BranchOut is one of the hottest new apps on Facebook. The company, only in existence for two years, is now the largest professional network and job board on Facebook, with 25 million registered users and 3 million jobs and internships posted. The idea behind BranchOut is simple but elegent: allow users to take advantage of their existing network of Facebook friends for professional purposes.
Rick Marini, CEO and founder of BranchOut, saw an opportunity to give those looking to network with their Facebook friends a way to connect, or “branch out,” so to speak. Sound like LinkedIn? Marini sees LinkedIn as more tailored for the executive market, whereas BranchOut is a more informal way for anyone to reach out to their community when seeking new opportunities.¹
BranchOut represents a subtle but profound iteration of social networking that exemplifies the value of the Facebook platform. The largest single concentration of humans online, Facebook’s current and potential value is found in its user base, not only for the data they produce, but for the actions they take.
As Greg Finn wrote in a recent MarketingLand post, the Facebook stream should be thought of as a more modern version of RSS. People use Facebook to socialize, learn and inform. In March of 2012, there were 398 million users who were on Facebook at least 6 out of 7 days, and there are over 42 million pages with 10+ likes. This audience is engaged and receptive to the user-generated content shared by their Facebook friends.
With these engagement numbers, it’s no wonder that an app like BranchOut can become a disruptive force in such short order.
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THE BOTTOM LINE
BranchOut’s experience provides two takeaways for businesses. On a basic level, if you’re looking for the best place to recruit Millennials, you may want to start on BranchOut rather than LinkedIn. On a deeper level, BranchOut is but one app in the Facebook ecosystem. This is significant, because it reflects the power of the Facebook platform as a kingmaker for some of the best new ideas.
As more app developers and start-ups acknowledge this fact by opting to showcase their wares on the Facebook platform, the social network can provide an even stronger UX (user experience) to its base, fostering deeper user engagement. Such engagement generates more data for Facebook to mine, which it can use to demand higher revenues for its various ad schemes.
Presuming Zuckerberg sticks to the principle of constantly enhancing UX, Facebook will maintain and grow its user base. With the largest and most-engaged online population on Earth, anything is possible.
¹ The Next Web, “BranchOut’s Rick Marini: A new generation wants to find work via Facebook, not LinkedIn [Video]”
Images courtsey of BranchOut