Being active on Facebook from 9 to 5 is no longer something to be frowned upon. The Facebook at Work tool for the workplace is coming soon.
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After establishing itself as a flagship of social media, Facebook desires omnipresence in the workplace as well.
A closed beta startedÂ in January for Facebook at Work (FaW), a platform that enables in-office communication and is purposely similar to the classic social network. Talk about Facebook at Work has been on for more than a year, but there is no solid ground for a release date yet.
"That pilot program is ending, and the company will likely launch a freemium version of the interoffice network by the end of the year," said Julien Codorniou, head of Facebook at Work.
The greatest challenge for the marketing team is to convince current users of other office software to switch to FaW, porting years of archived messages and stored documents. A couple of big names are already using it and are bound to expand its use to more employees. Heineken says it will extend the use of FaW to all 550 U.S. employees until September ends, and ecommerce enterprise Linio will do the same for 2,000 employees.
"We're a modern company," JosÃ© MarÃa Pertusa, CMO at Linio, declared. "We actually expect them to use social media. That's the way we acquire most of our customers anyway."
Which parts of Facebook at Work will be free and which will require a subscription is yet unrevealed. It remains to be seen whether the number of employees or the creation of an increased number of workgroups will matter in the monthly price.
An example could be Slack, which bills for archivingÂ messages. Judging by the $340 million it makes out of it, it seems communication via internal messenger is an essential part of any business.
It is likely that Facebook will use "familiarity" as its unique selling point. This has great chances to work since most customers already have a standard Facebook account and are accustomed to the interface, reducing training costs for new employees to zero. The desktop version of Facebook at Work will feature two sections: the professional and personal Facebook accounts.
Another aspect the social network must pitch to clients is that using social media at work actually increases productivity. Luckily for them, more and more research backs up this statement.