Facebook launches Workplace social media for business

After almost two years of beta testing, Facebook has officially launched Workplace.

Previously called ‘Facebook for Work’, Workplace combines features from the Facebook social network with collaboration and messaging tools for internal business communication. It’s basically a professional version of the Facebook social media service.

Workplace is Facebook’s first major move into the world of enterprise software, and will compete with established office communication tools such as Slack, Trello, Asana, Microsoft Yammer, and Chatter from Salesforce.

However to stand out from established workplace communication channels, Facebook is targeting employees who don’t work in a traditional office. Facebook said in a press release that on a phone or tablet, Workplace can help retail workers, ship crews and even baristas stay connected.

According to Facebook, most people already know how to use Facebook, so organisations won’t need to spend time or resources teaching employees how to use Workplace.

The subscription based pricing model is relatively simple and competitive:

  •       $US3 per user for organisations with up to 1000 monthly active users
  •       $US2 per month for organisations with 1001 to 10,000 active users
  •       $US 1 per month for organisations with over 10,001

By comparison, Slack (the internal comms software we use at Waypoint) offers a completely free version of its service for customers, but its ‘standard’ service, which includes basics like unlimited message storage and group phone calls, is $US8 per user per month.

Here are the key features of Facebook Workplace:

   Familiar features from Facebook such as the News Feed, Messenger, Groups, Live, Reactions, Search and Trending Posts.
   Unlimited file, photo and video storage
   A dashboard with analytics so that companies can gauge employee engagement levels in Workplace
   Multi-organisational shared spaces that allow employees from different businesses to work together securely
   One-on-one support for administrators

One thing Facebook won’t offer is a document tool, such as Microsoft Word or Excel.

Facebook already has more than 1,000 business customers that tested the product during the beta period.

For us at Ocius, we’ll stick with Slack. It works for us and we love it (and we’re not affiliated in any way, so no financial kickbacks for the plug). Slack is easy to use and makes us more productive.

Facebook Workplace may be cheaper than its competitors for now, but time will tell if the company builds a hugely dependent user-base and then increases the price.

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