LinkedIn vs Xing

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LinkedIn vs. Xing:
the battle of the B2B social media networks

LinkedIn versus who? If you’ve never heard of Xing, we won’t hold it against you. Created in Hamburg in 2003, today this professional social media network has 15 million members, while the world No.1 (bought by Microsoft in 2016) has more than half a billion! Although, if you meet a German executive, they are far more likely to hang out in this little networking haven. In the DACH zone (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), Xing has 13 million members and LinkedIn…11 million. So, where is the best place to hunt out leads?

Functionalities: game, set…

LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator is the must. It enables you to identify B2B prospects very efficiently via a multi-criteria search engine, as well as offering personalised suggestions. Xing, on the other hand, has far more modest functionalities. The challenger offers members “business pages”, which are mainly designed to present a company’s activity and share news via member timelines. With significantly less sharing, each piece of content is much less visible. Although the advertising tools are the same – display, messages, posts and sponsored articles – the targeting is less precise.

At this stage, you might say that the match is over and ask yourself why you’d want to join Xing… Because, if you want to find prospects, you need to hang out in the same places they do!

Local 🥨 vs. international 🌍

Unfortunately for us, potential clients aren’t necessarily active on both B2B social media networks. Xing is the “local first” player that enables you to organise local events (like on Facebook) and locate the companies of your contacts.

But being local isn’t just about geography. Xing’s success in German-speaking countries is also due to a networking approach that is more deeply anchored in the culture. Whereas LinkedIn applies an American-inspired storytelling model with lots of English words and strong, inspirational personalities, Xing does business the German way. By being much more precise and factual. Rather than a timeline inundated with news, many German-speaking professionals prefer an uncluttered homepage and very precise descriptions of the roles and companies of their contacts.

Exemple Xing homepage
Xing opts for efficiency

Exemple Linkedin homepage
News first on LinkedIn

So, for the majority of German, Swiss and Austrian professionals who don’t work internationally (which is the majority), Xing offers a more accessible, intuitive and comfortable experience. They therefore don’t really need to be present on LinkedIn as well.

The battle of the B2B social media platforms has just begun

So, that’s the conclusion? You have to be present on Xing if you’re targeting these three countries? I can hear you sighing about how tiring it is being everywhere and wondering how much longer you’ll have to wait before LinkedIn uses its clout to knock out this Germanic rival like it did the French contender Viadeo. Well, the American giant announced in 2018 that it wanted to win over 1 million users every 7 months in the region. It has already taken over Xing in Austria and is twice as big in Switzerland, largely thanks to slightly less expensive, more comprehensive premium offers. Having said that, Xing won’t go without putting up a fight and recently acquired the Internations expat network (what could be more international?). The game is far from over!

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