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In a previous blog, we covered the best ways to connect with Gen Z consumers. We’re now back to talk about how one specific company, the #1 Favorite Gen Z Beauty Brand, E.L.F. BEAUTY, nails Gen Z marketing.
The brand has consistently shown up and shown out: they’ve been awarded the CommerceNexty for Marketing Innovator of The Year two years in a row for their collaboration with Chipotle and their TikTok reality show. They also have a strong and dedicated social presence, with 592K followers on Twitter and a total of 11.7M TikTok likes.
Read along as we see how E.L.F. got where they are and what your company can do to get their finger on the pulse of Gen Z marketing trends.
Authenticity + Values
We know that authenticity is extremely important to Gen Z consumers, especially when it comes to social responsibility. They’ll catch on quickly if your brand is greenwashing or being socially responsible just to check off boxes.
In the beauty community specifically, there are a large number of Gen Z consumers who value cruelty-free, or non-animal-tested, products. E.L.F. Beauty has always been forthcoming about their commitment to being a 100% vegan and cruelty-free brand. It’s easy to find on their website and is a large draw to many consumers. Additionally, their website states their promise to customers, “be extra without paying extra” in order to provide good-quality products at an affordable price.
Social Media + Trends
Trend cycles are faster than ever with Gen Z consumers—if your company tries to engage with a trend but is a few days late, people will find your brand cringey. Therefore, it’s important to notice trends and act on them quickly.
Elf often uses popular audios on TikTok to stay relevant to Gen Z consumers, and their account features many TikTok makeup creators to create a sense of ethos among their community. Their products are often going viral—from their powder puffs to the camo concealer to really any new product drop, people are always making videos about E.L.F. which is evident from the #elfcosmetics hashtag on TikTok having 608M views. A quick scroll on the hashtag shows only a few top videos are from the E.L.F. TikTok handle, while the rest are made by creators on the platform sharing their love for the brand and its products.
E.L.F. also engages with Gen Z consumers on Twitch, a gaming platform, and recently the company joined the latest photo-sharing app, BeReal, which is designed to be a more authentic space in social media. Users get a daily notification (the time changes each day) to upload a photo; they have two minutes to upload, and the app captures both the front and back camera. Friends can see if the person has submitted their photo late and people can react to each other’s photos, but there are no public likes on the platform. E.L.F. joined the app and gave a free promo code to their first 150 followers, with promises to showcase behind-the-scenes content on their account. Not many brands have joined the app but it could be a great way to create a more personal or intimate connection with consumers.
Community Management of Gen Z Consumers
Another aspect of staying relevant to Gen Z consumers is engaging with them on social media platforms through community management. They love when brand accounts respond to comments and also comment on other videos. E.L.F. prides itself on listening to customer feedback and incorporating it into their future products and brand messaging. On a recent TikTok, a user commented that they wanted to see the product in a different color, and E.L.F. responded saying they would share that feedback with the brand innovation team. Responses like this can be found across E.L.F.s videos, showing they take customer feedback seriously. They also respond to comments with questions, engaging their followers in a dialogue.
Overall, if your brand stays authentic, true to its values, and can utilize current trends (hint: hire Gen Z interns to help out with your social media) you’ll be able to properly connect with your target Gen Z audience and build brand loyalty.
For more inspiration on how brands cater to Gen Z consumers, check out these sessions from #CN2022: How American Eagle Attracts Gen Z Consumers in the Metaverse and How Old Navy Stays New By Embracing The Next Generation.