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A Victoria's Secret model presents lingerie during a fashion show at the Lexington Armory in New York, November 9, 2011. (© Lucas Jackson / Reuters)
A Victoria's Secret model presents lingerie during a fashion show at the Lexington Armory in New York, November 9, 2011. (© Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

Small Business Briefing

What people look at on Facebook brand pages Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz

Content matters on Facebook brand pages

It's not a huge number of participants, but the findings are interesting: EyeTrackShop did a webcam eye-tracking study for Mashable that examined how 30 people view Facebook brand pages, and they almost always looked at the humble 'walls' first.

The smaller pictures above the wall were noticed, on average, 85 per cent of the time, and the “likes” column only 58 per cent of the time.

Some other observations by Mashable staff:

  • Content matters, which is why visitors almost always saw the wall first.
  • Scantily-clad women, not surprisingly, are a draw. Of the brands examined, the Victoria's Secret page was the only one where people looked at the profile photo — a busty woman in a brassiere — before they noticed the Facebook wall.
  • Profile photos with faces in them got the most attention. An exception was Skittles, which had an image of ... a bag of Skittles.
  • Photos on the wall get attention. The wall with the most images at the time of the test, PlayStation, was the one people spent the most time looking at.

The study went beyond Facebook and also looked at habits on other social-media sites, including profile pages from Google+, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Klout, Reddit, Digg, Tumblr, Twitter, StumbleUpon and Pinterest. Mashable came up with some key findings and produced a video.

While they shouldn't be used as strict guidelines for the presentation of your small business online, they are worth mining for ways to improve your efforts.

Clarity is just a phone call away

Serial entrepreneur Dan Martell, in Moncton on Jan. 5, will launch his latest initiative, Clarity.fm, a web-based application that links small-business owners to advisers and experts, the Financial Post reports. In addition to what he calls "the world's best technology entrepreneurs and venture capitalists," the list of participants includes real estate moguls, marketers and best-selling authors from across North America. Users will be a phone call away from the assistance of these advisers, who will charge fees for their time. Mr. Martell told the Post that the company gets a cut of the fees, but advisers can choose to donate the amount to charity, and in those cases Clarity won't take a percentage.

Irish officials look to U.S. for a boost

According to The Irish Emigrant, officials from Ireland met with Boston-area experts when Boston College’s Irish Institute hosted a week-long gathering focused on developing young entrepreneurs and boosting the work force and economic development. The college's professors and Boston-area businesses brainstormed with economic development officials from Ireland and Northern Ireland as part of an executive education exchange sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Educational and Cultural Affairs Bureau. A central theme of the trip was the revitalization of Ireland’s economy as its unemployment rate is running at about 14 per cent. The visiting officials later traveled to San Diego to look at efforts in that region geared toward the development of young entrepreneurs. Meetings focused on business incubation and spin-offs from university research, technology transfer and intellectual property, education policy and venture capital.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Innovation Night in Hamilton

Innovation Night is Hamilton’s key event for innovators and entreprenuers to develop their ideas, practice and perfect their pitch, and present their concepts to their peers and the local innovation community. It's open to the public, and attendees will have the opportunity to observe five five-minute presentations and 10 one-minute presentations, meet the innovators and network. The event will be hosted at McMaster Innovation Park on Jan. 18, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Vote for your favourite startup

Techvibes received more than 1,000 nominations across six categories for its first Canadian Startup Awards. The finalists have now been revealed. In the case of the "overall startup" category the website was unable to narrow the pool down to three finalists, which its says "demonstrates the high quality of the current crop of Canadian startups." Voting is now open until 11:59 p.m. (PT) on Jan. 17, and the winners will be announced Jan. 20. One vote per person.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Five industries with growth potential

The International Franchise Industry’s 2012 Business Outlook report revealed the top franchise business lines for 2012, including personal care services such as laundry and dry cleaning, entertainment and recreation, personal transportation and credit intermediation – for which output is expected to rise 6.2 per cent next year. That’s followed closely by retail products and services (driven by a steady, albeit slow, rise in consumer spending) and real estate, though this is off a low base, the December report says. Whether part of a franchise or truly on your own, here are five other industries with significant growth potential in 2012.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

The Facebook small-business strategy

Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, is gunning for small business, we pointed out in a Small Business Briefing item from mid-September, 2011. "My dream is really simple," Ms. Sandberg, 42, said at the time. "I think every small business should … be using Facebook. We're not going to stop until all of them are using it to grow their business." The company was about to offer free $50 advertising credits for up to 200,000 small businesses. When a user clicks on an ad, there is a set rate for the click-through that the advertiser has to pay. Facebook planned to pick up the tab for the first $50 under the terms of the offer. "For $50," Ms. Sandberg claimed, "most small businesses can target every single person they need to target at least once, and then they can grow their business from there."

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