Gen Z entrepreneurs grow up with Instagram, TikTok and podcasts


“You can put posters anywhere or you can hand out flyers, but I’ve seen other students do it for their platforms and it hasn’t worked,” he said. “So I decided I was going to start with the Instagram pages first.”

Thus, in 2019, he began to create a range of “concert” accounts. on Instagram for Boston-area schools – such as @neu_gigs and @bu_gigs – where students have posted offers and requests ranging from tutoring services to concert tickets for sale. The pages grew explosively, and soon he created accounts for schools far beyond Massachusetts.

Kaluwe Muntanga created SocialCall, a student marketplace and community forum app, after running 15 Instagram pages to rate and generate interest.Courtesy of Kaluwe Muntanga

“I just researched different pages associated with a school and I just followed the students who follow those pages,” Muntanga said. “I looked at the content that was posted on these pages so that I could get a rough idea of ​​the culture of this school and tailor the posts I had to the content I thought these students would like.”

Maintaining engagement on about 15 Instagram accounts at a time quickly became a full-time job. In addition to posting gigs, Muntanga regularly ran student opinion polls on the Instagram stories of the accounts.

Their popularity gave the results Muntanga hoped for – so much so that he was not quite prepared for it. When SocialCall launched in early March, it gained around 700 users in the first seven hours, causing the app to crash repeatedly.

But Muntanga, having learned to code on his own, figured out how to keep pace. SocialCall now has over 7,000 downloads and has an average of 1,500 active users per week.

Users can buy or sell products and services, as well as post event notices and discuss college life in an anonymous forum. Muntanga said the app is not yet profitable, but he plans to design a revenue model once he fully solidifies what he wants SocialCall to be. So far he has spent $ 5,000 in the business.

Boston University graduate Sarah Greisdorf, 22, runs Holdette, a collective of community groups for women who have recently graduated from college and wishing to meet others who have also just graduated from school. Groups meet in Boston, New York and San Francisco at a host’s home, or virtually via video chat, to talk about topics like building relationships and setting boundaries.

Left to right, Sarah Perry from Boston, Megan Fantes from Boston and Jessica Lozano-Schmitt from Cambridge at a Holdette community meeting to help recent female entrepreneurs leverage digital and social media to grow their businesses.
Left to right, Sarah Perry from Boston, Megan Fantes from Boston and Jessica Lozano-Schmitt from Cambridge at a Holdette community meeting to help recent female entrepreneurs leverage digital and social media to grow their businesses.Josh Reynolds for the Boston Globe

Holdette’s community – currently 88 women in five groups – thrives largely through word of mouth, Greisdorf said, and social media play a vital role. Her account publishes infographics that can be dragged to reach new audiences. Two of her most shared posts list activities for adult friends “who don’t just drink” and “date alone” ideas for those who want a fun day alone.

“Instagram was familiar to me, so it was easy to access it,” said Greisdorf, who runs the operation with one employee.

Greisdorf originally launched Holdette to – as the name suggests to serve as a solution to the lack of pockets in women’s clothing. She was about to launch her first clothing line when the pandemic hit. Thinking that her future clientele – women like her – likely felt isolated, the brand shifted focus to meet their needs and ultimately, at the end of 2020, completely rethought its mission.

“I decided that building this community that I had been for the past nine months was much more fruitful and fulfilling for me and our members than even the clothing line had become,” said Greisdorf. “So I decided to move all-in on this community.”

Members choose what they pay when they join a group. Holdette suggests $ 15 per month. These contributions make up the bulk of its income, according to Greisdorf, but the brand also makes sales from its clothing line.

Holdette also keeps her target audience engaged through her blog, “Holdette-ing It All Together,” where readers can read about a variety of issues related to recent graduates, from dealing with friendship breakups to combating the syndrome. of the impostor.

At Viv for your V, a subscription service that sells biodegradable period care products to women, founder and Boston College graduate Katie Diasti used similar strategies. She and her team are leveraging trends they are already experiencing to produce marketing content that relates to other people in their age range.

“We’re all kind of like this Gen Z, the young millennial age and so we’re our own customer, which has been great,” said Diasti, 24.

In addition to educating her followers about menstrual cycles through Instagram infographics, Viv has also created a community on TikTok. Diasti said that while common tactics like humor help increase audiences engagement, Viv has found most success answering questions about things like how to insert a tampon or menstrual cup.

Viv for your V founder Katie Diasti sits on a sofa holding a box of Viv product.
Katie Diasti, founder of Viv for your V, uses social media, a blog and a podcast to build community for her clients.Viv for your V

The brand also started running a blog last year, which Diasti says helps Viv get closer to her customer community by going deep into common issues. While many of her posts are informative, she said, “some are more focused on how to manage your period based on your zodiac sign. It’s just about knowing our client and what they are really fascinated by.

At the start of this year, Viv waded into a new form of audience engagement: audio. His podcast “Voices by Viv” discusses topics surrounding menstruation stigma and body positivity.

Since 2020, the brand’s customer base has nearly quintupled, Diasti said, and building a loyal community through social and digital media was crucial to its growth. Viv’s marketing was not just about showcasing aesthetic visuals, she said, but also about helping people get to know their bodies better.

“The reason we named this Viv is that we wanted to personify the brand,” said Diasti. “We wanted there to be this older sister mentor, this badass person that you admire for all of our clients.”

Angela Yang can be contacted at [email protected]

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