Facebook plans to penetrate the corporate world with a professional version of its site.
Titled ‘Facebook at Work’, the new creation may look, feel and work in a similar fashion to normal Facebook – but is designed to help employees communicate with one another. The company hopes that others worldwide will be keen to adopt it.
A pilot programme for the work-oriented version of the site was launched at the beginning of this year. Businesses like the Dutch beer manufacturer Heineken and the massive Latin American online retailer Linio were among those trialling the service.
It is imperative that the work-based application is able to increase productivity, rather than lower it
Many employers prefer employees to refrain from excessively browsing Facebook during work hours – meaning it is imperative that the work-based application is able to increase productivity, rather than lower it. However, the pilot programme seems to have quelled those concerns.
“We’re a modern company,” José María Pertusa, CMO at Linio tells Recode. “We actually expect them to use social media. That’s the way we acquire most of our customers anyway.”
There is a massive market at the moment for interoffice communication tools that provide a quick and easy alternative to email. Facebook at Work will directly compete with the likes of Slack, a San-Francisco based start-up that created a piece of chat software that consolidates all office correspondence in one place. The service is a massive hit and already boasts over a million daily users.
The interoffice application could face stiff competition from Facebook at Work because so many people are already familiar with the original version, which is used by more than 1.4 billion people every month, according to statistica.
“If somebody comes into the company, they know how to use this tool from day one,” explains Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite in an interview with Recode. “So training cost is zero. That’s important.”