QR codes have become an important part of the success of your social media marketing campaign. There is a growing understanding that they are important. However, it is one thing to understand the importance and another to use them correctly.
Lately, QR codes have been getting some negative publicity. The reason for this is that some business people, although they are extremely knowledgeable in several aspects of business, are not so knowledgeable when it comes to using QR codes in their social media marketing campaign in a way that strengthens their business. It is truly a matter of education when it comes to using them appropriately and really leveraging them to their fullest potential.
QR codes, as independent entities, are tools. You can think about them as doors to something else. The information that is beyond that door (the QR code) is what will cause a positive or a negative result. Sadly, there are many business people who don’t really understand how to use QR codes to their fullest potential. There are some mistakes that are commonly made and if you are able to avoid them, you will enjoy greater success in your business.
One thing that is important to remember is that since QR codes are usually scanned by mobile devices, the websites to which the mobile device owner is led must be optimized for viewing on mobile devices. If the QR code leads to a URL of a website that is not optimized for viewing on a mobile device, the purpose of the QR code has been defeated.
- Always test the code: This one seems so simple yet many people forget to do it. Because of the fact that humans are not able to read a QR code by simply looking at it, it will need to be tested with a mobile device that will read it for you. The smartest thing to do is to test the code with a variety of different mobile devices just to make sure that it works. This should be done before you consider launching your campaign. Testing the code is a very easy way to identify problems. It is always a possibility that the person who designed the QR code made some sort of design error. Testing it will let you know that immediately.
- Place the QR code strategically: If the code is not easily scannable, your campaign may not be a success. It is important to consider the strength of the reception that the mobile device will get based on where the code is placed. The easier you make it for your audience, the more likely they will be to connect with you based on that experience.
- Always keep it simple: Complicated QR codes won’t do you any good. You should always be sure to use short URLs and try to avoid plain text because barcode scanners can’t extract the link from them. It is certainly not a possibility that the owner of the mobile device will be copying and pasting anything. The QR code should be thought of as a link that can be successfully picked up by any mobile device. If there is a lot of work (or any at all) involved, your audience members won’t bother. The last thing that you want or need is to have a QR code that causes errors or just doesn’t do what it is supposed to do.
- Make sure that it takes them where it is supposed to: Make sure that your QR code leads to a proper, functioning website or other content that can be accessed and used. You can achieve this by either hiring someone to ensure that this will happen or building your own mobile website using a content management system.
- Always offer tremendous value: You will want to try to offer some sort of award or incentive to the people who are scanning your code. You can mix up the awards that you offer, depending on what you are trying to highlight. Whatever you do offer, you need to make sure that it is exciting and holds the interest of other people. Be sure to include a call-to-action and guarantee that you offer at least one of the following:
- Free downloads that will be of interest
- Time-sensitive access
- A contest where they can instantly win something
- Special gifts, coupons, or other offers
- Exclusive information that is not shared with many people
It is excellent if you can put yourself in the shoes of the other person when considering how you want to present your QR code and your offerings behind it. If you ask yourself if you would be happy to be the recipient of what you are offering to others, you are offering the right thing and your business will enjoy the benefits of that. QR codes are an excellent and effective tool for your business. If you aren’t sure whether they will work for your business, give them a try. You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. Ultimately, QR codes are about communication in a form that may be different than what you are used to. It is another tool that will help you to build relationships with your customers and enhance your business.
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).