Friday, July 30, 2010

Social media for local business

Wouldn't it be nice to use some free social media tools to attract and reward some of your customers? Free is always good for a return on investment. Free really means it will cost only your time, no money. (Yes, I know time is money.) And when you consider the amount of time it can take to use some of the social media tools (Twitter, Facebook, blogs, QR codes, etc.) versus the benefits that they can bring? Why not?

It will take a little effort up front to get started and then a few minutes along the way to maintain and update as needed. Your customers will let you know if it is succeeding. You'll find them coming in with your 'call to action' message ready. You'll find new customers coming in via referrals from your active social media friends.

How does it work?
One example - A quick reference code (QRC) can be prepared with a link to a special page on your website. A customer can view the code, scan it on their smart phone (iPhone, Blackberry, Droid, etc.), and reference it for the transaction.

On our recent travels, I found this QRC example:

The QRC code is the black configuration of dots, dashes, etc (in the lower right corner of this picture) that effectively works as a bar code with the capability of linking to your website.

The code when scanned by the customers phone could take them to a special offer page on your website. When they present that to you at the register for their transaction you can process it (and keep track of how many do this). Success won't be overnight as there are still a number of folks without smart phones (and some of those with smart phones are not fully utilizing the features). A small start and then word of mouth can take over to create the success you are looking for.

If you'd like to understand more about the details for this, please let me know.

I wrote about the use of QRC for the PodCamp Western Mass t-shirts earlier this year.