XING versus LinkedIn in German-Speaking Countries
Why is LinkedIn not a popular social media networking tool for the business community in Germany?
There are many different social networks with their own specialities: Facebook is the most well known; LinkedIn is building a reputation as the leading business network; Pinterest and Instagram are for photography and people use Twitter as a Microblogging service.
For businesses worldwide, LinkedIn is the most used on-line social media networking service.
Only in the German speaking areas do more people use the German counterpart XING. Let’s take a closer look, identify the differences and assess which direction the development will take.
Worldwide, LinkedIn has 267.990.923 members (actual data as of 2013-10-17), the smaller XING has only 13,5 million. LinkedIn is about twenty times bigger than XING!
But in the German speaking countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) XING is the more dominant player. Within this region LinkedIn has more than four million members, while XING has 6,5 million users.
LinkedIn is only six months older than the German XING, but LinkedIn didn’t launch their German language User Interface (UI) before Spring 2009. I am sure LinkedIn didn’t give a German UI much attention in the beginning. That was a mistake. They left the door wide open for XING. German users decided to use XING because they were primarily motivated by connecting with other Germans.
Are Germans good networkers?
If you measure the percentage of people using social media business networks across Europe (fig. 2), Austria and Germany lag behind. Top countries are Denmark, Netherlands and the UK.
Is XING, with its’ 6,5 million members, the social media network gateway to the German speaking markets?
If you take a look (fig. 3) at how the members are using these on-line networks, you will make some interesting observations.
XING is well represented with freelancers and smaller companies. In the DAX 30 companies (similar to the Fortune 500 in US), the penetration of LinkedIn is much higher than XING.
If you need a freelancer or are seeking contacts with smaller companies, XING is the better choice. If you are searching for people in larger enterprises, then LinkedIn is the better choice.
However, LinkedIn is currently growing twice as fast as XING in the German speaking countries.
Building social networks in Germany
If you want to activate or build a social media network in Germany, you must consider the in-country regulations:
- You can use LinkedIn and XING for active business sourcing, but not so for Facebook or Google+, which are considered more private.
- You aren’t allowed to use the MailSync of the networks (or rather you must ask every person for permission to copy their personal data such as their email address).
- There is no “fair use”, like in the US or UK. If you use a e.g. picture without specific permission you are liable for compensation claims.
- “Introductions” are not prevalent in Germany. It is possible that you will be asked more often than not why you want to make contact with this person.
On the other hand, groups are strong in the German speaking area and there are a lot of locally based groups on XING. If someone is searching for local businesses in Germany, he has more opportunities through Xing.
Source: Stephan Koss