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WHAT WE LEARNED THIS WEEK: When you use Facebook is just as important as how

Patrick Stafford /

Many Australian businesses are now using Facebook to market themselves. But while most are concerned with how they’re using the social network, a new survey reveals a better question – when are you using Facebook?

Only 14% of Australians aged over 18 said they were able to access Facebook at work. That means most of them are accessing the network on mobile devices and, more importantly, in the evening.

This means all the marketing that you’re doing during the day may go unnoticed.

If you’re keen on your Facebook marketing program, but not getting any results, look at your customer base and find out whether you should really be promoting yourself in the evenings when people are relaxing at home.

Try it for a few weeks and see if you get any results. It may surprise you.

Don’t misrepresent your credentials online

Scott Thompson caused a furore this week after he tendered his resignation as Yahoo! chief executive, just 10 days after the resume scandal began.

For those unfamiliar with what happened, Thompson embellished his credentials on the company’s website, saying he had a computer science degree. He didn’t. A major shareholder found out and called for Thompson’s resignation.

Thompson blames the error on an enthusiastic recruiter. But this serves as a much bigger message for SMEs – the information on your website needs to be complete, 100% fact.

Talking yourself up is one thing, but outright lying is another. If you start listing your experience as more than what you actually have – either on your company website or LinkedIn – someone is going to find out.

Take the time to check everything on your company’s “About Us” page. You may find the person who wrote it got a little liberal with the details.

Retail price maintenance yet again

Last week a group of fashion importers, including the International Fashion Group and Some Agency, reached agreements with brands in order to stop cheaper online sales from international sites.

But there’s a problem, one legal expert has pointed out, in that these types of agreements could in fact breach the Trade Practices Act.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been all over the issue of price maintenance in the past year. You don’t want to get caught up in its path.

While it’s too early to say if this particular agreement has done anything wrong, businesses should definitely play it safe and avoid these types of price maintenance practices.

Have the quality to back up your dress code

Mark Zuckerberg got into trouble last week while shopping around the Facebook IPO, but for an unexpected reason – he didn’t dress up.

Investors pointed out the chief executive just wore a hoodie and jeans, no suit. And this upset a few people, saying he wasn’t taking the entire experience seriously enough.

At SmartCompany we asked readers what they thought, and the response was mixed. Many thought he was just doing what he felt was best and should be left alone, while others said his dress code was irresponsible.

In any case, it’s a tricky issue with no clear answer. But if there’s one point entrepreneurs can take away, it’s that you definitely need to have the quality of your presentation down before you can start dressing a little more casually – and that goes for office culture as well.

If you’re keen on wearing your sneakers and jeans in an investor presentation, then you better have a good enough pitch to back it up. If you give a bad pitch, you’re just another try-hard entrepreneur in a cheap T-shirt.

Hone your catalogue strategy – don’t abandon it

If you’re a tech-savvy business, you may have flirted with the idea of getting rid of paper catalogues. After all, they can be a waste of paper and many consumers don’t even use them.

But a recent study from AMP Capital Shopping Centres has found that many shoppers still use them – and a third of younger shoppers still prefer them.

If you’re a retailer, perhaps it’s best not to get rid of all paper catalogues just yet. Try to hone your paper catalogue strategy, rather than getting rid of it altogether.

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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