Facebook Vs. LinkedIn: A Look Back

About a year ago, I wrote about Facebook overtaking and eventually replacing LinkedIn. Since both social networks have been in the news recently, I thought now would be a good time to look back on that prediction — and how the social media recruiting landscape has changed since then.

image from pammarketingnut.com

In the past few weeks, LinkedIn has announced a doubling of revenueacquired SlideShare, and crossed the 100-million-user mark. Facebook, meanwhile, had its much-anticipated IPO, which fell far short of optimistic expectations.

When I wrote the blog post back in August, Google+ wasn’t a factor, and no one had heard of Pinterest. But now both sites are being used by big names, from Michael Kors to BWM to Fresh & Easy, for recruiting and employer branding. This means that LinkedIn is facing competition — but not necessarily from Facebook.

In my original article, I pointed to LinkedIn’s lack of innovation, calling its clean layout “bordering on empty.” But now the site offers dozens of premium packages for recruiters, agencies, and organizations, and has launched a special initiative to reach out to nonprofits. The acquisition of SlideShare, which businesses (including mine) use all the time to share presentations, has shown that LinkedIn is indeed innovating. At the same time, BranchOut and BeKnown, the two Facebook apps competing with LinkedIn, have grown more slowly than predicted.

So will Facebook still destroy LinkedIn? Examine the evidence, including the passionate debate in the comments section, and decide.

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I revisited the topic a week later, aggregating all the responses from other blogs.

A recruiter with the moniker “Recruiting Animal” put Jason Ginsburg, our director of interactive branding, through an interrogation on the topic.

And before I forget — thanks to Joe Light for writing the original Wall Street Journal article that showed some companies were finding more success recruiting on Facebook than on LinkedIn. Will other companies follow? Stay tuned…

Jody Ordioni is the author of “The Talent Brand.” In her role as Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Brandemix, she leads the firm in creating brand-aligned talent communications that connect employees to cultures, companies, and business goals. She engages with HR professionals and corporate teams on how to build and promote talent brands, and implement best-practice talent acquisition and engagement strategies across all media and platforms. She has been named a "recruitment thought leader to follow" and her mission is to integrate marketing, human resources, internal communications, and social media to foster a seamless brand experience through the employee lifecycle.


14 Comments on “Facebook Vs. LinkedIn: A Look Back

  1. Predictions like yours demonstrate the futility of ball-gazing.
    You demonstrate a flexible mind.

    My Space. MySpace What?

    “The more things change, the more they stay the same” ~ French proverb

  2. My friend Jody (it might be “coffee time”): The irrational exuberance of Wall Street has created monsters out of bunny rabbits as have recruiters created icons out of websites that offer quick ways to source but now are being afflicted with the “regression to the mean” disease.

    Yes, people are getting off of or minimizing their presence on LinkedIn to escape the marauding pinging by recruiters and marketers while Facebook contemplates diluting their dubious pool even more by letting youngsters on the site.

    Those of us who were the first on any of these – and other sites – have been quick to recognize when declining quality (AKA diminishing marginal utility) necessitates looking elsewhere for the people who can solve the problems that define the roles we’re filling.

    So the question is not whether one will trump the other but when both will fade away.

    I now look forward to Keith H.’s discourse on cheap sourcing.

  3. @ Steve, @ Maureen:
    Here you go- It’s faster, better and cheaper to use proven methods like Maureen’s direct telephone sourcing to find hard-to-find people than it is to run a slow, inefficient, and passive marketing-style campaign on Facebook or other SNs to get people interested in your company’s positions.



  4. Facebook is always going to be around, no matter how we cut it. Among the younger generation, that is, ages 18-34, time spent on Facebook significantly trumps that of Linkedin. A social network that facilitates personal interactions IN ADDITION to professional ones is sure to thrive. Because LinkedIn lacks the personal appeal that Facebook has, younger people tend to create LinkedIn accounts just leave them there, failing to check it regularly. Facebook’s 900 million or so active users are not going anywhere.
    And with up and coming Facebook recruiting software like Identified’s TalentLink, more and more people are going to be looking to Facebook for jobs.
    When we are able to apply to a job on a single social network without having to flip between websites, the process becomes much smoother. And the smoother the process is, the more applicant traffic employers will get.

    Take a look at TalentLink for Recruiters: http://employers.identified.com/recruitment-solutions/talentlink

    – Chris

  5. This gets even more interesting in light of this morning’s LinkedIn password hack. Some of the tweets have been pretty vicious, such as:

    “LinkedIn seems to be one of those services where I never go to — except to change my password.”


    “Imagine if the LinkedIn password thing was just a ploy by LinkedIn to get everyone to log into the site for the first time in two years?”

    These barns seem to indicate that a lot of people don’t use their LinkedIn account. In fact, they sound like MySpace jokes. I wonder how LinkedIn feels about that?

  6. @ Mighty Mo: We aimz ta pleeze….
    @ Chris: I’m looking for a database with the digital dossiers (including direct contact information) compiled from exclusively public sources on a few hundred million people, because the SNs, Spokeo, Entelo, TalentBin, etc. just don’t have that. Help us, NSA!


    Keith “To Know Everything About Everyone” Halperin

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