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LinkedIn has this reputation as being strictly for "professionals". This usually results in the connotation that older, more established adults use the social media platform, rather than younger individuals. While LinkedIn is definitely more geared towards working individuals that are connecting with other professionals, millennials should attempt to use this social media platform as much as possible.
Why is LinkedIn a great platform for young, ambitious, and not-yet-established individuals? LinkedIn allows for research, connection, and influencer outreach. A person can make their bio and about section reflect where they are currently at in life, and then use LinkedIn Premium's Sales Navigator to find leads for connection. Interested in social media management? Then you can search specifically for CEO's or high ranking individuals in the field. You can then connect with those individuals, and show off content you have created or just attempt to set up a phone call to learn more about each other. When a young person doesn't have a job, it seems like they just sit at home and apply for jobs on Monster or Indeed...but why not be more aggressive and make connections on LinkedIn? It may not result in a job, but it could result in valuable advice or connections that will help down the road.
Another great aspect of LinkedIn is while you connect with individuals, you can also create content that exhibits who you are as an individual. If a professional sees that you are an entrepreneur, wanting to make it in whatever field you are going into, and you are posting content that is interesting, then they are likely to connect with you and set up a phone call. The fact is, lead generation or influencer outreach isn't just for professionals, it can also be used by young, unemployed people, that are trying to find their place of work. Moreover, in your profile, you can show off school papers, portfolios, or whatever else you need to prove that you are capable of contributing to your field.
What are some major things that you should always have on your LinkedIn profile? Don't just have your past places of schooling or employment, but also add the tasks you completed while there. There is no reason why you shouldn't also have an updated resume attached or even a college thesis if you created one. Think of your LinkedIn profile as a place to show off who you are as a professional.
How We Use LinkedIn:
We may be a company, but we utilize LinkedIn the same way that a young person should. We created a "Socii Project Outreach" Google Sheet. This allowed us to create multiple columns.
We then make a point to connect with various individuals on LinkedIn, mostly people that have "social media", "small business", or "CEO" in their profile name. How do we do that? We simply type it into the search box in the upper left of your LinkedIn home screen.
When you find some individuals you wouldn't mind connecting with and even setting up a meeting with, then add them to your spreadsheet and keep track of important metrics such as their name, role, company, date of connection, and the results of your outreach. You can also send a note when you connect with these individuals, which adds a level of personality to your connection. Just remember not to make your note so robotic in nature that it is a turn-off!
Once you make the connection, then what do you do? After a set amount of time (3-4 days for us), we will send a message stating something similar to the following:
Thank you so much for the connection! If you are interested in chatting about what I do and how social media could help your brand or business, than please let me know. I also checked out your profile and saw that you went to Gonzaga...good luck in the NCAA tournament this year!
This example post is one that we have used before and it exhibits the organic nature of our conversations. Instead of sounding like a robot and sending a message that many of these individuals have seen a billion times, we spiced it up by making it more personal. Of course, there are many different ways you can do this, so just try to treat each connection like a person, which they are.
The success rate of your outreach really depends on a lot of factors, so make sure that your profile looks great and you engage with other people's LinkedIn content. Remember, it may seem pointless and frustrating at times, but all you need is one phone call to really change your professional life.
Why Aren't More People Doing This?
Why are young people adverse to LinkedIn? It really has a reputation of being bland and boring. It's the platform your Mom or Dad are on, much like Facebook. The issue is, you are rarely going to make significant connections with a professional on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. When someone creates an account on LinkedIn, they understand that their profile is meant to engage with professionals, not just people trying to create conversations online. If you can't afford LinkedIn Premium, you can still create connections with other professionals and attempt to reach out to them, just like we did in our example above. The best thing you can do is make sure that your profile is engaging, just like any other social media platform, and that you engage with others online. Don't just sit back and hope that people look at your profile, instead like other people's posts and create loyal connections.
What do you think? Do you think more young people should utilize LinkedIn? Have you ever had success finding work or making connections with influencers on LinkedIn? Let us know below, connect with us on social media, or send us an email.