Friday, 12 October 2012

Smart Use of QR Codes

Have you ever seen one of these?

This 2D barcode is called a "QR code". It encrypts information.

Have you ever seen one of these?

The coloured 2D code is called a "tag". It encrypts more information than a QR code, but achieves the same result. We will refer to the two code types interchangeably.

You see them everywhere, but people use them wrong. Here is some food for thought when deciding to market yourself through QR codes and tags:

1. THINK: What type of information will a person get on their phone when they scan your QR code?

2. THINK: Whatever QR code another person scans, they should want to save the coded information in their phone.

3. The information received or the URL given by these codes should be accessible by all mobile phones, that is it shouldn't require copious amounts of data and time to load.

4. The information should be useful to have on a phone and not just on a laptop. If your tag leads to a website, then you can't really access it quickly on the go and it's too much to read. You could just wait until home to look it up on your personal computer. Useless in terms of marketing, yet it happens too often.

5. Information suitable to a mobile phone would include
        a. Resumes
        b. Curriculum Vitae
        c. Academic references
        d. Policies and other legal documents
        e. Notices, memos, important dates
        f. Lists

The graphics above are just two examples of the various types of 2D codes, also called QR codes, available. Microsoft Tag provides a one-stop shop for creating these.

6. You can use QR codes to offer your credentials at conferences. Tape a QR code onto your name tag and have it link to a simple webpage with your credentials, CV, or publications.

7. You can use QR codes to provide reference material in presentations. The audience can scan the code and have the reference materials in their phones.

8. Be careful using these! If you ruin your "first virtual impression", people will not want to use QR codes for anything because they are not useful enough. Provide pertinent, straightforward information that is not too verbose and it will prove successful.

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