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Marketing to Gen Z: Tricks of the trade from a Gen Z social media marketing CEO

Two women take a selfie.

Ghost Agency co-founders Nicole Rechtszaid and Jenny Woo.

Nicole Rechtszaid (BABA ’21) is the co-founder and CEO of Ghost Agency, one of the first TikTok Shop Partners in the United States. Since beginning her career at age 14, she has become one of this generation’s most prolific social media marketers.

Rechtszaid’s interest in social media marketing began with YouTube song covers. Taking her music to YouNow, an international livestreaming website, and, now TikTok, she earned a following of hundreds of thousands of viewers. When she realized that she enjoyed the behind-the-scenes work more than being in front of the camera, she began consulting various brands and influencers and looking into an education in marketing.

Having grown up in Florida, Rechtszaid received a scholarship to complete her education in the state, making the University of Florida a natural fit. With the skills she learned in the UF Warrington College of Business’s marketing program and her background in social media marketing, Rechtszaid was ready to launch her own business shortly after graduating, and co-founded Ghost Agency in 2022.

“While I personally overinflated the importance of where I attended college, which ended up being less important to employers in the marketing field than I anticipated, my degree helped me understand concepts and think in ways that are foreign to many of my competitors and colleagues who don’t have this background,” she said.

Nicole Rechtszaid and Jenny Woo look at a laptop together.

As a first-generation American, Rechtszaid and Ghost Agency’s other co-founder, Jenny Woo, are making an impact in the social media marketing industry through the success of their company, which was named among the top nine social commerce companies in the United States by Business Insider, and by breaking the glass ceiling.

“Only about 6.2% of women-owned businesses reach or surpass the $250,000 revenue mark,” she said. “That felt like a challenge to me. In our first year running we surpassed this mark, but I now strive to hit greater and greater goals to help grow these percentages and inspire more women and minorities to take ownership of their skills.”

Read on for tips from Rechtszaid on how to market to the most targeted audience on social media platforms.

What is the best approach to learning more about social media marketing?

Consuming content is the best way to become familiar with all things related to social media, including marketing. Whether you’re scrolling through reels or making your own content, pay attention to trends and comments and you’ll pick up on the unique language of social media.

Why is Gen Z such a targeted audience?

Generation Z has the biggest influence on social media. As the primary contributors to and consumers of social media, members of this generations are necessary sources for companies who want their marketing campaigns to be relevant, effective and sensitive to the hot topics circulating through online culture. If you want to make sure your marketing campaign is meeting the right audience in the right way, talk to a Gen Zer!

What does marketing look like in this generation?

Gen Z’s starting out in marketing can anticipate being typecast as the “lowly social media coordinator” who is responsible for too many channels, too much content and too little pay. However, the future isn’t bleak – gaining experience as a social media professional, no matter where you start, is a great way to find your niche and branch into influencer marketing, graphic design, production or public relations roles.

For businesses targeting Gen Z audiences, it’s important to engage in a way that shows respect and gives credit where it is due. As the most aware generation, remember that Gen Z’s will not hesitate to call you out if they spot a phony. Also, getting your audience involved by asking for their perspectives on campaigns, activations or product launches can help build the road to long-term credibility and success.

What should influencers or organizations know before promoting themselves or their brands on social media?

Understanding the platform that you’re on is the most important part of social media promotion. If you’re not aware of the platform’s style, you might be creating your post in the wrong way: e.g., a reel won’t do as well on Facebook as it would on Instagram.

While you can repurpose content, the format should differ to match the platform.

How are recent updates impacting social media marketing?

Many social media platforms have embraced commerce, including TikTok, Amazon and Twitch. Taking advantage of new updates in their early stages can lead to early adopter advantages and platform-subsidized incentives. Try hiring addition support or consulting an agency to incorporate commerce into your social media strategy and take online marketing to the next level.

How important is it for marketers to invest in paid social?

Platforms like Twitch still perform better with influencer sponsorship over a paid marketing campaign, but for platforms like TikTok, it’s a good idea to put money toward video shopping ads (VSAs).

Are hashtags falling out of style?

Hashtags don’t matter on most platforms. Since the implementation of algorithms that can group content types together, they are less and less relevant for curating content.

How can an influencer or brand make their content stand out?

Creating a unique voice and a strong online presence is similar to building a business. Though most people don’t take this approach, successful creators can identify gaps in the market and will build primary and secondary niches to meet their audiences’ interests.

At the same time, don’t be afraid to share your opinion and stand your ground. Giving honest feedback can help transform a failed campaign into an award-winning success.