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May 29, 2024
Dani Collins

Why Are Gen Zs Ignoring Your Influencer Content? 


A week in social content creation is a long time. And what worked two months ago is often dated and ineffective in the right-now currency of social media. Along with that, it seems the classic ‘Instagram influencer’ is generally having less of an influence over Aussie Gen Z social scrollers. In fact, according to one of Australia’s largest youth studies, Gen Z trust TikTok creators 40% more than Instagram lifestyle influencers. 

So, why are creators having more influence? It comes down to Gen Z preferring “raw and imperfect”, over more aspirational, polished content. So, if you’re a brand marketer trying to engage with Gen Z audiences, this might mean changing the well-worn script. 

Here are a few practical tips on how to cultivate more trust on TikTok with influencers. 

  1. Be opened-minded about talent brand alignment  

TikTok is where brands and creators share their playful side. Just look at the Telstra TikTok account, which playfully taps into Gen Z phone usage behaviour. While a significant steer from Telstra’s traditional Instagram content, its TikTok channel has a remarkable 17.69% engagement rate (the avg. is 4%). 

Of course, if you’re a premium brand, finding talent that feels more polished will be more challenging than it is on Instagram. So, it pays to be a bit more open-minded about how your brand shows up on TikTok. Investigate potential content creators’ offline credentials, their brand partnerships, their visibility on other social channels, and of course, the demographics of their followers. 

  1. Break the 3 sec rule 

Controversial perhaps, but Gen Z can smell (and avoid) an ad from a scroll away. Having your product featured in the opening seconds can sometimes hurt your view-through rate. By working with trusted TikTokers with engaged fan bases, you can hero your product slightly later without sacrificing ad recall. Introducing your brand at the 5 second mark (or even later) can help maintain your audience's attention, seamlessly integrating your product with the content, and add credibility. Take the viral TBH Skincare moment with #1 Aussie TikToker Indy Clinton. Not only did the new face scrub product arrive at the 12-sec mark, but the short mention also caused so much noise that the company had to release the product earlier than scheduled to meet demand.   

  1. Add value. Always. 

TikTok promotes the democratisation of information and experiences. Speaking directly to camera, millions of people share their experiences every minute, including knowledge, hacks, tips, opinions and quirky insights by participating in TikTok trends. Brands can tap into these trends by avoiding prescriptive scripts and word-for-word key messages. Instead, make sure your brand’s creator content is adding value. The goal is to produce a piece of content that Gen Z audience would watch if the content wasn’t being sponsored. 

  1. Jump on reactive opportunities, proactively 

TikTok’s algorithm means anyone can be a creator. This means brand mentions, product reviews, comparisons and declarations of brand love are shared organically. Social listening for organic mentions on TikTok can be an efficient way to build a content library. Reaching out to creators and subsidising them to republish their content can be a great way to source UGC that feels authentic.  

  1. Show don’t tell 

Creators have the gift of the gab when it comes to reaching their audiences. The GRWM (get ready with me) trend is extremely popular for a reason. With shorter attention spans and a sceptical Gen Z, it’s more important than ever that your creator allies show how your brand’s product punches above the rest. Before and afters, realistic wear tests, and straight up jaw-dropping results; if it’s paid partnership content, the results should be visible. This is particularly true for skincare, makeup and beauty categories, as well as cleaning and household appliances. 

Trust is a fickle thing. But what’s consistently true is that people need to trust they’re making the right decisions by getting the right information. So, educate, entertain and inform all you like, but always ensure that the voice of the brand is showing up and coming from a source your audience will trust. 


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