Facebook recently launched a new product that will allow businesses to create their own customized version of the platform for the workplace, dubbed "Facebook at Work". It has already begun rolling out in select businesses, along with mobile apps that are called "Work". Facebook has stated that the new offering will be very similar to the existing Facebook offering, but will not serve ads, track user data, and remain a private system that can only be accessed by a company's employees. Although the platform is certainly an interesting proposition for a lot of businesses, Joe Pulizzi, Founder of the Content Marketing Institute and author of Epic Content Marketing, pointed out that a lot of companies already use existing platforms like Yammer or Slack for this need:
@BFMweb I honestly have no idea at this point. I like the strategy from FB, but there is a ton of competition there. - Joe Pulizzi (@JoePulizzi) January 21, 2015
The program definitely has potential, but because it is still difficult to know for sure how successful it could be. While the verdict is still out, we've surveyed some of our social media and HR experts to see what their thoughts are on the introduction of this new app, and if they feel that it is something businesses will be clamoring to add in the near future:
Joe DiNardo, Director of Paid & Social Media:
This is really more of an HR play for Facebook than anything else. It creates a "Private" Facebook instance for an organization, allowing users who work together to be "friends" while maintaining a wall between their work profile and their personal/real profile. This doesn't really impact social media so much as it further underlines how platforms like Facebook and Twitter have changed the way humans connect and communicate - drifting from impersonal emails towards, to some degree, public facing discussions and the sharing of ideas.
Samantha Lambert, Director of Human Resources:
With all of the small print and ongoing changes surrounding privacy policies on mainstream Facebook, how can organizations that use the Facebook at Work platform for internal communications be sure client information will remain secure? My initial impression is that this will be just as much as a time-sucker as mainstream Facebook is.
Kate Endres, Senior Social Media Marketing Specialist:
The success of Facebook at Work will largely depend on the support the product receives from each individual business. Many companies are comfortable with the products that they are currently using in terms of an enterprise network, and may be hesitant to switch over to one that is a product of Facebook (especially if they do not encourage use of social channels at the office). I expect that the product will be adopted by younger, innovative companies, and avoided by those with tighter corporate structures. Personally, I hope that they release a feature that allows users to edit the in-app shared documents!
Megan Biondi, Social Media Marketing Specialist:
think that Facebook at Work could be very successful depending on the company. It would be a great way for teams to share relevant industry news, participate in group conversations and learn more about each other's thoughts as to what is going on in the industry. If employees feel comfortable sharing articles online maybe it will make them more confident during brainstorms in the office and help spur innovative industry conversations at the watercooler.
Pamela Nichols, Social Media Marketing Specialist:
I personally would be surprised if this product were to take off. I think that the nature of the current platform allows for connections to be maintained where they might have otherwise fallen through due to distance or time. Sure, the platform could prove to be beneficial in broadcasting company-wide social gatherings, but in my experience, the nature of the workplace thrives more when these interactions are planned on a face-to-face basis. Say you were to add a new member to your team, are you not more likely as an active employee to speak to this person, in person? Call me old fashioned, but I feel direct contact is the most effective way to build relationships in the workplace.
Angelina Concialdi, Social Media Marketing Associate:
Although the saying "Facebook at Work," is typically a phrase that is frowned upon by corporate America, I think the tool could bring about some fun in the work place. Of course, it will fuel the fire of comments on millennials and their inability to communicate in person, which isn't true. We just also have a lot of fun in the digital world!
So, Will Facebook at Work Help Your Business Strategy?
As you can tell from the mix of responses, the jury is still very much out on whether or not Facebook at Work will be a game-changing platform that takes businesses to the next level. A lot of its success it going to depend on whether or not the platform is perceived as secure enough to host sensitive documents on without the fear of having them stolen, delivers enough benefits over existing competition in the space, and if it can provide enough value for businesses to take the time to set up in place of existing processes they might already have. Will you be adding Facebook at Work to your company's internal structure? Let us know why or why not in the comments section below: