Generation Z comprises people born between 1998 and 2019. They are digital natives who are increasingly less likely to consume news on traditional media portals. So how can we still reach them with news content? We asked ourselves that question two years ago at Blick, one of the biggest media brands in Switzerland.
Gen Z is by no means uninterested in the news; they just consume it differently. They prefer content that is presented in a short, simple, and entertaining way — mostly on social media. That’s why we created the news brand Soda by Blick, where we present news and useful information about lifestyle, politics, and daily life directly on Instagram.
About 61% of our followers on Soda by Blick are younger than age 25. Over the past two years, we have gained experience in what it takes to build a successful news brand on social media that reaches a young target audience. Consider these six tips:
1. Publish where your target audience is located
If you want to reach Generation Z, Instagram is your channel: 65% of young people in Switzerland use Instagram several times a day (James Study, 2020). At Soda, our goal isn’t to generate traffic and bring young users to our Web site, but instead, we address them directly where they are: on social media.
2. Create platform-appropriate content
To reach Gen Z with news content, it needs to be broken down into short, engaging posts or videos. Build content for social first, and use all of the opportunities Instagram offers: IGTV, Reels, Stories, etc.
Consider that every platform is different. You can’t easily adapt an article from your Web site for Instagram, and a perfect YouTube video is not suitable for TikTok. That’s why you should create your content directly for its respective platform.
3. Get in contact with your community
Use what makes social media so attractive — the proximity to your community. Our journalists at Soda are regularly seen in videos and stories. By purposefully establishing influencers, we build trust, transparency, and proximity.
4. Use your proximity to the community and its proximity to you
Interact as closely as possible with your community. By answering comments, DMs, and questions, you build a strong connection with your community. At Soda, we regularly create user-generated content. We also incorporate questions and input from the community into posts and videos. The average engagement rate at Soda is 6.2% per post. In 2020, we reached 1.08 million unique users with our Instagram channel.
5. Use new platforms
Social media usage is changing. Younger readers are rarely found on Facebook anymore. The average age is also gradually changing on Instagram. Always keep your eyes open for trendy platforms, like TikTok, and don’t be afraid to try them out.
6. Test, test, test!
Social media gives you the freedom to try new things without much effort. No one can predict 100% what will be successful. Try new ideas and formats and analyse the results. Have the courage to try but also to discontinue formats that don’t perform.