Combine QR Codes With the Power of Facebook

qr-iphoneAre you looking to leverage the pop­u­larity of QR (Quick Response) codes with the wide-spread adop­tion of Facebook?

Over the past sev­eral months, QR codes have inserted them­selves squarely into a dig­ital media con­ver­sa­tion (even appearing on late-night TV). In this article, I’ll unpack how to get your QR codes to go viral on Facebook.

I’ll start by walking you through the process and an example cam­paign, and con­clude with an ana­lyt­ical dis­cus­sion exam­ining five need-to-know suc­cess factors.

Setting Up a Viral QR Code Campaign

Step #1: Generating the QR code

For the unini­ti­ated, QR codes pro­vide a means to open a URL on a mobile phone.

However, a closer look reveals that most QR code gen­er­a­tors pro­vide func­tion­ality for exe­cuting a host of mobile phone actions, including cre­ating a cal­endar event, sending an SMS or pro­viding con­tact information.

Like all things viral, choose a QR code type based on what you think people will want to share.

For the pur­poses of our example cam­paign, we used scan-to-SMS. Once gen­er­ated, keep in mind that saving the QR code in a user-friendly format (e.g., jpeg or png) will be useful when inte­grating with other applications.

qr-smsQR codes can execute various phone actions.
Scanning the above QR code sends an SMS with message "smexaminer" to phone number 44144.

Step #2: Customizing your Facebook post

The next step is to upload your QR code to a server that can com­mu­ni­cate with the Facebook Share API.

Something you share on Facebook con­tains four com­po­nents (see graphic below). All of these com­po­nents are fully cus­tomiz­able for a viral QR code campaign.

qrpostA Facebook share has four customizable components:
image (1), title (2), source (3) and description (4).

Some impor­tant points to keep in mind when cus­tomizing these elements:

  • Image: This is where you will put your QR code. It should be suf­fi­ciently large for people to scan easily.
  • Title: This is your head­line. Crucial for grab­bing atten­tion in crowded Facebook feeds.
  • Source: A brand run­ning a cam­paign should host the QR code on a URL that pro­vides con­text for the cam­paign (for those scan­ning our example cam­paign, you’ll see a URL con­necting to a generic “wmclientser​vices​.com”).
  • Description: A great place to pro­vide valu­able and per­ti­nent infor­ma­tion about your campaign.

Step #3: Taking your cam­paign live

Once inte­grated, Facebook pro­vides you with a campaign-specific Facebook share URL.

Use a URL short­ener to make it more viral-friendly (track­able and easy to share). To ensure max­imum uptake, test your code with mul­tiple QR code readersbefore deploying into the wild.

Speaking of uptake, here’s the flow for our example campaign:

  1. Users will see an ad for social​me​di​aex​am​iner​.com with a QR code.
  2. Users then scan the QR code and send the SMS.
  3. They will receive two links, one to social​me​di​aex​am​iner​.com and the second to share on Facebook.
  4. When the second link is clicked, Facebook’s share prompt auto­mat­i­cally opens.
  5. Users can per­son­alize the mes­sage and share.
  6. The QR code is auto­mat­i­cally posted to users’ Facebook wall and news feed.
  7. Friends can scan the QR code within Facebook to share with their friends.

The ben­efit of taking this viral approach to QR codes is easy to imagine: 10,000 people scan­ning and sharing the orig­inal ad equates to (from Facebook stats: 10K x 130 friends) 1.3 mil­lion addi­tional pairs of eyes—and that’s before those Facebook users start sharing with their friends, and those friends with their friends, and on and on.

Five Need-to-Know Success Factors

Alas, if only it were that easy. Like every­thing in social media mar­keting, the process (sending a tweet, cre­ating a Facebook page) is much easier than the actual exe­cu­tion (doing it well). Viral QR codes are no different.

Here are five fac­tors that bridge the gap between suc­cess and failure:

#1: QR code reach

A com­monly cited figure is that smart­phone market share will reach 50% by the end of 2011. In a dif­ferent light, that’s a min­imum of 150 mil­lion people who won’t be able to scan a QR code through the end of 2011.

Maybe you’ve noticed, but our example cam­paign snuck in an alter­na­tive call to action that achieves the same result as someone scan­ning the QR code.

qr-optAlternative call to action included in the Facebook share.

As you can guess, this was intentional. Include an alter­na­tive call to action (SMS, for example, is acces­sible by 99% of phones) to con­sid­er­ably increases the poten­tial of your viral QR code cam­paign without much addi­tional effort.

#2: Incentives

Let’s say we were to take the above cam­paign live. At heart, its value propo­si­tion is, “Check out our web­site. It has great con­tent we want you to share with your Facebook friends.”

Now let’s add a couple of phrases. “Check out our web­site for the chance to win a mil­lion dol­lars. It has great con­tent we will reward you to share with your Facebook friends.”

I’d be willing to bet my win­nings that more people will par­tic­i­pate in the second cam­paign than the first due to better incen­tives. Though often over­looked in tech­nology mar­keting, incen­tives shouldn’t be a sur­prise given that they turn up all the time.

What I think hap­pens is that mar­keters mis­take engage­ment resulting from “Wow, this is cool tech­nology,” with engage­ment from people gen­uinely moved to action by a cam­paign. Social media mar­keting, like mar­keting in gen­eral (and maybe even more so), is a two-way street.


#3: QR code design

QR codes grab people’s atten­tion due to their curious design. But assuming QR codes con­tinue turning up in more and more places, the design’s intrigue may start losing its ability to cap­ti­vate people amidst every­thing else bom­barding them.

That’s why it’s impor­tant to make your QR codes unique. By cus­tomizing var­ious fea­tures of your QR code, you can bring a sense of per­son­ality that will increase brand iden­tity and engagement.

#4: Customer life­time value

Customer life­time value is simple to under­stand. Every mar­keter in the world would rather have a cus­tomer who spends $50 every day for the next two weeks than a cus­tomer who spends $100 today.

However, whether it’s due to the idea of pur­chasing tele­vi­sion spots or just the word “cam­paign” itself, mar­keters have a ten­dency to adopt a one-off men­tality when it comes to tools like QR codes.

The problem is that QR codes at heart are an inter­ac­tive medium. Failing to develop life­long, instead of one-time, cus­tomers is a missed opportunity.

Luckily, there are a number of ways to achieve this end, the most impor­tant being opting someone in to a sub­scrip­tion list. Two viral QR code examples:

  • Using a mobile appli­ca­tion ser­vice provider, you can enhance your scan-to-SMS cam­paign with an opt-in that cap­tures the mobile phone number.
  • For scan-to-URL QR codes, you can use a mobile landing page to add sub­scribers to a database.

#5: CRM

QR codes are made up of three dif­ferent types of data. The first—scans—accounts for the number of times a person suc­cess­fully uses a QR code reader.

The second—phone operations—describes what a user does after scan­ning (e.g., clicks, down­loads, page views). The third—user data—describes the people actu­ally doing the scan­ning and phone oper­a­tions (e.g., phone type used, age, gender).

I’ve seen far too many QR code cam­paigns that solely focus on scans. That’s great for pre­dicting the future of your QR code cam­paigns, but you miss a key oppor­tu­nity to gather knowl­edge of how and what type of people interact with your brand.

Viral QR codes, given their ability to get in front of more people, make it even more manda­tory to learn as much as you can about your cus­tomers in order to inform your future mar­keting decisions.

To quote Henry Luce, “Business, more than any other occu­pa­tion, is a con­tinual dealing with the future.” A QR code cam­paign that fails to address the entirety of data avail­able misses this point entirely.

More than any­thing, viral QR codes demon­strate a simple truth. Success in mobile and social mar­keting requires a data­base strategy. Not a channel strategy. The reason being that a data­base strategy is customer-centric, which affords sig­nif­i­cantly more value cre­ation oppor­tu­ni­ties. Developing this mindset and working with people who share this men­tality will ensure that you see max­imum value from your QR code campaigns.

Published August 18, 2011

via: Combine QR Codes With the Power of Facebook

Driving Facebook Fans to Your Website

fblogoAre your Facebook fans fre­quenting your website?

Do you want them to?

Keep reading for five ways to drive traffic from Facebook to your com­pany website.

Thoughts on Facebook

While Facebook has become an increas­ingly sig­nif­i­cant com­mu­ni­ca­tion medium, for many busi­nesses and orga­ni­za­tions, their web­site remains the pri­mary con­sumer touch point.

So what do you do if you want to get your Facebook audi­ence to engage more on your brand site?

You could of course have every­thing on your Facebook page point back to your brand site, but you run the risk of alien­ating those people who want to con­sume con­tent on Facebook.

Savvy mar­keters are using tra­di­tional and social chan­nels to sup­port one another.

So here are five sug­ges­tions from Social Media Examiner for ways to drive traffic back to your brand web­site without under­mining your pres­ence on Facebook.

Read More → Driving Facebook Fans to Your Website

Daily Habits for Facebook Marketing Success

Facebook mar­keting, when done right, is an extremely pow­erful tool. It can increase your leads, attract highly tar­geted prospects and posi­tion you as a sought-after industry leader.

To reap these business-building ben­e­fits, the key is to develop daily habits.

The fol­lowing list of six daily habits will keep you focused on what really mat­ters when it comes to Facebook mar­keting: real fan engagement.

Refer back to these habits often to keep your­self on track as you work to create a vibrant com­mu­nity of raving fans who’ll hap­pily spread the word about you and your prod­ucts and ser­vices.
Read More → Daily Habits for Facebook Marketing Success

About Google Plus

google +Google CEO Larry Page con­firmed this week, as pre­dicted, that the company’s new social net­work has sur­passed 10 mil­lion users in less than two weeks. While nei­ther Facebook nor Twitter had any­where near the global rep­u­ta­tion that Google has when they launched their ser­vices, the 10 mil­lion mark was a long time in the making for both.

Google Plus, then, has all the mak­ings of a real winner, and not only for the com­pany but for mil­lions of users and Web pro­fes­sionals. The big ques­tion for busi­nesses, of course, is how to take advan­tage of this new and potential-filled opportunity.

To answer that ques­tion as thor­oughly as we could, we scoured the Web to hear what others are saying about Google Plus, and below is some of the best action­able advice we could find:

Read More → About Google Plus

Tips for Better Facebook Engagement

step 2Yes, I can build you the per­fect fan­page on Facebook.  But if you don’t use it cor­rectly, it could end up being near worth­less — to you, your poten­tial fans, and to me.  Once your fan­page is up and oper­ating prop­erly, the rest is up to you.

Your Mission: ENGAGE  YOUR  FANS!

But how?

Here are 20 tips from others to get you started:

Read More → Tips for Better Facebook Engagement

Carmen Rives Art Gallery Updated

Carmen Rives Art

Just fin­ished updating the web­site for my mother-in-law, Carmen “Cuqui” Rives. She is an amazing artist, often making her own canvas by hand and using oils, Flemish-style, metallics, water­colors and other media for her exquisite paintings.

The site has the same overall feel as the pre­vious ver­sion, but a much better flash inter­face using a single SWF file — thanks to Adobe Flash Catalyst and Flash Pro CS5 — instead of mul­tiple html pages.

 Read More → Carmen Rives Art Gallery Updated

Socially Reward Your Customers

Looking to build your cus­tomer base and keep people coming back for more?


The answer is to reward your cus­tomers.  Want to know how?

Keep reading…

Why Rewards?

It’s easy to see that social media and other dig­ital tech­nolo­gies are making a huge dif­fer­ence in the way brands interact with cus­tomers and how cus­tomers per­ceive a brand’s image.

With so many new busi­ness owners testing the waters of social media, it can be easy to forget what our focus should be. Just like any busi­ness sit­u­a­tion, the cus­tomer should be our first pri­ority, always.

Social media is another great way to drive traffic to your web­site, people into your stores, and ulti­mately, money into your bank account. One of the best ways to grow your cus­tomer base is to reward them.

Social media and online com­mu­ni­ties are the per­fect playing fields for a cus­tomer rewards scheme, and can offer new pos­si­bil­i­ties to busi­ness owners in any field. Let’s take a look at six ways you can reward your cus­tomers online.
Read More → Socially Reward Your Customers

Dealing with Negative Comments

How to Deal With Negative Nancy’s Comments in Social Media

Mean People Suck

No matter who you are or what busi­ness you’re in, you’re always going to run into naysayers, espe­cially on the web. You could be the most saintly non-profit in the world, and you’ll still run into the occa­sional Negative Nancy.

While brand-bashing is nothing new, the tools of the web and social media make the com­ments from these meanies even more lasting and impres­sion­able. And because some social net­works like Yelp and Twitter make it easy for people to set up fake pro­files, the anonymity that people can achieve on the internet makes some more com­fort­able to lose all sense of decency, respect, and good man­ners. So much for mom’s lesson, “If you can’t say some­thing nice, don’t say any­thing at all,” huh?

So what’s the best way to deal with those Negative Nancys who crop up from time to time? The answer isn’t to give up par­tic­i­pating in social media. People will still say mean things; you just won’t be around to defend your­self! Rather, the best way to react is by using a tactic that every PR pro­fes­sional and cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tive learns right off the bat. Kill ‘em with kind­ness!
Read More → Dealing with Negative Comments

My Crossword Puzzles Published

Best Crosswords has pub­lished two of my recent cross­word puz­zles in the last 30 days, both of them being named puz­zles of the day, and gar­nering all kinds of great feed­back from puzzle-workers all over the country, and abroad!  As with all of my pub­lished puz­zles, they meet full New York Times CWP rules (which makes it more dif­fi­cult to create, but more pleasant for the puz­zler) and they are always ‘themed’ with a careful max­i­miza­tion of themed words.

The first one, Abbott & Costello, was pub­lished on June 26, 2011.  It went right to most pop­ular and I’ve gotten about as many fan e-mails for the comedy duo as I did for the puzzle itself, so it was a well-chosen theme.

The second one, The United States Constitution, didn’t get pub­lished on July 4th, as I had hoped — but it did make it two days later.  This one had even stronger fan feed­back and near-record-level com­ple­tion per­centage.  Nearly 10,000 people worked that puzzle in the first two days alone.

Read More → My Crossword Puzzles Published

Creating Successful Titles for Blog Posts

Writing a head­line that gets the right people to view your post imme­di­ately is more impor­tant than many of the other methods we use to cut through the clutter as mar­keters in social media these days, yet we often over­look this key factor.

Here is a great post, with a great title of course, regarding the head­lines of the top 10 most-viewed blog posts on Hubspot, one of my favorite blogs and one every mar­keter should sub­scribe to (IMHO).

10 Helpful Title Tips From Top-Viewed Blog Posts

Posted by Pamela Seiple on Hubspot 7/8/11

While there are quite a few ele­ments that make up a suc­cessful blog post, one of the best things you can do to cap­ture readers’ atten­tion and entice them to first view your post is to write an awe­some blog title. Sure, your post won’t ulti­mately get shared if it’s not well-written and doesn’t con­sist of a great idea or con­cept, but it’s the post’s title that will ini­tially draw people in, so you better make it count.

To share some best prac­tices for writing attention-grabbing, view-worthy blog titles, I decided to turn to the data. The HubSpot blog has pub­lished over 2,000 blog posts in the past 5 years. Some have per­formed awe­somely well, and some have not. Using this data, our blog­ging team has been able to learn a thing or two about effec­tive blog titles.

Read More → Creating Successful Titles for Blog Posts