LinkedIn is currently the most popular and known professional networking site with more than a hundred million registered users from over 200 countries. In the USA LinkedIn holds exclusive lead among the professional networking sites. If you’d like to explore your business networking further, you might want to also check out two other professional networking sites that are popular internationally but not very well known in the USA: Xing and Viadeo.
Connect With Business Professionals in Central Europe
Xing’s business model is very similar to LinkedIn’s, and so is the user experience. Xing, sometimes referred to as the “European LinkedIn” is a professional networking site very popular in German-speaking Central Europe, especially in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. If you are looking to connect with professionals from these regions for business networking then you might be interested in looking into this network. (Again, we are not suggesting that Xing is more popular than LinkedIn in Europe but only pointing out that the site has about 10 million registered users.)
Xing’s user interfaces are clean and organized, and the system encourages a member to complete all profile information. A basic account is free, and for about $8/month one can upgrade to a premium membership. The premium membership enables advanced search features on the website for finding and networking with other members (with easy access to connect with other members), receiving references (recommendations) and associating documents with one’s profile. A basic network can be built up in a similar fashion as on LinkedIn, via personal invitation emails and inviting one’s existing network to come and join Xing. If you don’t want to build a similar network as in LinkedIn, try out Xing for an additional social networking, for instance by participating to various Xing Groups. The interfaces for Groups look to be well organized and the level of interactivity is more than just bulletin board-type postings.
Summary: Xing’s has a very similar user experience to LinkedIn, although perhaps with easier paths to network with people you don’t know when using the upgraded Premium Membership. If you are interested in business networking with professionals located in Central Europe then this forum can be useful. Xing’s email support comes from Hamburg, Germany, and their response time was as prompt as one might assume since the website is German. All in all, a very clean and precise website to try out. You can also create a company profile for your business which does require approval by the Xing team before going live.
Large Professional Network Site Across The Europe
With over 30 million registered members Viadeo is a larger European professional networking site than Xing, with members from more evenly across Europe, 10% from France. Just like Xing, Viadeo also has members from China. Viadeo’s identity design is more playful and urban and the site’s architecture constitutes of small icon windows that highlight any particular type of profile information such as company, communities, and blog. Similarly to LinkedIn and Xing, Viadeo also let’s a member install third-party applications to the profile page such as the Twitter plug-in, document and presentation sharing software etc. The site appears modern with its database of searchable blogs and boutique style business cards for networking with other members:
Summary: Viadeo provides a platform to engage in different member forums, send mass contact requests by exporting/configuring your email accounts and browse events. If you have used LinkedIn before, you will adapt fast to Xing. Viadeo on the other hand will take more time to get to know because of its more scattered interfaces.
Viadeo profile by Interaria’s Web Designer Meri
Upon trying out both sites, we did not have a personal favorite. Xing felt slightly generic, very professional and very similar to LinkedIn. Viadeo’s brand messaging on the other hand was more uplifting but the scattered web architecture and user interfaces did not communicate as quickly as we would have wanted the full potential of the site’s social networking features. Both sites are well worth checking out, and we must say that we are already impressed by the promptness of the German customer service by the Xing team in Hamburg, Germany.