A Working Version
The employees of Stella and Dot have successfully used Facebook to connect with thousands of stylists who are selling the company´s jewelry and fashion accessories. Facebook noticed, and approached the California’based company about testing a separate version of the social network, called ¨Facebook at Work,¨ Stella and Dot said yes, in the process joining 100 other businesses. ¨There isn´t really a strict line for us between workplace social media and versus social media out there in the world. We blur the identity quite a bit,¨said Meera Bhatia, Stella and Dot´s vice president of product. Facebook, with an audience of at least 1. 5 billion people, has ambitious plans to launch a work version of its site in several months, with the intention of showing that they´re more than just a site for personal time (many workers are using the social media site to goof off, leak confidential information or to post disparaging remarks about fellow co-workers).
Several other sites already have a workplace/business section for their employees and anministrative staff: Microsoft’s Yammer, IBM’s Connections, LinkedIn and Slack are a few of the other options. Research has shown that these sites are indeed bringing more productivity. So far, Facebook says that those businesses testing the work version of the site are giving it a thumbs-up; employees are making faster decisions, gathering information quicker, learning about co-workers in other locations, getting and sharing project updates, and getting recognized in real time for accomplishments. “Everything is based on the value and feeling of being connected, which in the workplace results in a more productive environment,” said Julien Codorniou, Facebook’s director of global platform partnerships, who oversees Facebook at Work.
This year, Facebook has also began filtering users’ news feeds to eliminate many of the unpaid status updates they receive from businesses they’re “liked,” out of concern tha people will leave the site if shown too many ads. As businesses compete for limited space on the site, that’s made it far tougher for them to reach customers without paying. The change is a hard hit to those small-business owners who don’t have a lot of money or time to spend on social media. After years of building up a Facebook fanbase, they’re seing more of their posts get lost in a stream of text, photos and videos-unless they pay Facebook to deliver their message. The situation also poses a challenge to Facebook; they need to convince small businesses that spending money to advertise on their site is worth it, while making it easier for them to test out new tools at a low cost, said John Swanciger, CEO of Manta, an online small-business resource.
Facebook started offering free Bluetooth devices to businesses to enable testing a feature that shows users tips at the top of their news feed about a landmark or business they’re visiting: “Small businesses are going to be social. They’re going to play there and they’re going to be cautious about,” Swanciger said. The site is still the top choice for small businesses, according to a Manta survey. But the survey also showed that about 59 percent of them are concerned about getting a return on their investment from their social effort efforts; they remain divided on whether to spend money on these sites. Due to the changes, other small businesses are rethinking about they post on Facebook. And it’s proven to be tough to grab a person’s attention on the site, for at any given time, Facebook’s news feed displays about 300 out of more than 1,500 stories a person logged into the site could see from friends, businesses and more. On average, a Facebook user reads only 100 of those stories, according to the site.
Sources: “Facebook seeks to conquer workplace”-San Jose Mercury News (TNS)-The (Sunday) Vindicator, October 18, 2015 and “Facebook changes social media game plan”-San Jose Mercury News (TNS)-The (Sunday) Vindicator, July 12, 2015