If you answered yes, then Facebook’s Workplace may be the answer.
Workplace is Facebook's business application. Think of it as an "internal" Facebook, a platform where you and your employees can chat, message and share information about your customers, prospects and others in your community.
Change the way you work isn’t just a tagline, it’s what Facebook Workplace aims to do. Facebook revolutionized social interactions; Workplace aims to do the same for team collaborations. With 14,000 companies using Workplace, achieving the milestone doesn’t seem to be an unrealistic idea after all.
Did I mention that its standard version is free?
But don’t worry, it's not exactly like your standard, personal Facebook newsfeed (it wouldn't be much of a productivity tool if you had large banner ads distracting you).
But the biggest concern was that personal Facebook profiles would mix with Workplace profiles. That’s why we have LinkedIn right?
Facebook was quick to address this apprehension and came up with a way to separate one’s Workplace profile from their personal Facebook profile. This way all of your Facebook photos, updates, and activities remain exclusively within your social network.
But do you really need an internal collaboration tool in your small business?
Most likely. Even if you only have a few employees, building a database where all the information about all the people that you do business with that can be accessed from one shared place by your group has become a critical asset for every company.
Knowing your customers, sharing information, keeping notes, storing files, capturing conversations - these are the types of activities that smart, growing companies are doing to stay ahead of their competition and close to their community. Plus, it builds a very valuable database that will be of interest to a future buyer or partner if you ever choose to exit your business.
Investing in collaboration and communication tools in your business can be expensive. There is training costs and team engagement, all necessary to give you a ROI on your newly invested tools.
Facebook Workplace encourages collaboration by making it fun and engaging along with being user-friendly. According to Kerry Flynn, a business reporter at Mashable, the Workplace interface is 95% similar to that of Facebook. The biggest benefit here is the fact that almost everyone has used Facebook.
With 2 billion active users, it’s almost impossible to find anybody who’s not familiar with Facebook. By having a similar interface to its parent brand, Workplace has assured a minimum learning curve.
"We've seen some incredible examples of the 'Workplace effect' since our launch in October 2016." Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s Workplace VP, wrote in a company blog. "In the last two years, global brands like Walmart, Heineken, Weight Watchers, Booking.com and Virgin Atlantic, fast-growing start-ups like Farfetch, Spotify, Deliveroo and Grab, and NGOs like WWF, Unicef UK and Save the Children have all put their trust in us." Codorniou says that there are more than 150 companies using the applications who have more than 10,000+ users each on the platform.
Now that the application has matured, Facebook is turning towards the giant small business market, which is mostly dominated by collaboration apps Slack and Microsoft Teams. The company says it plans to add reseller and other consulting partners and develop a more robust mobile version and potentially change its marketing approach to appeal to this broader audience.
I think it’s a bit too soon to predict the future of Workplace. Focusing on 'growth before profits' has been working well for the new platform; a star-studded clientele in a short span of time is a testament to this.
However, Workplace must go beyond just impressing the top. It needs to provide features that satisfy users at the individual level. This will enable teams to genuinely engage, making Workplace the de facto tool for internal communication.
I think Facebook Workplace has the potential to dominate the enterprise software market if they play their cards right.
Tony Giudici is a Director of Market Development for Excelerate America, the ultimate resource for modern entrepreneurs and small business owners. Do you see your business using these tools and how would you use some of the most popular functions in your business? Let Tony know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.