BranchOut – Facebook’s missing LinkedIn?

branchoutAt BlueSky PR we recognise the value of social media and are constantly looking at opportunities with emerging platforms. We know how important it is to utilise new sites, but we also need to remember that the ones we already have are constantly evolving, and we have to keep up-to-date with any changes.

One such example is BranchOut, which has grown into the largest professional networking app on Facebook. After launching in July 2010, it now has around 25 million users. So, how can it benefit you?

If you upload your CV you can search and apply for jobs from over 3 million opportunities. After finding a role that looks appealing, you are able to see your own connections to the company as well as your friends’ connections. The aim is to add contacts to build up your network so that friends can help friends to find and secure a job.

It’s a nice idea, but undoubtedly it has been compared to LinkedIn as a professional tool. Given LinkedIn’s popularity, the common consensus seems to be that LinkedIn is better and, as they have around 150 million users, I don’t think BranchOut can be seen as a true competitor just yet.

Having said that, it took LinkedIn 65 months to reach 25 million users, whereas BranchOut did it in 16 months. In addition, Facebook has around 850 million users, so there is definitely an audience for BranchOut and it has the potential to expand.

As BranchOut is a Facebook app, it has been suggested that it is attracting first time job seekers rather than professionals. Although businesses do use Facebook, it still has a perception of being more for personal use by the younger generation, whereas LinkedIn has much more of a formal feel. However, perhaps this makes BranchOut more appealing to a wider audience who feel that LinkedIn is just for managers and executives. What do you think?

It’s clear that the two are going to be compared, as they are both using social media in order to achieve career goals, but I’d say there’s space in the market for LinkedIn and BranchOut at the moment. If you already have LinkedIn and aren’t a keen Facebook user, then the chances are you’re not missing out on a great deal. However, if you’re looking to use social media in your job search for the first time, why not give BranchOut a go?

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