I was doing a search on Technorati for Xing.com news and I realized something. Most of the blog entries are in German– perhaps 80% or more was in German. It was hard to find anything in English.
And it occured to me as to one reason why Xing won’t be able to reach as many people as it can [especially in English speaking countries or other non-German languages] is that they haven’t found evangelists would be willing to talk about them just like their German membership do with their blogs. I’m referring to the online word of mouth phenomenon here.
I always see the comparisons to LinkedIN which aren’t always justified because they are two different models. Even LinkedIN has said so.
I know with LinkedIN, the poster boy evangelist would definitely be Vincent Wright and his multiple YahooGroups forums that he has spawned. He’s done a great job with evangelizing LI as the preferred platform of choice for business people worlwide. He probably has over 7000 members on all the Yahoogroups he manages. That isn’t much since LI has over 8 million members. But considering how fast and wide WOM spreads then you can start to see how much LI has benefitted and where Xing could benefit as well.
I could personally hold a debate with anyone if they tried to compare LI to Xing and make apples to oranges comparison. I enjoy both platforms but Xing is my preferred platform of choice since I’ve had success with it. In fact, I could probably devote a blog to talking about Xing but I really don’t have that time.
I think that it’s important for Xing to notice that and try to think of ways of how to best reach out to the non-German population, especially the connectors of the world who have a heavy say in how Xing operates and could benefit professionals worldwide. WOM is cheap and free and really the most effective way to market and build a great brand. As of right now, when some people mention Xing on the internet, they say, “Oh yeah, that site is mostly for Europeans or for Germans. It doesn’t fit us very well.” If you don’t believe me, just read the comments section at this blog entry that talked about the upcoming IPO of Xing.
Those statements have a negative impact because people are reading it and can make or break wheather they want to join the community or not. It’s a public relations issue. And that presents more challenges as to how Xing could penetrate other markets. The upcoming IPO of Xing will obviously give them plenty of cash to help with expansion but we all know that money can’t buy everything and that’s certainly the case with good old fashion word of mouth marketing.
Food for thought.