How to Keep Your Deck Clear in a Winter Wonderland

December 20th, 2013
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Tomorrow marks the official first day of winter, but don’t tell that to Mother Nature…or the vast majority of the US.

With snow, ice and other winter weather in amounts well-above averages for this time of year in EVERY region of the country, winter has made its presence felt far in advanced of the “official” start to the season.

And as winter weather veterans know all too well, (and all those southern states are learning quickly) all that winter weather, while beautiful, has to be removed from streets, sidewalks and decks.  If you have a composite or PVC deck, you might be wondering how best to remove snow and ice from it without causing damage.

The best option is to use ice melt that is safe for use on concrete, flagstone and grass.  If the ice melt is safe for those three surfaces, it should not damage your composite or PVC deck.  However, avoid using an ice melt with a colorant added, as the dyes can stain decking.

You should also avoid using sand and metal shovels (or plastic shovels with a metal edge) as you may accidentally scratch even the most resilient decking.

For more tips for snow and ice removal, check out our archives.

The Builder’s Guide to Social Media Marketing – Why You Should Be Using Social to Grow Your Business

December 17th, 2013
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Social media is everywhere these days.  With the rise of smartphones and tablets, which we talked about in a post a few weeks ago, people expect to be able to connect with the brands and companies they interact with at a moment’s notice.  In fact, 85% of people expect businesses to be active in social media.

Now, you may be thinking “Well, that’s great, but I’m in the construction industry. I get my customers through word-of-mouth. People aren’t picking a contractor because of social media.”

That’s where you’d be wrong. Word-of-mouth can be defined as ‘potential customers seeking opinions and reviews of a product or service from trusted friends and family members and making a purchase decision as a result of that input.’  Studies of social media usage and buying behavior have found that 81% of customers reach out to friends and family members on social networking sites for advice before purchasing products.  Those people are extending “word-of-mouth” to the digital world.  If you’re not there, not only are you missing out on interactions with potential customers, you could be damaging your brand’s reputation because 36% of social media users trust brands that have a social media presence more than brands that don’t.

NOW, you may be thinking “I don’t have time to mess with that social media stuff.  I’ve got too much on my plate as it is.”

While it is true that for major national brands, social media can be a very time consuming endeavor, for a localized business the time commitment can be as little as a few hours a week. Apart from set up time, planning and posting updates can take as little as a few minutes a day.

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So, I’ve convinced you that you need to be “in” social media. But where do you start? Well, you start where your customers are.  The top five most used social media networks are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest – with estimated monthly unique visitors ranging from 800 million for Facebook to over 140 million for Pinterest.

For the purposes of contractor and construction marketing, those giant numbers don’t really mean anything, though.  It’s the locals you care about.  So how do reach them? Well, in those huge numbers, it’s a pretty good bet that people in your area are in at least one (if not all five) of the top networks, so you can’t just ignore them. I’ll tell you more about how to reach them within each of the networks in separate posts.

In addition to The Big Five, there are hundreds of niche social media networks that people visit every month with communities focused around moms, sharing art and poetry and almost anything you can think of – yep, even construction.  Because of its focus on bringing contractors and interior designers together with people planning home improvement projects, Houzz may be one of the most valuable social media sites you can spend your time on.

One of the most important aspects of social media is the social aspect. You’ll not only be able to connect with your customers and potential customers, but also other companies that you do business with.  For example, it benefits your company page if you share posts from Fiberon and other similar companies that you think your audience will find relevant. Whether it’s a beautiful picture that illustrates the potential of a certain product or a blog post on how to remove snow and ice from a composite deck, sharing that content will increase the value of your social presence to your customers.  They know that you are providing information that is useful and not solely about self-promotion – a key strategy to a successful social media presence.

In this series, I will lead you down the path to creating or improving your business’s social media presence.  It will feature posts with tips ranging from things a beginner will find useful to tips and subtleties that a more advanced user will find helpful as well on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest and Houzz.

Let me know in the comments if you have any question you want answered about any of these social networks and stay tuned for the first post!

Deck Trend: 2014 Color of the Year – Radiant Orchid

December 10th, 2013
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radiant orchidPantone’s Color of the Year for 2014 has been announced! The color is Radiant Orchid, a lovely purple shade that is described as a “harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones” that will work well with most neutral shades but will also pair well with olive and deeper greens, other shades of purple or pink, turquoise and yellow.

According to the Wall Street Journal, each year, Pantone polls designers, manufacturers and retailers from around the world to see what colors they plan to use in the coming season.  From the survey responses and other market data, a committee of Pantone executives and clients chooses the Color of the Year.

Expect to see much more of Radiant Orchid in 2014 – in everything from makeup and fashion to interior design and housewares.  The bright color can add a beautiful pop to your outdoor décor through pillows, an umbrella or even the furniture!

If the idea of purple furniture scares you, a less intimidating use of the color might be as a focal point in your garden, or in a pot on your deck. On our Pinterest, we’ve pulled together a few ideas of how you can use the “It” shade in your outdoor décor and elsewhere throughout your home.

What do you think of this year’s color? Will you try to incorporate into your décor?

Happy Thanksgiving From Fiberon!

November 27th, 2013
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This Thanksgiving, we here at Fiberon would like to express to you our sincere appreciation for your confidence and loyalty.  We are deeply thankful and extend to you our best wishes for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving Day and upcoming holiday season.

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We will be closed on Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th in observation of the holiday. We will reopen at 8am EST on Monday, December 2nd.

A Salute to Our Veterans

November 11th, 2013
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Veteran’s Day provides us with an opportunity to stop and recognize the incredible sacrifices the men and women of our Armed Forces, and their families, make every day for this country. They fight to protect the freedoms we, as Americans, hold so dear. Throughout the course of American history, countless soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice and countless more have suffered physically and mentally – proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that Freedom isn’t free.

 Today, and every day, Fiberon is thankful for the brave men and women, past and present, who fight to keep the United States of America the greatest nation in the world.

America: Home of the Free, because of the Brave.