s is the cut-off for Millennials and the start of Generation Z. For the sake of this article, we’re going to go with Randstad’s definition of the groups (check out their report here):
- Generation Z: 1994-2010
- Millennials: early 80s-1993
Both Millennials and Generation Z-ers are tech-savvy, entrepreneurial, and extremely advertisement-averse – they’re the groups adopting ad-blocking software, abandoning televisions for computers and tablets, and avoiding all things sales-y. This is important for brands to keep in mind, as an awareness and adjustment to the new way of thinking is essential. Consumers from these generations want to converse with their favourite brands, not be lectured on them. This means brands need to explore different avenues and social media platforms to engage with their audiences.
Here are three social media platforms, what they do, and their respective audience and generation.
Tumblr has been around for a while. Since February 2007 to be exact (source). So this platform definitely does not fall under the up-and-comer category. Instead, it’s taken a prominent spot in the background (as oxymoronic as that sounds) of social media. It strikes the blurred line between Generation Z and Millennials, appealing to the group caught in the middle of the two.
Each user has their own blog and can follow other blogs and users. As an individual user scrolls through their home feed (the feed is filled with posts from other bloggers… or is it tumblr-ers?) they can reblog and comment on posts – meaning the post will show up on their own blog. This creates a sort of bricolage of thoughts and posts that reflects the user’s interests and personality.
With 305.9 million blogs on the site (source), it’s impossible to plop all users into the same box with one broad label. However, as a general categorization, think of a Tumblr-er as the dry-witted person at a party. You’re never really sure when they’re kidding, but you know they know a lot about a lot of things, and will put you in your place if you misspeak on a fact or tidbit.
At only three-years-old, Yik Yak is exiting the baby-years and coming into its own. This follower base is very much University-student oriented (the first batch of Generation Z).
The platform is pretty simple. It’s an app that lets you post anonymously to the feed. Here’s the interesting thing – the platform is location-based, and lets a user tap into the local community (or in Yik Yak’s terms, “a herd”). Think of it as a community board that updates in real-time.
As mentioned earlier, a Yik-Yaker tends to be a University student. Posts like “Anyone taking the English 100 midterm tomorrow” are not uncommon. But other things are posted too – sometimes they’re x-rated, sometimes extremely hilarious, and sometimes they’re just little inspirational quotes. The best ones are relatable posts referring to common annoyances – “anyone irked by the construction on blank street” are posts that encourage conversation and bonding.
Musical.ly (and its live-streaming partner in crime, Live.ly) is very much part of the tween and teen scene right now – the follower base is smack-dab in the middle of Generation Z.
Basically, Musical.ly lets you create your own music video to a song of your choice. You can lip-sync along to your favourite anthems, and have them sped-up or slowed down (inciting laughs and fun). Very simple concept. But sometimes, the simpler the better.
As said before, the fan-base on Musical.ly is very teen (or Generation Z) dominated, but you never know… It could be the next thing that Moms, Grandmas, Dads, Grandpas, Aunts, and Uncles flock to… That’s what happened with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
It’s the small sub-cultures and new generations that establish the foundations for the mainstream. From the witty person at the party, to the University student, to the tween using their first cellphone to take selfie-videos… There’s a home for all of us out there. Now you know which generations flock to which platforms. At Booje, we’re fascinated by social media – and how each system works in connection with another. It can be a lot for a brand to take on, but we’re here to help you find your niche – the place where your brand fits best.
Stay tuned for next week, when we’ll be discussing how brands can take on these new platforms and engage with their audiences and their sensitivities effectively. We’ll be providing examples on how to do it right!