Influencer marketing is growing, with an average return of $5.20 on every $1 spent. And it has become the top way to reach Gen Z, as 74% of this group spend five hours or more online per day. And with a combined total of $44 billion in buying power, brands need to be where the big spenders are congregating!
We’ve compiled 25 Gen Z Instagram influencers to follow, and will explain why harnessing their power is critical for reaching this younger generation. We’ll look at:
- Environmental influencers making an impact
- Breaking through to the other side of health, beauty and equality for all
- Striking a pose that thunders through social media
- 52% of Gen Ztrusts social media influencers for brand advice.
- 45% of Gen Zfollow more than 10 social media influencers.
Five Gen Z Influencers to Follow Now
Brands are keeping an eye out for the next person to help them showcase their products and connect in a meaningful way with their consumers. And Covergirl found two Instagram influencers to help them achieve just that:
Zendaya is an actress singer, fashion designer and ambassador for CoverGirl and Chi Hair Care. Her Instagram is a platform to generate awareness of social justice issues and her 82.3 million followers are super engaged in her efforts.
James Charles encourages followers to “blend, but don’t blend in” in his role as CoverGirl Ambassador and all-around makeup guru. And with 26 million followers, James’ partnership with CoverGirl has opened doors in the beauty industry towards inclusivity.
It looks like finding these two young voices of a generation is paying off for CoverGirl. Social media analytics reveals positive sentiments below, with spikes illustrating a lift in conversation.
And clicking anywhere on the summary above gives us details into why consumers love this beauty brand so much. This Tumblr user praises the company for breaking down gender barriers. This fits with Generation Z’s view as 81% believe gender no longer defines a person.
And these next three Instagram accounts further reveal the ‘Gen Z interests’ palette:
Luka Sabbat – is a viral protege of Kanye West. As a model, he’s been featured in Vogue.com, Refinery29, and Complex, among others. Though he would rather be known for design, he has his hands in acting and producing as well, and can be seen in The Dead Don’t Die and Grownish.
Lily Rose Depp The daughter of Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis is an actress, model and Chanel muse. She has been nominated for two César Awards for Most Promising Actress, for her performances in The Dancer and A Faithful Man. She also won Best Actress award at the 4th Los Angeles Film Awards for her performance in My Last Lullaby.
Kyemah McEntyre is an artist, designer and curator of @desire.discard a sustainable clothing retailer, which uses previously owned clothes and turns them into new fashion. Between her clothing line, her social activism and her positive mental attitude, she is Gen Z personified, wrapped up in one inspiring package.
Gen Z Environmental Influencers
62 percent of Generation Z prefer to buy from sustainable brands and they are changing the way companies think about their products. Consumer intelligence illustrates vast conversations around sustainability. We’ve highlighted the clusters to show reader interest by age, more specifically generation Z. It’s immediately noticeable that their interest spans the categories.
And clicking on the map above we can view articles, posts and blogs that show us subjects driving conversation, such as this one (below) on straws. And it looks like one of our favorite Instagram accounts, Shane Coopersmith AKA Sustainable Shane – is sipping on success. He’s a “local expert on sustainability” and a cast member of Below the Deck. And he is business savvy – producing his own sustainable utensils. A smart move as compostable cutlery is on the rise.
And speaking of ‘on the rise,’ here are three more accounts to keep your eye on:
Devin James Gilmartin – Making clothing do more, with his two sustainable clothing brands, Querencia Studio and The Canvas by Querencia Studio. He co-founded 2020 Vision Project, with proceeds going to environmental research.
Maya Penn – is an environmental activist, animator, and CEO since 2008 when she started her first company at the age of eight. She’s given three TED talks and is an eco-fashion designer, artist, filmmaker, and author of the girl empowering book, “You Got This.”
Jamie_Margolin & Elsa Mengitsu – This duo works with young activists and organizers, taking action on climate change. Their organization Zero Hour is a platform for young voices speaking out on climate change and sustainability, helping them to be heard by elected officials and adults.
Gen Z Barrier Breakers
It could be argued that Gen Z is seeing some of the fruits of its labor. Sustainability, social issues and gender roles seem to be increasingly redefined. And another topic seeing growth and breaking down the barriers around what health means, is plant-based products. Research shows that plant-based eating is on the rise among Gen Z and one Instagrammer is taking it seriously.
Haile Thomas is a health activist, educating kids on how to adopt a plant-based diet, and she’s a grand influencer as her 124K followers will tell you. Or you can just ask Country Crock. They must have known that 62% of Generation Z checks Instagram daily and 52% of them trusts social media influencers for brand advice.
Country Crock was the bestselling butter brand of 2020, selling 93.75 million. And social listening documents its consumer love as evidenced in this pie chart – it’s green as can be – and any brand would be envious. And we can see samples of posts which confirm the adoration consumers have for this brand.
Country Crock is breaking barriers in the plant-based aisle, here are six influencers doing the same in their own way.
Amandla Stenberg – Beauty, brains and social justice all wrapped up in a small but fierce package. She was included in Time’s list of Most Influential Teens in both 2015 and 2016. Dazed magazine named Amandla Stenberg “one of the most incendiary voices of her generation.”
Barbie Ferreira is an outspoken activist for body positivity, paving the way for size equality in the fashion industry. In Gen Z fashion, she is a self-starter. She jumpstarted her own career by sending American Apparel photos of herself. Now she models for brands such as Adidas, Asos, Forever21, Target, among others. And Time Magazine named her among their “30 Most Influential Teens.”
Avie Acosta – This trans pioneer is on a mission to prove that gender means nothing. An example of Gen Z’s ‘get it done’ attitude, once Avie’s mind was made up, they moved to New York to model, and at age 19 was discovered by Marc Jacobs. They describe themself as gender nonconforming and have taken the fashion world by storm, modeling for many designers including Marc Jacobs and Doc Martens.
Kavya.Kopparapu is the founder & CEO of Girls Computing League, a nonprofit dedicated to making emerging technology education accessible to every student. She made Times 2018 Most Influential Teens list and continues to impress with her predictions on COVID hot spots and her recent cancer diagnostic research patent.
Nadya Okamato Founder & Executive Director, PERIOD , which distributes menstrual hygiene products and advocates for ending what is known as the tampon tax. In 2017, Okamoto was named as one of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21, in 2019 she was awarded the L’Oréal Women of Worth award and In December 2019 was named one of Forbes 30 Under 30. She’s one to follow!
Lewys Ball – This makeup guru focuses on boy beauty and is brand ambassador for Rimmel. He’s accumulated most of his wealth by being a full time YouTuber where he talks fashion and gives makeup tutorials.
Gen Z Fashion & Friends
Still not convinced? Try this on for size: 45% of Generation Z follow more than 10 social media influencers. And one duo caused a surge in sales for Vans shoes. Meme masters, Dan Laraa and Josh Holz caused a 20 to 30% surge in sales of Vans shoes simply by making a funny video that has been viewed 6,171,000+ times.
65% of Generation Z say that second to food on their list of needs is clothing. Looking at consumer intelligence, conversational trends are easily identified around what to wear.
Our timeline reveals Luxury Brands as a top and consistent contender throughout the past month and Fashion Jewelry seems to be growing. And a steady mention throughout all segments indicated by darker lines, is Poshmark – an app that allows users to re-sell their luxury brand clothing.
Clicking one of the Poshmark areas brings us to this post by Poshmark store owner @jaxies_unique. Second hand luxury clothing has become a huge market for Generation Z. In 2019, 40% bought used clothing and 20% of Generation Z were on Poshmark.
The internet has its fair share of beauties to widen any brands view, here are some of our picks in fashion and friends – and influencers.
Jordyn Woods – Perhaps best known for her friendship with Kylie Jenner, Jordyn is a runway and commercial model for brands like Addition Elle. She’s made her mark in acting as well starring in Trigger and Grownish.
Hailee Steinfeld – Academy Award-nominated actress, musician, and a Miu Miu model. She received her first nomination for best supporting actress in 2010 for her role in True Grit. She’s a young philanthropist endorsing many charities which focus on improving children’s lives.
Tyler (G)Lambert – A self-taught designer incorporating streetwear and agender clothing. Kendall and Kylie Jenner sport his fashion designs and he credits social media with spreading the word on his brand.
Evita Nuh – Fashion blogger and called “The next-gen Tavi Gevinson.” She defies norms in fashion and current trends and began her blog at the age of eight. She is listed in Refinery29’s The Z List: 29 Teens Changing Fashion.
Dounia Tazi – A model and singer taking on sizeism in the industry. In high school she launched her Instagram to promote body positivity by thrift shopping and modeling her finds to her 229K followers. She has used the funds from this to jumpstart her career in music, which is her first passion.
@ava_dash – A multi-cultural beauty, model and author of @96wordsforlove. She is a young philanthropist, collaborating with lifestyle brands to offer furnished and decorated foster homes to disadvantaged women.
@kaiagerber Cindy Crawford’s 16-year-old daughter is taking the fashion world by storm. She was recognized in 2018 as Model of the Year at the British Fashion Awards. She is the second youngest model to complete Vogues “Big Four” – Making the covers American Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Paris and Vogue Italia.
@braidsbyjordan – Braids in all sorts of sizes, styles and dimensions with tutorials wrapped up neatly for viewers to enjoy or try at home. This shows the creativity and desire to do things for themselves that Gen Z is about. She even authors a blog on the subject, Braids without Borders.
All of these Gen Z influencers are impressive in very niche ways. And when you need that extra push for your company to get noticed, influencer marketing can be your ticket to the red carpet.
Reach out for a demo and we’ll show you how to strut your stuff in 2021.