Author Archives: Lauren Barnaba

How To: Create a Successful Facebook Ad Campaign

People all over the world are spending more and more time on Facebook and other social media platforms. Being what I would call “the company Facebook expert”, I have decided to show my Facebook passion by sharing some insight with you. Knowing that each brand has different goals, let’s keep this very generic and start with the basics. Set aside your Facebook page for now and let’s just say you are a brand and you want your ads to show in the follow main placements.

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There are many different types of Facebook ads, including your typical display ads as well as the popular ‘social ads’ that let you interact with the content. The display ads we are all very familiar with are the Right-hand side ads. The mobile and desktop News Feed ads are the more engaging ads and are fairly new.

The following tips are questions you need to ask yourself in order to create a successful Facebook ad campaign:

1. Who is your audience?

This is important because we want the ads served to people interested in your brand and therefore likely to click on your ad. You should know your audience for any type of advertisement. Fortunately, Facebook has many different demographics in order to help you reach your target. You can target based on geography, gender, age, birthday, education level, marital status, any hobbies, languages, and the list goes on. With Facebook you can really dig deep and get super specific in order to reach the right customer at the right time.

2. Is your image eye-catching?

Choose eye-catching, high quality, colorful images!  You will only have a few impressions to reach your target so make it count the first time. Stay away from the color blue because it blends with Facebook’s colors. Images with people in them seem to do very well. A good first impression always works.

3. Does your ad copy include a strong Call-to-Action?

You have caught the eye of the user with your flashy image so now what do you want them to do? In most cases we want them to CLICK on the ad, LIKE the ad or both. Make sure in your copy you express what they need to do in order to get more information about the ad. The most common CTA that I use is a “click here”, “apply now”, or “learn more” phrase. Or even better “Click here to apply now”.

Start with these three basic questions first in order to figure out which type of Facebook ad is necessary for your campaign.  Also keep in mind the goals of your campaign. Do you want more pages likes, new users, app installs, or just branded awareness? Lastly, make sure you start with multiple ads and test them to see which work the best. Play around with different ad combinations, images and placements and you’ll have yourself a great campaign in no time!

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How Do YOU Watch TV?

Are you one of the 40% of people watching TV while tweeting, Facebook stalking, surfing the web, checking emails, or downloading new apps on your Smartphone? I am definitely guilty of escaping to my Smartphone and honestly, I can’t help it. I can’t help that I am addicted to my iPhone and keeping up with the latest news, gossip, and apps; it’s incredible what you can do on the new Smartphone’s. If I am watching a show or movie and a commercial break comes on, the first thing I do is pick up my phone. Whether I have a reason of picking up my phone or not, it has become a habit during commercials or programs I’m not really into. Below are stats from Nielsen about what Tablet and Smartphone users are doing while watching TV:

This is something that marketers and advertisers should start thinking about because the numbers will only increase with time. We already know that traditional TV interaction has decreased so the next thing to think about is how to interact with and understand what consumers are doing while watching TV and why. Some companies are already doing this by informing the consumer about their app and checking out their Facebook, Twitter or website. Lots of TV shows broadcast live-tweeting during the show by using #(showtitle) to promote a Twitter discussion during the show.  I use this with some of the reality shows I watch because it’s a good way to engage with other viewers and friends watching the same show. These are probably the two most common types of marketing interaction I have experienced while watching TV.

What’s even crazier is there’s an app (called “Remote”) that is a remote controller and allows you change channels on your TV by using your iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Talk about multitasking! Tweeting, Facebooking, emailing and changing channels with one device in hands at all times? Sign me up!

So next time you sit down to watch TV, are you just watching TV or is the TV a background noise?

The Truck Trend

While visiting California and New York a few times over the past two years, I became obsessed and curious with the food trucks that I saw on the street corners while being a typical tourist. Usually when you think of getting food off the street you think of hotdogs, hamburgers, peanuts, and pretzels.  I found that these food trucks sold similar items and parked around busy construction sites so that the workers had a quick and convenient option for lunch.  Food trucks are not just for constructions sites anymore. Food truck vendors are popular in cities like LA, NYC, Portland, San Diego, Atlanta and D.C and they now offer all different types of cuisines. What’s not to love about established restaurants in busy cities extending their business to the roads- taking their chefs to customers?

With the rise of social media marketing, these trucks don’t have to spend tons of money on marketing their yummy grub and whereabouts.  Twitter and Facebook informs followers where trucks are at all times and any specials they might have that day. Another free marketing outlet is Mobi Munch (www.mobimunch.com).  It’s the nation’s first mobile food service company and online marketing channel dedicated to providing established chefs and restaurateurs an integrated online and offline platform for launching innovative restaurant concepts aboard state-of-the-art food trucks. On the website and iPhone application you can track trucks in over 50 cities around the United States.

Being an owner of an iPhone, an avid Facebook and Twitter user and a food frenzy freak, I recently discovered the local food truck phenomenon developing in Baltimore.  There are currently about ten food trucks in the Baltimore area that serve anywhere from gourmet burgers, savory and sweet crepes, soups and salads, delicious deserts, overstuffed burritos, and everything in between.  All of them have their own Facebook and Twitter page to promote their fabulous food and offerings. Below are the current food trucks and their Twitter page:

On June 1, 2011, Mayor Rawlings-Blake announced a program that encourages food truck vending in Baltimore. There are now five designated “Food Truck Zones” in certain areas that the food truck vendors are able to park and operate their business; most of them located in Downtown Baltimore. Don’t be discouraged county residents, there is talk that the trucks are going to start heading north of the city line and some of them already have. Other popular areas that the food trucks venture to are Hopkins Hospital, Hampden, Locust Point, Mt. Vernon, U of MD Medical Center, and Canton.  Mayor Rawlings-Blake states, “Baltimore’s food trucks are a unique extension of our diverse local restaurant industry. We must ensure that existing operations are able to thrive and new food truck ventures are encouraged to start.”

After my experience this past Saturday while checking out The Gypsy Queen Truck in Patterson Park, I cannot wait to visit each and every food truck over the next few months.  I shared the famous Chubby Burger and the Crab Cake Tacos, which I highly suggest. The chef’s were very friendly and the service was great.

I’m excited that the food truck trend has started in Baltimore – it offers a unique dining option featuring young chefs with lots of energy and passion for food!  So, if you’re feeling frisky and want to test your taste buds, be sure to visit their Twitter or Facebook pages.

Verizon iPhone: It’s Official

Back in July 2010 I blogged about the iPhone’s “pesky problem” and whether or not I was going to use my upgrade. After asking friends and family that recently bought the new iphone4 and from reading numerous customer reviews, I decided to go with my gut feeling and indulge! I ended up buying the iPhone 4 in September 2010 and haven’t had a dropped call or experienced any issues with the signal strength- lucky me! I couldn’t be more satisfied and addicted with this phone and all its capabilities; others would disagree.

After more than three and a half years of AT&T having full control of the iPhone, Verizon put an end to the monopoly on January 11, 2011. The iPhone will be available to pre-order on February 3 and generally available on February 10. When AT&T released the iPhone a few years back, many Verizon customers were itching to switch to AT&T solely for the iPhone. What’s going to happen now? Will the unhappy AT&T customers switch back to Verizon? According to ChangeWave, “15% of AT&T subscribers said in December they were likely to change carriers in the next three months” and “among just iPhone owners, 26% were planning to leave AT&T”. (http://tinyurl.com/4trlmeb) Most AT&T customers that want to make the switch are concerned about their family plans and how much it’s going to cost them to terminate their contract with AT&T. From my understanding it’s going to cost anywhere from $175 to $325, depending on when your 2 year agreement is over. As for the price of the device itself, Verizon customers will pay the same as AT&T’s. What it could come down to price wise is Verizon’s monthly service charges and data plans versus AT&T’s. http://tinyurl.com/47o5ymy

Two other areas that consumers could take into consideration are the features, quality and speed of each carrier’s iPhone. The iPhone’s are practically similar except that each phone has a different network. Verizon’s is based on CDMA, which means that Verizon owners will not be able to be on a call and use apps at the same time, like AT&T users are able to do. However, the Verizon iPhone antenna will be a little different from AT&T’s, hoping to prevent dropped calls. As far as speed, AT&T has been promoting that they have a faster network than Verizon but currently both AT&T and Verizon are working on building next generation 4G networks that will both work that same. http://tinyurl.com/6knr7lo

The bottom line is that AT&T no longer has its exclusivity and will have to work harder in order to keep their customers and keep them happy, like myself J

iPhone’s Pesky Problem

Cingular, now AT&T, has been my phone service provider ever since my parents gave me my first Nokia as a high school freshman. Every two years my contract expires and I am eligible for an upgrade.  I cannot wait to get the latest and greatest, technology savvy device. On July 5, 2010 I was eligible for a new cell phone and I have yet to upgrade, which is very unlike me. I have had my eyes on Apple’s iPhone ever since the first version  debuted in 2007 and have been patiently waiting to get my hands on one of my own; more specifically the iPhone 4!

As a firm believer in Consumer Reports, I now question myself whether or not to buy the new iPhone 4.  Even though within the first three days Apple broke their record and sold 1.7 million devices, Consumer Reports recently announced that they can’t recommend the iPhone 4. CR explains “the iPhone 4 finished atop the smartphone ratings, in part because it “sports the sharpest display and best video camera we’ve seen on any phone,” has excellent battery life, and has an array of other new features. There’s just one pesky problem”. They found when they tested the device there was a flaw in the antenna which results in dropped calls and reception problems. The antenna surrounds the outside of the device and when your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left hand side, the signal weakens and possibly can cause your call to be dropped.  Another problem that CR found is that the signal strength was misleading and “mistakenly displays 2 or more bars than it should for a given signal strength”. http://tinyurl.com/2u7vxm6

CR however, did find a solution for those who already bought the iPhone 4.  One solution is to cover up the antenna with a piece of duct tape. Honestly, if I just bought a brand new phone I shouldn’t have this problem; it’s a brand new phone! The only thing I would want on my phone is a cover to protect it. The other solution is indeed to use Apple’s Bumper case on the phone to help the reception. Consumer Reports said, “With the Bumper fitted, we repeated the test procedure, placing a finger on the Bumper at the point at which it covers the gap below. The result was a negligible drop in signal strength–so slight that it would not have any effect, in our judgment.”  http://tinyurl.com/27yyjr9  But how sure can we be that that’s the real problem solver? Apple has not made any comments about this issue but instead says that there is a flawed formula that calculates the number of bars available on the iPhone 4. They are working on a software that iPhone users can download to solve this problem.

Apple is holding a press conference July 16 at 10am in California to address these issues and complaints from consumers around the world. There have not been any reports yet about the outcome of the conference. I am counting on Steve Jobs and Apple engineers to find a real solution to the iPhone 4 because if this problem isn’t fixed in some way shape or form, the chance of me buying the iPhone 4 is not promising. I think I will make my decision once reports from the press conference release to the public. I can always stick with Samsung and get their new smartphone. Decisions, decisions….