LinkedIn released University Pages, an update that brings wider audiences to the network and change expectations for social media marketing.

When users sign up for LinkedIn accounts, they have a separate set of expectations than they do for other social networks. No, they will not be rewarded with Likes or favorites by uploading selfies or snapshots of their foodtruck takeout because the channel is reserved for professional interactions. Unless it was something members would be willing to affix to a resume, the rule up until now was to save it for a more casual network. There’s a chance this all might change as the site opens itself up to younger users with University Pages.

LinkedIn recently announced the release of University Pages that help those in pre-career stages make smarter decisions with first-hand information about schools’ academic programs and access to notable alumni. This move brings in an entirely new demographic to the site and it could have important implications for brands using the platform for social media marketing.

Consider that LinkedIn recently crossed the 200-million member benchmark, while Facebook recently announced it has 1.15 billion active users every month. Twitter is on par with LinkedIn (reporting it had more than 200 million active members), but it’s gaining among American adults – 18 percent of over-18 U.S. population now participates on the microblogging site.

As LinkedIn forays into the under-18 demographic with University Pages targeted at pre-college hopefuls, it opens the floodgates to new users and fresh social media content. Marketers who were previously active on the site might find this update presents additional opportunities to nurture leads in target audiences that were previously unattainable through the site.

An influx of younger participants could also change the conversational tone. Digital natives used to sharing personal details on the web might feel more comfortable engaging in casual discussions with brands, both as prospective employees and consumers. Social listening will be critical during this shift, and brands that stay at the pulse of the transition from a professional to a post-high school network will have the upper hand for on-target content creation.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.