Facebook Updates for Businesses
April 15th, 2015

This year, Facebook grew to a mind-boggling 3 billion views per day, and 53% of these views came from posts that were shared by users. But as the platform constantly adjusts to this growth, it can be difficult to keep up with the changes and updates.

Facebook’s developer conference took place recently and included several big announcements. These announcements included future improvements to existing applications and exciting new features inside of Facebook. Do you know about all of them?

Facebook Messenger is a text feature used inside of Facebook or as a separate application, and is available on mobile devices. Messenger will be updated with the following:
* Payments can now be sent and accepted through Messenger.
* This application can now be embedded on any website and used as a chat feature.
* Individuals can contact a business through Messenger and the experience will be the same as contacting a friend through the application.
* Customers can track interactions with business such as delivery date, package location or customer service updates.
* Interactions through Messenger will result in the company’s posts listing higher up in the customer’s Facebook feed.
* Greater amounts of data will be available for the company if a customer contacts them through Messenger (for example, past orders, age, gender, FB preferences…)

Currently, video posts are the best way to communicate with fans on Facebook. These posts receive the most views, shares and feedback rates along with the highest preference from Facebook’s algorithms to place higher on the feed of individual fans. The changes to Facebook Video include:
* Facebook videos can now be embedded on websites, whether they belong to the
* Any videos can be embedded by anyone – whether they own the video or not.
* Videos on Facebook now have a size limit of 1.5Gb.
* Videos can be scheduled to go live at specific times and be taken down at specific future dates.
* Video data is still accessible when taken off of live feed (accessible by owner).
* Video can be restricted to certain groups (divided by age, gender, location…).
* A Call-to-Action can be added to the end of a video that will pull the user to any page, even one not connected to Facebook.
* Uploads can now be resumed if cut off during the upload process.
* Bulk uploading is now available even if all videos will not be published simultaneously.
* Live feeds can be published on Facebook feeds.

Facebook is constantly changing. Keeping up with all of these modifications can be a tough job, but hopefully the items listed above will help!

Special thanks to Creating Your Space for this informative guest blog. Shannon Vogel of Creating Your Space is a tile industry staple and has presented well received webinars for CTDA and sessions at TSP. Visit their website for more information about marketing and social media in the tile industry: www.creatingyourspace.com

Passing of John Ames
April 13th, 2015
John Ames

John Ames

It is with profound sadness that we announce the unexpected passing of John Christopher Ames on April 6 after a brief struggle with leukemia. After earning an MBA from the University of British Columbia, John went on to become the third generation CEO of Ames Tile and Stone, founded in 1912. Under his passionate guidance, Ames Tile and Stone achieved the Gold Standard status with Canada’s Best Managed Companies and for the seventh consecutive year was named one of Canada’s Best Workplaces. John was committed to helping others. He founded the Ames Foundation to provide financial support to at-risk youth. He had a special interest in the Boys and Girls Club. Among many charitable activities, the Ride for Cancer was close to his heart. John’s energy knew no limits. He travelled the world and was fascinated in learning about other people and their cultures. He was always ready for a new challenge: backpacking in the Grand Canyon, bicycling in Italy, hiking the Cotswold Walk in England, and waterskiing on his beloved Sakinaw Lake. Apart from all these adventures, what John loved most was being with his family and friends. Son, brother, husband, Dad, partner, uncle, friend – he did it all with style. His incomparable zest for life and loyalty to family and friends will never be replaced in the lives of all who knew him.

Choosing the Best Countertop for Your Kitchen
April 2nd, 2015

When remodeling or upgrading your kitchen, one of the biggest decisions you’ll make is choosing a
countertop material. With so many choices available, it can be a daunting task!
With some materials being nearly maintenance-free and others requiring a lot of care, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each material in order to determine the best choice for your lifestyle. Below is some information on five great options for kitchen countertops to help you select one that’s right for you.

Granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchen countertops. With its great combination of style and durability, it’s easy to understand why! It comes in a wide range of colors and patterns, is stain-resistant and stands up well against the normal kitchen-related wear and tear, such as heat and knife nicks. Although granite doesn’t require much maintenance on a daily basis, it does need to be sealed once in a while in order to maintain its stain resistance. And since it’s heavy, sturdy cabinets are necessary to support the weight.

Alaska Granite slab
Calacatta Gold Bartop
Pictured: Alaska granite; Calacatta Gold marble

Marble is one of the most elegant and sophisticated looking natural stones, making it another frequently chosen material for kitchen countertops. After several years, marble takes on a patina, a look that many people love. It’s also highly resistant to heat and breakage. With monthly cleaning and sealing, marble can be very resilient.

Quartz countertops, made in a vast amount of colors, are aesthetically pleasing while being highly durable. And since they’re nonporous, you don’t need to worry about sealing them!
Unlike natural-stone slabs, which are mined, quartz slabs are engineered in a factory. A good alternative to stone, they provide the beauty of stone without the maintenance requirements.

Soapstone is becoming a more popular choice for kitchen countertops, likely due to the subtle beauty and simple feel it provides as compared to other materials. Similar to marble, it acquires a patina over time. One of the more high-maintenance materials, it needs to be oiled regularly. And, since it doesn’t fare so well against knife scratches and nicks, it can crack, resulting in an expensive fix. A large benefit, however, is soapstone’s resistance to stains. If you’re a coffee lover or wine aficionado, this is definitely a material you’ll want to consider!

Both ceramic and porcelain tile are inexpensive, easy to install and clean, and come in seemingly endless color and design options, making them suitable for just about any kitchen style. Tile is sturdy and does well with heat, sharp knives and stains. One of the greatest advantages of tile is that it’s fairly easy to replace in the event some tiles chip or crack.

Lyskamm Quartz Slab

Grey Soapstone Honed Slab Pictured: Lyskamm Italian-made quartz; Grey Soapstone Honed

About Arizona Tile
Founded in 1977 in San Diego, California, Arizona Tile has grown into a nationally recognized commercial and residential distributor with more than 25 showrooms throughout seven Western states. Arizona Tile is one of the largest independently-owned importers of stone in the United States, offering more than 230 varieties of granite, travertine, onyx, slate, marble, limestone and quartz, plus medallions, porcelain tile and other design creations. Founded by John Huarte, former NFL player and Heisman Trophy winner, the company is still family-owned after more than 35 years.

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