While LinkedIn Groups still get the most attention for online, professional networking, there is a breaking revolution away from the social media giant to alternatives to LinkedIn that:
- People visit more often.
- Offer a better user experience (UX).
- Provide more tailored resources.
You can now find networks full of the people you want to reach, connect with, learn from, hire, work for, etc. without ever logging into LinkedIn.
Professional Networking on Facebook & Google+
As an example, I visit Facebook several times daily to keep up with friends, family, and, increasingly, my professional networks. I belong to three private groups, one for resume writers, and two for recruiters.
I also sponsor a group for job seekers and career experts here.
Because I’m already on Facebook, I can easily see the traffic through these groups and join in. Members feel free to post their challenges, ask for help, share opinions and advice, engage in give and take, etc.
The group owners set and enforce the rules. However, unlike many LinkedIn groups, the group members don’t seem to need much, if any, policing.
Beyond Facebook, I belong to the LinkedIn Experts Group on Google Plus. Whenever I notice anything new about LinkedIn or have a question, I go there. I check to see if any member has posted about what I’m seeing. If no one has, I ask a question.
I’m also a frequent contributor. It’s the most efficient source of information about LinkedIn that I have found — and it’s on Google Plus.
While I don’t go to Google Plus daily, it’s easy for me to get to this group, scan others’ posts, and post myself. The UX is so good that the site never bogs me down.
For the few minutes I invest in these groups each day, I get an enormous return in connection, learning, and new business.
Network Where the People Are
In a corollary to the rule that banks get robbed because that’s where the money is, I’m finding that my favorite groups happen where the people are. As illustration:
- Facebook users like over four million posts per minute (more here).
- LinkedIn averaged about 270,000 total page views per minute in Q2 2015 (more in the SlideShare here).
Thus, Facebook is where the people are.
I’m finding my best professional networking experiences on platforms:
- Where people spend time.
- That have clean UXs.
If you want to get the most from a group, then think about proximity and ease of use.
Professional Niche Networks
Beyond groups, it’s good for career-minded people to know that while LinkedIn is the big dog professional network, many “me too” networks that focus on specific professions and industries have developed. For example:
- Stack Overflow is a classic. Programmers use the site to ask questions, share information, display their talent, meet people from other companies, etc.
- Doximity claims to have attracted over 60% of U.S. doctors to their network for healthcare professionals.
How To Find the Best Alternatives to LinkedIn Groups
To find the best groups and networks for you:
- Ask co-workers and recruiters for ideas about the platforms they find most useful.
- Watch to see which Facebook groups colleagues join.
- Ask a question about the best groups/networks for you on Quora.
When you join a new group, lurk until you understand the group’s culture, then start participating. You will likely find your involvement to be some of the most productive minutes of your day.
Let’s Connect on LinkedIn
Please don’t hesitate to invite me to connect on LinkedIn here: Donna Svei, Executive Resume Writer.
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