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How to engage Gen Z on Instagram: A guide for employers

Engaging Gen Z on Instagram: A Guide for Employers

Understanding Gen Z's social media habits is crucial in the quest to attract and retain talent. While TikTok often dominates conversations about engaging young audiences, Instagram remains a significant player.

Chris Le'cand-Harwood and Conor Cotton from Not Going to Uni recently shared insights into Instagram's role in engaging Gen Z and provided valuable tips for employers.

The Reach of Instagram Among Gen Z

Instagram continues to be a powerful platform, especially for Gen Z. In the UK alone, there are 34 million active Instagram users, constituting a significant portion of the population. Among Gen Z, approximately 43% use the app daily. This statistic underscores the platform's relevance and highlights employers' importance in understanding and leveraging Instagram to connect with young talent.

Daily Engagement and User Behavior

Instagram ranks third among teens for time spent on the platform, trailing only behind TikTok. Unlike TikTok, which is designed to keep users engaged for extended periods, Instagram allows for quick check-ins and brief interactions. This makes it a versatile tool for engaging with Gen Z, who frequently use the platform to stay updated and connected with their interests.

Leveraging Instagram for Employer Branding

To effectively use Instagram to engage Gen Z, employers must adapt their strategies to the platform's unique features and user behaviours. Here are some practical tips:

  • Embrace Visual Storytelling

Instagram started as a photo-sharing platform and has evolved to include videos, Stories, Reels, Livestreams and carousels. Employers should use this to their advantage by creating visually appealing content that tells a story. This can consist of behind-the-scenes glimpses of the workplace, employee testimonials, and day-in-the-life videos. This content humanises the brand and makes it more relatable to potential recruits.

  • Use Direct Messaging and Broadcast Channels

One of Instagram's powerful yet often overlooked features is its direct messaging and broadcast channels. These tools allow for more personalised and direct communication with followers. Employers can use broadcast channels to share updates about job openings, events, and other opportunities. This approach helps keep the audience engaged and informed in a more intimate setting than the main feed.

  • Learn from Consumer Brands

Employers can take cues from successful consumer brands on Instagram. Recruitment professionals can gain insights into effective content strategies by studying how these brands engage with their audiences. For instance, fast fashion brands, supermarkets, and influencers often post content that resonates well with their followers. Observing and replicating these strategies can help employers create compelling content that engages Gen Z.

  • Promote User-Generated Content

Encouraging user-generated content (UGC) is another effective way to engage with Gen Z. This can include sharing content created by employees, such as photos or videos of their daily work experiences. UGC is perceived as authentic and trustworthy, making it a powerful tool for building a relatable employer brand.

  • Cross-post content from Other Platforms

If your company already creates content for TikTok or other platforms, consider cross-posting it on Instagram. Trends and popular content on TikTok often translate well to Instagram, albeit with some adjustments. This saves time and resources and ensures consistent messaging across platforms.

  • Focus on Engagement, Not Just Reach

While focusing on follower counts and reach is tempting, engagement is a more crucial metric on Instagram. Creating content that sparks conversations and encourages likes, comments, and shares is more valuable than having many passive followers. Engaged followers are more likely to become advocates for your brand and, ultimately, potential employees.


Instagram remains a vital platform for engaging Gen Z. By understanding the platform's unique features and user behaviours, employers can create effective strategies to attract and retain young talent. Embracing visual storytelling, leveraging direct messaging, learning from consumer brands, promoting user-generated content, cross-posting from other platforms, and focusing on engagement are vital steps in building a compelling employer brand on Instagram.

Adapting to the evolving social media landscape and leveraging platforms like Instagram is not just about following trends but about meaningfully connecting with the next generation of professionals.

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