For some, the phrase ‘Gen Z’ may feel like uncharted territory, and maybe even a bit intimidating. It’s been reiterated over and over about their short attention span, their need for automation and ease of access, and how difficult it can be to connect with them.
It’s a common misconception that they’re worlds away from any similarities in regards to older generations – in fact, business owners and entrepreneurs alike have actively been making strides to be tech-driven for years in order to meet the needs of our evolving clients. In many ways, these have been natural progressions, whether that’s implementing new programs or expanding your social media reach by exploring new apps.
But the question remains: how can we consistently keep up with a generation that’s wildly intuitive and tech-driven?
How communication has changed with clients
Long gone are the days of handwritten contracts and in-person meetings (thanks, COVID). When you think about it, business owners have really been forced to grow up in a sense due to the restrictions of the pandemic. This alone has created shockwaves in the event industry, especially as we’re accustomed to planning face-to-face with our clients. Now, we’re suddenly relying on tech for things we wouldn’t necessarily have before. Whether you want to believe it or not, we’re now in the Generation Z mindset.
Emily Loxtercamp of The Renaissance says, “Being a part of Gen Z myself, even with everyday situations I find myself in, I will adapt the way I communicate with my peers depending on what generation they’re in, and I do it at my workplace as well. With younger clients, a lot of emojis and abbreviations (or texting lingo) are used, whereas with clients in generations before Gen Z, I’ll format my messages to them more of an email style.”
Jamie O’Neill of The Bridal Finery agrees, noting: “In previous years, communication with clients has always been very professional with only speaking during business hours and through telephone or email. Being a bridal boutique, we tend to chat with our brides whenever and however it’s easiest for them. This means chatting with our clients based on their preferred form of communication. For some clients, they prefer to reach out to us through DM on Instagram at midnight when they’re off work and laying in bed. For other clients, they prefer email over text, text over email, or third party messaging apps like WhatsApp.”
Apps that can help you connect with Gen Z
Zoom is a household name now, and there’s no question that it’s been a lifeline for many industry pros that need to continue with client meetings and developing one-on-one connections without skipping a beat. But there are a plethora of other apps that can not only help streamline communication and tasks – they’ll also keep you at the top of mind and never leave your Gen Z client second-guessing.
Kevin Dennis of Fantasy Sound Event Services says, “Evernote is an amazing tool when it comes to planning virtually with a client. Beyond anything that you could put in a text or an email, this app allows you to scribble notes, send voice memos, photos, and keep track of tasks and deadlines. Everything is housed in one place, so there’s no need for multiple programs.”
Shannon Tarrant of WeddingVenueMap.com suggests, “Google Voice has really helped us connect with Gen Z. Their primary preferred communication method is a text message and it was hard to track and save. Because we can use it both on desktop and mobile, it makes it easy for us to track responses by copying and pasting into our CRM. This way we have a record of our conversation!”
JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions by JoAnn Gregoli lists a couple of her favorite apps: “Allseated is recommended when we are working on the floor plans for the venues, it gives the couple easy access to help with the stressful seating plan. And Paperless Post is what we use to invite guests to other events associated with the wedding. The best part of this platform is the tracking of emails, so you can see who received and opened it and those who did not. It gives them a minute-by-minute [head]count for their events.”
Successful social media strategies
For years, it’s been said that social media is the key to attracting the attention of Gen Z, and with so many people stuck at home, it’s never been more true. So, how can you step your game up and generate more traffic?
For Kylie Carlson of The Wedding Academy, Instagram Reels is the next big thing. “Unlike Instagram Stories, Reels don’t disappear after 24 hours. These videos can serve as mini commercials for your business and live on your profile. You can either educate, entertain, or inspire your audience, and it’s fairly user-friendly! My follower count has already gone up since I’ve started incorporating Reels into my feed.”
Loxtercamp adds that they’ve found success with, “Posting interactive Instagram stories such as polls, Q&A segments, etc. TikTok is also an extremely popular social media platform within Gen Z, and I’ve started to make videos that kind of mimic 60-second TikTok videos of different things going on around my workplace. The main thing I’ve been doing is creating ‘setting up’ montages where details and big picture shots of an event or wedding coming together are shown with some kind of catchy song playing with it.”
It goes without saying that we’re more in-tune with tech than we may have been in recent years, so don’t be afraid to use this to your advantage when connecting with your younger clients.
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.