We’ve all heard of Generation X. Commonly abbreviated to Gen X, this is the generation born after the Western Post–World War II baby boom.
Next, came Generation Y or Millennials. Researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s when they reference Generation Y.
However, if you or your organization works with teens, this means that now—and in the coming years—you must learn how to reach and win the loyalty and trust of Generation Z.
Who is Generation Z?
This is a generation that is considered the next major consumer group and is comprised of teenagers who are younger than nineteen years old. This generation has grown up with full access to the Internet and technology. Unlike their parents and grandparents, they are digital natives, and it’s even tougher for brands and organizations to woo this group and ultimately get them to walk through your doors and attend your classes and events without a proper strategy in place.
Keep in mind: Generation Z has an increasingly strong emotional attachment to their digital devices (see this report by SapientNitro). And, in a multitasking world of online clutter, anyone from a Jewish organization or a Fortune 500 brand, must strive to communicate simple yet engaging messages to catch Generation Z’s attention.
Below, we present you with two things every rabbi and educator must know about this group:
1. Being Social=Being on Social Media
Macala Wright recently noted that, “Gen Z may be the most socially savvy group marketers will ever meet, with 81% of teenagers on social media. 93% of Gen Z say they visit YouTube at least once a week, and 54% visit the site multiple times throughout the day. Gen Z also uses Twitter (26%), Google+ (26%), and Instagram (17%) on a weekly basis, but less often.”
What does this mean for rabbis, educators and Jewish organizations who are trying to target this age demographic?
In order to get teens to attend your classes and events, you will need to create short and catchy content—whether it’s a video or an animated image that is tailored to each social platform. See this Twitter account and this Instagram account that gives you a good example of how one rabbi and organization is using these platforms to reach Jewish teens.
2. Empower Generation Z
Organizations and schools that give students the tools to learn, do or experience things themselves will see success in reaching this age group.
We encourage you to create (or link to other) how-tos and educational videos (33% of Generation Z watch online programming) about mitzvot or upcoming Jewish holidays. You can also consider offering a flipped classroom or flipped Beit Midrash (see our articles on this here and here).
Likewise, you can create an online community or a Facebook page that will allow every teen to accomplish a goal. For an example of a Jewish organization doing this, see this NCSY program.
As Generation Z is incredibly proficient with technology, we must learn how to engage them online and create a sense of community on platforms that they use to communicate on a daily basis. If you do so, you will increase your ability to see success, make one-on-one connections and strengthen the Jewish roots of Generation Z.