You may have heard of a little demographic called Gen Z, and how they are changing the future. The young, tech savvy, and socially minded audience are the most diverse generation to date, with a spending power of over $140 billion.

Born between 1996 and 2010, Gen Z are challenging institutions, investing in inclusion and are extremely individual. Gen Z have been the driving force behind most of this decades largest behavioural and cultural shifts and are influencing change that will affect us in the coming years.

So, if you haven’t already, now is probably the time to start marketing to Gen Z. But how do we do that? Where do we find these mysterious, radical individuals? Look no further than your mobile phone; they’re all over TikTok and Instagram. Short-form video is the social media trend of the moment, with TikTok dominating and other platforms hot on their heels with their own offerings like Instagram Reels. Facebook has also recently limped into the game with Facebook Reels, but we know that Facebook isn’t really Gen Z’s stomping ground.

So where should you invest your time and effort if you’re looking to market to Gen Z? Here we explore Instagram vs TikTok to help you decide.

How Do I Do TikTok Marketing? 

When deciding to advertise on TikTok, it can be wise to consider the following:

  • Is your brand aimed at Gen Z and younger millennials?
  • Does your product have high degree of aesthetic appeal?
  • Do you have easy access to a smartphone with a high-quality camera or filming equipment?

Considering these things can make your life a lot easier when marketing on TikTok – but that’s not to say you’re ruled out if you don’t tick these boxes. There are so many different approaches to TikTok marketing, that would be a whole other blog in itself! But here are a few simple strategies to help you get going.

Do some paid ads. TikTok has tons of options for promoting content in different ways, as well as some great audience targeting options. Putting a bit of budget behind your best content could really help you see results quickly.

Jump on trends. You can find trending content on TikTok in the same way you can on any other platform. It’s not always just a trending hashtag though – on TikTok, you’ll find trending challenges, dance routines, even trending music which you can use in your content to increase visibility. This is a really easy way to start creating content that audiences will respond to.

Get sucked in. To be able to create good TikTok content that feels native to the platform, you need to really get your head in to it. Spend some time watching other people’s content and really getting to know what works.

Understand the algorithm. The TikTok algorithm is like no other, and while there’s no magic trick to getting your content at the top of the feed, having a good knowledge of the algorithm and how it works will give you a good push in the right direction.

How Do I Do Instagram Marketing? 

While TikTok only offers one form of content, Instagram gives you a few different options. You’ve got Reels, which are similar to TikTok, but also page posts in photo or video form, Stories, Shopping, IGTV, carousels, collections – the list goes on. It might feel overwhelming, but once you’ve got your head around all of the different options, you’ll be well on your way. Creating content for Instagram doesn’t need to be as time intensive as it can be for TikTok – you can just snap some quick photos and share them on your feed or story.

So how do you get started with Instagram marketing?

Do some paid ads. Instagram has lots of different options for paid advertising, through Facebook’s Ad Manager. The targeting capabilities are unmatched, and you can place your ads in all sorts of places throughout the app. Putting some budget behind your best content is a great way to see results quickly.

Jump on trends (are you noticing a pattern yet?) As with TikTok, you can easily find trending hashtags and create content to fit. Depending on the type of product or service you’re promoting, you’ll find a few hashtags which crop up a lot, and the great thing is, your target customers are probably seeing that relevant content in their Discover feed. For example, if you sell a homeware product, you’re quids in with Instagram – not only is it easy to create aesthetically pleasing content, but there are also tons of popular hashtags you can use to get your content in front of the people who are likely to buy your product.

And as with TikTok (all social media platforms really), spend some time browsing the platform. The best way to create natural looking content which will resonate with Instagram users is to really embed yourself in Instagram. Get a feel for the style of content that’s going out in your industry, what’s working, what gets a good reaction. That way you’ll develop a natural understanding of how to create good content.

So Which Platform Should I Use?   

Okay, we’ve been on a bit of a tangent – back to the real question of this blog. Which should you put more time or effort into if you’re trying to reach Gen Z?

Well, Instagram Reels has been around for a while now and hasn’t had much of an effect on TikTok’s monthly viewing numbers. A 2020 survey by Pivotal Research of 54 large ad agencies and advertisers found that 61% of respondents said that Reels weren’t an effective competitor to TikTok.

Reels was brought in as a way for Instagram to compete with TikTok, but doesn’t really add much in terms of additional features or benefits.

TikTok’s fun short videos that allow people to express themselves freely, brings a connection to its users, which has never been seen before and whilst Reels is still a great addition to Instagram, it doesn’t quite resonate with its Gen Z audience in the way that TikTok does.

HOWEVER – the parameters for content, and content styles, on each platform are basically identical. If you’re putting the time and energy in to creating a really good TikTok video, why just post it to one platform? You can upload the same video straight into Instagram Reels, and hopefully reach an even larger audience.

Here at TMM we often find that our short form videos get far more views on Instagram than they do on TikTok. That’s not to say that would be the case for all brands – our viewers might not be Gen Z, our service offering may work best for Instagram, there are all sorts of factors that come in to play.

So really, there is no hard and fast answer. The only way to find out which platform is more beneficial for your business, is to try them both and see what works. You don’t need to create any special additional content to be able to do that – just get your phone out, start making videos and see what happens!

Final Thoughts: The future of short form video 

Short-form video is here to stay. With YouTube now jumping on the short-form bandwagon with YouTube Shorts, and Facebook introducing Facebook Reels, it would be daft to assume that this is a trend that will fizzle out.

Studies have found that Gen Z typically have an attention span of around just 8 seconds. It’s not surprising really when you consider that they’ve grown up in a world where they are constantly surrounded by advertising messages, and information is available at the click of a button. You can find the answer to a question in seconds, buy any product you could possibly need with next day delivery, have a takeaway or food shop brought to your door in half an hour by a Deliveroo rider.

Gen Z are a generation that just don’t wait, and if you want to capture their attention, you need to do it quickly. Short form video is the perfect way to do this, so if you’re not doing it already – you really should get started!

If you want to get a social media marketing strategy in place but aren’t sure where to start, we’d love to help.

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