At this point you’ve seen the announcement, Facebook has decided to go after some of that ‘professional’ networking money, with a product called Facebook at Work. A space currently owned by the LinkedIn empire. Who does social networking better than anyone? Most would argue Facebook. The kids might say Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. But the numbers don’t lie.
LinkedIn owns the ‘professional’ networking space, as they’ve decided to title it. The job board crowd now sees LinkedIn as Job Board 2.0, and have been working to see how they can get some of the billions flowing LinkedIn’s way.
Facebook is like that big giant kid in high school who was super friendly, and everyone called him a “big teddy bear’, until one day the wrong kid pushed the ‘teddy bear’ too much and everyone got to find out how strong the ‘teddy bear’ actually was. LinkedIn is about to get ‘bear’ hugged!
The reality is Facebook had the capability all along to put LinkedIn out of business if they wanted, but they were raking in their own piles of cash, and didn’t see the LinkedIn money as a priority. It was just a matter of time. LinkedIn’s core weakness is two-fold:
1. They don’t go deep enough with the position you actually need to hire for. Great you have technology candidates (who are running away from LinkedIn in droves), you have sales candidates and you have recruiters. That’s really about it. Have you searched on LinkedIn lately?
2. Users of LinkedIn rarely go to their LinkedIn profile and rarely respond to LinkedIn messages.
The two weaknesses of LinkedIn are actually strengths of Facebook. Facebook has everyone, from skilled trades folks, to truck drivers, to teachers, to doctors, and lawyers, and bakers, and candlestick makers, mall Santas, you name it, they’re on Facebook. Secondly, people use Facebook a lot, all day, every day. Exponentially, more than they ever use LinkedIn.
Facebook has made it very clear they’ll keep professional and personal profiles separated, but make it easy to go between and share stuff in between. This takes away the one major fear many have at integrating their Facebook life and their LinkedIn life (although I argue this fear is also going away quickly).
For those of us who have found ways to recruit talent off Facebook, we understand the potential of the sleeping giant, err, teddy bear. I like LinkedIn and use it daily. I wish LinkedIn met my needs for a greater number of positions. I believe Facebook has the user base, and data, to be all things professional if it’s done in the right way.
It’s going to be interesting to see these two fight it out.