How To Use QR Codes In Social Media

Last week, I attended SMX East and spoke about “Facebook SEO: Free Ways To Be Found On Facebook”. One hot topic within the panel was how exactly to leverage one’s user base and get them to take the action steps on social sites. Whether it be “likes,” “check-ins,” or “followers” you are looking for, one tactic that I stressed was the usage of QR codes for a direct, actionable methods of achieving social goals.

But what is a QR code? A QR code is a 2 dimensional code (also known as a matrix code) that can include text, links or other information that can be read by smartphones and some camera equipped cell phones. This means that a user can scan your code with their mobile device and be delivered straight to a specific page. Sparq Code, a mobile engagement company, released a usage statistics document (PDF) in Q1 2010 showing a great deal of usage statistics with their individual codes. The statistics showed that the iPhone took up the majority of the download share with 33.3%, but both Android and Blackberry devices were close behind with 28.7% and 20.3% respectively.

So, instead of showing users a generic message like the following sign:

Provide users with a simple “scan-able” action step by showcasing a QR code (go ahead and scan it!):

Instead of giving users a more passive message like “Find Us” take the direct approach and create a “check-in station” where users can take direct actions (in fewer steps.)

Here is an example on how to create a QR code for Facebook Places that also provides usage statistics to see how effective the code is. First, when near your “place”, use your mobile browser to find the location in question. If you are not near your location, you will need the Facebook Place ID, latitude and longitude to insert into the URL. Copy and paste your Facebook Place URL and it will look similar to this Facebook Place:

Next, leverage Google QR Code Generator within Google’s shortener to shorten your URL while creating a specific QR image and link. This new QR code will then show the number of clicks for an auto-generated link. This will allow for companies to track the specific scans including the additional information that provides like time of day, date, location, browser and platform.

While QR codes can be a great tool, it is also important to remember that not all visitors may have the proper equipment so add URLs (ex. and @sengineland on Twitter) so those people can make that connection when back on their computers.

Whether it be a link to Foursquare, Yelp, or Facebook, QR codes can save users some time and work in finding you, so take a direct approach in making that connection!

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Search & Social


About The Author: is the Chief Marketing Officer for Cypress North, a company that specializes in social media and search marketing services and web-based application development. He has been in the Internet marketing industry for 6+ years and specializes in Social Media Marketing. You can also find Greg on Twitter (@gregfinn) or LinkedIn.

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  • weswyatt

    I recently attended a business meeting with a company that uses QR Codes on almost all of their marketing materials. It’s very eye catching and causes you to want to know what it is.

    The only problem I see with it is it’s sorta like being the person with one of the first Fax Machines. You have this cool tool – but with a VERY limited amount of people to share it with. I think QR Codes are incredible – but I can say without hesitation that my Mom and most of my friends would have no idea how to access one (And/or the equipment / software needed).

    I think they will be used A LOT in the future – but it’s going to take awhile for everyone to catch up to ‘em. Until then – we can all be insiders on what they mean.

  • Greg Finn

    Wes, I agree, but I do think that it makes sense in certain scenarios. For example, people that check-in to Facebook Places on a regular basis have an extremely high probability of having a smart phone as you have to have the requirement of being able to pull up a web page on your phone. So things like a social “check-in” station would have a significant impact.

    I also do think the “fun” factor is very appealing like you mentioned. And one of the other things that I mentioned in the article was the cross reference to the SEL Google QR post ( to show that you can track with analytics for free. For example, 17 people already scanned the link in the article and clicked the link and the article has been up for approx 2 hours. So you can see if users are actually scanning at your location – and if they aren’t – go ahead and take down the fax machine … errr … the QR code sign :)

  • brentnau

    Our latest Pottery Barn catalog had QR Codes on the product pages that would display a video about the product. So one could leverage YouTube videos as well with QR codes.

  • Greg Finn

    Great example! Make all that traditional ol’ media into multi-media!


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