LinkedIn vs BranchOut vs Facebook: Best Sites For Professional Networking Compared
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LinkedIn vs BranchOut vs Facebook: Best Sites For Professional Networking Compared

LinkedIn is an effective choice for those who want some flexibility in how they network whether it’s for sales, finding a job or hiring people. BranchOut is essentially a tool for business networking through Facebook, but it’s effective for those who want to use Facebook without mixing up the professional and personal. Facebook itself is an effective professional networking tool, especially for those who don’t mind using Facebook mostly for professional reasons.
Covered in this report
LinkedIn — Best Features
4 different premium accounts available based on whether you want to recruit, sell, find a job, or grow your business.
Check who has searched for you in the last 90 days including how they found you.
Best for: Those who want versatility in how they grow their professional career through networking.
BranchOut — Best Features
Link to Facebook but create a separate professional page from your social Facebook one.
Invite friends from Facebook and access their professional network.
Best for: Those who would rather keep their social and professional identities separate.
Facebook — Best Features
Install professional apps for aiding in business networking of all types.
Create separate professional page to promote your career.
Best for: Those who want to use Facebook primarily for business networking.
Review

Social media is about far more than basic socializing these days: it’s the perfect medium for professionals seeking to network and advance their careers. This is true whether they are doing it from a personal account or through a business account. Here are a few social media sites out there these days, including how each of them matches up in terms of professional networking ability.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn allows you to set up a professional profile and connect to current work contacts. Through these contacts, you can find more and more people that might be able to help you in your professional career.

Features

  • Get 5 Introductions at Once-Once you start networking through LinkedIn, you can get up to 5 introductions to new people you might want to meet through the people you already know at once.
  • 4 Different Premium Accounts-These include “Business Plus,” “Job Seeker,” an account for recruiters, and an account for those who want to boost sales. This makes it easier to focus in on what kind of professional networking you want to do.
  • Save as Many as 3 Searches with Weekly Alerts-With the free basic account, you can save your searches and get alerts weekly about any new additions to your network within those search parameters.
  • View Who’s Searched You in the Last 90 Days-If you get a plan like Business Plus, you can take a look at who’s searched for you in the last 30 days and even see exactly how they found you. This can be tremendously helpful for networking and growing your professional business.

BranchOut

BranchOut focuses specifically on recruiting, sales and job searching. Their main page lets you search for the people or jobs you want right at the top. It’s worth noting that BranchOut only works with Facebook. You have to login through Facebook in order to use the service.

Features

  • Facebook Integration-You can connect your Facebook page directly to BranchOut so you don’t have to go through a lot of extra work filling out forms.
  • Gamification-BranchOut uses likes and ribbons to encourage users to interact with the service. This is how the site gains members rapidly, making it useful for networking professionally.
  • Search Jobs and Profiles-There’s a prominent search bar right on the main page of BranchOut that lets you search for jobs or people to network with right away. The interface is essentially more intuitive and convenient than with other sites like LinkedIn.

 

Facebook

Facebook is easily one of the most recognizable social networking sites on the planet, but you can also do professional networking this way as well.

Features

 

  • Professional Networking Apps-Facebook has its own apps for helping to network professionally. There are actually thousands of apps that help you advance your professional career or business through page customization, video integration and specialized searching tools.
  • Create Business Pages-If you want to focus on professional promotion of your business, you can create a separate Facebook page just for your business and then promote and network that way. This still requires you to have a social page to begin with, and the idea is that you’ll probably promote your professional side through your social page.
  • Promote Yourself Professionally-Once you create a professional offshoot page through your main Facebook page, you can click “Promote” to have the page seen by people looking at pages with related keywords. This can be an effective extra way to network.
  • Page Customization-Partly because of the wide number of apps, and partly because of native Facebook features, you have the ability to micromanage your professional Facebook page quite a bit. You can still use your regular name, but just add the professional part of your life such as author, musician, business manager and so on. You can alter how the page looks in terms of colors and setup, add buttons and more.

Head to Head

 Price

LinkedIn has a few different types of premium accounts. The two that are the most relevant for professionals are “Job Seeker” and “Business Plus.” Job Seeker helps connect you to recruiter and hiring managers. This costs about $30 per month. The “Business Plus” plan is about $60 per year after the first month. You can contact anyone you want on LinkedIn with this plan, up to 15 times per period.

The only extra upgrade you can get for BranchOut is a premium job listing which posts to the entire BranchOut network and not just your personal network. This service can vary in cost but is usually around $50.

The main way to get upgrades to professional networking on Facebook is to click the “create call to action” button on a Facebook page you’ve made. You can also click on “Promote Page.” This is for pages you’ve created through your normal social page. You can choose a daily budget, including when it will end. So, for example, if you choose $5, you’ll get 4-17 likes per day according to Facebook. You can do this for as many days as you want. You can also choose keywords to use for promotion and even what type of currency to pay in.

Features

The only way to really contact LinkedIn easily through their page is to be signed in, and to then click on the menu button and select “Send feedback.” You can then send a message through an email form.

You have to click on the “FAQ” link at the bottom of the main page, and then scroll all the way down to get the email for contacting BranchOut. There doesn’t seem to be any other way to do this easily. BranchOut is useful for people who don’t want to re-establish an entire new network for professional purposes, which is what you have to do with LinkedIn, for example. The advantage is that you can just use Facebook and go from there with the two separate parts of your life.

Facebook is fairly intuitive in terms of creating a professional side to your normal Facebook operations. All you have to do is hit the “create page” link. This option does have the danger of making your professional and personal lives mix a bit though, even more so than with BranchOut since you can invite friends more selectively with that service.

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