Networking for Business on Facebook with BranchOut
BranchOut is a Facebook app that hit the scene a few months ago and has the potential to create a Facebook/LinkedIn hybrid, allowing users to leverage their Facebook connections to find business opportunities.
While Facebook and LinkedIn are two very different animals and many users of both prefer to keep personal and professional separate, the idea of combining the virtues of each is certainly interesting. Here is a look at BranchOut, what it offers and some of the discussion around the app.
What It Is
BranchOut is a Facebook app that helps you expand your career network to include everyone you know on Facebook. Every time a Facebook friend joins BranchOut, you see where they used to work, where they work now, and where their friends work.
Leverage Facebook Connections for Business
The most obvious benefit of BranchOut is that you can expand your career network through all of your friends on Facebook. You can search by company name, see a full list of all your friends on Facebook and all of the places they worked, search the BranchOut database for job opportunities, and help your friends get jobs.
Ultimately, every person you connect with on BranchOut builds value for you and all your connections.
Import from LinkedIn
BranchOut includes an import function that pulls all of your data from LinkedIn, so you don’t have to redo everything you did when you set up your LinkedIn profile. But you’re not limited to using your LinkedIn data either. Once you import, you can edit any part of your profile and customize the career history and information you show on Facebook.
Like LinkedIn, BranchOut includes an endorsement function that lets others provide testimonials about you and your work and you can do the same for your friends. This is a vital part of any business networking app.
What You Should Know
In order for a networking app like this to be effective, you have to be willing to install the app, share your Facebook data with a third party, then invite your friends to do the same. The latter may be a tough one, especially when there are two very distinct Facebook camps — those who use it for a professional networking tool, and those who prefer to keep Facebook personal only.
Overall, BranchOut has a tremendous amount of potential for those who want to use Facebook as a business networking tool. The growth potential remains to be seen, but while I don’t see an app like this entirely replacing LinkedIn anytime soon, there is no denying the value this provides business social media users.
Have you tried BranchOut? What do you think are the biggest benefits or drawbacks?