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Is LinkedIn the new ‘it’ platform?

When you think of Gen Z and social media, people generally think of the likes of Instagram, TikTok or BeReal. But what is often never talked about in the same sentence is LinkedIn, where Gen Z are considered the fastest growing demographic for the platform and will ultimately become the largest generation of consumers on LinkedIn, so is it the next ‘it’ platform?

The corporate-dedicated and professional platform is seeing an influx of users over the past few years as Gen Z begin heading into the professional workplaces.

LinkedIn revealed that in New Zealand alone, they have over 2 million users – nearly half the New Zealand population.

Former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has 818,000 followers on LinkedIn, which is more than her following on Twitter.

Sarah Ellem, Marketing and Communications Manager at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Taranaki, says that LinkedIn is one of the few social media platforms where people consider it a safe place to learn and research.

“Gen Z use LinkedIn for a few reasons, but most importantly, it’s considered trustworthy,” she says.

“In a recent LinkedIn poll, 73 percent of Gen Z said they ‘feel safe’ posting content and interacting on the site.”

Unlike the ‘fun’ social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn’s point of difference is that it is an effective place for networking and building a career.

In Gen Z slang, they are using the platform to ‘vibe check’ a potential employer or workplace, build their network and research their options.

Already, the platform is becoming Gen Z-ified, with more and more people joining the platform and using it as a place to share TikToks, funny jokes and much more.

“They want authenticity and a real work/life balance – something that goes beyond a mission statement sticker on the office wall,” adds Ellem.

“LinkedIn represents a more trustworthy source than, say, TikTok or Instagram, which are full of photoshopped images and fleeting trends, to figure out which company or people will help them grow.”

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This generation especially grew up in challenging times where the pandemic, economic uncertainty, isolation and high levels of mental health challenges is normal.

“They’re entering the workforce in an uncertain world, so job insecurity, economic uncertainty and risk feels like it’s everywhere to them,” she says.

Because of uncertainty, this generation have been able to nurture themselves to become entrepreneurial and all about the side hustle mindset, and LinkedIn helps in developing skills and opening doors.

Sarah Ellem.

So how should LinkedIn be used as both a brand and an individual as the main demographic slowly shifts to cater to the younger users?

Ellem says companies need to start using the platform to appeal Gen Z and the way to do it as by being honest.

“Use it as a tool to communicate the real outputs of your people and what drives your firm. It’s a place for ‘expert positioning’ content, for highlighting your employer brand, your values, championing your efforts in the community, sharing valuable insights and showcasing events and activities you’re working on,” she says.

But it doesn’t have to be about being honest about the outputs, it can also be a place of ‘opening up’ to demonstrate authenticity, something that can’t be found in curated platforms like Instagram.

“They value transparency and are global citizens first – equal rights for all, fairness, honesty and culturally-invested firms and people. If you present a false front, you won’t attract Gen Z workers, no matter the benefits you offer,” she explains.

For an individual, LinkedIn is a platform that can be about sharing achievements and employment history.

“It’s about demonstrating your professional integrity, highlighting your skills, sharing your knowledge and building valuable connections with a broader community,” she adds.

She says that the platform has evolved to become more than just an online CV but a place to showcase yourself and garner opportunities.

With its growing database growing more rapidly than Facebook’s over the past year, according to LinkedIn, there is true reason to believe that LinkedIn is the next ‘it’ platform.

As Gen Z continue to age and begin to enter professional workplaces, LinkedIn is becoming the place for this demographic as they seek opportunity, find inspiration and be authentic.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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