With all the professional networking sites like LinkedIn, Quora, Plaxo, Viadeo and XING available now, how do you as a business owner and entrepreneur find the best networking site for your business…the one that allows you to most effectively engage your audience and get more clients?
To make choosing easy for you, first know that there are really only 5 primary professional networking sites: LinkedIn, Quora, Plaxo, Viadeo, XING.
And of these primary sites, you’ll of course want to be most active where your audience is most receptive, which is often determined where they are physically located.
Here is what you to know about these professional networking sites so you can make the best choice about where to focus your audience engagement efforts:
According to Forbes, “LinkedIn is, far and away, the most advantageous social networking tool available to business professionals today.”
Of all the global professional networking sites, LinkedIn is also the largest, with over 238 million users in over 200 countries and territories around the world…and professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate that is faster than two new members per second.
The site is available in 20 languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Romanian, Russian, Turkish, Japanese, Czech, Polish, Korean, Indonesian, Malay, and Tagalog. As of 2 July 2013, Quantcast reports LinkedIn has 65.6 million monthly unique U.S. visitors and 178.4 million globally.
It is significantly ahead of competitors Viadeo and XING in terms of membership.
About a third of LinkedIn members are in the United States and 11 million are from Europe. With 20 million users, India has the fastest-growing network of users as of 2013. The Netherlands has the highest adoption rate per capita outside the US at 30%. LinkedIn recently reached 4 million users in UK, 1 million in Spain, and nearly 1 million in Pakistan.
As of January 2013, the countries with the most LinkedIn users were:
- United States with 74 million members
- India with 20 million members
- United Kingdom with 11 million members
- Brazil with 11 million members
- Canada with 7 million members
- Australia with 4 million members
- UAE with 1.3 million members
One purpose of Linked is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people with whom they have some level of relationship, called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection. This means that when you use LinkedIn effectively, you have a tremendous opportunity to engage with the affluent and educated audience there. And for me, because I have a system for getting the best results from my LinkedIn efforts, 99% of my new clients find me on LinkedIn.
Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge and the site wants to be your best source of knowledge. You can ask and answer questions and blog to share your expertise.
On Quora, similar to the other professional networking sites, you can create a personalized homepage of everything you want to know about by following what interests you.
You’ll also be able to message those who follow you. Used effectively, this is a great opportunity to reach out and engage with other Quora members who have already shown an interest in what you offer.
Napster co-founder and early FaceBook investor Sean Parker founded Plaxo, which positions itself as the world’s leading online address book, hosting over 50 million address book accounts … and it also has a strong interface with FaceBook.
Plaxo interacts with Facebook to gather information on your contacts’ birthdays, making sure you never lose the opportunity to nurture your professional relationships again. Photos can also be added to your address book, letting you easily put a face with the name.
Another thing that sets Plaxo apart from the other professional networking sites is that it has partnered with Avery Dennison to allow users to print mailing labels directly from contact lists.
If your audience is in France, you’ll want to be on Viadeo, with over 55 million other professionals.
Headquartered in Paris, Viadeo’s membership base grows by more than one million per month and members include business owners, entrepreneurs and managers. The site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Russian.
Similar to the other professional networking sites I’ve included here, Viadeo lets you as a member build relationships with new contacts, maintain a list of business partners, stay in touch and create business opportunities.
Viadeo is branded as ApnaCircle on the Indian sub-continent. In China, Viadeo’s brand is Tianji and is the country’s largest professional network with over 17 million members and rapid growth.
If your audience is primarily in the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), you’ll want to have a presence on XING.
Founded in Hamburg, Germany, XING has more than 13 million members worldwide – with over 6.5 million based in German-speaking countries.
As with the other professional networking sites I’ve listed above, you can use XING to boost your business since it’s a platform where professionals can meet up, find cooperation partners, experts and generate business ideas. As a member, you can meet, exchange views and share your expertise in over 50,000 specialist groups, while also getting together at networking events.
Although primarily DACH focused, XING is used by people from over 200 countries. Available languages include Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Swedish and Turkish.
It is unique in that it displays how each member is connected to any other member, and so visualizes the small-world phenomenon.
What also sets XING apart from the other professional networking sites I’ve listed above is that it has a special Ambassador program for each city or region around the world with a substantial constituency. The Ambassadors hold local events that promote the use of social networking as a business tool, letting members introduce business ideas to one another, and get to know each other on a personal level.
About 76% of all XING pageviews come from Germany, 90% from the D-A-CH area, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
But what if your audience is truly global? If that’s the case, then I suggest you have a presence on all five professional networking sites and see where your audience is most receptive.
How do you do that?
It’s easy…you do it by evaluating comments, likes, etc. in response to your posts.
Bonus Tip: Check your site’s Google Analytics to see which sites are referring to you and focus your interactions on those sites.
Advanced Tip: Set up a goal in Google Analytics to see what your opt-in rate is from your different referral sources…it can be extremely illuminating and really help you focus your marketing efforts!
For example, for my marketing business, I’m on all 5 professional networking sites, but focus my attention primarily on LinkedIn, where I’ve been a user since 2006, am the LinkedIn #1 All Time Top Female Expert, have one of the Top 1% Most Viewed LinkedIn Profiles and have a high opt-in rate for my free report “Top 10 LinkedIn Success Secrets.”
So now you have a better idea of which professional networking site is best to start engaging with your audience, deepen your relationship with them and get more business.
QUESTION: Where do you focus your professional networking attention online? Please share your comments below.
© 2013 ChristineHueber.com
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