Why BranchOut, the LinkedIn of Facebook, Deserves Your Professional Attention

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We are all acquiring a virtual portfolio of social media websites where we have our profiles displayed and are using for a variety of purposes.  While we tend to use LinkedIn for professional networking, most professionals I meet use Facebook in a very private way.  In my recent book Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales and Social Media Marketing, I argued that it’s time for us all to create our “Public Persona,” and in doing so we can utilize LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter the exact same.  Unfortunately, while Facebook has 900+ million users and would be ideal to use to complement LinkedIn for networking, it is not an easy platform to navigate and find people as one can do on LinkedIn.  The solution?  Meet BranchOut.

I recently blogged about comparing BranchOut to LinkedIn, and this sparked a very lively discussion in the Fans of Mashable LinkedIn Group.  What impressed me most about the discussion is that the Community Manager for BranchOut, Alison Hillman, was actually listening – and joined in the conversation.  She provided invaluable information which helped steer the conversation – and it made sense for me to interview her as a follow up to that previous blog post and conversation.

Alison makes some compelling points as to why you should consider adding BranchOut, a social network built on an application that resides within Facebook, to your portfolio of social media websites to utilize for professional networking.

Can you share with me a few BranchOut case studies or success stories to get people excited about joining?

BranchOut has been used by all kinds of professionals looking to network and advance their careers. Here are some of our favorite user stories.

[Out of all of these stories, the two that caught my eye were the multimedia content creator and licensor who claims she got close to 35% of her revenues from BranchOut as well as the job seeker who found a job using BranchOut due to introductions from friends.  In either case it’s important to note that not all of our friends are on LinkedIn, and therefore BranchOut is a natural complement to using LinkedIn when looking for a job – or new business.]

One of the common criticisms is that some people like to keep their work/professional activities separate from family and friends info sharing. Hence LinkedIn vs. Facebook. BranchOut is FB based, so if you don’t mind building a professional network within Facebook then it’s fine…but most don’t. How do you respond to that?

The benefit of building your professional profile on BranchOut is that you still get to keep your personal life separate from your professional life. When you create a professional profile on BranchOut, you create a safe, secure and separate profile that you can use to connect with people professionally. This means that your status updates, photo albums, and other personal information are not visible on BranchOut to your contacts, including employers, recruiters and your professional contacts. For this reason, BranchOut is also the perfect place to connect with professional contacts when you do not want to friend them on Facebook. Thus, your personal life stays on Facebook while your professional life stays on BranchOut!

Is this statement true? “When I was invited to use BranchOut, I noticed that by accepting the invitation not only do I give it access to my personal information, but also that of all of my contacts on Facebook. To me this is completely unacceptable and a violation of other people’s privacy that I do not want to be a part of.”

BranchOut only accesses people’s publicly available work and education information as specified in every user’s privacy settings on Facebook. When you join BranchOut, only your publicly available work and education information is pulled into the application. BranchOut also pulls in the publicly available work and education information of your friend graph in order to help you search the companies and jobs that your friends have had to help you in your professional life. No personal information, like status updates, photos, or other information you share on Facebook, is shared on BranchOut.

How does BranchOut plan to become the “LinkedIn of Facebook?”

People obviously compare us to LinkedIn a lot, but we actually offer a complementary service to an audience that LinkedIn doesn’t address. LinkedIn a great job at helping the 10% of the workforce that’s white collar, those making over $100K. We have those individuals in our database, but we address the other 90% of the workforce, specifically the Facebook generation – people who care about using their real relationships, those on Facebook, to help them with their job search. By helping this market advance professionally, we hope to maintain our dominant market position as the #1 professional network on Facebook.

There you have it.  Did this convince you to take a closer look at BranchOut?

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professionals strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer


Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness & @socialtoolssmmt | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker
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  1. says

    Another copy cat service (FB/Branch out) that is significantly inferior. LinkedIn is far and away superior and to dismiss it as white collar may actually be beneficial for those who leverage the platform.

    • says

      Thanks for chiming in Steve. There is no doubt that LinkedIn is the premiere social networking platform for professionals. But to some on Facebook who aren’t on LinkedIn – or are on LinkedIn but aren’t connected with their friends there – BranchOut does hold some potential, no?

      • says

        Glad to chime in Neal. My point of view is that if a business professional is not on LinkedIn then he or she ought to be. I’m less optimistic about the “potential” of Branchout because it is not all about number of connections. It is all about quality of connections.

        • says

          Thanks Steve. To say it is a no-brainer that every professional should be on LinkedIn is an understatement! That being said, not ALL of our friends are on LinkedIn – and if some of them are on Facebook, it opens up potential that BranchOut could help us mine.

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing the article regarding branch out and previously I didn’t giving attention to branch out but after reading the article I think I should rethink my strategy.

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