Dominate LinkedIn Like A Millennial
One of the most comprehensive studies of millennial LinkedIn users (registration required) was conducted less than a year and a half ago. It showed that there were some 2 billion millennials globally, with only 87 million of them on LinkedIn. They make up 38% of LinkedIn’s 500-million user base.
Why is it that LinkedIn seems to be dominated by Gen X and baby boomers and embraced by the “older” crowd? Is it because millennials see LinkedIn as having too many rules? Is LinkedIn too structured for them? For those over the age of 40, it would seem we grew up following the rules and appreciating “structure." LinkedIn removes the chaos that other social media platforms can have.
However, I see this as a time for change. It's millennials who will transform LinkedIn into a vibrant business platform that matches the current social media landscape. We already see it with young influencers. Take, for example, Josh Fetcher of BAMF media, one of Forbes' Top 12 Innovative Founders to Watch, who recently popularized the long-form, double-line spaced posts that we love and that gain visibility in the millions on one post. It took a millennial to change the way users had even thought about posting on LinkedIn.
So the big question that millennials need to be answered is, who's making the rules on LinkedIn? And why do millions of these Gen Xers and baby boomers abide by them? The answer is, no one knows.
It’s time for millennials to realize that LinkedIn is ready to be disrupted and molded into a platform that serves them. Throw out the rules and create your own.
Here are six ways to dominate LinkedIn.
1. Make it fun
Facebook, Instagram and most other social media platforms are fun. So why can’t LinkedIn be more fun? Yes, it is still a business platform, but where are those engaging business stories? Where are the parables of hardships, wins and losses? As other social media platforms have shown us, the popularity of these types of posts is indeed of interest to users. Yet we're told to stick to business on LinkedIn and save our stories for Facebook. No, I say get in there and show your genuine self — show your brand!
2. Grow your brand
Millennials grew up online. They know how to cultivate an online persona. And many know that they can identify and share their unique perspective on life with confidence. They can show others the value of their unique perspectives and how it could benefit others. It's time to bring that personal branding tactic to LinkedIn.
3. Break the rules
Who said you need to have your profile on LinkedIn look and read like an online CV? For millennial entrepreneurs especially, it is now time to throw that format out and turn your page into a client-facing profile instead.
Where LinkedIn gives you the template for “work experience," don’t fill it out with where you have worked and your key responsibilities. Why not turn that section into a call-to-action or showcase a case study or project you worked on? My profile steers away from the typical structure and speaks to my ideal client instead. Structure your profile to promote yourself and your services, but find that balance between being too promotional and too salesy. Being too salesy is just as bad as having an online CV.
4. Get active
LinkedIn has a pretty smart algorithm. The more you interact, engage and post, the more content you'll see on your news feed that is of interest to you. Use the search bar at the top of the page and actually search for a topic of interest to you, selecting “Posts” instead of "People." You'll instantly see hundreds of posts based on your chosen topic. Simply scroll down and start engaging with the content that appeals to you. Do this for about 15 minutes a day for a week or so, and your news feed will populate with the posts you’d always hoped for.
5. Make new friends
LinkedIn gives you the chance to connect with your favorite influencers and heroes. It's the one platform where that person actually is the one behind the profile. So get engaged, follow and show that person some online love. You'd be surprised how often you could find yourself having a discussion with one of them. I particularly love to engage with authors of my favorite books. I have enjoyed many a private discussion on LinkedIn messenger with them.
6. Stop being cheap
Yes, Facebook, Instagram and the like are free. And yes, for a premium account, Linkedin will run you upwards of $70 a month. But if you are in the B2B space or serving providers or individual skilled professionals, then going premium will open a whole new world of experiences on LinkedIn. I am a huge fan of LinkedIn's Sales Navigator. The automation, the ability to focus on key people in a separate news feed, the search functions, the tagging and note-taking capabilities all allow me to stay on top of specific people like never before. It's a game changer.
So pony up, millennials. It's time to take LinkedIn to the next level.