Gen Z is Still on Facebook. You Just have to Find Them. Here’s How.

Originally published at https://www.nealsivadas.com on November 30, 2019.

You’ve heard the headlines. “Gen Z is killing Facebook.” “Gen Z: no FB, no TV, no BS.”

If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably been told to steer clear of the world’s largest social network if you want to reach the youngest generation. You’ve probably seen the data that shows a 3.4% decline in Facebook usage by Americans ages 12–17 over the past year or that only 36% of Gen Zers use Facebook at least once a week.

While these numbers sound scary, I’m here to tell you that this trend is more nuanced than you think.

It’s not that we’re quitting Facebook. We just use it less and differently than others.

We might scroll through Instagram to pass time, but for Facebook, we have a purpose when go onto the platform. We use it to laugh at meme pages. We use it to keep track of events we want to go to. We need it for social and school groups. We use it to remember our friends’ birthdays. Instead of utilizing the platform to pass time like other generations, we use Facebook functionally.

Memes. Birthdays. Events. Groups.

As a result, the place we go when we open the app or log onto the website is not our main feed, but the notifications tab. Here’s an example of my recent notifications tab.

Memes. Birthdays. Groups. Events.

If you’re a marketer, you’re probably like, “wow, that’s cool and all, but seems like it’s pretty difficult to infiltrate these touch points.” Here are just a few examples of how you can get creative and actually use these functionalities to target Gen Z with your B2C businesses.

Memes: Do you think Gen Z is more like to engage with and share a funny meme about McDonald’s burgers or an aesthetically looking image or 400-word blog post about the burger?

The answer should be obvious, but many brands struggle to understand the viability and power of a meme. They’re afraid it won’t be “on-brand” or will “lack taste and quality” or simply is “too kiddish.”

What they need to do is stop associating the word “meme” with humor and start associating the word “meme” with relatability.

Every human being on this Earth connects with each based on shared experiences, perspective or types of humor. Memes bring those to life.

As a result, there’s an opportunity for brands on Facebook to not just use memes as a format for organic content on their Facebook pages/ads, but also on meme pages.

It doesn’t matter what your brand is. There’s a meme page and community on hundreds of thousands or even millions on Facebook tailored to it. There’s a meme page for every college. There’s a meme page built on ace/ethnicity. There’s a meme page for edgier/dark humor. There’s a meme page for senior citizens. There’s a meme page for fans of George Takei. There’s a meme page for frustrated engineers. Regardless of your brand and target market, there is a meme page/group on Facebook that fits with your brand.

In order to find the right ones for you, think about the culture behind your brand, the impact of your product, or the type of people you attract. Once you join, start engaging, start posting memes, and capitalize on this untouched advertising avenue.

If you do choose this route, do remember to that your content has to be fluid and relatable. If it’s corny or forced, Gen Z will expose you and you will get roasted. You have to be authentic, amicable, and on-brand. Explore wisely.

Birthdays: We all love birthdays. If you have that information about your followers, why not use it to your advantage? According to Hubspot, transaction rates are 481% higher, revenue per email is 342% higher, click-through rates are 179%, and open rates are 53% higher in birthday-related emails. The opportunity on Facebook will be similar.

In order to execute this, all you have to do is go demographics -> life events -> birthdays -> upcoming birthdays when building the target audience for your ad.

If you want to go a step further, you could also probably work with Facebook to deliver notifications directly to the consumer for their birthday or target consumers who have friends with birthdays coming up.

Groups: What if there was a way for brands to reach all their loyal and interested customers in one place? That’s email.

But what if there was a way for brands to reach all their loyal and interested customers and also have all their loyal and interested customers interact with each other? That’s why groups can be so powerful.

Peloton, the exercise brand behind the Peloton Bike and on-demand streaming fitness classes, currently has over 202K members in their Facebook Group. It was actually started by an avid Peloton user, but eventually Peloton joined as an admin. The page continues to be run by both Peloton employees and avid users. According to its VP of Community, Peloton’s group receives 300 posts, 5,000 comments, and 20,000 reactions per day.

The most beneficial part of Facebook Groups for brands is the amount of user-generated content. Once your Facebook Group is established, the brand can rely on thousands of customers to drive consistent activity and engagement. When Peloton does post, it is mostly to give their most loyal customers a sneak peek for new product innovation and releases.

Events: You probably saw or heard about the fake “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” event take over popular culture in July. What you might not know is that this event was created by a Bakersfield College student named Matty Roberts who spent $0 to advertise the event. What was the end result? Over 4 million people who responded interested or going, 2.2 Billion Views on videos with the hashtag #Area51on Gen Z platform TikTok, thousands of companies trying to play off of its cultural popularity, and even the U.S. government releasing a warning.

Why was it so popular? It certainly was not the design aesthetic. It also was not that empowering of a message. Simply, it was just funny. It was meme-able.

If a college student can rally millions of people with 9 words, brands can also take advantage of core Facebook function. It could be to advertise an actual pop-up, share an invite for a special deal or discount, or to break the Internet with funny fake event like Area 51. Just be original and Gen Z will take full advantage if they see value or camaraderie in the event idea.

So besides traditional Facebook ads in our feed, I would recommend that you start thinking about Gen Z differently on Facebook. Promote an attractive or humorous Facebook event. Create groups that we’d be interested in joining. Work with Facebook to do something fun for birthdays. Add meme pages to your array of social media designed to drive engagement with your customers.

When Gen Z goes on Facebook, we are engaged. We just won’t be on for long, and it’s not where you think we are. You just have to be a little more creative to find us.

This is part 2/12 of the “Find Gen Z Series”, a monthly blog where I detail one social or digital media platform and how to best reach Gen Z on the platform. I am no expert. All my knowledge and perspective is based on my own experience and extensive research. I just want to create an authentic and effective relationship between marketers and my generation. To learn about other platforms in the series, go to https://www.nealsivadas.com/findgenz and please reach out with any questions or feedback.

USC Student. Gen Z + Social Media Strategist. Aspiring Product Marketer. All articles published on my LinkedIn as well.