When we think about Gen Z, some themes and assumptions emerge: they’re ambitious, adventurous, nostalgic. Most importantly, they’re known to take financial responsibility seriously, yet they often lack financial literacy to meet their goals. We’ve covered before how financial service brands can build long-term trust with Gen Z, but to address their money-driven ideals, we need to consider how informed Gen Z consumers are when it comes to making financial decisions—and how brands can help them.
Social media is the perfect place for brands to start building relationships with Gen Z audiences while fulfilling their need for personalization, speed and simplicity of engagement. They’re driven to this space for guidance, as a recent GWI report revealed that only 55% of Gen Z say that they are supported by their bank to meet their personal finance goals.
Just look at social channels and you’ll find financial advice in abundance. But ironically, this sea of unfiltered, unverified and untailored content contributes to confusion, because Gen Z are faced with analysis paralysis as they vet the information out there. This opens the opportunity for brands to deliver content that engages in conversations about money and, most importantly, gives Gen Z the means to take action. Below are three ways that financial service brands can leverage social content that captures, engages and empowers Gen Z as they secure their financial destinies.
Brand as a platform for change: offer alternative saving strategies.
One way that brands can offer value to Gen Z with social content is by providing a space for them to take action through conversation. Gen Z increasingly prefers “soft saving,” a philosophy that focuses on building comfort and minimizing stress. This is in stark contrast to unsustainable, short-term money “hacks” like the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) movement and its various offshoots that go viral. The takeaway for brands: lean into social communities of like-minded savers and spenders and support them with product and industry knowledge when needed.
This has been done on a product and feature level by brands such as DBS Bank The Burrow and The Finance Bar. Options for crowdsourcing financial advice could support both lifestyle choices of Gen Z consumers and serve as a tool for product promotion if positioned in the right way.
Brand as publisher: spotlight insights from real people.
As touched on above, Gen Z isn’t a monolith; there are lots of differing perspectives and philosophies around money. By positioning themselves as publishers, brands can normalize talking about money and addressing the different tactics Gen Z uses to better manage their finances. The opportunity here is to curate a diversity of profiles and situations that Gen Z audiences can relate to.
Refinery29’s Money Diaries does a great job of this by offering a view into how money is spent differently for everyone. This format has been popularized and adapted into social content series, too, such as Money Diaries by Sav Finance. What’s great about the format is brands can feature real people or tap into trends, like the #cashstuffing saving method that went viral on TikTok or the evergreen content of #whatispendinamonth.
Brand as culture: educate and entertain.
Financial advice must be nuanced to ensure the right information is given based on an individual’s needs. That same principle applies to influences who represent brands and speak as a source of truth, as advice can quickly turn into misinformation. This danger was made clear in the high-profile lawsuits against YouTubers in the wake of the FTX collapse.
Nevertheless, there’s still opportunity to offer educational content on social media in a fun way with well-loved personalities. Klarna partnered with Snoop Dogg and Twitch streamers KittyPlays and SypherPK to host a gamified, two-day event. Viewers were challenged to win gaming equipment by playing against the pros, getting a taste of what they can buy through the Klarna app’s “buy now, pay later” payment plans while interacting with their favorite personalities.
This offers Gen Z value beyond money, and when brands speak in terms of value instead of dollars, they offer a universal experience that can be relevant regardless of one’s financial circumstances. So don’t just focus on showing consumers how to make money quickly; cater to culture to drive the most value for Gen Z now.
Speak the language of Gen Z.
Financial service brands looking to capture, engage, and empower Gen Z should prioritize creating content that speaks to their unique perspectives and challenges when it comes to money. By offering alternative saving strategies, spotlighting insights from real people, and educating and entertaining in a way that goes beyond just financial advice, brands can build long-term trust with their audiences.
As Gen Z continues to grow in their financial responsibility, financial service brands have an opportunity to play a valuable role in supporting their journey towards financial security, and social media is a key channel to bring that to life. At the end of the day, it’s all about bringing value in the most direct, honest and relatable way.
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