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How To Use QR Codes In Social Media

Last week, I attended SMX East and spoke about “Facebook SEO: Free Ways To Be Found On Facebook”. One hot topic within the panel was how exactly to leverage one’s user base and get them to take the action steps on social sites. Whether it be “likes,” “check-ins,” or “followers” you are looking for, one tactic that I stressed was the usage of QR codes for a direct, actionable methods of achieving social goals.

But what is a QR code? A QR code is a 2 dimensional code (also known as a matrix code) that can include text, links or other information that can be read by smartphones and some camera equipped cell phones. This means that a user can scan your code with their mobile device and be delivered straight to a specific page. Sparq Code, a mobile engagement company, released a usage statistics document (PDF) in Q1 2010 showing a great deal of usage statistics with their individual codes. The statistics showed that the iPhone took up the majority of the download share with 33.3%, but both Android and Blackberry devices were close behind with 28.7% and 20.3% respectively.

So, instead of showing users a generic message like the following sign:

Provide users with a simple “scan-able” action step by showcasing a QR code (go ahead and scan it!):

Instead of giving users a more passive message like “Find Us” take the direct approach and create a “check-in station” where users can take direct actions (in fewer steps.)

Here is an example on how to create a QR code for Facebook Places that also provides usage statistics to see how effective the code is. First, when near your “place”, use your mobile browser to find the location in question. If you are not near your location, you will need the Facebook Place ID, latitude and longitude to insert into the URL. Copy and paste your Facebook Place URL and it will look similar to this Facebook Place:

http://touch.facebook.com/?w2m#/profile.php?id=120181028031141&t&latitude=42.940415&longitude=-78.85973

Next, leverage Google QR Code Generator within Google’s goo.gl shortener to shorten your URL while creating a specific QR image and link. This new QR code will then show the number of clicks for an auto-generated link. This will allow for companies to track the specific scans including the additional information that goo.gl provides like time of day, date, location, browser and platform.

While QR codes can be a great tool, it is also important to remember that not all visitors may have the proper equipment so add URLs (ex. facebook.com/searchengineland and @sengineland on Twitter) so those people can make that connection when back on their computers.

Whether it be a link to Foursquare, Yelp, or Facebook, QR codes can save users some time and work in finding you, so take a direct approach in making that connection!


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