6 Outdated Social Media Strategies That Repel Gen Z



If your social media marketing is outdated, Gen Z will swipe and tap their way to your competitors in seconds.


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Are you ready for the next generation of consumers? Gen Z brings over $143 billion in spending power plus influence over their parents’ buying decisions. But, if your social media strategies are outdated, expect to get left behind.

As 2020 approaches, a new generation of consumers is taking over the global marketplace. Poised to become the most influential generation ever, Gen Z’s direct spending is an estimated $143 billion, while 90% of them also influence their parents’ buying decisions.

Who is Gen Z?

Generation Z (born from 1995 – 2015) is the first generation of digital natives.

They have high expectations of brands and make lightning-fast decisions when sizing up web pages.

If your social media marketing is outdated, Gen Z will swipe and tap their way to your competitors in seconds – and probably take their millennial parents and friends with them. Find out if your brand is ready for the next generation. Below are 6 outdated strategies for social media that may be chasing away Gen Z’ers.

Outdated Strategy #1: Following “Best Times to Post” Guides Too Closely

“Best times to post” guides can be misleading. Use them as a starting point, but don’t’ stick to them religiously.

Run a Google search on “best times to post to social media”, and you’ll uncover pages of tips and advice. While best posting suggestions can be helpful, you should use them with caution, and only as a starting point.

Best posting times can be misleading because:

  • Studies are often based on when brands post content or when users are online, instead of when people interact with brands.
  • Many publishers form recommendations based on dated statistics. Your “2019 Guide” may contain data that can be traced back 3-6 years (a lifetime in the social media world).
  • Most recommendations are based on averages, which overlook low-competition, high-engagement opportunities.

Even the highest-quality guides can’t predict the quirks of your target audience.

Solution: Update Your Posting Schedule With Analytics

Social media insights offer data that helps you form the best, most productive posting schedules.

For example, you can find out what days and times your Facebook followers are online by visiting your FacebookI nsights page and search under Posts > When your fans are online.

Source: Sharelov

Then, conduct A/B testing to discover when they’re most likely to engage with your brand.

Find what works best for your brand and achieve a higher level of engagement than the best posting guides can offer.

Outdated Strategy #2: Focusing Too Heavily on Self-Promotion

Millennials and Gen Z have a low tolerance for brands that constantly self-promote.

Review your last 10 posts on Facebook. What percent of them include a link to your product, landing page, or website?

If the answer is 100%, your social media marketing strategy is outdated.

Solution: Update Your Social Media Content Plan

Gen Z and millennials want to feel that your brand cares more than just making money. Today’s followers look for content that informs, entertains or supports a social cause.

Instead of constant promotions, update your content plan to include some of the following:

Encourage User-generated Content

More than 40% of millennials and Gen Z expect to see user-generated content before making a purchase.

UGC stats

Source: Statista

There are many types of user-generated content that work well for social media, including:

  • Reviews
  • Images
  • Testimonials

To encourage sharing, use hashtags to promote contests, rewards, and giveaways.

For example, to promote its Marie Kondo series, Netflix encourages followers to create posts about what sparks joy for them.

netflix marie kondo

Source: Netflix on Instagram

Users who tag their posts with #gotjoy get a chance to meet Marie Kondo.

Offering prize incentives is an excellent way to encourage user-generated content.

Create Polls And Questions

Polls and questions are a fun way to connect with your audience.

For example, HelloFresh’s “Just for Fun” stories section packs fun and entertaining food-based trivia questions.

hellofresh IG stories - create polls

Source: HelloFresh on Instagram

Tell Other People’s Stories

Sharing stories about other people never gets old and inspires meaningful conversations.

Uber shared a heartwarming story about one of its drivers who collects doodles and signatures from all of the people that ride with him.

twitter uber - share stories

Source: Uber on Twitter

Uber’s stories turn everyday people into heroes, in a way that’s relevant to its brand.

This is a great way to inspire engagement and shares.

Share Breaking News and Trends

Sharing news related to your industry is a popular way to engage B2B audiences.

Post Relevant Curated Content

Curated content serves 3 purposes:

  • Helps balance out self-serving links
  • Enables you to build relationships with other businesses by sharing their content
  • Keeps your pages fresh and fun to browse

Recommend Tools or Books That Help Your Followers

Recommending helpful tools and books is also a great way to engage B2B audiences.

instagram recommendation

Source: Von Wrede Real Estate on Instagram

The post description explains why the book is relevant to the company’s followers.

Support Social Causes

Millennials are drawn toward brands that take a social stand, but Gen Z raises the bar by expecting brands to support social causes.

A leader in social cause marketing, TOMS actively develops initiatives to help provide basics such as clean water, medical procedures, and local education.

TOMS’ business model also includes social activism. For example, the company delivered over 700,000 postcards and spoke with members of Congress to help end gun violence.

toms on facebook

Source: TOMS shoes on Facebook

Outdated Strategy #3: Faking Likes, Followers, or Engagement

Paying or trading for social media engagement is an outdated strategy that can get you banned, repel millennials/Gen Z, and throw off your data.

There are many ways to “fake it” on social media, but these defeat the purpose of social marketing as they don’t help build authentic relationships with your audience.

Using auto-engagement bots or buying likes/followers are only some of the dishonest tactics. Others include:

  • Mass-following accounts to encourage people to follow back, only to unfollow them the next day
  • Mass-following accounts and unfollowing those who do not reciprocate
  • Mass-commenting on public social media posts and asking for follow

Over time, dishonest strategies compromise your reputation and may also get you banned from social channels.

Blackhat techniques also invalidate the most useful tool at your disposal — social media insights.

Without reliable analytics, your brand may never discover what motivates your audience, what posting schedule works best, or who your biggest fans are.

Solution: Update Your Approach with Meaningful Conversations

It’s good to expand your reach, but don’t forget to that developing meaningful conversations is the priority.

Seek a higher standard of engagement. This includes those sparked by:

  • User-generated content
  • Reviews
  • Customer service inquiries

It’s better to have one valued customer than 100 distant followers. Focus on attracting the right type of followers that are active and engaged.

Follow only legitimate accounts that are relevant to your brand and work toward developing genuine connections by inspiring meaningful conversations.

Focus On Your Revenue

There’s high earning potential in social marketing.

Here’s what some brands do every 60 seconds online:

  • Walmart sells $30,000 of products
  • Apple sells $23,000 of products
  • Amazon Fulfillment delivers 1,902 parcels

You can’t cash in on social media likes, so remember to focus on strategies that drive revenue.

Create a well-written social media marketing strategy to avoid getting caught in the “Like” trap.

A documented strategy requires you to put goals and objectives in writing, helping you stay on track during the planning and execution stages.

10 goals your brand can achieve on social media

Source: Sharelov

Outdated Strategy #4: Getting Stuck on Facebook

Don’t let Facebook become your entire social media world.

Facebook may be the biggest social network, but Generation Z’s favorite, YouTube, is a close second. Some experts predict Instagram may surpass them both.

Additionally, new social platforms are expected to launch in 2019, so sticking to just one (or even two) social platforms could mean missed opportunities.

Solution: Update Your Social Networks For 2019

Align your most active social media channels with your target audience.

When choosing your social channels, pay attention to your underlying purpose: increasing revenue.

Monitor your insights and ROI to determine which channels are most profitable.

Outdated Strategy #5: Relying Entirely On Organic Reach

Organic reach is no longer effective without paid advertising to enhance it.

While organic posts are crucial for building relationships with your audience, algorithms have come to require paid advertising for organic posts to get seen.

Solution: Update Your Organic Strategy with Paid Social

As organic reach declines, brands must supplement their social media efforts with paid advertising.

Social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram make it easy to place ads. The price range is within reach for most small businesses, and audience targeting is sophisticated yet simple to use.

Outdated Strategy #6: Missing out on Multiculture

If your brand image doesn’t include a variety of cultures and personality types, you risk losing younger audiences.

Do the images on your website, ads, and content include people of different cultures and personalities? If not, you’re already old-fashioned and outdated.

People of all ages now recognize when brands lack diversity.

Generation Z is especially turned off when brands don’t demonstrate a multicultural and inclusive mindset.

Solution: Update Your Marketing to Reflect an Inclusive Culture

Review your business’s communication channels by asking the following questions:

  • Are our brand images reflecting a mix of people from different cultures?
  • Do we embrace a diverse approach in our influencer campaigns?
  • Do our products and services cater to people of all cultures?

If you answered no to any of the above, you need to reinvent your brand’s core values.

If you want to resonate with younger generations, taking a multicultural approach is a must.

Review Your Plan for Outdated Social Media Strategies

As Millennials and Gen Zers take over the global consumer market, marketers will need to make changes to their social strategies.

Brands that update their social media approach are set to win over the younger generations and can expect to reap the rewards.

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