K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Social Media

Mar 13 2017

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The Laundry Room 2.0


Laundry Room by Christie Board, Board by Board Inc. Photo by Bella Vita Photography

This room used to be the one shoved into a corner, a closet or a basement and forgotten. It is notoriously messy, stressful and busy but also essential to the smooth running of a family home. Having an organized laundry room – no matter how small – has always been valued, but now having a beautiful laundry room is also in demand.

This week’s KBTribeChat looked at today’s laundry room and the demands, the trends and the exciting products changing the way we look at this hardworking room.

Most Desired Feature
It’s not just one feature – as usual, clients want a multi-functional space that is both beautiful and accessible. Countertop space and an abundance of storage is a must, and also having hanging rods and places to fold is helpful. Sinks are also growing in demand. Above all, people want ways to simplify this chore so they have more time for what’s important to them.

Top Load vs. Front Load
Participants argued that while front-loaders look better and stack easily, top-load washers are more accessible. Also, a front-loader washer can develop mold if not cleaned consistently.

Making a Small Laundry Room Larger
Laundry rooms are usually one of the smallest areas in the home. Taking advantage of vertical space and light colors, however, can make all the difference. For the best use of space, a designer could stack a front-load washer/dryer, install retractable hanging space and design custom storage for the clients’ family.

Energy Efficiency
Most clients are looking to save water and energy. While eco-friendly products are a popular request, some clients still want “all the bells and whistles” in their laundry machine and falsely believe that less water equates to dirtier clothes. Even if they do not invest in a highly energy-efficient appliance, laundry machines and dryers still use less water and energy than in previous years.

Where Are We Headed?
Like the open-plan kitchen, the laundry room is transforming into a multifunctional space that combines mudroom, laundry and craft area all in one. They are also likely to be a part of the smart home phenomenon – which may include Wi-Fi connectivity or remote control.

What do you love most about today’s laundry rooms? Let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter @KBBConnect or on Instagram @Kbb_magazine.

Feb 13 2017

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The Connected Home

There was a time when I was not connected to my phone. I remember the pre-iPhone days and scoffing at the idea that I would have to remotely check my email or look up information online.

Fast-forward to a typical Saturday. I’ll listen to Pandora during my morning run and then the news while I’m making lunch. I’ll look up Pinterest ideas for dinner and then add ingredients I need to my AnyList app. My husband and I will book a movie on our phones and have the tickets already on there by the time we go. And even when we’re going to bed, I’ll be setting my alarm on my phone and then placing it right next to the bed.

Part of me hates how attached I am to my phone now, but here we are. We all use it for everything and don’t remember how we got by beforehand. How did we get by? I think the answer is that we simply didn’t accomplish as much on a single day as we do today.

The reason behind this soliloquy is this week’s #KBTribeChat on Connected Convenience. KBB magazine listened in and found out a bit more about where we are going with this technology and how we got there.

Why we want it. It’s all about a lack of time and energy. We would love technology to do things in the kitchen like running the dishwasher at a certain time, chopping up ingredients or automatically generating a shopping list.

Why we need it. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to 166,100 home structure fires that started in the kitchen. We leave our stoves and ovens on in our rush to get things done. We also have no idea when to service our appliances or how to service them.

Cooking with tech. More people today use apps instead of cookbooks to make recipes. Home cooks would like to see more reviews of recipes, suggestions by chefs and videos of steps.

Controlling with tech. It might seem unnecessary to some, but many feel that having an “extra hand” in the kitchen would save time. Amazon Echo introduced this concept, and users want more – to find out measurements, recipes and to set timers.

How are you using technology in your home? Be sure to tell us on our Facebook page, on Twitter @kbbmagazine and on Instagram @kbbconnect.

Sep 15 2016

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To Advertise or Not to Advertise

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KBB recently asked our KBB Designers Network on LinkedIn about using social media and other advertising techniques to draw customers.

The following is a constructive conversation among three members of our group with some useful input and tips to succeed:

Paul McAlary, Main Line Kitchen Design, Narberth, Pa.

We post and use paid advertising on Houzz, Facebook and YouTube. We pay money to belong and advertise on Angie’s List and pay for review updates and listings on Customer Lobby. We post on our Twitter and Instagram accounts and have a listing on Yelp and dozens of other listing sites. We post and maintain a LinkedIn profile and company profile and participate in the groups we belong to.

The list goes on and on and includes Google+, Klout, Pinterest, Scoopit, Median, The Garden Web and Home and Garden. Add to the social media sites the money we spend on PPC advertising on Google and Yahoo and what we spend on SEO and our website and the “chat box” on our website, and you are talking a huge financial and time-consuming undertaking. And we haven’t even mentioned the organizations we pay to belong to like multiple NARI chapters, the NKBA, the BBB, etc. All these thing make your business visible and findable on the web.

Anne Harvey, AKBD, Fresh Kitchen & Bath Design, Cary, N.C.

Of all these avenues, which ones have brought you the most business?

Paul McAlary: Besides referrals, the best investment to least:
The chat box on our website, our website itself, Houzz free listing, Houzz paid listing, blogs, Facebook dark posts, Youtube, Customer Lobby, PPC Google ads, PPC Yahoo ads, Remarketing Ads, Home Adviser, NARI Memberships, Yelp, Angies List.
After these there is little determinable ROI on our other efforts, but even so our efforts on Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, etc., help us come up better on internet searches. In comparison, we monitored a large Yellow Page ad for a year and received zero leads.

Anne Harvey: Being a natural skeptic, I have come to some conclusions regarding social media; mainly that their main objective is to make money, not help me be successful – although they are more than happy to take my money and make empty promises about how paying for their service will get me more clients.

We have a society of window shoppers and DIYers. Many users of social media are not out there looking for professionals no matter what the “pros” tell us. They want free ideas they can execute themselves or as cheaply as possible.
I don’t answer the phone when I see Houzz, Home Advisor, etc., on my caller ID. The most successful designers and trade professionals get all their new business via referrals and stay booked months in advance.

Paul McAlary: There is no question that referral business is the best, but no business can grow or even remain static without non-referral customers added to their pool of customers. Getting fresh customers from varied sources also makes a business more sustainable during tough economic times. Advertising – even if it’s simply putting out flyers or signs on lawns – is essential. And the best ways to advertise change yearly.

I am the biggest of skeptics but also try to be open to new ideas, products and advertising trends. Mastering using social media to create business is difficult, and most people selling their services to help you do it won’t succeed unless your business is a very common type that there are known techniques for. And you must excel at any type of advertising to make it work. I know business owners that do incredibly well using Houzz, Home Advisor or Angie’s list, but they put a huge effort into making it work for them,

Denise Butchko, Butchko & Co., Chicago

Not having a presence on social platforms is equivalent to not having a website in today’s market. Your online presence and image are researched by customers to develop trust before they contact you. These platforms are not created to help fill the top of your sales funnel, and you can’t “spend your way” to leads. You can, however, support your organic efforts with paid efforts to increase the qualified leads that can come to your business.
Yes, all platforms will accept your money. That doesn’t guarantee business any more than a Yellow Page ad or even a print or TV campaign guarantees leads.

Anne Harvey: I may not be a fan, but it is a necessary component in today’s world. I have a website, Facebook page, etc., write a blog, create customized flyers and have lawn signs. I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t use social media.

Paul McAlary: Here’s a funny story of how bad advertising won’t help you.
Thirty years ago there was a tool company that advertised in the Yellow Pages across from my ad as a general contractor. I know from the size of the ad that it cost $500 per month in 1986. The advertisement should have read:
Whatever your needs may be, we have what you are looking for. Unfortunately, for five years before they went out of business, it read:
Whatever your needs, maybe we have what you are looking for.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aug 31 2016

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Social Media and the K&B Industry

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We love joining in on #KBTribeChat, which takes place every Wednesday from 2-3 pm EST across Twitter. Every week a topic is discussed and manufacturers and designers alike all jump in with opinion, advice and facts. This week we discussed the importance of social media in our industry, with #KBTribeChat supplying the questions. Even though I’m a millennial, I still have quite a lot to learn when it comes to social media, and these folks really showed me.

  1. Is Twitter useful to you beyond #KBTribechat?
    Twitter is like real-time dialogue – you could get drawn into it all day chatting with others in the business and clients if you could. It also allows you to post links, whereas Instragram doesn’t.
  2. What social platforms are musts? For what reasons?
    This one is pretty clear: Twitter, Instram, and Facebook. GooglePlus is a must for SEO users, and Houzz and PInterest are also helpful for reaching new clients.
  3. What advice do you have for the design pro who is skeptic about social media?
    Although it’s doubtful that anyone really has skepticism, we all agreed that you need to figure out who your target audience is and what platform they use. Several designers also pointed out that social media in itself is a great outlet for showing off design skills.
  4. How has social media benefited your business?
    Everyone agreed that social media is crucial. It allows a new group of users to engage and provide real-time feedback, is a great networking tool and is marketing without physically going door-to-door.
  5. Do you have a strategy for when to like a tweet and when to retweet?
    Retweets show up as “repeats” of what someone else tweeted, while likes just add up little hearts next to the tweets. Basically, if you want to share with your audience someone else’s tweet, then retweet it. If you just want to show appreciation for a tweet, but it’s not applicable to you business, then like it.

If you want to join in next week, just follow @KBTribeChat on twitter, and when it comes time for the talk, find #KBTribeChat. You can participate by adding #KBTribechat to the end of your tweets. See you next time!