PR and marketing teams might soon be using Facebook for more than scheduling branded posts and checking their personal newsfeeds.
Facebook at Work—a rival to enterprise communication platforms such as Yammer and Slack—is set to be launched at an event in London on Oct. 10.
“It will be the first time that Facebook has launched a global product outside of its U.S. home market,” Techcrunch reported.
Facebook has been testing the service since 2015 with a selected group of organizations. The rollout will offer employees the opportunity to connect, collaborate and keep track of projects inside a familiar format.
It might also encourage employees to remain active—or become more involved—with organizations’ social media efforts. For PR and marketers struggling to be heard above the online noise, getting employees accustomed to using a Facebook product might boost brand storytelling through their organizations’ staff.
The service is expected to be similar to rivals such as Yammer and Slack. A company’s employees use these tools to communicate and collaborate, cutting down on email chains and other old hat ways of working. Facebook’s version will be similar to the social network we’re familiar with, boasting a news feed and mobile apps for iOS and Android.
Through a video and on the Facebook for Work website, Facebook showed how its corporate product works. Users must create new accounts, which exist separate from personal accounts-though they work in a similar way.
As we’ve seen during the trial run, Facebook at Work uses familiar communication tools like the News Feed, Groups, Events and a dedicated Messenger app, all powered by the same algorithm as Facebook itself, except dedicated to the chatter within your company rather than your friends and the general public. One interesting—and potentially dystopian—twist the company has reportedly been pitching alongside the Facebook at Work product is the potential to use artificial intelligence to determine employee sentiment. In other words, Facebook at Work will be able to learn how employees feel about topics within the company, so be careful what you say about the boss in those backchannel messages.
The ease of collaborating won’t come free. CIO reported:
In December, the company said its social network for business would be free at launch and it would eventually charge for additional support, analytics and integration with enterprise collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Azure, Office 365, Google Apps, Box and Dropbox.
However, The Information reported that Facebook will charge organizations for its service based upon the number of employees who use it.
Techcrunch’s Josh Constine said Facebook is gearing up to partner with other companies to provide additional tools and features:
Facebook believes it can keep individual employees engaged with the product, so it’s betting on a pricing plan that charges companies “per monthly active user” instead of charging a flat rate per company, says Facebook @ Work director Julien Codorniou. TechCrunch has learned that Facebook will announce launch integrations or partnerships with other SaaS tool providers including Asana.
That could make it lucrative for Facebook to get every single member of a company signed up, from executives to assistants. And if the product doesn’t stick, employers won’t have to pay for empty seats.
What do you think of the service, Ragan readers? How do you think it’ll affect PR and marketing teams’ workflows?