I have made it clear about how I feel about enterprise social networks in the workplace but at the same time I have always said that one company who could potentially crack it could be Facebook. I have access to Yammer via the workplace and it is like a ghost town. The majority of staff don’t have the interest and Yammer in general tends to struggle in companies which have a hierarchy in place (which is most companies)
Facebook at Work is a near identical version of the current Facebook site except for the fact that it is specifically for the workplace. The pilot program is ending and Facebook is getting ready to launch a free version for companies to use by the end of the year according to reports.
Facebook at Work has been used internally by Facebook staff for years now and more than 100 companies have been using the beta since January. Some of those companies have been testing on a small base internally and are now looking to expand it out to all staff. Heineken for example tested it on 40 top executives and are now planning on rolling it out to 550 members of staff by the end of September.
Companies will be able to sign up and use it for free, there will then be an option of paying for extras such as analytics or extra features. As Facebook gets ready to head into direct competition with Slack and Yammer, there has been a clear positive feedback from the beta companies using it. Something I spoke about when I said that Facebook could crack enterprise social networking…familiarity.
This will be the key selling point, many people already know how to use Facebook. They are familiar with the layout and the tools. Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, told <re/code> that:
“If somebody comes into the company, they know how to use this tool from day one, so training cost is zero. That’s important.”
It is the biggest sticking point with the platform, many people won’t be interested in learning how to use Yammer and adapting to a new social network. That is why the one I am on at the moment is dead, there is only a small handful of regulars trying to keep it alive. However with Facebook at Work there is no learning curve, it is all there just like it is on your normal Facebook page.
For companies, time to start looking at ditching the service you are on because if anyone knows how to get this right its Facebook.