As a career and workplace specialist, I regularly get asked the question, "What can I use besides LinkedIn to help my career?" Not everyone enjoys the LinkedIn platform. Especially, more tech-savvy professionals who feel in comparison to other social media tools, LinkedIn is harder navigate, less intuitive, and visually unappealing. Unfortunately, at this time, LinkedIn has no direct competitors. And, while I think their space is ripe for disruption (they need a competitor!), no new platforms have come across my desk that I think can catch up to them. However, I am seeing signs Facebook will soon give LinkedIn a run for its money.

2 Ways Facebook Isn't Just For Your Personal Life Anymore

Until recently, each social media platform had very distinctive uses. I would tell clients, "Facebook is fun, Twitter is timely, and LinkedIn is your livelihood." This helped them see which platform to leverage, depending on the situation. However, Microsoft's intention to buy LinkedIn could distract the company, since mergers historically slowdown innovation. Meanwhile, Facebook is doubling-down on its desire to be the platform you use for all aspects of your life. Especially, your career.

First, Facebook's new collaborative work platform, Workplace, is intended to compete with Slack, Hipchat, and other tools companies have been using to enable workers to connect and work together virtually. Given how many of us already use Facebook, the idea is the learning curve to integrate their collaborative platform will be much smaller, making adoption and usage easier for companies looking to improve communication across their teams.

Second, the rise and growing popularity of closed Facebook groups (ones where you must ask and be accepted to join), is making users realize they can be more intentional about what they share and who they share it with on Facebook. (i.e. when you post inside a closed Facebook group, only fellow members see it and they can't share it outside the group.) This now makes separating your professional self from your personal one a heck of a lot easier on Facebook.

4 Facebook Groups That Can Help Your Career

I predict closed Facebook groups are going to continue to grow in popularity because of how easy they make it to discuss timely and niche topics with like-minded people. Three big complaints I hear about LinkedIn groups are A) the lack of engagement from members, B) they're intimidating, and C) the functionality is limited.

At my own company, we decided to test the power of a closed Facebook group and were pleasantly surprised with the results. Within a month of starting Work It Daily - All About Career, a group where professionals could share their career challenges, we acquired 700+ members. It's a private place to discuss job search, career changes, and the many trials and tribulations of getting ahead. Our trained coaches respond to the private posts left by members. But, we also see an incredible amount of comments and feedback from fellow members. The result? Members get solid, timely advice and encouragement without all their Facebook friends seeing it - such as their boss, co-workers, etc. We aren't the only ones leveraging the potential of Facebook groups to help people in their careers. Here are three more closed groups that are helping particular types of professionals:

  • Limitless Careerist - With over 14,000 members, this closed group is specifically for Millennials. Managed by a popular career coach to the youngest generation in our workforce, Ashley Stahl, it's delivering timely advice in a voice that speaks to career-minded, Facebook-savvy, Millennial workers.
  • Moms With Careers Making It Work - With 2,000 members and counting, what I like about this closed Facebook group is the application process. You must fill out a form to validate to the group managers that you are in fact a working mom.
  • Online Business Mastery with Lewis Howes - This former pro football player, turned online business marketer has over 4,000 members in his private group. He offers immediate value (and, leverages his marketing savvy), by requiring you to download his e-book that provides a list of resources for first-time online entrepreneurs in order to join his group.

PS - Why Facebook Could Make LinkedIn Go The Way Of MySpace

As Facebook continues to figure out how to get us to spend more time on their platform, it only makes sense they'd want to get involved with our careers. We spend one-third of our day at work. Our happiness is directly tied to what we do for a living. And, people just don't like having to go to a separate platform, like LinkedIn, for their career. Especially, one they feel is confusing and intimidating. In my opinion, if Facebook can crack the code and take the "work" out of networking, LinkedIn could see a big decrease in usage by members.

Published on: Oct 19, 2016