I’ve received my first invitation to connect on BranchOut, the Facebook professional network.
Now, I’m interested in social media, both professionally and because it’s intrinsically interesting. It’s even fun. I’ve made friends at forums, linked with people at LinkedIn, and I just won a prize at Spoke. I was an early adopter at G+ and I have embraced Pinterest. I’m not one of those social media curmudgeons who would like to limit social media platforms and I’m not leading into a rant about how there are too many social media sites. That would be like complaining about too many parties.
But BranchOut, a less than one year old competitor of LinkedIn, was a new one on me. Until I was invited, I’d never even heard of it.
Duty called. I signed up, declined the suggestion to invite all my friends in, and received this message: “Use the search bar to find the people, jobs and companies that can help you achieve your career goals.”
Do a little searching and you’ll find an even bolder statement of the advantage of BranchOut:
“WHY USE BRANCHOUT?
- Discover where your friends work
- Find connections at top companies”
So there it is. You already have friends at Facebook, so now you can find out in a sneaky way which of them might be able to help you advance your career. If they were actually friends, of course, you’d already know where they worked.
Never mind. BranchOut is unabashedly for job hunters. It makes no pretense of being for generalized networking or professional development. It’s a place where you can post your jobs and ask your friends (or acquaintances) to help you find a job without all that tedious pretense of conversation. There’s probably a need for that. Think of it as the professional equivalent of speed dating: efficient, because everybody knows why you’re there. Not a place for the gradual ripening of relationships that will need to mutual benefit over the years.
The question here, assuming you don’t unlimited time and resources for social media, is whether BranchOut is a good choice for you. We think most businesses can keep up with about three social media channels (we’ll be happy to help if your time is more valuable than that). If you’re not a job hunter, BranchOut probably shouldn’t be one of them. Even though it’s at Facebook, it’s separate. Apart from the constant urging to invite all your friends to join you there, that is. You’d have to allot additional time there beyond what you already spend at Facebook.
Post your jobs there, for sure. The premium headhunter version might be valuable for companies that can use a steady stream of young people (and would like the opportunity to weed out those who are wildly indiscreet at Facebook). Chances are, your customers aren’t there unless you market to job hunters.
It makes sense, for any newish social media platform you learn about, to give serious thought to its likely benefit for your company in particular. If you can make a profile, get the link, and abandon it, go ahead. If it requires participation to provide benefits, decide how it fits your overall social media strategy before committing to it.
(If you don’t have a social media strategy, give Rosie a call at 318.572.6002 and let us help you with that.)