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How to Connect and Market Digitally to Gen Z

Published :  July 22, 2017

How to appeal to these young consumers through mobile, social and search.


For Generation Z, who have never experienced a time without the Internet, connecting digitally is just as important (if not more) than the air they breathe or the food they eat. Their daily activities are driven by their need to be constantly connected; their life is about sharing, posting, commenting and getting information when and where they want it. So, when it’s time for them to decide where to eat or drink, they, of course, will look to a digital device for guidance. In order to get this generation to notice your business, you need to meet them online and find ways to connect and engage with them.


Who is Generation Z?

Generation Z is made up of people born after 1997 and represents 27 percent of the total population (78 million) in the U.S.1 For them, being connected via a mobile device is completely natural and necessary, as they haven’t lived in a world without it. Eighty-four percent of 12 to 17-year-olds, and almost half (41 percent) of children under the age of 11 own a smart phone. They’re constantly “online” and interacting with friends, on social media and seeking entertainment through their screens. This provides businesses with a unique opportunity to target and attract this demographic in various digital spaces.


Mobile-Friendly is a Must

Since almost all Gen Z’s are attached at the hip to their mobile devices, your website needs to be optimized for them to easily find and access your information. Your business website should be responsive, meaning that it adapts to mobile screens, making it easy for prospective customers to read your menu, see your address and get a feel for your business ahead of time. Not having a responsive site can make it difficult to navigate or sections may not be visible at all. This creates a frustrating experience for someone doing their research and may turn them away from even becoming a customer. Once you’ve ensured your site is mobile-friendly, shift your efforts to how your business appears on external sites such as Google Places or Yelp. These sites typically rank very high in search and can even be the place where Gen Z customers (or any other potential patron) can find your business. Confirm that your address, phone number and business hours are current, and even add your menu to help entice them before they step foot in the door.


Get Socially Savvy

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Social media is a great way for Gen Z to get to know and engage with your business and they expect all businesses to have a Facebook, Instagram or Twitter account. Forty-five percent of 16-20-year-olds like or follow a restaurant on social media , so if you’re eager to attract or maintain a young clientele, put some time into creating a social media presence with crisp, inviting images and information about the food and drinks served.2 Twenty-five percent of 13-15-year-olds take pictures of their food, so entice them to patronize your restaurant by showing them your tasty, photogenic dishes online.2


Find Success through Search

Generation Z is the most diverse and multicultural of all generations so far with adventurous palates and an openness to try global flavors.1 This group also seeks out specific food categories such as gluten-free, organic, vegan and dairy-free. In order to make these features of your business more visible, ensure your business comes up in search for these specific terms. You can optimize your site for search by installing a plug-in into the backend of your website, adding relevant keywords and search terms, or updating your website copy with information or articles that highlight those offerings. This will help your establishment rank and get noticed in Google or Bing for your location and those key terms.

This group also seeks out specific food categories such as gluten-free, organic, vegan and dairy-free.

Make the Experience Seamless

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Gen Z are used to an on-demand economy with a fast turnaround. They don’t like to wait in line and want to make purchases as quickly as possible.1 Sixty-five percent want a restaurant that has the technology to customize their order.2 Fifty-four percent enjoy when restaurants have tablets or kiosks to order and pay for food. Fifty-three percent like the ability to order online. Appealing to Gen Z can be as easy as allowing them to order ahead and pick up in a store, or as elaborate as investing in a self-checkout machine. Through these few digital updates, you can help make your business more appealing to this fast-moving group.
With a little digital savviness, you can attract Gen Z patrons and make your business more hip, fun and modern for all generations.
  • 1AFH Insights Gen Z
  • 22015 Technomic Inc. Gen Z: Decoding the Behaviors of the Next Generation