Mar 25 2012
Most people interested in building an international career or business don't have the time or resources to network locally in all the markets they are targeting.
Hence online networking is the primary—and for some the only—way to expand one's connections outside their local area to support their global career or business goals.
Having a presence on certain networks can also help someone increase their visibility and enhance their online reputation in the right markets. This can be critical to attract opportunities in the areas of the world in which a person wants to work or do business.
Some people may consider being on Linkedin enough to get the global reach they need to support an international job or client search given it's the largest professional online network with 150 million members. This may be true for some markets, but it is definitely not always the case.
Let's take the online professional network Xing, for example. It's the 13th most popular site in Germany and reaches 77.7% of all German users while Linkedin is only the 32nd most popular site and only 2% of its members are from Germany. And 5.3 of Xing's 11.7 million members are in German speaking Europe.
It makes sense that anyone interested in looking for career or business opportunities in German-speaking Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) would be a member of Xing. This would be especially true if you didn't live in the region and local networking opportunities would be difficult if not impossible to come by.
But what if you had those goals but did not have a profile on Xing? One would likely make some assumptions about your knowledge of how to build your network in Germany and the quality of your German network. It's highly unlikely those assumptions would be in support of your career or business goals.
Given the value that Xing can have to those seeking international jobs or clients globally—particularly in Germany speaking Europe, I’ve reached out to Christian Burtchen, Xing’s Social Media Editor, and asked him to share some information about how Xing can support those looking to build international careers and businesses.
Many thanks for agreeing to spend time sharing information with this blog’s readers Christian. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what role you play at Xing?
As a Social Media Editor and part of the communication team at XING, my responsibilities include some of our own social media channels such as our bilingual twitter accounts and our own corporate blog, as well as drafting and exercising our communication strategy for product and development-related topics such as our API or our mobile applications. And I also get to meet a lot of interesting people at barcamps or conferences.
Being very passionate about technology and its manifold impact on society, working at XING is just ideal for me. When I’m not in the office or going through my RSS readers, one will likely find me in a train as I commute between Hamburg, where XING is based, and my hometown Berlin.
Can you tell us about how Xing started and how the network is designed to help professionals, executives and business owners build their personal brand, their global network and find new career and business opportunities?
XING, originally named OpenBC, was founded in 2003 as a business network that simplifies the core aspects of networking: making new contacts, reaching out to other professionals and giving oneself an adequate online representation of one’s professional achievements. Since then, the platform has grown and now boasts more than 11.7 million members worldwide, 5.3 million of which are located in the German-speaking D-A-CH-region.
Today, XING is a platform where professionals from all kinds of different industries can meet up, find jobs, colleagues, new assignments, cooperation partners, experts and generate business ideas. We offer a wide range of tools to help executives and business owners in building their brand and network.
The starting point, of course, is your professional profile which you can configure to be found through search engines and highlight your strengths. XING allows you to easily add contacts and manage your up-to-date address book through advanced functions like tagging or synchronization options.
Furthermore, there are more 50,000 specialist groups to discuss professional issues and thus build up your personal brand by showing expertise and knowledge as well as presenting oneself as a helpful professional.
Finally, we also offer a unique combination of online and offline networking through a full-fledged ticketing solution which makes it easy to get to know people in more than 180,000 events per year, organized by our members and ranging from conferences and trade fairs to golf tournaments and business dinners.
Thus, XING covers nearly all aspects of the professional life and captures the value of business networking in both our desktop and our mobile products.
At the end of January of this year you had a beta-release of your new polls feature. Can you tell us about that and how network members can use it to accelerate their career or business goals?
The polls feature was the first public release of a feature we had previously hosted within XING Beta Labs, a platform section for the rapid incubation of experimental features. Polls can form an important part of one’s professional online activity, by asking questions that show insight into relevant developments as well as participating in the corresponding discussions.
You've also released an Android app that allows members to add people to their network using near field communication. Can you share with us how this came about and how members should be using this app to expand their network?
We originally released an Android App in the summer of 2010. We’ve always been working on adding value to our mobile solutions to provide our members with vital functions for mobile business networking. For instance, with our HTML5-based mobile handshake that allows XING members across multiple platforms to connect on the go.
The latest addition XING Beam uses the latest technology—Near Field Communication—baked right into the new Android ecosystem to simplify a core element of networking: making new contacts. So, members with our Android-App and an NFC-capable device can add a contact at a trade fair or conference in no time by just holding their devices close to each other. It’s faster than handing over a business card—and of course, other options such as the aforementioned handshake for connecting to e.g. iPhone users on the go still exist.
In December of 2010 Xing reported acquiring amiando AG, a Munich-based company and Europe’s leading provider of online event management and ticketing. Can you share how this acquisition benefits your members?
More than 180,000 events are organized via the XING platform every year—that’s nearly 500 a day! The events platform has been integral part and a unique strength of XING since its inception—combining online and offline networking, bringing together the strengths of an online community and local gatherings, so we naturally looked for ways to bring even more value to our members there.
XING members want to have an easy way of organizing and taking part in business-related events such as seminars and/or dinners. With the acquisition and integration of amiando, we were able to provide our users with a one-stop solution for event fulfillment, to manage invitations, promote events online, handle the registration process and host integrated billing services. So, XING members can easily find out or organize events in their region, whether free or paid, to expand their network!
Reports of your increasing membership and doubling of your profits in 2011 clearly indicate that Xing is expanding at very rapid rate. What can we expect from Xing in 2012?
A lot! We have very ambitious goals for the future—within the next couple of years, we want to double our membership within our core market, the German-speaking region. While I can’t get into any details, we will obviously iterate our product aggressively to strengthen XING’s value proposition even further. With the introduction of the XING Beta Labs, we’ve laid the ground to accelerate our development and drive customer engagement. And of course, our mobile platforms will be a main pillar of our product development in the months and years to come!
Many thanks Christian for taking the time to share this valuable information about how Xing can help build a person's online reputation and network on and offline.
Are you are interested in building your global network to support your expat or international career or business goals? Are you specifically targeting career and business opportunities in German-speaking Europe?
If so, be sure to join Xing (ADD LINK: www.xing.com) and learn more about how you can connect with their 11.7 million members globally or 5.3 million in German-speaking Europe. Be sure to take advantage of the network's powerful features—including polls, online event management and near field communication via mobile technology—to grow your reputation and global network on and offline.
The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: In-Person and Social Media Networking
As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to: