Social networks beyond Instagram and Facebook

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Although they are not as well known as Instagram and Facebook, there are specialised platforms in some sectors that are very useful for users. Some help people to contact people more akin to their interests, and others enable businesses to find new customers.

Freelancer, a social network for independent workers: 27 million users and more than 13 million jobs offered. Foursquare, a platform that works like a large database to locate small businesses: 50 million users and more than 105 million registered places in the world. Behance, a portal specialising in creative industries: 10 million users. Perhaps the figures that these tools have reached are striking. Despite the fact that not everyone is aware of these sites, like with Instagram (500 million active users per day) or Facebook (2.23 billion monthly active users in the first quarter of 2018)), they too are useful and are gaining followers day by day. The world of social networking goes beyond these technological giants, and there are other more specialised ones that drive the activity of certain professional profiles and businesses.

For all kinds of professionals and entrepreneurs

In the professional landscape in general, there isn’t just LinkedIn. Social networks have been launched that are aimed at the business world, so that everyone can increase their contacts: from meeting new providers to interacting with senior positions.

Womenalia. It is a worldwide social network of networking for female professionals and entrepreneurs. It was launched with the aim of helping women to overcome the barriers that they can come up against in the labour market and to promote their presence in managerial posts.

Users have the opportunity to access experts to help them climb the professional ladder, and guidelines are on offer to enable women to develop their own career model according to their individual profile. The portal also filters online management and entrepreneurship courses, and it has its own directory with more than 90,000 job opportunities.

In general, users have at their disposal information, interviews, appointments and videos of the professional world, tools to improve their personal brand, find new customers if they have a business and attend networking events that the social network organises.

Cionet. Is an online community aimed at IT managers in Europe. It currently has more than 5,000 members. Here they share information regarding news in the IT world, such as new strategies and innovative solutions, and they receive specialised training for executives.

This platform also works to create alliances with other entities to access new research, tools and products. However, gaining entry to this club is not easy. There are a series of admission requirements, such as being CIO of an organisation with an IT department of more than 20 people, or that the company has more than 200 employees.

For small businesses

Who hasn’t ever used their phone to find out people’s views on a restaurant or a business? Social networks that provide the location of and reviews for businesses are useful for consumers, but also for the owners of a venue.

Foursquare. Through Foursquare Location Intelligence, companies use geolocation tools to locate their establishment on the map, contact their customers and find out how many people passing through the area end up entering their venue. Companies can also create advertising campaigns or launch special promotions.

Yelp. On this site businesses have a control page to update their information, upload photos, add categories of services offered and respond to users’ reviews and questions. The better the ratings of a business, the more visible it will be on the platform. It also offers the option of advertising, although this is enabled only for the United States and Canada.

For freelancers

According to the Intuit 2020 Report, a study published by Emergent Research and Intuit, in 1989 the freelance collective represented 6% of the workforce in the United States and it is expected to be 43% in that country by 2020. In general, the increase in independent workers is a global trend. Because of this, platforms that put freelancers in touch with potential customers have sprung up. They are aimed at professionals in a wide variety of areas, like web design, mobiles, software development, legal, translation and architecture.

Freelancer. It was started up in 2009, and is one of the platforms of this type with the most market coverage. Here freelancers have access to two ways of working. On the one hand, small businesses publish a project and each freelancer sends them a proposal. The business evaluates the various offers and chooses who they are going to work with.

Another option is competitions, which is to say that businesses access the ideas of different freelancers and pay only for the one they most like. Here workers have access to a huge number of opportunities, but when doing their budgeting they have to take into account that 10% of the total value of the project or contest will be deducted.

Upwork. On this platform customers or businesses publish a project. Using its own algorithm, Upwork analyses freelancers’ profiles and sends recommendations to businesses of the professionals who can best meet the requirements of this project. For their part, workers can get fully involved in a project, or work on it for just a few hours.

In order to get as many clients as possible, users are required to make proposals tailored to the needs of each project. They should also bear in mind that the platform charges between 5% and 20% of the invoice, depending on the total value of the project.

For the more creative type

If there is something that is prevalent across all social networks, it is photographs. People who devote themselves to a creative activity are in luck because they can show off their projects through images and get inspiration from the projects of others on these platforms.

Behance. It is aimed at professionals from the world of architecture, photography, fashion, user interface and experience, and graphic, web and industrial design. Here, users can create an online portfolio of their projects. The philosophy of this social network is similar to that of LinkedIn, but pictures have much greater importance, like what happens with other portals such as Pinterest or Instagram.

Dribble. This is a platform for graphic designers and illustrators. Anybody can register and can also look up other people’s projects. To begin with, users can only upload their work internally: it will be visible on their profile and on a page called “draft”, and other members can see their designs on this page. For someone to be able to make their projects public and visible to everyone, they have to receive an invitation from a member of the platform.

Domestika. It is a portal for creative professionals in Spanish. On it, they can publish their projects and interact with other users. Through the different categories, such as “top rated”, “most commented” or “most viewed”, people are able to find the best jobs. In addition, it also works as a platform for employment and education, with specialised courses in the world of design.

These portals also have similarities with the most popular platforms. Like with all of them, user activity is crucial. At the end of the day, a “blank” social network is a dead one. Sharing quality information, interacting with followers, enlivening conversation and using audio-visual content remain the essence. In short, it is about being proactive. That is the secret to succeed on these and all social networks.

By Alba Casilda

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