Editor’s Note: This article is a reissue as part of our countdown to the best stories from last year.
Most people who engage in professional networking use LinkedIn to make connections or find new opportunities, maybe because they were told to develop their LinkedIn presence when they first started working.
While LinkedIn is the most popular platform for professional networking, it is not the only one. Consider these alternatives:
If your definition of “professional networking” is synonymous with seminars, conventions and any type of so-called “meet-up”, To meet is made for you. Founded in 2002 by Scott Heiferman, Meetup lets you create and host events, discover, and sign up for local events.
Through the Meetup platform, you can find communities of people who have common interests. The events are grouped under different categories. Professional events, categorized under career and business, tend to be a mix of seminars and after-work networking.
Meetup is a great platform for discovering events where you can grow your offline network and make face-to-face connections. It’s also a great site for self-promotion and business promotion.
The website and accompanying Android and iOS apps provide a listing of events in 855 cities in 193 countries. Registration on the platform is free.
2. List of angels
List of angels is one of the most popular LinkedIn alternatives and bills itself as the largest community of startups in the world. Through the platform, you can invest in startups, find information about fast growing companies, list job opportunities and find employment.
Opportunity is a networking platform for professionals. Functional around the world, it gives members the ability to network with relevant people in their industry, connect (and apply) to new vacancies, and even generate leads.
While most of the platform’s features are free, there is a subscription-based higher “pro” tier. Users at this level have access to additional features such as VIP lead notifications, the global search tool, and advanced communication features.
4. The slack
Soft is a free virtual workspace, a team collaboration and communication tool that requires little introduction. While the platform specifically focuses on creating a space for businesses and employees to collaborate on tasks, it is also a great platform for online networking.
Many businesses and individuals have taken advantage of Slack to create groups based on specific interests. For example, Online Geniuses has a Slack channel community of 25,000 marketers. Or there’s the Marketers Chat group, which is open to freelancers and people who work with startups and small businesses.
the Xing platform is the equivalent of LinkedIn for German speakers. It is one of the most popular websites in Germany (10.1 million users), Switzerland (900,000 users) and Austria (800,000 users). There are around 12 million registered members in Europe.
German speakers are not the platform’s only target audience, however. There are members all over the world who speak a range of different languages.
Through Xing, you can network with other professionals, find job opportunities, information on conventions, seminars, training courses and much more. It’s a great platform if you’re looking for a LinkedIn alternative.
6. Employment file
Employment file is a platform that combines the best features of job search sites with social media. The company’s stated mission is to empower the modern workforce by providing them with the tools they need for career success.
Jobcase has a global presence, with over 75 million users to date.
The platform has two components, one for employers and one for job seekers.
If you’re looking for a job, you can use search parameters to filter job search results, create a profile to show off your professional accomplishments, share your thoughts on your timeline, and interact with the vibrant community of Jobcase users. On the other hand, if you want to promote a job, you can work on your company profile and create job postings.
In addition to offering job search capabilities, the Jobcase resource base contains useful resources for professionals at different stages of their respective careers.
seven. Facebook groups
The last alternative to LinkedIn that you should consider is Facebook. While Facebook doesn’t market itself as a social media platform for professional networking, you’ll find plenty of niche communities on Facebook. For example, you’ll find groups that cater to content marketers, people who run pay-per-click campaigns, and more.
The best way to find relevant Facebook groups is with a quick Google search or by using internal site navigation. If you will be using Google, a search for “best Facebook groups for X” will normally do the trick.
Networking is now an inalienable aspect of modern work culture. Employers value their employees’ ability to develop through the proliferation of ideas and approaches with like-minded people. While LinkedIn is the market leader for professional networking, other platforms have the same or better functionality in certain areas.
If you live in the German-speaking region of Europe, for example, Xing might be more useful than LinkedIn. On the other hand, if you are looking to get involved in the startup scene, consider joining a platform like AngelList or Opportunity.
Finally, don’t forget to explore other popular social networks and chat platforms to discover relevant professional communities. For example, some large online groups use Slack and Facebook as their primary communication channel.
Chris Norton is the founder of Prohibition and is an award-winning specialist in online public relations and crisis management.
Learn more about networking with colleagues on social media platforms by joining Ragan’s virtual conference on social media September 9-10.