WHAT WE LEARNED THIS WEEK: Use social media in recruitment as much as possible

A new study from HR firm Randstad this week found that a quarter of Australian businesses are now incorporating social media into their recruitment processes.

This is a substantial number of businesses, but the story goes even further, suggesting employers are using LinkedIn as a key metric in their social media gathering practices, while Facebook and Twitter round out the top three.

If you’re not using social media as part of your recruitment strategies, then you should be. Looking up an applicant’s profiles allows you to view how they view social media, and how they are presenting themselves to future employers.

You obviously shouldn’t hire or fire someone based on their social media skills alone, but viewing how someone presents themselves on LinkedIn or Twitter can give you some good insight into whether they’ll fit into your culture. These profiles are available and free to check out – it would be a mistake to ignore them.

Beware of Facebook’s new Timeline design

Facebook debuted its Timeline redesign for brands last week, so businesses are able to rearrange their pages under the new design before the official switch on March 31st.

But there are a few key changes to keep in mind; otherwise you might find yourself in breach of Facebook’s code of conduct.

Although you can now use a much bigger picture in your design, known as the “cover photo”, there are rules. You can’t offer discounts on that photo, nor calls to action, or any sort of promotion. You also can’t show off any sort of deal you have running that day. In short, it’s just for showing off your company name.

You also need to be aware that new posts won’t stick to the top of the page. To make them become static, you need to make that change yourself to each post. They’ll stay that way for a week.

The new design is a great addition and allows businesses to better show off their brands, but before SMEs dive in they should be sure they’re not breaking any rules. Otherwise, you could face your page being deleted.

Emphasise discounts whenever you can

New research from Telsyte this week found that not only has the ecommerce market in Australia grown by more than 60% in the past year, but that it’s also being dominated by sales, discounts and bargains.

You only have to look at the major retail players in the country to see where this is going – both Woolworths and Harvey Norman have announced bargain-themed websites in order to get in on the fun.

And although you may not want to associate your brand with discounts or bargains, shoppers are nevertheless viewing the internet as a place to find the cheapest price possible. So you should play into that.

Don’t discount everything, but think about creating a platform on your website where you can show off some discounted products – it could bring you some more sales.

Engage with your social media followers – learn from the best campaigns

Facebook gave out awards to some of the best campaigns organised by companies and other organisations as part of its Facebook Studio endeavour – including an award to a campaign run by the Commonwealth Bank.

Wrigley’s Skittles campaign and a health insurance company in Slovakia were among the winners. The common denominator among award winners was that they all encouraged user participation.

Engaging users is just as important as collecting followers and these award winners demonstrate how to do that. Keep it clean, but engage them as often as possible and you’ll keep them coming back.

Keep your online forecasts flexible

Harvey Norman chairman and founder Gerry Harvey drew some criticism last week when he said he would scale back his online sales targets, from 5% within two years to between 1-2%.

He said the company had overestimated how lucrative the online sales market would be.

It’s an interesting admission, but the key lesson here is that businesses have to focus on how much money they can realistically bring in. Do your due diligence before embarking on a new channel – but also have the flexibility to announce when you need to shift your goals.

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