10 Alternative Social Networks for Business Professionals

LinkedIn maybe No. 1 when it comes to professional social networking, but your quest to connect doesn't need to stop there. Here's a look at 10 social networks for professionals that offer a variety of features such as Facebook integration, career advice, resume critiques and more.

BranchOut
1. BranchOut

BranchOut debuted in 2010 on Facebook as a free application for professional social networking and job searching. Today, it's Facebook's largest application dedicated to the cause, the company says.

Once you add the BranchOut app to your Facebook account, you fill out a professional profile with your specialties, a summary of your work, a photo and a list of your skills. You can also ask for "endorsements"—or recommendations—and add Facebook friends you want to connect with on a professional level. You can also search for jobs and people from within the app.

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Spiceworks
2. Spiceworks

Spiceworks is a free website for IT professionals to learn about and get advice on technology directly from the vendors that provide it. With a user base of 2 million, members can ask questions in forums and connect, as well as take advantage of its network management and help desk applications.

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Biznik
3. Biznik

Biznik brands itself as "an online networking community for independent business people to gather, share resources, referrals and support." The site caters to independent businesses and entrepreneurs.

Biznik communities are based on location, and you can find members based on career category. Features include profiles, video, blogs, messaging, events and more. Biznik offers three tiers of memberships: Basic ($79/year), Pro ($14/month) and Pro VIP ($29/month).

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GadBall
4. GadBall

GadBall says its mission is to "help you develop and enhance your career," and it offers a number of unique features to help you achieve that: a profile writing wizard, profile review and score, proof reading, career videos, resume templates and more.

GadBall, which is free and has more than 600,000 members, also has a number of the more traditional social networking features, such as recommendations, profiles, job search and groups.

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EFactor
5. EFactor

EFactor, which is free to join, is a social network for entrepreneurs, mentors and investors that has more than 1 million members, according to its site. The social network focuses on connecting entrepreneurs with experts, potential partners and clients, as well as finding employment and funding for startups.

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PROskore
6. PROskore

PROskore is a free business network that measures your professional reputation based on your influence and experience in such areas as social media, your professional history and peer validation. PROskore then uses these scores to help you find new business opportunities and connect with other members in the network.

BeKnown
7. BeKnown

BeKnown is a professional networking app for Facebook developed by job search site Monster.com.

Once you download the app, you can invite Facebook connections to join, fill out your profile, ask for recommendations and search jobs. BeKnown also awards you badges based on your work history, education, size and composition of your network and other actions, which appear on your BeKnown profile.

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StartupNation
8. StartupNation

StartupNation calls itself a "free service founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs." The site is smaller in size compared to many social networking sites and has 120,000 members in the U.S.

Aside from its networking features, StartupNation offers step-by-step advice columns; small business and entrepreneur forums; local, interest and professional groups; expert blogs; podcasts; contests and more.

Ziggs
9. Ziggs

Free professional social network Ziggs has a host of features, including polls, chat, public and private groups, questions, people search, messaging, profiles and more. Ziggs also offers a service called "Search Alerts," which lets you pinpoint where in the world your profile has been viewed, the search engine it was viewed from, keywords used to find you and at what time they viewed your profile.

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Ryze
10. Ryze

Professional social network Ryze, which has 600,000 users, offers both free and paid memberships. Want to sign up? You'll need to apply for a membership—it is currently approving one free and one "gold" membership a day.

Ryze's features include profiles, messaging, groups related to your industry, interests and location. The gold membership, which costs $9.95/month, lets you perform advanced searches and contact distant potential connections directly.

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