36% of employers block social media at work, according to numbers from 2020.
And while some of that has changed because of a big move to remote, it’s normal for employers to be wary of social networks.
But Facebook is trying to change all of that.
Facebook released Workplace as a new enterprise platform in 2016 and has been adding features since then.
Facebook Workplace has been adapted by a bunch of businesses.
So let’s look at Facebook Workplace today, go over some of the features, and look at pros and cons.
At the end of this post, we’ll share our thoughts on FB Workplace. Do we think it’s useful for small businesses?
Is it worth the time investment? Would we recommend it to our clients? Read until the end to find out.
Because today, we’ll be looking at Facebook Workplace, specifically for small businesses.
Before we get into the meat of the post though, let’s look at a client that our agency recently helped with Facebook ads.
If you need help with your Facebook ad campaign, consider reaching out to a digital marketing agency like LYFE Marketing.
Our team of in-house experts will help! Give us a call if you’d like to learn more about the services we offer.
So now, let’s get into the good stuff!
What is Facebook Workplace?
In a video released by Facebook in 2019, they say that:
“Facebook Workplace is meant to make connected companies that are closer, flatter, and smarter.”
The idea behind it is this: your employees are already on Facebook.
Why not use a tool everyone is familiar with to connect your company, no matter where you are?
Facebook Workplace utilizes a number of tools to help you get the word out, collaborate on projects, share success stories, and more.
We’ll look at those tools in more detail in just a couple of minutes.
Facebook says that the main goal with Workplace is democratizing business IT, and making it available and affordable to everyone.
Benefits Of Facebook Workplace
According to a CNBC article:
Facebook Workplace has 7 million paying users.
Microsoft Teams, in comparison, has 125 million active users, while Slack had 12 million users in 2019.
Last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said,
“We built Workplace as an internal version of Facebook to run our own company, and it was so useful we started letting other organizations use it too.”
There are a couple of main benefits to using Facebook Workplace over other, more popular platforms. Let’s look at those before we dive into the tools.
1. Facebook Workplace is Affordable
At just $4 per user per month, Facebook Workplace is one of the most affordable paid communication tools around.
While Slack and Microsoft Teams both have free versions available, their paid solutions start at $6.67 and $5 per user per month, respectively.
Facebook offers a 30-day free trial of Workplace, but does not have a free option available full-time.
A note for non-profits: If you’re a non-profit, you can apply to use Facebook Workplace for free. In fact, organizations like:
- United Way,
- Make a Wish,
- World Health Organization,
…and more are utilizing Facebook Workplace.
2. Facebook Workplace is Easy to Use
The tool works exactly like Facebook does – utilizing news feeds, groups, events, messaging, and more.
It’s a great solution for smaller businesses that don’t have the resources to create their own internal communication system.
3. Your Facebook Workplace Account is Separate from your Personal Account
If you’re worried about mixing business and pleasure, you don’t need to.
Your Workplace account is separate from your personal account.
Your employer can’t access your personal Facebook account if you’re using Workplace since the accounts are separate.
4. Facebook Doesn’t Advertise on Workplace, So Your Data is Used Differently
As you know, most of Facebook’s revenue comes from advertising, and there’s been some concern over privacy and Facebook’s use of data for advertisers.
The nice thing about Workplace is that Facebook doesn’t advertise on the platform, so your data is more protected.
Here’s a quick look at what Facebook has to say about data storage and usage on Workplace.
So we’ve covered a few benefits of using Workplace, but let’s take a deeper look at the tools you’ll have available to you.
8 Facebook Workplace Tools
The Workplace platform really isn’t that different from Facebook, so each of these tools will probably be familiar to you.
We’ll cover what each tool does, and anything that makes them stand out or differentiates them from your normal Facebook feed.
Facebook has organized everything into your Home Panel on the left of your screen.
That’s where you can see your Feed, access the Knowledge Library, quickly find Groups that you’re part of, and connect with folks you often connect with.
Each employee has a personalized news feed that will prioritize the most important content for them.
To make sure everyone who should see your post does, you can mark posts as “important” to ensure distribution to everyone.
Unlike your regular Facebook feed, this feed is free of clutter and competing information.
Easily organize your employees and conversations by topic, region, department, or interest.
You’ll be able to post directly to the group or start messages with the group or individuals.
Users can react and comment on these posts just like in a regular group.
And, the group messaging feature allows for quicker communication when something is urgent.
In groups, you can pin important updates to the top to ensure everyone sees them.
You can also use Q&A posts that allow users to vote on their favorite answer, so you can get a quick idea of what your team is thinking. You can:
- schedule posts for the most convenient time for the team,
- share important files,
- list out action items and assign tasks after meetings, and
- celebrate the hard work of individuals or your entire team with Achievement Posts.
We think it’s safe to say that we all hate emails.
But, despite our email fatigue, written communication is essential to an operational workplace.
So instead of inundating inboxes, Facebook Workplace Chat allows you to send direct messages to groups, sets of people, or individuals.
The Chat feature allows you to keep everything in one place so you’re not scrambling around trying to find where that email was.
You can prioritize specific messages by pinning them to the top of your Chat feed.
And when you need to focus, you can mute notifications until you’re ready to check back in.
You also have the ability to create polls and surveys, send files, automate tasks, or share your location directly in the Chat.
Additionally, you also have the option to collaborate with multi-company groups, which is great for collaboration and partnerships.
When teams are remote, it can be easy to lose touch with the culture and the things that make a workplace fun.
It can also be challenging to get announcements out and make sure your employees feel seen, heard, and stay in the loop.
A lot of companies are seeing increased engagement with live video.
Booking.com uses live videos for brainstorming, Q&As, and culture-building.
Delta’s VP of Customer Experience, Charisse Evans, says that being live has helped employees to see the C-Suite (especially the CEO) as human.
This is because they get to see more personality, maybe some mistakes, and feel connected.
You can turn on live captions so employees can watch, even with the sound off. You can even automatically translate English video captions into:
- Italian and
- Portuguese (or vice-versa).
And, you can edit captions for those instances when something goes haywire.
You can go live from a mobile or desktop platform called Portal.
Speaking of live videos, if you want to learn more about it, be sure to read our post on live streaming next.
As our teams become more global, we need to be able to communicate efficiently in any language.
Facebook uses machine learning to automatically translate posts – both in main Facebook and in Facebook Workplace.
There are 91 language options, and translating a post is as quick as clicking the button.
To ensure seamless file sharing, video calling, collaboration, communication, and planning…
…Workplace integrates with a bunch of third-party platforms like Google Drive, Dropbox, Zoom, and more.
Before you pay to join, check with Workplace to see if the tools you use regularly are part of their integration options.
Facebook Workplace has made it easy for you to create, share, and store important information and documents, so employees can access them anytime.
One of the biggest benefits of using the Workplace Library is that it doesn’t require any extra setup, formatting, or security.
You can create documents directly in Workplace and there’s a search function for quick access.
You can also control who has access to specific documents.
Workplace is really leaning into how quick and easy it is to set up your Knowledge Library.
Here’s Virgin Atlantic’s Senior Manager of Communication Channels, talking about how quick it was to put into place.
As you can see from our examples, we’ve relied on a lot of Facebook’s own explanations for what Workplace is and how it’s used.
Next, let’s talk about some real-world potential downsides, including anything about Facebook Workplace that’s tedious or annoying.
After that, we’ll give our honest thoughts, as we would to a client, and let you know if we would recommend this tool for small businesses.
Potential Downsides Of Facebook Workplace
Facebook Workplace has had a positive reception online, and has been growing in popularity.
We checked out some user reviews, since we don’t use Facebook Workplace here at LYFE, to see what folks are actually experiencing on the platform.
We did this instead of just focusing on what Facebook promises.
1. News Feed gets cluttered easily and notifications can be overwhelming
Depending on how much activity there is from new posts, comments, and messages, notifications can get out of control quickly.
A lot of users have reported feeling overwhelmed by the amount of notifications.
They said that they have to spend a significant amount of time just going through them to make sure they didn’t miss anything important.
2. You can’t customize the domain or the appearance of your page.
Just like with your personal Facebook profile, the company page options have very limited customization options.
In using Facebook for business, you can change the profile picture and header image, but that’s about as far as the customization gets you.
3. Workplace and Workplace Chat are housed in separate locations
If you’re on your phone or tablet, you’ll need to download the Workplace and Workplace Messenger apps and be active in both so you don’t miss anything.
And if you use Facebook for personal use, you’ll also need Facebook and Facebook Messenger for your personal accounts.
That’s 4 apps on one device! Yikes!
Would We Suggest Facebook Workplace To One Of Our Clients?
If internal communication was a big struggle and our client was already looking at paying for Slack or Microsoft Teams…
…we might suggest Facebook Workplace as an affordable alternative that won’t require the team any extra time to learn how to use it.
However, if you’re a small team located in one place, you probably won’t see much difference in communication or connection between employees.
On the other hand, if you have a lot of:
- remote employees,
- part-time, or
- flexible staff,
…this can be a great way to connect everyone and ensure you’re all on the same page.
We would suggest to any of our clients that if they’re on the fence about it, to give it a try during the 30-day trial period.
Go into it with a plan so you don’t lose any days of testing, and when you start your trial, commit to giving it a real shot.
Make sure all of your management and team members understand why the switch is taking place and are going to implement it.
We hope you found this post helpful.
Did this help you make the decision either way? We’d love to hear about what you found helpful or what you’d like to see more of in the future.
We’re really interested in hearing about any of your experiences with Facebook Workplace.
How did it actually work for your company? Did you like it? Would you recommend it to others?
Now if it’s your Facebook marketing strategy you’re worried about, don’t fret.