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Getting Social Media Right: How QR Codes Can Help

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Social media is a very big thing today when it comes to businesses.  In 2008, as many as 87% of executives are saying that they are using Web 2.0 applications to interact with customers.  The reasons vary, but the most prevalent reasons are to improve customer service and find new customers.  Some of these companies are using social media to find people who would help them in their product development and new product testing, while others would like to give their customers the chance to get in touch with them.

Social Media – Facebook and Twitter on the Rise

It is no secret that social media is very popular not just among businesses.  Imagine the 250 million people who use Facebook Connect every month.  Or the targeted 500 million Facebook users by 2012.  It is estimated that in just 20 minutes, Facebook registers 1.59 million wall posts, 2.72 million photos and 10.21 million comments.

Twitter, on the other hand, gained more than 40 million users from April 2010 to December 2010.  Twitter has also seen a 62% increase in mobile usage. 

But we really don’t need to convince you of the importance of using social media for your business.  There is just one truth in all these: be where your customers are and succeed.

But is it that simple?  Are businesses only required to put up a Facebook like page and see their sales grow?  Nope, not really.

What is wrong with this picture?

Everyday, you may see signs like this.  A lot of businesses are putting up their own Facebook like pages or official Twitter accounts and they put up signs to announce this.  So a customer might come into their store and find out that they have a social media site that they can follow.

But what is wrong with this picture?  At first, you would think that there’s nothing really wrong with it.  It’s a sign that tells people the business has a Facebook account, so surely the sign is okay.  But think about it.  If you were a regular customer of this business, and you want to connect with them on Facebook, you would have to wait until you got home, log into your Facebook account and add them.  Or you have to take out your mobile phone, fire up your browser, call up Facebook on your browser, log-in, search for the business name, then like or add them.  

How a QR Code Can Help

Now imagine putting a QR code on the same sign.  That would be much better because:

1. A QR code can facilitate immediate action.  

Your customers would be able to scan the QR codes you have and get the specified page in it.  No more having them go home and forget all about your Facebook page or Twitter account.  They can like your page or follow you while still within your store premises, while waiting in line to order or pay.

2. A QR code can help eliminate mistakes.

Just imagine if you have a fairly common business name like Tony’s Breads.  Without a QR code, your customers would need to search for your business name to find your profile.  They would have to guess which of the three (or more!) Tony’s Breads is yours, and they might add the wrong business.  Having a QR code leads them to the exact Like page or Twitter account you have!

Additionally, having a QR code eliminates tapping into their phone’s keypads, making sure they got the spelling right.  This is pretty useful if you have a difficult to spell business name or an alternate spelling (think Lilly, instead of Lily).  Also this is very useful if you have a very long URL or non-sensical URLs (think of YouTube videos, which are identified by a string of characters, instead of full words).

3. A QR code can help your customers save time.

No more going through all the process outlined above.  With a QR code, they just fire up their scanners and scan your code, leading them straight to your profile.  This saves them a couple of steps, data charges and time in adding you up. 

Also, think about it.  Without a QR code, and while trying to add your Facebook page, they would have to log into their Facebook accounts and see their Home tab.  Before they could type in your business name, they might see something interesting that happened to a colleague at work, or a cousin might have just posted pictures of her new baby.  With a QR code on hand, you are making sure that the focus is on you and you virtually eliminate any chance of them being waylaid before they could get to your social profile.

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