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QR (Quick Response) codes have been used since the 90s. These are square bar codes that can be read via QR code scanners and smart phone cameras (using QR code scanning applications). These codes have been used on almost everything such as T-shirts, magazines, billboards, visiting cards etc. It is convenient to have a QR code on your visiting card so that any smart phone owner with the QR code scanning application can read your card and save a digital copy for future use. QR codes can contain a lot of information such as a link to a Facebook Page, Website, Visiting Card information and more.
QR codes have been used by marketers previously but the results of those implementations were not very successful or not as expected by the marketers. The reason behind the lackluster results of these campaigns was that to scan the QR codes, users needed to have a smartphone with a QR code scanner app. If the user doesn’t have the QR code scanner app, he would not be able to avail the opportunity offered by the company or brand. The marketers were more dependent on the users and assumed that the users would own a smartphone along with a QR code scanner app. As we all know, smartphones were not very common only a few years ago, which raised a lot of questions for the marketers to use QR codes in their marketing strategies. Since there was not much information on successful QR marketing strategies, some of the businesses made huge and sometimes costly mistakes in their strategy.
Since smartphone owners are growing every day, marketers are now looking forward to once again using QR codes in their marketing strategies and are coming up with some creative and unique ideas to use QR codes for their brand promotionals activities. We know that almost 90% of smartphone owners use social media networks on their mobile devices. Marketers are using QR codes with social media strategies so that their marketing technique stands out from the crowd. Users today reach out to those brands who are presenting something unique and if you are successful in introducing something new to your users, you can expect high levels of engagement.
It is a fact that QR codes are primarily a mobile tool, and today half of the online searches are originated through a mobile device. Marketers need to be cautious when using QR codes, which redirect the users to external links. Marketers need to make sure that the website is optimized for mobile devices. QR codes provide a tech savvy image of your brand and if the user lands on a website that is not optimized for mobile devices, your image (of being tech savvy) will be harmed.
During our research for the QR codes successful implementations, we found the following ideas which were creative and on top of it very successful among the lot.
Tesco, the global super market giant, brought the shopping experience to the busy and hard-working life of their consumers in Korea. They literally created a virtual store for their customers in Korea subways and metro stations. They placed life like images of the supermarket’s shelves in the stations and placed QR codes with each of the product, so that the customers can use the QR code app to scan and add the product they want to their cart. The purchased items are than delivered to their home without them to carry the heavy weight of it.
Instagram, one of the most popular photo editing and image sharing social network used QR codes in a very unique way. They created their QR code in such a manner that it conveyed the actual message about what Instagaram is all about i.e. Photo sharing. The idea really hit the users and it drove the users to download the application using the QR Code they generated.
The popular email marketing platform “MailChimp” introduced a feature for marketers by the name “Pyow”, through which the marketers were able to send a customized QR code to each recipient of the email. These emails can later be printed by the users and can be redeemed on retail stores for discounts. This idea turned out to be a great one, as all of the people go to stores and all of them would love some discounts on the purchases they made.
Verizon, a huge name in the telecommunication industry, ran a campaign for their users, in which the in-store customers were able to scan a QR code that shared a post to user’s Facebook profile that they have entered a competition entry on Facebook. If one of the customer’s friend clicks on the link and made a purchase, the original customer wins a smartphone. Now, the point here is that the original customer just doesn’t receive an entry into the competition, he actually wins a smartphone. During this campaign, Verizon’s return was $35,000 on an investment of $1,000. It also received 25,000 new fans on their Facebook fan page.
Location based social networks are the darlings of social media these days. I personally see my friends continuously sharing post through Foursquare, Checking-in through Facebook places, Google etc.The Skiff, a nice little place to work in the middle of Brighton, offers work space on rental basis. They created a QR code, so that when scanned, the users actually check-in using multiple location based networks like Facebook, Google places, Twitter, Foursquare and more.
Marketers and Brands are coming up with outstanding and unique ideas for their marketing strategies on social media to use with QR code. The above listed are just some of the examples of great ideas we found during our research for the usage of QR code, there might be many more and we would love to receive your input if you have used or heard about any of the good ideas marketers are using for QR code with social media strategies.
We (Cygnis Media) are also working on an application currently, which have a very unique idea for using QR code with a customized Facebook application. We would be updating the post as soon as the application is launched and is available for all on Facebook.