Facebook is piloting a business version of the social network: Facebook at Work.
The new platform will let users create a work account that is separate from a user’s personal Facebook account. Facebook at Work uses with the networks regular tools as the method for workers to interact with one and other.
Reaction to the social network’s plans has so far been mixed with many pointing to the lack of a clear revenue stream and the difficult move from personal platform to workplace tool.
Tristan Rogers, CEO of Concrete, believes that the move has potential but there remain some significant obstacles: ‘One cannot question Facebook’s financial means to build a workplace version of its ubiquitous social network, nor the fact that despite many detractors, it has become a real business with real revenue. So far so good. But what about its ethos; its business DNA? As a social network, Facebook is built on the principle that people "want" to share information with each other. It is a voluntary network with no predetermined goals or outcomes. One can do what they want on Facebook with whomever they wish. That is not very "enterprise". An enterprise is built on pre-defined rules about outcomes, quantities, margins and repeatability. Workers are given roles and responsibilities, and the ability to perform these to the best of their ability can drive their personal success.’
Patrick Rusby, research analyst at Analysys Mason also believes that revenue will be an important issue: ‘This is unlikely to be a huge new revenue stream on its own, given that it would be competing with Yammer, which is well established in this space. However, this would be a new, recurring revenue stream, and it would put Facebook in front of people for more of the day, which may serve to increase engagement with Facebook in general.’
In October, Facebook revealed that it had been working with the mobile industry players to improve the firm’s online marketing strategy.