LinkedIn rolled out the red carpet for Millennials years ago, only to have them largely stay away from the business- and career-focused social media platform in favor of other sites that have the "fun factor."
It's no secret that LinkedIn's core active user base is dominated by Gen X and Baby Boomers. However, LinkedIn may finally be attracting a younger user base, and it's not with Millennials after all.
Generation Z seems poised to fill the gap left by Millennials on the platform.
Early signs have shown that Gen Zs may have stronger entrepreneurial aspirations and be more focused on making money than previous generations. Gen Z's entrepreneurs are making their presence felt on LinkedIn.
For the first time ever, I've noticed teenagers and early 20 somethings not only being active on LinkedIn but using the platform to build their brand.
Canadian 20 Under 20 Entrepreneur award winner and LinkedIn Youth Editor Manu Goswami has racked up an impressive 63,000 followers on the site.
"There is a massive white space in LinkedIn right now. There is an opportunity for students and young professionals to build their brand on the platform and get disproportionate influence in a very short period of time," said Goswami.
Here are four ways certain Gen Zers are using LinkedIn to get ahead in their careers:
1) Stand out in an internship.
Twenty-one-year-old Natalie Riso used the platform to grab the attention of the company she was interning with. She used LinkedIn's blogging platform, Pulse, to draw attention for both herself and her company. She was told by the CEO at the time that her content was driving a greater ROI from LinkedIn than their paid advertising efforts on the platform.
After a few more posts went viral, she quickly reached almost a quarter of a million followers and became a two-time winner of LinkedIn's Top Voice award. Since then her brand on the platform has really taken off - and all before she graduated from college!
"I have been able to connect with so many companies and people that have led to collaboration opportunities, speaking engagements and consulting opportunities," added Riso.
2) Connect with influencers.
Last week, I got to sit down over lunch with the 18-year-old entrepreneur and founder of eTasked, Jacob Handley.
Already in the second year of his company, Handley told me how he has been using LinkedIn to connect with and do business with powerful influencers who have enabled him to get the funding his company needs to grow.
"I have connected with powerful angel investors from First Round, to Angel VC billionaires in San Francisco," said Handley.
I asked Jacob about how he's been able to connect with high-profile people on LinkedIn, "I've found people on LinkedIn are amazingly receptive if you are genuine in your communications. Never send automated messages. Focus on making connections one at a time on LinkedIn. For me, it's been the quality of my connections that have made the difference."
3) Start conversations that lead somewhere.
LinkedIn has a multitude of ways to start a conversation with an audience. You can share memes and infographics, share your opinion in status updates, write blogs on Pulse, create on- platform videos, and more. Manu Goswami believes it is the opportunity to share his content with a business audience that has made the biggest difference for him:
"LinkedIn has given me an outlet to share my thoughts with other professionals. With my #UNCONVENTIONAL series (which has over 12.4M views since its inception), I have been able to interview notable leaders like Mark Cuban, Lewis Howes, Jay Shetty, and Justin Stirling. Moreover, the narratives and ideas I shared on LinkedIn also sparked the attention of event organizers who began asking me to come out and speak at schools, festivals, and events."
4) Host a LinkedIn Local event.
It all started with a hashtag: #LinkedInLocal. These events are uniting users of the platform in person and connecting humans. The popularity of LinkedIn Local has taken off globally and Manu Goswami has helped lead the charge.
"I've organized LinkedIn meetups in almost every continent in the world and as a co-founder of LinkedIn Local, I've helped set up the infrastructure for over 100 meetups that will be happening this year. These events were sparked by my desire to meet my community," Said Goswami.
While it is safe to say that LinkedIn won't be stealing users from Snapchat just quite yet. It is apparent that LinkedIn is finally getting younger. Have you noticed?