Reuters reports that Facebook is developing a new service called “Facebook at Work”. Positioned as a competitor to LinkedIn, this platform will allow users to develop a professional profile separate from their personal Facebook account.
How does that sound to you? LinkedIn is a platform with its share of flaws, but has done an exemplary job carving out its niche as the definitive “social media for work and business” service. Its user interface leaves a lot to be desired – pages are awash in updates and sidebars and jobs – so this is a facet upon which Facebook could improve. Moreover, many LinkedIn features are locked behind a paywall. LinkedIn’s subscriptions offer a lot of value in their utility, but stand in contrast to how other social media giants have monetized their userbase. For example, you can only view the first 100 results of a LinkedIn search with a basic, free account. If Facebook at Work is ad-supported (like Facebook ‘vanilla’), this might present more opportunities for connections to be formed.
However, there would appear to be a lot of pitfalls for Facebook at Work in this competitive landscape. It’s yet another profile to keep up to date. The Facebook brand carries a kind of “stigma of unprofessionalism,” meaning that the vast majority of users do not see Facebook as a platform for professional content; It’s where we post silly pictures of our dogs and cats, or vacation photos et cetera.
If Facebook can overcome these issues, their new platform might be great for financial services. Financial advisors are finding success on social media, few people are willing to make business connections via casual and very personal platforms. Facebook at Work could help turn this around.
Keep an eye on our blog for more updates on the development of this new Facebook service.