Navigating the new Facebook
Just when you felt comfortable marketing your business on Facebook, here comes Facebook Timeline.
A Facebook posting from Dave’s Ace Hardware of Milton, Wis., had this to say about the new twist in social media: “The Dave’s Ace Hardware page has been automatically converted to Timeline. What used to be my comfortable and familiar refuge has now been reduced to a foreign and stressful exercise. This is going to take me some time to get used to.”
For small businesses wondering how to make the most of the new format, Seth Lieberman, CEO of Pangea Media, offered some tips.
“Cover and profile photos, tabs and favorite apps, milestones and more must all be considered in order to maximize all that Facebook’s new Timeline layout offers,” he said. Two keys: Brush up on private messaging and interaction skills.
Some things haven’t changed, Lieberman added: “News, humor, entertainment and insider insights grab your audience’s attention and motivate them to return for more. Simply pouring out post after post of advertising copy will mean losing fans and readership — people want to be engaged with the material, not spammed.”
After some initial frustration, Dave’s Ace Hardware has turned its Facebook page (Facebook.com/davesace) into a tour de force. His customers weigh in on everything from when he should put away his ice melt (29 responses) to the wisdom of taking back a DeWalt 18V NiCad battery from 2002. (The customer still had the receipt.)
D.C. Hotline: Not so fast on union posters
A decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (D.C.) Circuit Court has delayed a new rule — set to take effect April 30 — that required workplaces to post right-to-organize notices.
To be in compliance with the new rule, private employers will have to post an 11-in.-by-17-in. notice regarding employee rights to unionize under the National Labor Relations Act. The requirement was set by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
A U.S. District Court for South Carolina disagreed, stating that the NLRB does not have the statutory authority to require business owners to post this notice. A District Court in D.C. found the NLRB rule acceptable, but limited how the agency could enforce it.
Both lower courts, along with the NLRB and private employers, will now await a final decision from the Washington, D.C., appellate court.
“This ruling is a big win for NLBMDA members, and we are pleased the courts recognized the administration exceeded its authority regarding the union poster rule,” said Michael O’Brien, president and CEO of the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA). “I hope the decision by the D.C. Circuit will help the NLRB strike a better balance between the rights of employers and unions.”
Owens Corning reports mixed results
Building products manufacturer Owens Corning reported net sales of $1.35 billion for the first quarter of 2012, a 9% rise over sales of $1.24 billion during the same quarter a year ago. The company reported a net loss of $46 million for the quarter, which ended March 31, 2012, compared with net earnings of $24 million in the first quarter of 2011.
"Owens Corning delivered results in line with our expectations for the quarter," said chairman and CEO Mike Thaman. "We continue to be confident that we will grow adjusted EBIT in 2012.
"As compared to last year, roofing volumes grew significantly, but margins were compressed due to asphalt cost inflation," Thaman said. "We expect another year of strong financial performance in roofing based on our current outlook for volumes and pricing."
The company continues to believe Insulation will significantly narrow losses in 2012 on improved U.S. housing, according to its outlook.