Facebook launches Workplace, a private social network for employees and partners.

Fans of Facebook – and there are more than a billion of them – now have a near mirror-image of the social network they can use for their business.

Dubbed “Workplace,” the new app offers all the familiar features that have made Facebook the world’s most popular digital meeting place, in an ad-free space.

The primary difference: Workplace enables investment advisors and others to use the familiar Facebook environment to create an entirely private social network for their employees and trusted trading partners.

(Related: What ‘BYOP’ Means for Advisors’ Social Media Compliance)

“Workplace by Facebook re-imagines business communications by bringing the familiar social experience to the enterprise environment,” says Siddharth Bohra, chief business officer for L&T Infotech, an IT service provider and a partner on Workplace.

Pilot-tested a year before its release in October, Workplace is looking to muscle in on other players already offering social networks for business.

Essentially, each of these social network environments enable an investment advisor to create a searchable, interactive, highly flexible community where management and staff can meet virtually to get projects done.

Moreover, each of the tech companies behind these social networks stress that they sweat the details when it comes to security, promising that your business secrets will be safe in their secured cloud.

Workplace’s primary advantage, or course, is that the social network is already a comfortable shoe for millions of business people. Millions of millennials grew up on Facebook, and many of their parents and grandparents could not resist its siren’s call after they realized Facebook makes it a snap to keep up with family and friends – not to mention old girlfriends and boyfriends.

Key features you’ll find in the Workplace environment, which can be used on smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops, include:

  • Groups:  The same groups Facebook users now join to form special interest communities are also in Facebook for Workplace. 
  • Multi-Company Groups:  Businesses interested in inviting trading partners to engage in a shared goal can also use Facebook for Workplace to create multi-company groups. 
  • News Feed:  The lifeblood of any Facebook users, News Feed is also the central communications stream in the Workplace version. 
  • Workchat:  Much like Facebook’s private messaging, Workchat allows you to engage in private, one-to-one conversations with other people at work
  • Events:  This is a feature on consumer Facebook that has proven invaluable to announcing an upcoming event to all your friends. 
  • Live: One of Facebook’s powerful new features, Live allows you to livestream video of any company event – such as a CEO’s speech to the company at large, or the insights of a visiting consultant. 
  • Search: Pretty much everything in Facebook for Workplace is searchable.
  • Notifications: You’ll get notifications from Workplace when someone replies to your post, creates an event, uploads a file or engages in most other forms of social network interactivity.

Not surprisingly, the inaugural version of Workplace by Facebook is relatively inexpensive.  Monthly pricing is $3 per user for up to 1,000 active users; $2 per user for between 1,001 and 10,000 active users; and $1 per user for more than 10,001 active users.

Before you lunge to create your own Facebook for Workplace community, you’ll want to look over its competitors, including Slack, Asana, Jive and Microsoft Teams, which is available for free with most versions of Office 365.

— Read Advisor Social Media Use Grows, as Do the Different Ways It’s Used on ThinkAdvisor’s TechCenter.