By the minute, smart-phones, companies and people are clearly becoming more and digitally sophisticated – and having a never-ending list of available social media platforms and apps clearly doesn’t make it any easier.
While this reality may be intimidating for many, understanding and applying these to your life and business is actually easier than you think. This quick 101 on digital marketing and social media technologies may help you boost your sales, dazzle your boss and even impress your friends and relatives when you send your next holiday card with embedded video!
You’ve seen them all: QR codes on store displays, requests for Foursquare “check-ins” at restaurants and recent business buzz on Pinterest, now ranked as the third largest social media platform – all of which may have you wondering about the application and value of these to boost your sales or your personal equity.
In a nut-shell, these applications help bridge the physical world with the digital world. Think of a highway that makes it faster and more streamline to find what you seek, aggregate what you like and share with those you care; so let’s demystify them for you to start making them work for you.
Quick Response (QR) Code
This is a matrix barcode, formerly confined to industrial uses. However, in recent years they’ve become a common element in consumer advertising and packaging, making it easier for anyone with a smartphone to link quickly to a tutorial video, coupon, Facebook page, link or informational document online. Basically, think of a QR code as a graphical link in the physical world that takes you into a digital destination, serving as a connector between the two. An article on USA Today reported that Taco Bell has used QR codes on fountain drink cups to direct consumers to MTV video content. Procter and Gamble and Kraft Foods have used them for online discounts. TV’s HSN (Home Shopping Network) recently offered a four-day QR-a-thon, displaying the codes at the bottom of the TV screen for more web information about products. You could also get creative in your personal life and create your own QR-code linking to a special YouTube video printed on an invitation card or to link to a digital link that gets an interviewer to download your contact information or resume electronically after scanning your code on paper.
A common application to scan and read codes is scanlife.com. Also Scan.me helps you build and manage your own online mobile site for personal or business reasons and, for those that want to be more sophisticated bitly.com helps you create shorten codes that can be turned into QR-codes that can be monitored with online metrics of clicks, views and sources of visits.
The Foursquare.com website reports that millions of times a day, people use foursquare to check in and share where they are. Whether checking out a new restaurant, meeting up with friends, or visiting a favorite boutique, they are chronicling and sharing their adventures. As a business or brand on foursquare, you can be a big part of that experience.
With an impressive community of over 20 million people worldwide and over 2 billion check-ins, this application has redefined how people find, search, personalize and connect with their favorite places and people nearby.
Once downloaded into your phone or logged into your device, the application uses GPS technology to identify your location to provide recommendations, promotions and friends in your area. While this may seem a bit scary and intrusive for many, privacy settings allow you to control how much is shared with the Foursquare user base on preferences and location… so don’t worry, big brother will not be always watching!
As a business or brand you can embed your venue or product offering as part of the experience of the Foursquare community. Some ways for businesses to leverage this technology include, offering discounts in exchange of check-ins, awarding partner badges, building Foursquare pages or becoming a source of tips for the community. For more information about business offerings visit https://foursquare.com/business which is filled with case studies featuring many brands like Bravo, Red Bull, NASA and even the White House.
Lili Gil is an award-winning business and Hispanic market expert, business, politics and news media contributor and creator of the online show and channel Moments2CulturRise. She is also co-founder and managing partner of XL Alliance a multicultural strategy and marketing firm dedicated to helping business executives and leaders navigate and enter emerging markets. Gil was recently selected by the World Economic Forum as one of only 190 Young Global Leadersidentified across 65 countries for her leadership, community and business impact.