With Facebook announcing its ‘Workplace’ professional networking service, it is yet again taking on another big competitor, LinkedIn. This latest move to dominate online should come as no surprise to those in the digital sector as it made similar moves in an attempt to compete with Twitter and Snapchat.
Facebook Workplace is a tool that will allow workers to chat and work together in an informal online setting. It will very much be a professional environment rather than the gaming and video centric hub that Facebook is known for. It will however include a number of familiar Facebook features like popular news stories in your feed, a chat service, group pages and individual profiles. These features may not mirror any significant LinkedIn features however its Multi-Company groups do. Multi-Company groups are effectively a forum where individuals from similar sectors and different organisations can engage in conversation and discuss developments in their industries.
Sound familiar? One of LinkedIn’s greatest draws is its groups. Creating a forum where professionals from all around the world can share their views and discuss news in their sector has been its real strength.
This isn’t the first time Facebook has gone after another social media platform and challenged their USP.
When Twitter developed Periscope we all raved about the live streaming professional and social potential. Fast forward a couple of months and Facebook developed ‘Facebook Live’ which mirrors the real time live streaming service of Periscope, but is just slightly different.
Ever since Facebook bought Instagram for $1 Billion in 2012 it has continued to develop and innovate the platform. Snapchat has presented the biggest competition for it so far as it’s another platform which uses images as its main means of communication. Snapchat’s biggest asset is its ‘Story’ feature which lets users save their favourite snaps into a temporary ‘album’ where followers can access them. So what has Facebook done to rival this? A couple of months ago it rolled out ‘Instagram Stories’ feature which has the same functionality as the Snapchat ‘Story’.
Is it coincidental that Facebook has released these features and tools that follow the same concept as its rivals? The answer is probably no! Facebook has a bigger user base than Twitter and LinkedIn so it’s able to market these features and tools to users who may not be familiar to the latter. Again Instagram has a bigger user base than Snapchat so those who don’t use Snapchat may not notice any similarities.
Only time will tell if these tactics will help Facebook build a social media monopoly at the expense of others. It’s up to its competitors to continue innovating their products to make them stand out from the crowd and prove their niche worth.
Euan Stirling is a Social Media Executive at Indigo