A new product released by Facebook lets businesses use a customised version of Facebook for their business. This is known as “Facebook at Work, and it is already in effect at many businesses. This is a service that is very similar to what Facebook already offers, but it retracts some of the functionality. Users no longer have to see ads or be concerned about having their data tracked. It functions primarily as a private network. While this platform has some interesting ideas and possibilities, the Epic Content Marketing author Joe Pulizza has noted that many companies use other platforms for this same service already. These include Yammer and Slack.
There is certainly potential with the Facebook at Work program, but because it is new and untested it is hard for anyone to really say at this point. We have reached out to several human resources and social media experts to get their opinions on the platform. We specifically asked them if they think it is something that businesses will embrace and if it will prove useful for those businesses. Joe Dinardo from Blue Fountain Media told us that it feels like Facebook is really just promoting itself through human resources. It allows Facebook to still be in use at places it normally would not be, creating a private system for companies to utilise.
Its impact on social media isn’t substantial, but it does belie the pervasiveness of social media and how many people and companies are moving away from many other forms of communication to embrace social media as their communication hubs of choice. Samantha Lambert, also from Blue Fountain Media, said that Facebook at Work poses a security risk for many companies. These companies are already aware of the way Facebook spreads personal information and shares it with third parties. Many companies are going to be worried that their private business information is going to end up shared as well. She predicts that Facebook at Work is going to suck away employee time as much as the main site does already.
Kate Endres, who works in marketing for social media, believes that this platform’s success will depend on how much individual businesses support it. Most companies who would use this kind of platform already use something similar to it. So how much this new one gets support will really depend on how comfortable and fulfilled they feel with their current social media platform. It isn’t likely to get much use at businesses that prohibit the use of social media on the job. The companies that she sees picking up the platform are those younger, untried companies that don’t necessarily adhere to traditional, tight corporate structures.
Another social media marketing expert, Megan Bondi, says that there is definitely potential for the new platform to be successful. But she believes it hinges on how comfortable employees feel distributing and sharing information online. It could be put to great use as a way to share important information and news, and it could help stir inner-office creativity, driving forward a company’s efficiency if used correctly.
Pamela Nichols has a similar feeling about the platform. As a social media marketing professional, she sees social media as a great way to communicate with people and stay connected to those who we would not normally stay in contact with. This can work for businesses as well. They may be able to better connect with employees, clients and managers who they would not otherwise have much overlap with. But it can also harm the nature of relationships as it can serve as an excuse not to have face-to-face conversations. She thinks it is better if Facebook at Work is utilised sparingly so that it does not affect the way people communicate in person. If it were overused, she feels it would negatively affect business relationships and allow the company to fall into an impersonal environment.
One social media marketing specialist, Angelina Concialdi, says that Facebook at Work is going to seem like bad business for many companies. They already look down on the use of social media in the workplace, but with the addition of some useful tools it could prove itself valuable.
Is Facebook Going to Improve the Way Your Business Works?
You can likely tell that people have mixed feelings about the platform and what it is going to mean for businesses. Its potential for success may depend on the way people feel about its security measures. They would not want to wonder if sensitive documents or conversations are going to leak out. There are already enough fears about the privacy of phone and email conversations thanks to high-profile leaks. The test of this platform will be whether it can really provide value for companies if it is implemented. It is going to have to prove itself in that regard, and that will take some time.