mobile Archives - Harris Social Media

QR Codes for fun and for profit* – ideas and benefits for small businesses

on Jan 21 in advertising, business, marketing, mobile, QR codes, trends posted by


Pundits and prognosticators are touting QR codes as a “big thing” for this year. I noted the possibilities more than two years ago. The price of being ahead of my time, I suppose.

There are legitimate questions concerning the technology’s adoption rate (see What Are QR Codes And Should You Use Them?). But the overall trend is definitely up.

The benefits of the technology are easy to see. Access to web-ready mobile devices puts the Internet at the finger tips of ever more users. But it’s still a chore to use those tiny keyboards to type in long URLs. That’s where QR codes come in. Just point your mobile phone at the black and white square and voila, up pops a website. The key point is that QR codes seamlessly integrate offline with online. (See QR codes bridge real life with cyberspace.) 

Anytime you’d want someone to access a website when they’re not at a computer, is a good use for a QR code. This is especially applicable to bricks and mortar businesses.

So how can you use QR codes for fun or for profit? ReadWriteWeb summed up five ways small businesses can use QR codes (e.g., put it on your business card). Another idea applicable to most business is to link your QR code to the subscribe page for your emailing list (see Grow Your Email Marketing List Using QR Codes).

There have been a plethora of similar articles on the general benefits of QR codes for small businesses. But there are few industry-specific ideas out there. Here are some concrete ideas for what small businesses in specific sectors can do with QR codes and the benefits:


  • On menus to provide nutritional and other information. BENEFIT: Saves time for waitstaff to tell the customer, increases customer turnaround time.
  • On outside menus to offer specials and links to online reviews of your restaurant. BENEFIT: Encourages conversion once a prospect is at your storefront.
  • On posters and billboards in your local area to provide a map to your restaurant. BENEFIT: This can synch with the users mobile map app to provide directions to your restaurant on the fly

See this review of Herbfarm for how one restaurant put QR codes into practice  Check out Ventpix’s free app get started.


  • On listing sign outside properties. BENEFIT: provides your listing info on a web page, uploads your contact info onto a prospect’s mobile phone and eliminates the need to keep replacing house brochures, thereby reducing visits per sale.
  • On house brochures. BENEFIT: In case the prospect does not access the QR code on the listing sign and provides more info than available on the house brochure.

Clickbrix offers a turnkey solution for a base fee of $25 per month.


  • On instore product labels (this was implemented by Best Buy last year). BENEFIT: provides additional product info, allowing more staff time to spend on closing a sale rather than answering the same questions over and over. Opportunity to link to online coupons to motivate a sale.
  • On a billboard outside your store front. BENEFIT: Engages a prospect and can link to coupons, store and product reviews to encourage store entry.

Health professionals

  • In the waiting room to provide patients information about the practice. BENEFIT: provides another point of contact for the patient, reduces waiting room boredom, increasing patient satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Use on printed materials to link to your webpage. BENEFIT: Provides additional information about your practice and specialty area. For example dentists could provide “before and after” images of restorative work.

Authors and writers

  • On the cover of your book or next to your print article to provide additional content. BENEFIT: Adds value to your product since readers are looking for information on your book or article topic
  • On your book cover, link the QR code to an online coupon to motivate potential buyers with a discount. BENEFIT: Increase sales (what more could you want?!)

Additional resources and articles


* Apologies to business guru Robert Townsend who inspired the title with his axiom “…if you’re not in business for fun or profit, what the hell are you doing there?”

6 social media trends from the past six months

on May 26 in facebook, mobile, social media, trends, Twitter posted by

Almost halfway through the year, it’s natural to look back and see what’s unfolded over the past six months.

Michelle Goodall (@greenwellys) of Econsultancy asks on LinkedIn, “What have been the key social media/online pr trends over the past 6 months?” Here’s my answer to Michelle’s question.

“Good question, though hard to say which are “key” trends. Here are some thoughts:

  1. Increasing awareness that social media cannot automatically solve all your PR and marketing problems. A strategic approach, with long-term commitment and significant spend is necessary.
  2. Developing mobile websites as intrinsic part of any outreach campaign.
  3. Big social sites (MySpace, Twitter, Facebook) have yet to formulate stable revenue models.
  4. Fragmentation in the social space continues as users turn to specialist social sites and apps.
  5. Increasing integration of Google assets with social applications to better monetize/track activity.

Also I would add, of course, (6) the explosive use of Twitter, and it’s wider recognition as a communications and marketing tool.”

What do you think?


Twitter’s mobile interface

on May 12 in hints and tips, mobile, tools, Twitter posted by

It happened while none of us were watching. After an hour’s scheduled maintenance on Monday we were introduced to a new mobile interface for Twitter, now available from your browser – at least on my account @rharris.

Twitter’s mobile interface in a browser window

You can use the mobile interface in your browser, while the “standard” interface is still available via a link at the bottom of the page. Thankfully, a cookie remembers the preference.

Twitter’s standard browser interface now offers a mobile option

The new interface is optimized for mobile devices. It offers a totally different user experience. It’s more minimalist and less personalized, but is it better?

Let’s see what’s different about the new mobile interface.


  • Search box
  • Avatar pics alongside each tweet – now it’s just the user name
  • Block of pics of people you’re following
  • Your personal skin


  • Menu items – moved from the top right to bottom left
  • Bio and profile info – except for photo, moved from top right to bottom left
  • Follower info – also moved to bottom left


  • Size of “What are you doing box” – It’s now big enough for you to see only about 20 characters at a time.
  • Speed – It’s just my impression,  but it seems as though the updates are posted much faster.


If the new interface is what Twitter is planning to optimize the user experience via browser, I am not impressed. The interface may work for mobile but in a browser environment the changes reduce the social experience of Twitter. It feels more like IM. Removing the personalized skin background obliterates any expression of, and opportunity for, personal creativity. Some people may like the more minimalist approach. Is Twitter planning a permanent change of the default interface to reduce the load of Twitter usage, perhaps to make the service more reliable?

Twitter power: A lesson for AT&T

on Jan 15 in business, mobile, quote of the day, social media, strategy, tools, Twitter posted by

Thought of the Day, Jan 15, 2009

Big companies are having trouble getting it right these days. And it seems Twitter is showing up vulnerabilities quicker than ever. The Johnson & Johnson Motrin mom debacle took a few days to unfold, and explode. Now AT&T is getting its knuckles rapped over unwanted SMS messages plugging American Idol. Two lessons here. One, social media is unforgiving and it’s immediate. Did the AT&T team think through their campaign? That the very phones used to receive their unwanted message could also be used to send complaints directly to Twitter, that would be read by thousands in a matter of minutes? Two, Web 2.0 connects all aspects of modern communications, something we might expect AT&T to have realized. Businesses cannot use one medium without considering others, needing to contextualize their communication activities within an overall plan. Get a strategy, folks!

“AT&T sent a ‘significant number’ of customers a promotional text this week telling recipients to ‘Get ready for American Idol’… recipients were not charged for the message … but that didn’t stop people from complaining on Twitter about the messages.”

— Tricia Duryee
AT&T’s American Idol Text Message Promotion Out Of Key