Billions of us use social networking sites for keeping in touch with friends and sharing important moments in our lives. While sites like Facebook and Twitter are brilliant time wasters, social media can also be used to great effect in either your search for work, or staying on top of your professional life once employed.
While the web is dominated by the larger of these platforms, the last few years have seen a boom in the emergence of new social media sites, many of them challenging more popular ones by focusing on a certain audience instead of being available for anyone to use.
Here’s a look at 4 social networking sites aimed at working professionals.
While LinkedIn is one of the major players in social media and unlikely to be news to you, it’s still worth a mention here as the main professional social networking platform. Since being founded in 2002, LinkedIn now has well over 250 million users all around the world.
LinkedIn works by letting its users sell themselves. Your profile works like a resume, listing everything about you from personal information to employment history and experience. Users can connect with contacts and employers alike, making the site a great place to advertise yourself when looking for a job.
You can stay on top of your LinkedIn profile on the go, with apps available for iOS, Android and Windows devices.
Biznik is a great online networking community that prides itself on “not being a LinkedIn clone”. The site focuses on providing a platform for independent business people to offer support, resources, referrals, and advice to each other. While LinkedIn feels very competitive and job-orientated, Biznik’s main selling point is collaboration.
Biznik is open to freelancers, indie contractors, CEOs, business students, basically any single professional looking to connect with similarly likeminded people. Biznik is however a paid service, starting at $79/year or $14/month.
EFactor is an online entrepreneurial community that provides members with resources and connections to help launch and grow their business. Based on a book written by the founders of the site, EFactor was launched in 2008, and now boasts over a million members worldwide.
The site connects professionals to each other, helping entrepreneurs make contacts and build their businesses together. From development to funding and saving costs, EFactor is a great social networking site for professionals looking to expand their enterprises.
While not strictly a social networking site, Plaxo is an online address book that helps professionals to stay on top of all their contacts. The unique system imports contacts across multiple sources and automatically cleans up and updates contact information.
The best thing about Plaxo is that data is all stored in the cloud, so even if phones or laptops are lost or broken, the all-important contacts you’ve made are not lost. A free version of Plaxo is available, with a paid version for $59.99/year or $5/month with slightly more features accessible.
Remember that social networking sites are useful for a lot more things than sharing holiday pictures- if used correctly they can prove an invaluable tool when it comes to finding a job or keeping in touch with professional contacts.