In case you didn’t know, there are several social media platforms other than LinkedIn that can help you network with like-minded professionals. Even though LinkedIn is currently the most popular recruitment tool, it doesn’t mean that others can’t follow in its footsteps.
These are some of the best LinkedIn alternatives currently available:
The European answer to US-based LinkedIn; Xing claims to have members from over 200 countries and their multi-language interface backs that claim up. Their interface can be viewed in an astounding 16 different languages. Much like its competitor, Xing offers professional profiles, forums and groups. Another enticing element to Xing membership is the ability to attend networking events hosted by the website’s so-called ambassadors, where members can meet, pitch ideas and get business advice from each other. The standout feature of Xing though is its very strict anti-spam policy. This helps ensure that if you receive offers, they will be credible.
This professional networking platform has a very prestigious pedigree. Created by Mareza Larizadeh while he was studying for his MBA at Stanford, with the purpose of helping ambitious recent graduates rapidly grow their career. Initially started as a website exclusively for high ranking Universities in the United States, Doostang soon expanded to include all kinds of professionals, regardless of their alma mater.
It currently touts 500,000 members from high-demand industries such as media, consulting and finance. The website also offers various tiers of engagement from free to premium accounts. The paid accounts allow users to get their resume and LinkedIn profiles reviewed and optimised for the industry they would like to be employed in. Premium membership also gives members access to a roster of “Premium Doostang Jobs”.
Opportunity is very similar to LinkedIn because it uses a scientific methodology that allows users access to statistics based on a real possibility of engaging in business. But, what is special about it is the fact that it offers a matching algorithm that helps you “find people who need what you offer”.
Users can sign in with their Facebook account or email and choose to search for sales leads, employment or job candidates. A unique feature of this platform is that if someone within your Opprtunity or LinkedIn Network starts looking for a professional with your qualifications, it will notify you. Beyond those features it also gives you partner suggestions so you can grow both personally or as an entrepreneur.
Zerply is a unique social network that is designed specifically for the Entertainment industry. It connects entertainment production companies with creative people who have an entertainment background including designers, animators and illustrators. With Zerply, professionals have the opportunity to build a comprehensive portfolio and to look for job opportunities relevant to their needs. To join, you must be invited by a current member of Zerply, or you can apply by showing your work to the team. This makes Zerply a completely standout professional networking site, but this also becomes its caveat as it regulates competition.
For all Twitter fans out there, Twylah is your professional network as it allows users to create Twitter brand pages which can help you improve your brand awareness. It offers you a 3-step guide on how to get a better social brand and a platform with many useful assessment tools including a Free Brand Assessment and a trial of Brand Builder.
Another interesting function of the website is that it allows people looking for you, to summarise your tweets, giving a much more comprehensive image of you, your company and your brand. It pins your top three tweet topics to the top of your page and even creates a list of 20 tweets that you can further modify to fit your needs and voice.
Meetup allows you to interact and chat with other professionals who have the same interests as you. What is interesting about this network is that it uses events as its main feature, hence it is called Meetup. You can check for upcoming events and choose to attend the ones you think are going to help you meet other people like you in a real life setting. You can either find or start a Meetup group and invite more people to join.
Although this might take away from the comfort of interacting with someone online; networking face to face can be a much more valuable and ultimately rewarding experience. It also allows you to pitch ideas and get feedback from other professional in your field.
Plaxo allows you to fill in your details about your previous and current employers in the professional history column and helps you find colleagues and old classmates to start building your network. It essentially works as an address book that helps you keep your contacts organised in one place.
It strives for a much deeper level of integration, syncing and updating your contacts as they update their own professional accounts and contact information. Beyond that, it also keeps all your calendars up to date, backups up your contacts list and even offers a directory of business cards and an easy way to sort them.
If you are a frequent user of popular social media websites then Beyond’s layout and core functionality will be more than familiar to you. Much like most major social networking sites, Beyond displays a news feed of your contacts activity including shared articles to enrich your industry knowledge and trends. It also has “Talent Communities” which are essentially industry specific groups where you can network, connect and hopefully progress your career. Just to round off the list of functions and options, it also has a list of current salaries so you can gauge your worth.
Jobcase bases its platforms on “Community” which is more like a forum than other groups on similar Professional Networking websites. The name is taken literally, so as you ask questions you are expected to answer a question within your field. Of course, it also features expected functions, such as job posts and a helpful section featuring reviews and even “Praises” (a recommendation system of sorts).
This system also allows you to anonymously review businesses or companies, similar to Glassdoor’s review system, enabling candidates to research businesses and their culture before applying for positions.
Netparty is an event-based networking platform. These events have more of a social mixer atmosphere as opposed to professional or industry get-togethers. Their networking events take place all over the world, with most of them taking place in major cities in the United States and Canada. It is primarily targeted at a younger crowd, and most of these meetup/events have a more casual, relaxed atmosphere.
So what are you waiting for? Start developing your networking strategy and expand your professional circle by using some of these 10 LinkedIn alternatives. Of course, diversifying is much more valuable than curating, so try all of these out and see which one fits the best for you, your interests and your goals.
Have you tried out any of these networking platforms? Which one worked best for you?
This article was first published in November 2014.