Social Media Blogs by Aliza Sherman
Aliza Sherman is a web pioneer, author, and international speaker. Sherman is the author of 8 books about the Internet including The Everything Blogging Book, Streetwise Ecommerce, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Crowdsourcing and Social Media Engagement for Dummies.

10 Ways to Use QR Codes for Social Media Marketing

10 Ways to Use QR Codes for Social Media Marketing

QR codes - or Quick Response codes - are visual codes made up of squares, often in black and white but also in color. These codes store website addresses (URLs) or other information that can be read by your smartphone’s camera. Think of QR codes as a real-world bridge to the digital world.

Now that a QR code reader is available in Apple’s IOS 11 and Android is following suit, most smartphones can scan these codes found in a variety of places to access specific information embedded by the code creator.

QR codes can be generated for free through a variety of sites or be fee-based to include more flexibility including changing the destination of an existing code, adding color or unique designs to the code for branding purposes, and accessing analytics to better understand how the codes are being used.

You can find free QR code generators from reputable companies such as Adobe Express, Canva, Shopify, Vistaprint, and even Google. Free QR codes tend to be single use.

Where could you send people using QR Codes?

Using QR codes as part of social media and digital marketing has become more commonplace now that QR code readers are more widely available. Deciding where to send people who scan your QR codes should be strategic. To be most effective, you should send people to a webpage where they can take immediate action easily on a smaller smartphone screen.

Some potential mobile-friendly destinations for your QR codes include:

  1. Your social networks to make following your company quick and easy.
  2. A form to fill out.
  3. A video to watch or an article, blog post, or other content to read.
  4. A web page to subscribe to your emails or podcast.
  5. An event registration form.
  6. An About Page on your website.
  7. Your ecommerce site, coupons, or special offers.
  8. A questionnaire or survey.
  9. A lead generation page
  10. A map and directions to your business

Where can you put QR codes?

QR codes can be placed on a variety of surfaces, preferably smooth and flat ones if on physical objects and sturdy enough to avoid wrinkling or bending so they can be scanned. You can also embed them into digital files that can be accessed by scanning a computer screen with a smartphone. Here are some places where QR codes can work well.

  • Printed marketing collateral - brochures, business cards
  • Signage - flyers, posters, banners, billboards
  • On videos
  • Product packaging
  • On a web page
  • On the side of business vehicles
  • Emails or other digital assets such as PDF files

In terms of shape, while QR codes are typically square, they can also fit into other shapes as long as the squares that make up the code are intact. For size, they can be large enough to fit on a billboard to be seen and scanned from a distance or be one inch by one inch and still be functional. QR codes smaller than one inch squared can still function but may be less reliable.

QR codes can be a useful, creative way of driving traffic to a website, generate customer leads, and gain consumer insights but only as a gateway to mobile-accessible web-based destinations. How you design and where you place QR codes affects how much they can contribute to your digital marketing efforts. Ultimately, it is where you send people with the codes and what you’re asking them to do once they get there that impacts the success of a QR code campaign.

Read other social media blogs by Aliza Sherman