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QR Codes and Social: Match Made in Heaven?

MESH QR CodeLet’s be honest. You’d LOVE to have your own custom app at the top of Apple’sApp store. Millions of downloads, a captive audience, hundreds of leads a month, who wouldn’t?

In reality, it’s tough to do this. First, you have to have a great idea for an App. Then you need to find someone to develop it without stealing all the credit. Finally, you have to get it in the App store, and hope people think it’s as a great as you do.

Sounds like fun. But, why are you really wanting to create an App? You want to drive business, build an audience, and be able to leverage that audience, through use of mobile technology—which is where we’re all headed anyway. The funny thing is that social media handles most of this equation for you. With blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and more, you can build an audience. You then—with the appropriate marketing strategy and brand components in place, can market to them. But how do you make it mobile?

Well, there ARE mobile checkin solutions. Facebook check in is… meh. Foursquare usage is inconsistent. Today you play it, tomorrow you don’t. Then you come back in a few months and play again. And then don’t. NYC just got a badge for firefighters. Cool, but it doesn’t help my business one shred. How can YOU get in the mobile game without investing thousands in an App that just might not hit it?

Enter Quick Response codes (QR codes). If you’re not familiar, QR codes are those blocky little boxes that look like they sprouted out of a late 80s 8-bit Nintendo system. In essence it’s a two-dimensional code that can be read on basically any smartphone or tablet using a variety of scanning tools through the built in camera. The 2D code allows you to embed branding, marketing and even some technology (links to websites, online applications, etc). You can even drive users scanning QR codes to direct response pages and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. QR codes enable your to provide your audience with immediate access to relevant information, increasing the likeliness of your content being shared which can build your online community and boost search optimization.

So how do you use QR codes and social media to generate buzz, build your audience and develop new leads?

  • First, get your brand inline.
  • Second, develop a strategy.
  • Third, find a partner that can help you with integrated brand, development and marketing solutions. (shameless plug)
  • Define call(s) to action. Create a URL that drives your audience to your desired action “liking” you, “checking in” with you, or “following” you.
  • Embed the URL in a QR Code (you can do this for free, but most free services only allow you to use the free service for personal codes).

Where do you use QR Codes?

QR codes can be practically used EVERYWHERE. Put it on stickers in your store windows, on your car or sides of trucks. Use it on your business card, brochure, website, social media channels, advertisements, point-of-sale, coupons, trade show exhibits, emails and newsletters, event tickets, product packaging—everywhere! Give your audience a reason to share your content and to come back for more. Make them fun and effective.

Remember to BRAND it. QR Codes can be branded like anything else and shouldn’t feel disconnected from your brand. Develop appropriate messaging to and actions by your audience, and provide non-QR code savvy people alternatives (like URLs and phone numbers) to get your info!

Finally, track and measure your QR code analytics. Test alternate messages, placement and color.

How are you using QR codes? Share your comments below.