Is LinkedIn a social media

B2B social media with LinkedIn & XING - which network 2020 is more important for your success

Social media is also becoming more and more important for B2B companies. In addition to the large B2C networks Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn and XING in particular offer you exciting opportunities to reach your target group in the B2B area. In this blog article you will receive tips and tricks on which of the networks is best suited for which objective, what differences there are and also how you can strategically integrate XING and LinkedIn into the marketing mix for your B2B company.

You can find more tips and tricks about XING and LinkedIN in the podcast of the Social Marketing Nerds:

Before we dive deeper into the strategy, an important classification of the currently popular buzzword “social selling”.

"Social Selling"? - Please not like that ...

The topic is currently very popular, but is misunderstood or misused by too many companies to annoy clumsy people on LinkedIn and XING. With a quality and intensity that even Viagra spammers would be ashamed of.

The actual idea behind the concept of "Social selling“It is that a relationship should be established between people as part of a sales process. Of course, social networks can also be used intelligently for this purpose.

Unfortunately, this is all too often confused with selling on social networks. And that leads to contacts such as B. this one via LinkedIn:


4 of these messages came from the same sender every week before I blocked them. No, this is not "social selling", this is junk, sent via a social network.

"Most of the conversations are monologues in the presence of a witness." (Margaret Miller)

Based on this quote, many contacts are made on XING and LinkedIn. So much more could be achieved on these networks.

This article does not give you any tips on how to attract other users via XING or LinkedIn and how to delight them with advertising. Rather, it is about showing the potential of the networks and classifying which of the two networks is best suited for which objective.

The mother of all answers: It depends ...

If I ask the group of people who are intensively involved with online marketing which B2B network they find better, then the answer is clear. LinkedIn is the preferred platform in the industry. However, that doesn't answer the question of which one is actually better suited for your marketing (even if your target group are online marketers). Because here it depends on the goal setting and accessibility. You will also get an assessment of this in this article.

Out of the silos - social networks in the B2B marketing mix

XING and LinkedIn offer very targeted, high-quality reach for B2B companies. However, you will only achieve the maximum effect if you do not look at these channels in isolation, but interlink them with all other measures.

Here you will find an incomplete overview of the most common marketing and sales channels used by B2B companies.


Most of these channels are content driven. This means that you can only use them sensibly and successfully if you also produce high-quality content. This also applies to XING and especially to LinkedIn.

In recent years, LinkedIn, like Facebook, has developed from a pure social network to a content platform with a network. XING also seems to want to go this way, but is not nearly as fast and consistent in development as its American competitor.

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Requirements for the success of campaigns on XING and LinkedIn

If your activities on the networks are to be a resounding success, then the following requirements are crucial:

The networks should never be used in isolation and without sustainable planning. It is important for your success that you have a clear strategy with specific goals and plan tactical measures that are dovetailed with all other marketing activities.

For this, it is important to plan the creation of content and, above all, to proceed over the longer term. Good content ensure that you, regardless of whether you act as a company or an individual, become visible and a Authority for your topic. To be perceived as a competence for your own specialty, to be this authority, is one of the most important goals that you should pursue here.

If you create exactly the content that your target group loves, you will attract a lot of attention via XING and LinkedIn and generate sustainable reach.

Who is your target group? Here you will find tips on how to deal with the topic with the help of Personascan approach.

More articles with basic tips for your content marketing:

When creating the content, make sure that it is “socially compatible”, i.e. that images and videos are geared towards the platforms, that you create attractive teasers and that you also use special formats such as B. LinkedIn Articlestake into account.

Another building block for XING and LinkedIn to be used successfully in the long term is the establishment and continuous further development of processes and structures. These can include:

  • The regular creation of new content and the updating of older content
  • Content recycling to adapt good content to other formats (e.g. convert a good blog article as a video)
  • Dealing with interactions: who reacts to comments and how?
  • Start of interactions: How are interesting leads and potential contacts dealt with? When does sales take over and how?
  • Building blocks and text templates for speeches and reactions
  • Analysis: How are the actions measured and evaluated

Social media marketing is a process, not a project. This is just as true in B2B marketing as it is in B2C. Make sure that you build continuity here so that your efforts pay off in the long term and you generate more leads and sales.

Another crucial component, which also intervenes heavily in the previous topic of structures & processes, is the use of a CRM (Customer Relationship Management System). This should basically be available in every organization that wants to conduct marketing and sales in a structured manner. With the help of such a system, the contacts made via social networks can also be used for sales and all activities can be documented and controlled. In the optimal case, this will still be with Marketing automation combined.

Customer journey classification - How can B2B networks be used

The purchase decision process can be very long, especially in the B2B environment, and takes place in several stages. To classify the individual levels, we work with the SEE-THINK-DO-CARE framework from Avinash Kaushik. You can find more about this here.

Basically, social media is a way to reach users at all stages of the purchase decision process:

However, when planning campaigns on XING and LinkedIn, you should take a closer look at which goals are set at the respective level and which measures are to be used to achieve them. Here is an example of what this could look like for XING and LinkedIn:

In this context, it is important that this classification is also made for all other measures, so that an optimal interlocking of the channels is ensured and thus the same goals are worked towards.

Reach and target groups - what's going on here at XING and LinkedIn

Both networks are growing and both networks are relevant. In addition, despite the repeated decline in the industry on XING, there is no discernible loss of relevance.

Here are a few important key figures at a glance:

Worldwide, LinkedIn is clearly more relevant and, unlike XING, also has a global focus here. You can already say that LinkedIn is adapting Facebook's approach and strategy for the B2B area.

In the German-speaking area, however, it looks different. Here, XING is just ahead of LinkedIn. LinkedIn has seen stronger growth here lately, which is not surprising, however, since XING has been established much longer.

A replacement at the top is certainly conceivable soon, but there is currently no clear picture in this direction.

So if you are planning a social media strategy for the B2B environment for the DACH region, you should consider both networks if you want to achieve the maximum reach.

Another important figure in this context:XING has 1.04 million premium users

These users pay for their profile and, with a few exceptions, do not see any advertising. However, this tends to be more about the activated and thus more attractive users, which you should take into account in your planning.

Two other exciting metrics that can help you classify how users use the networks. I couldn't find any analogous values ​​for XING, but it is easy to imagine that the values ​​are similar.

Placing ads - How much do ads on XING, LinkedIn and Facebook cost in comparison?

As a first qualification, it should be noted that the format and targeting are very important when it comes to costs. The following numbers correspond to the approximate averages we see in the campaigns.

However, depending on the target group and orientation, we also see strong deviations here. There are very focused, regional campaigns on XING that have a CPM (cost per mille / TKP) of € 3-5, but also LinkedIn ads for top target groups such as B. SAP consultants, where our CPC is more like 10-20 €.

Both Billing models There are several variants of LinkedIn, depending on the advertising format.

  • CPC (cost per click)
  • CPM (Cost per Mille - thousand contact price)
  • CPV (cost per view for videos)
  • CPS (Cost per Send for Sponsored InMail Ads)

There is no major difference in the models compared to XING, but there is in the minimum budget that companies have to take into their own hands. Here LinkedIn has no limits in the self-service tool. At XING, on the other hand, many formats are only available via the "managed service" and have minimum budgets:

  • Display from € 10,000
  • Mailings: from € 30,000
  • Sponsored Articles from € 10,000
  • Video from € 5,000

LinkedIn vs. Google Ads

When comparing Facebook and LinkedIn Ads, the huge difference in click prices is obvious. In this context, however, it is also exciting to look at Google Ads, as this channel is one of the most important contact points with customers for many B2B companies.

96% of B2B purchase decisions start with a search.

If we compare the CPCs of LinkedIn and Google Ads, this puts the cost of LinkedIn into perspective a bit. The following example is from international campaigns for a customer of ours. The aim is to generate leads from interested parties for a product that requires explanation.

Of course, a comparison of Google and LinkedIn Ads lags, since the environment and user intention differ greatly. At Google, users are actively searching, so we are in the area of ​​pull marketing. At LinkedIn, users are more likely to be in discovery mode and we do push marketing.

Nevertheless, this comparison is helpful as a classification of what investments a company has to do if it wants to reach very specific target groups.

There is also no question of whether you'd better do Google or LinkedIn. In the best case, the solution is: both. And the whole thing is embedded in an overarching strategy.

The goal of LinkedIn is to build up demand, while Google is about siphoning off the demand. So it may well be that LinkedIn does not work for you in the first step just looking at the costs per lead.

Google is more relevant in the purchase decision process when users actively search for providers, i.e. at an advanced stage. LinkedIn, on the other hand, can start earlier and thus sustainably guide and influence a later decision.

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Requirements for campaigns on XING and LinkedIn to be worthwhile

Whether XING or LinkedIn: The costs for campaigns will be high if you want to achieve significant reach. Although there are no official minimum budgets (apart from the specific formats at XING, see above), experience shows that it is difficult to achieve meaningful results and empirical values ​​with less than € 2,000.

In order for the investment to pay off, the following requirements should be met:

The value per customer must be high; in the ideal case, there is a business model that enables long-term cooperation with a won customer. This means that the high initial acquisition costs for new customers can be profitable in the long term.

For this it is important that marketing and sales work closely together and are well coordinated. This ensures that the conversion rate from leads to customers is high and profitability is guaranteed. A CRM that is used jointly by Marketing and Sales is the ideal basis for this.

XING and LinkedIn in comparison: what's better now?

The mother of all answers: It depends. Strengths and weaknesses are different. Here you shouldn't be blinded by the subjective assessment of the online marketing industry. Instead, the question is who do you want to reach and what the goal of your actions is.

The following assessment represents a cross-section of our experience with a wide variety of campaigns on the networks. There are individual cases in which the weighting deviates from this. However, you can use this very well as a rough guide.

LinkedIn is absolutely establishing itself as a Content platform, on which companies and individuals can build their reputation on a topic and become an authority through good content. XING is in its infancy here.

Lead generation and Social selling works well across both platforms, but from our experience LinkedIn is slightly ahead here.

XING is particularly involved in the DACH region "Classic" target groupssuch as B. A power to managing directors of medium-sized companies. If you target this group, then you cannot ignore XING and with the focus on LinkedIn you leave a lot of potential.

in the international marketing XING is almost insignificant, here you should concentrate your resources exclusively on LinkedIn.

Only with the topic Events XING is one step ahead. If your goal is to attract participants to events, then the Hamburg offices offer valuable functions. LinkedIn is still in its infancy here and is only developing this field. Let's wait and see what comes next.

Conclusion: not XING or LinkedIn, but make targeted use of the strengths of the individual networks

XING and LinkedIn can both play an important part in your B2B marketing mix if you use the networks according to their strengths. It is important that they are played strategically and with user-quality content. Of course, you should also check whether Facebook and Instagram can also help you to reach your target group and your goals. Here, too, there are exciting opportunities for B2B companies, especially in the area of ​​employer branding and recruiting.

If there are enough resources and you are primarily active in the DACH region, then the question shouldn't be “LinkedIn or XING”. It is more about how you can optimally combine the two networks and get the best out of your company.

Robin is the founder and managing director of morefire. After training as an advertising clerk and studying media business alongside his job, he started his own business with morefiremedia and, after the merger with rankingCHECK, continues to manage the agency together with Marcel Becker and Tom Waniek. His great passion are emotional texts in advertisements and on landing pages. He passionately shares his enthusiasm for texts and PPC topics in seminars and lectures.