Facebook’s quest to further dominate the social media market, following acquisitions of popular sharing sites like Instagram and WhatsApp, gathered new momentum recently with the news that they’re going after LinkedIn‘s share of the professional space. KW Digital investigates.
Rumours have emerged that the Silicon Valley tech giants are lining up a January launch of a B2B focussed version of its social network, aimed squarely at professionals, that is already being dubbed ‘Facebook at Work’.
The new spin-off – which will reportedly incorporate Facebook’s instantly recognisable blue and white branding, news feed and group pages – is apparently being tested in a beta version as we speak, with a select band of testers given access to the platform in the new year.
Insider sources claim that the direct rival to LinkedIn will let users chat with colleagues and collaborate on documents. It will also allow professionals to ‘connect’ and form networks, as well as incorporating a messaging service and news feed as normal.
Recent expanded services give a nod to the direction Facebook is heading. New app, Room, lets people chat anonymously in virtual ‘rooms.’ While their pilot ‘buy’ button could allow users to buy directly from an advertiser without leaving Facebook.
Facebook at Work would be reserved for work-related posts only and keep personal profiles separate. Whether this will be enough for the 54 per cent of offices that reportedly block Facebook at work remains to be seen.
The demise of promotional content
Interestingly, rumours have also surfaced that Facebook at Work will also be released without adverts. On a similar vein, Facebook’s new terms and conditions have moved the goalposts somewhat for online marketers looking to promote their products on the hugely popular social network.
According to a Facebook for Business news post,
People told us they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages they care about, and less promotional content. We dug further into the data to better understand this feedback. What we discovered is that a lot of the content people see as too promotional is posts from Pages they like, rather than ads.
It emerged that News Feed has tight controls for the number of ads a person sees, and the quality of those ads (based on engagement), but the same stringency didn’t necessarily apply to promotional Page posts. Now, Facebook are introducing new volume and content controls for promotional posts to ensure that people see more of what they want from Pages.
Beginning in January 2015, people will see less of this type of content in their News Feeds. As we’ve said before, News Feed is already a competitive place — as more people and Pages are posting content, competition to appear in News Feed has increased. All of this means that Pages that post promotional creative should expect their organic distribution to fall significantly over time.
They are quick to point out though that Pages are still an important destination for current and potential customers. In October alone they assert that nearly a billion people visited Facebook Pages. More than 750 million of those were via a mobile device.
Amongst their Page posting tips and best practice for businesses is to think about their Page as a cornerstone of their online identity, not simply as a publishing service. Given the exceptional volume of traffic to pages, Facebook has also promised to up its investment in this area of the site and are looking at ways to further customise the user experience.