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Oliver Ewbank

BranchOut: The Professional Network on Facebook

11th May 2011 Social Media, Facebook, News, Industry News, Social Media 2 minutes to read

Ever wondered if Facebook could ever have its own version of LinkedIn? Well thanks to BranchOut it does, or, at the very least, could. Let’s take a look at what it’s all about…

What is it?

BranchOut is a professional social network that is leveraged on Facebook. Much like LinkedIn it provides users with a platform to network with other professionals, or in other words, career networking.

Users can network and find jobs through friends using the app and BranchOut claim they have over ‘3 million job listings’ and ‘over 20 million inside connections’. This can’t be far off the case, because users can search for companies and the app will show you the friends that work there or people they know who work there.

How does it work?

Once you have downloaded the BranchOut app, you can create your own professional profile. You can import information from your Facebook profile and LinkedIn profile if you have one as well. Your professional profile will display your employment and educational history, skills and attributes.

It should be noted that your personal Facebook profile will not be used on your professional profile, except for the personal information that you import. Therefore, no personal pictures or information can be shared on your professional profile.

Once you have set up your profile, you can then search for jobs, internships and connections, which are posted up by companies and users themselves. Furthermore, the new BranchOut Job’s Tab will post up job opportunities to a company’s Facebook page and users can apply, share or see their connections at the prospective company.

How is it different to LinkedIn?

Well, LinkedIn simply doesn’t have the same number of users as Facebook. With nearly 700 million users, Facebook is nearly seven times the size of its social rival.

This means there is much more data that can be unlocked through Facebook because of the sheer amount of users. BranchOut therefore has a distinct advantage as career information can be sourced from the world’s largest social network.

Will it work?
According to founder Rick Marini, “The future of professional networking is going to be driven by Facebook.” That is certainly hard to disagree with; especially as Facebook continues to grow and given that BranchOut have only been active for ten months, they already have over 300,000 active users. The future of BranchOut looks bright too.

According to TechCrunch, BranchOut have announced extra funding for their Facebook focussed professional network. According to the article, Marini explains that $18 million has been raised bringing their total funding to $24 million. The money will be used for their own recruitment, as they focus on developing an enterprise product.

Since its inception in July 2010, BranchOut have focussed on the existing consumer-faced product, however with engineering and sales recruitment, they are looking to design a specialised product that could be used for recruiters and sales people to search for potential leads.

Summary

As social networking and social media grows and evolves, the way we interact and work on a daily basis does as well. Recruitment has always been strongly integrated online thanks to the rich databases to source leads from. And thanks to professional networks such as LinkedIn, the way we look for jobs and network has also evolved as well. With the addition of BranchOut, and subsequent data from the world’s largest social network, professional networking looks set to literally ‘branch out’ itself.

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Oliver Ewbank
About the author

Oliver Ewbank

Working in new media for over 8 years, Oliver has worked for a range of brands including eBay and SportBusiness.com on SEO, PPC and Social Media Management. He has won awards for his SEO work and been featured in a number of publications, including Virgin online.

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