[Brand ME!] BranchOut vs. BeKnown - Which Facebook App for Your Career?

The fight for your time networking and job searching on Facebook is about to get heated. Two companies want you as their clients - and they are going to have to go to blows to get you! Imagine a Facebook Career App boxing ring... “In this corner, weighing in at 500 lbs, with a 15+ year record in the online job search business, a purple monster ready for a big come back. And in this corner, a 150 lbs sprite newcomer with little experience in job search, but plenty of VC funding and the power of a West Coast technology pedigree.” Welcome to the boxing match of the century – and it’s going to take place on the #1 social network in the world: Facebook. As a career coach, I advise you to pay attention. Here’s why... Monster.com makes a legitimate BIG announcement. Last week, I was contacted by the PR folks at Monster.com and told they had a top secret project they wanted me to know about before it went live. I must admit, I was intrigued and took the bait. You see, they asked me to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) and attend a private webinar explaining what was about to happen. Being from the East Coast (Monster.com was founded in greater Boston), and knowing their up and down business history, my immediate thought was, “This better be good Monster.com. You haven’t been in the limelight for a while. If all this hoop-jumping is for a big nothing, you could be nailing your coffin.” Well, they delivered. In the meeting, I learned of a very robust, easy-to-navigate career networking tool that bridges LinkedIn and Facebook. Where does the fight come in? There is already a somewhat established app in this area. Monster’s new BeKnown Facebook app is a direct competitor to the BranchOut Facebook app that does the same thing. Which means, the battle for market share is on. Ironically, I did a webinar on how to use the BranchOut app for our readers awhile back because I was truly excited to finally see someone recognizing the career networking potential of Facebook. At the time, BranchOut was dealing with some negative publicity around what some of their new users felt was spam-like activities on their Facebook wall when they signed up to use the BranchOut app. They’ve since resolved that, but not without leaving a really sour taste in many former users mouth. That hasn’t stopped BranchOut from securing a huge round of VC funding recently. I’m not sure if they intended to use that money on PR and marketing campaigns to build awareness, but candidly, I don’t see how they can afford not to now that Monster.com is on the scene with BeKnown. From what I’ve seen in the demo, the BeKnown app is far more advanced. Couple that with Monster.com’s established relationships with job seekers and corporations and you’ve got a potential comeback the likes of John Travolta after Pulp Fiction. BranchOut deserves credit so you shouldn’t underestimate them. That being said, it should be noted BranchOut was first on the scene with this type of Facebook app and deserves major kudos for its vision and time to market. I guarantee the BranchOut team has learned a lot about functionality and user-experience that is helping them move forward in their app’s effectiveness. Moreover, as a start-up, they have the business advantage of a smaller, more agile management structure that can make decisions and course corrections a lot faster than Monster.com. I expect to see them throw some quick jabs and upper-cuts in this fight that will make it very interesting. And, let’s not forget all that VC funding. They’ve got the fuel to last all 12 rounds – and then some. My advice: test and choose only one. The BeKnown and BranchOut Facebook apps have very similar abilities, but the designs are quite different. I think your best bet is to try both and see which one feels most user-friendly to you. Why? Because it doesn’t make sense to use both. As a career coach, I would rather see you pick one and use it consistently then spread yourself too thin by using both. These types of networking tools are only good if you actually use them – so the decision as to which one you find easier to use must be a priority in when choosing which one to invest your time in using. Watch this side-by-side comparison of BeKnown and BranchOut Facebook Apps. To help you with that, I recently put both Facebook apps to the test on our web TV show, Brand ME! I went over both applications and answer questions. So, watch it now and decide for yourself which one to use. The most important thing to remember is this: The goal is to choose one and use it! Regardless of whether you pick BranchOut or BeKnown, the fact is networking on Facebook is a must-do for your career. So, get in the game! The new expectation is every professional know how to promote their personal brand. During each Brand ME! episode, you'll learn the tips and techniques necessary to make your brand stand out which will help you get recognized for your strengths and expertise. Watch » Brand ME! every Thursday at 1:00 PM ET

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