How can a doctor use LinkedIn effectively

XING or LinkedIn - which social network should you use for what?

The two social business networks XING and LinkedIn are growing steadily in the German-speaking environment. The question of which social network is best suited for which purpose arises more and more frequently. Often even pointed to the question: "Which network is better: XING or LinkedIn?"

Here is my personal analysis.

Social Networks - An Endangered Species?

Those who closely follow the news will hear more and more words like in connection with social networks "Fakenews", "Copyright Infringement" and "Data scandals". As reactions, terms like are often used in the same breath "Smashing" or "Limitation" called.

The trust in the tech giants hardly seems to exist anymore, as the following graphic from Tresorit would like to show (blue = trust exists, red = no trust of the users exists).

So are the days of social media generally numbered?

A clear no! Rather, the multitude of existing social media platforms will gradually be reduced and the market will consolidate. Niche platforms emerge, are either bought and integrated into the digital ecosystem of large providers or are subject to their market market. In individual cases, of course, they can also become very large and compete with established providers

XING and LinkedIn continue to grow

So far, the business platforms XING and LinkedIn have been able to clearly differentiate themselves from primarily privately used platforms such as Facebook and have largely been spared the above-mentioned discussions.

XING has seen significant growth in recent years and will have around 19 million members in the DACH region in 2020. Around 2.5 million of these users are active every week.

LinkedIn has around 14 million members in the German-speaking area and was therefore unable to keep pace with XING's growth for the first time in several years. Worldwide, however, LinkedIn remains the undefeated number 1 of business platforms with almost 700 million members (as of 2020).

XING and LinkedIn are developing differently

On the face of it, the functions and options of the two platforms XING and LinkedIn are very similar. With both, users can create personal profiles, organize and discuss in groups, consume news, search through job advertisements, find events and, of course, post status updates.

Upon closer analysis, however, there are significantly different orientations that have a significant impact on the utility for members.

XING remains German-speaking, LinkedIn is international

One of the most obvious differences is the area of ​​distribution. While LinkedIn, as a US company that has been owned by Microsoft for some time, has always been internationally positioned, XING remains connected to the DACH region. CEO Dr. Thomas Vollmoeller is well known for this orientation.

For example in a press release on from August 6, 2018:

(...) with a consistent focus on the specific needs that corporate customers and members have here in German-speaking countries. That is the core of our successful development. "

Unlike with the XING subsidiary kununu, there does not seem to be any plans to go on the international stage at the moment.

This orientation means that networking with business contacts outside the German-speaking area is actually only possible via LinkedIn. This is one of the strongest reasons why LinkedIn is also growing steadily in the DACH region. However, this is by no means the only one.

No counterpart to the XING portfolio page on LinkedIn

Over time, the options for designing your own profiles have grown. By creating a so-called portfolio page, XING offers noticeable added value compared to LinkedIn. Here's an example:

A professionally designed portfolio page allows the focus to be clearly shifted away from one's own qualifications (stages in life) to the respective role in which a user is on XING. This makes it clear at first glance why a profile owner uses the platform and on whose behalf (employer) he is traveling.

References for knowledge and skills only possible on LinkedIn

Much more sophisticated, however, are the options on LinkedIn when it comes to providing references to other people. In addition to real reference statements, knowledge and skills can be confirmed by contacts. In the Anglo-American region in particular, these confirmations and references are very important when looking for a job. Unlike in German-speaking countries, where significantly more emphasis is placed on formal certificates.

Different meanings and ranges of activities on XING and LinkedIn

Both platforms rely on functions that are central to users, such as the sharing of information. However, the options for shared content differ significantly between XING and LinkedIn.

It starts with the fact that sharing of images on XING has so far only been possible in the XING app. Only messages (maximum 420 characters long) or links can be shared on the desktop via XING. To this day, I still cannot understand this severe restriction.

Presumably it can only be explained with the general orientation of the platform (more on this below).

A wide variety of media can be disseminated on LinkedIn. In addition to photos and videos, this also applies to files such as PDF documents. The comparison between these possibilities is clearly in favor of LinkedIn. So if you want to distribute (your own) content, you are much better positioned with LinkedIn.

High-reach article publications on LinkedIn

The difference becomes even clearer when you look at LinkedIn's possible publication of your own content via the "To write an article"-Function. The platform gives users the opportunity to write content directly on LinkedIn and save it there.

The importance of this function is enormous: it enables you to achieve very high ranges in relation to your own network as well as to contacts of contacts. And that even without your own medium (such as your own blog). By opening it for Google search, content on LinkedIn is much more visible than 420-character messages posted via XING.

The publication of articles on XING is currently only available for so-called XING Insider or about the format Plain text possible. However, this is curated content or authorship. Free publishing is not possible here. This may well have something to do with the fact that XING belongs to a publishing media group that has a kind of "Publication sovereignty" claims for itself.

* * * * * UPDATE from May 6th, 2019 * * * * *

Today I was shown the following sponsored post on Facebook:

For a fee, XING now also seems to enable the writing and marketing of articles.

* * * * * UPDATE end * * * * *

Higher engagement rate on LinkedIn

In general, I also have the impression that the interactions recorded on XING and LinkedIn are worlds apart. Perhaps this is due to the fact that the willingness to interact with posts is generally higher in an international environment than in the more conservative social media DACH region.

My assumption is different: On XING (with the exception of messages that are hardly visible without an image), no original content can be published and posted, but only content on third-party sites. This means that the emotional connection to the shared content (often contributions from other news channels) is generally lower than with real news user-generated content.

In addition, since switching the XING app to Netflix-like navigation, I no longer use the mobile newsfeed at all! It is simply not fun to struggle through rows and columns without any overview. The XING app beats the classic view of an endlessly scrollable news feed as in the LinkedIn app. From my point of view, the switch was a real knee shot and probably results in even fewer interactions.

Otherwise, the interaction rate in groups is extremely expandable in both networks. By the way, when it comes to interaction, Twitter has its great strengths. But only by the way.

Hashtags and mentions for more individual content

Significantly higher interactions outside of one's own network (as good as not possible with XING) result from the fact that posts can be tagged on LinkedIn. In addition to people and companies, users can also follow hashtags (and thus topics). This function is indispensable in order to achieve topical leadership.

By addressing people directly via "@Surname" in postings and comments, LinkedIn enables the addressing and activation of people for whom this post may be of particular importance.

With regard to these two missing functions alone, XING seems very outdated and not up to date.

Innovations at XING and LinkedIn

As a long-standing XING user with a strong emotional connection to the platform, I am increasingly disappointed by the persistent lack of innovation. After removing the useful "Handshake" -XING now wants to use the function "Nearby" enable contact to XING members within the Bluetooth range (a few meters). This is useful at trade fairs. However, only if people keep their Bluetooth connection activated permanently or for this purpose. For safety and radiation reasons, however, I avoid permanently open connections as much as possible.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, publishes new features all the time. In addition to cudo postings, with which public praise and recognition can be donated, the team mate function, which deliberately strengthens contributions from colleagues in the feed, or the option to mark people in photos or use stickers, there are additional social reactions (analogous to Facebook) possible.

New: Social Reactions on LinkedIn

For some time now, further reactions have been possible on Facebook in addition to the Like button. LinkedIn is now building its own version of Social Reactions:

  • Like
  • Celebrate (applause)
  • Love
  • Insightful
  • Curious

What at first glance seems like a gimmick and not a lot like business, on closer inspection is a very clever move by LinkedIn. Because this makes it possible to collect even more granular data. So far had to have content "Liked" that you thought were significant, but whose content you did not personally support, the new reactions can be classified better. And can one "Curious"- Doesn't reaction represent a sales lead? Clever marketers watch out!

Greatly different costs for premium profiles

As more active XING users will hardly be able to avoid paying around 100 euros for a XING Premium profile. Otherwise, your usefulness is significantly limited, e.g. in terms of search, contact options and the view of profile visitors. For this you also receive a selection of discounts from third-party providers. However, the latter alone would not be a reason for me to enter into a premium membership.

At LinkedIn, a free basic membership is enough for me in my role as a communicator and social media power user. Premium memberships are also significantly more expensive depending on the type.

XING's strategic direction

In future, XING will only be the product name of the business network. XING SE will then call itself New Work SE. This measure suggests the changed strategic direction of the company. New Work SE would like to become the bracket for all activities related to New Work. This means that the focus is moving more towards software (tools), events and media work with a view to new work.

In my opinion, the XING social media platform as a data hub is taking a back seat. It functions as a basic technology and platform for collecting data from the target groups. However, it is likely to be less the focus of further developments.

In recent years, XING seems to have thought more about monetizing the existing database to recruiters, personnel service providers, coaches, etc. than about increasing the utility value for members. And this path seems to continue.

XING's risky path

From my point of view, it is particularly critical: younger users are less and less enthusiastic about a technologically outdated platform (see missing essential functions). This means that the data pool slowly dries up. Even compulsory registration for ticketing via XING, etc., should at best result in superficial one-way profiles that keep the number of users high, but do not provide any noticeable added value for activities on the platform.

Why do I think that? I talk to students a lot. They ask me more and more frequently about the added value of being a member of XING. At the latest when the ticket for the (first) job has been resolved, a major argument (to maintain visibility and contacts for entry into a suitable job) is lost.

A dangerous game for time.

But only if you focus on the social media platform XING. The company's new direction seems to be moving away from this. In this respect, the risk is manageable for the moment.

Nevertheless: Without a maximum amount of data in your own ecosystem, a New Work strategy will not work either. Unless New Work SE breaks radically with its own roots.

Strategic direction of LinkedIn

From my point of view, LinkedIn takes the opposite approach: the platform offers more and more by consistently increasing the utility value for the members - and even for the free basic members. It is already positioning itself as a reach booster for its own marketing activities and as a learning platform (LinkedIn Learning and SlideShare).

This means that more and more valuable user data is flowing to LinkedIn. If you already look at the services of products like LinkedIn today Insights on, it quickly becomes clear where the journey is going. Companies for which their own works council makes it difficult to collect employee data of any kind internally can learn a lot about themselves as an employer by purchasing this data from outside LinkedIn.

How satisfied are which types of occupational groups in the company, how at risk of migration are they, where did they come from, where are they moving to and much more? All of this can already be found out today through almost every company represented on LinkedIn. Data is the new gold, and LinkedIn is extremely clever about that.

LinkedIn presents itself as a more open platform, while XING is working on its own closed and consistent ecosystem. In this respect, I assume that XING will soon even reduce its external data interfaces and third-party service providers "Turn off the tap" becomes.

My recommendations

Depending on the direction of your activities, I would recommend the following:

  • Active marketing of content: The more reach you want to achieve with your activities, the stronger the tendency to use both platforms. If you don't want this, LinkedIn offers greater reach for your content.
  • Consuming content: Thematically, XING offers a wider range of curated content for your own information. When it comes to deeper understanding and learning, LinkedIn has greater strengths.
  • Networking with contacts: XING is still the first choice for contacts in the DACH region. Platform users from German-speaking countries operating in an international environment often have a profile in both networks. If you have a strong international orientation, there is no getting around a LinkedIn profile.
  • Finding employees: The same applies here as when networking with contacts. Both providers have a large pool of available candidates on their platforms and offer appropriate tools for recruiting (XING: Talent manager, LinkedIn: LinkedIn Recruiter).

My personal conclusion

My time spent in the two networks has shifted extremely in favor of LinkedIn in recent years. This has something to do with the extremely cumbersome XING app, which just doesn't want to be fun. In addition, with the more modern options on LinkedIn to prepare content (articles, tagging, addressing) and make it available to target groups.

Nevertheless, I definitely don't want to do without XING Premium. I would even continue to claim that a XING profile should be the absolute standard for users from the DACH region in order to obtain basic visibility on the social web. If you do not have a profile on one of the two social media platforms, you will find it difficult to underpin your digital mindset when looking for a job, for example!

If you don't have a #Profile on one of the two #SocialMedia #Platforms #XING or #LinkedIn, you will find it difficult to substantiate your #digital #Mindset when looking for a job! Click to tweet

This is especially true for recruiters.

On our own behalf: