Yes, Facebook wants you, small business, and so do several other companies as they hope to be the chosen one to help small businesses manage workplace conversations and collaboration. In October 2016, Facebook launched its stand-alone version of Facebook targeted for companies and organizations, called Workplace.
Facebook stated that “we’ve brought the best of Facebook to the workplace.” On its website, Facebook reported it has been using an internal version of its app at its company for many years.
Competitors are offering small businesses similar products:
♦ Microsoft Teams, part of its Office365 subscription suite. (no free version)
Free version from Facebook
Facebook is now testing a free version to sign up more small businesses and companies in emerging markets. It’s called Workplace Standard and is available to any company or organization that wants it.
The Workplace Standard free version offers Groups, Messenger, audio and video calling, Events, live video and network profiles. There are also new features such as Reactions, Search and Trending posts. As the Workplace website states: “This means you can chat with a colleague across the world in real time, host a virtual brainstorm in a Group, or follow along with your CEO’s presentation on Facebook Live.”
If companies want more capability, such as administrative and analytical tools, they can pay for Workplace Premium. Workplace Premium is always free for non-profits and staff at educational institutions. A free trial period for Workplace Premium is also available.
Facebook’s familiarity among users should help the company’s case, but it may also hurt it. It’s hard to forget that Facebook is a social platform that’s been a discouraged activity at work up to this point. Facebook is quick to remind everyone that the Workplace is separate from personal Facebook accounts.
What do customers think?
Customer stories on the Workplace website provide insight of how it is perceived.
“You don’t hear this too often, where the company is rolling out a new product and users cheer. They are literally delighted,” says Jim Daniell, COO, Oxfam America.
“We’re removing hierarchies, removing silos and creating organized chaos for ideas to flourish,” Sigve Brekke, President and CEO, Telenor Group, Norway says.
Bold move, Facebook
Facebook faces fierce competition, but given its loyalty and familiarity with personal social media among the public of all ages, it could have an edge. Since so many people use Facebook personally, it can be assumed that the learning curve for Facebook use in the business environment should be close to level. Also, the free service is a bold competitive move and will bring those ready to chat in a business environment to Workplace to try it out.
Have you signed up for any of these chat services for your business? Does Workplace by Facebook intrigue you?