What is a QR code?

Guest Blogger – Phil Tucker, Internet Marketing Strategist & with Tucker Hosting

Welcome Phil Tucker, an Internet Marketing Strategist, to JohnLusher.com. I have known Phil for several years and have the pleasure to speak with him often at local events.  Phil knows the Internet and has been helping businesses harness it’s marketing power for years.  Long before we all hung out on Facebook and Twitter together!If you are curious as to what QR codes are and how they can be beneficial, check out his post below.

Thanks Phil!

 

What is a QR code?

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QR Codes are 2 dimensional barcodes that are easily scanned using any modern mobile phone. This code will then be converted (called “dequrified”) into a piece of (interactive) text and/or link. For instance, you walk around in the city and notice a poster for an event that seems interesting. You take out your mobile phone, scan the QR Code and will instantly get more information and a link to a website where you can book your tickets. You don’t have to type or remember anything and because QR Codes can be very small, this saves a lot of space on the product as well. The QR Code was patented by the Japanese company . Rather than strictly enforcing the patent, they chose to create an international standard with the QR Code and allow anyone to use or generate them without requiring a license or fee. QR Codes can be used to store all sorts of information including website URLs, map locations, contact information, text notes, and product identification. I first starting seeing practical uses of the QR Codes when Google Maps create a promotion in 2009 for business owners by sending them display stickers that say “We’re a favorite place on Google” and offer a QR Code for cell phone users to scan and easily add the business Page Place to their phone. You can see the sticker Google sent to business owners on the front door of one of the Google Places I set up for. What to do with QR Codes? By creating your own QR Codes (called “qurifying”) you can make whatever you want more interactive. Put one on your business card, on flyers for a party or poster to promote your products or services. Or use them to help sorting your books or CD’s, put them on your keys or tools so you know what they are for. Just qurify any text or website url, put the QR Code on a product and make everything you have more interactive!

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So, are you ready to start generating your own QR Code yet? The is a Google Code project that creates QR Codes for maps, URLs, calendar events, and more. But I found BeQRious, which is a company is based in New York City & Europe that has a very slick and robust online QR Code Generator: generator BeQRious.com is focused on supplying news, information, technical solutions of QR codes. They seem pretty passionate in what we do and evangelize the World in possibilities of use QR Codes. So what will you use QR Codes for?

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Phil Tucker is an Internet Marketing Strategist with Tucker Hosting, specializing in local search optimization. Phil Tucker has helped hundreds of companies and individuals “make the web work for them”. Phil Tucker continuously educates himself and his clients on new techniques and trends, much of which he shares on the Small Business Marketing BlogTwitter: @philtucker

Never Underestimate

I posted on Facbook this morning that you never know where a connection can lead.  My dear friend, referral partner and all around incredible soul, Suni Heflin, re-posted and added to my comments.  As you can see from the comment flow below, many people believe in connecting, building relationships with integrity and the power of networking; especially in a smaller community.This got me to thinking; how many times do we underestimate the potential power of a connection.

  • Do we overlook someone due to the way they dress or look?
  • Do we miss a potential connection because we are too wrapped up in our own world?  Or our smart phone?
  • Do we avoid connecting with someone because we didn’t agree with a Tweet or a Post or a Blog Article?
  • Do we realize the potential power of others network?

Every person we meet could be a potential connection, an opportunity to assist or help or a business opportunity.If I hadn’t connected with Suni, I would have missed an incredible friendship and the opportunity to watch her write the next chapter of her life and career!  Stay tuned for more on that!Put yourself out there; in person, and online.  Make a connection; never underestimate where it can lead.Those are my thoughts.  What about you?  How have you seen the power of connections enrich your life?

                       

Building Your Online Network

Guest Blogger – Julia Rosien, Social Media Strategist & Chief Idea Officer

Friends, please welcome Julia Rosien, social media strategist, to JohnLusher.com. I have been fortunate enough to know Julia for the past couple of years through social media, and my life is richer because of it. Her energy, enthusiasm and lust for life is inspiring.Maybe you are new to social media and social networking, or possibly you consider yourself a veteran; either way, Julia has great advice in Building Your Online Network.

The Screen is yours Julia!!

Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they’ll come

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I’m a self-proclaimed social media evangelist – I spend too much time there and have more fun before 6 am than some people do all day. But even though I’ve been on Twitter since 2007, doesn’t mean I believe it’s for everyone. Twitter is like visiting Saudi Arabia if you’ve never stepped foot out of North Carolina – the culture shock can be a bit of a hurdle.Social networking is no longer an option for most of us today. It’s where we need to be to grow our businesses, continue learning and connect with people who can help us do both.If you’re considering using Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (or one of the 27 other networks cropping up) understand that everyone uses social media differently. My mom is on Facebook because she wants to share in her kids’ and grandkids’ lives. My former boss used LinkedIn for a different reason…I’m on Twitter to learn from others and share my work as well.Before you sign up for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, ask yourself some serious questions – because starting in social media and abandoning it is more damaging than not starting at all.

  • What do you want get out of social media – sales, brand awareness or maybe community building? (And yes, even if you’re not a business you can build your personal brand on social media.)
  • How much time you have to devote to it? Can you spare ½ hour a day? Do you have more time on weekends but nothing to spare Monday to Friday?
  • Where are your peeps hanging out? If your industry thinks Twitter is a tween thing, LinkedIn might be a better bet.

Now start looking at which network best suits your needs, time availability and social skills.

Twitter ~ Social media soirée

From the moment Twitter launched in 2006, it was a cocktail party. It’s evolved into many things since those early days but it’s still a social space where sharing is top priority. Regardless of how big your network is, the average tweet has a shelf life of 1 hour. But it can be a powerful way to connect with a wide variety of people across many networks. If you’re a connector and like sharing, Twitter might be for you.And remember, it’s not just for geeks. One of my favorite people to follow is a local farmer who tweets from the tractor, the chicken coup, whenever he can grab 5 minutes. He’s got a wicked sense of humor and knows that relationships with his local community start with making friends.

Facebook ~ The full meal deal

For many folks, Facebook is the easiest network to understand and contribute to. It allows you to post pictures, chat with friends and co-workers (at a slower pace than Twitter) and share information about your industry or concerns. Facebook can be a great place to test the waters of social media because of its speed.Couple things to remember:

  • Take time to get to know people – networking is about sharing, not self-promotion
  • Share yourself – people want to get to know the real you. If you’re using Facebook for business and personal, think of it as the company picnic. Have fun but behave.
  • Remember John’s pay-it-forward philosophy and talk to your friends about what matters to them. It will come back to you.

LinkedIn – Your best foot forward

I’m always a little amazed when people tell me that LinkedIn is only for job seekers. That would be like saying you only nurture relationships when you need something. A relationship, like communication, is a two-way process that takes care and nurturing.Recently on LinkedIn, a job opportunity came my way that wasn’t right for me. I passed it along to my contacts and connected the employer with someone looking for that particular specialty. Although the players were in different countries, they found a way to make it work. Further proof that John’s pay-it-forward philosophy is the best way to navigate through social networks.If you’re testing the waters of social media, it’s time to jump in with gusto. Pick a network and start building your profile. What are you afraid of? Success?Got social media questions?  Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn – I’m always on.

Social Media Misconceptions

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If you are a business owner, I strongly suggest you stop resisting social media as a platform to build relationships,  your brand and to connect with clients!  Just as businesses resisted building and promoting a website, a portion of them are now resisting social media.Why?  Is it because you don’t understand it or you think it’s a fad?  It isn’t a fad. Is it fear of the unknown?  You have more resources available at your fingertips to learn about social media and how it can help your business starting today!  Guess what?  Your competition is already involved with social media and if you can’t be found online today, you are not found period.Before you jump into social media, let’s clear up some misconceptions.Social media is inexpensive, or even FREE! We need to put this misconception to rest once and for all.  Yes, many of the tools and the sites that are involved with social media are free to sign up and use.  Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Friendfeed and others do not charge you to sign up and create an account, but you will discover, that is where the free part ends.It takes time to properly create these profiles and to maintain them.  It takes time to develop and produce content; to refine what is working and what is not. Social media is and should be part of your marketing campaign.  As a business owner you need to make this plan part of your overall business plan.  Some companies spend as little as a few thousand dollars on a social media campaign. Others spend upwards of $50,000 to $100,000 or more.  This is a form of advertising and marketing your company; tools for building your brand.  Treat it as such, budget for it and plan for it.  You didn’t go into business without a business plan (did you) so do not start a social media campaign without a plan.Anyone can build your campaign for you. Well, if you spend any time on Twitter, you will realize that thousands of “experts” on social media are promoting themselves.  You will discover social media “experts” that barely have two-thousand followers; so remember this, there are no experts.  We are all students of social media and it changes so quickly that no one can become an expert.I recall a conversation with a retail store owner about his website.  In an effort to save money, the store owner was having a local high school kid design and launch his site.  I visited his store six months later and the site had just launched;  three months behind schedule.  Approximately one year later, a Google search, with specific parameters included that relate to his business and that should have been keywords for his business, resulted in his site being found….on page three. Was the cost savings worth the amount of lost business to his shop because consumers couldn’t find his site or his store?  Do you go past page one on a Google search?  Hint: consumers typically do not.I use the previous story to highlight the importance of hiring a true professional to build and launch your successful social media campaign. A campaign that is integrated with your marketing efforts as well as your website. You should also interview the person or firm that you decide to choose as a partner! Have they created successful campaigns in the past? Do they integrate video into their campaigns? What does their portfolio look like? Ask for references and specifics of those clients they have worked with successfully.You can make a big splash in short amount of time. Rome wasn’t built in a day and typically your social media campaign will not make a big splash or build a strong or loyal following in a short amount of time.  It can, but those are exceptions to the rule, not the norm. If you are already a star or have a big name in business, then you can make a big splash; if not, it takes slow and steady work. Twitter is great for building a following and driving traffic to your site, your blog, your website.  Use video to acquaint your followers with your company, products, services and staff; but remember it takes time!You can handle a social media campaign internally. Maybe. Most companies rarely employ personnel that are well versed and experienced in social media campaigns.  Even if they have the experience, do they have the time?  What do you pay them to do and how much?  Run the numbers and then hire an experienced person or firm.  Another advantage to using an outside person or firm?  Their contacts and their network. Chances are, it’s larger than yours.  Do you do your own business taxes?  Do you represent your own company in legal matters?  Why would you try to run a social media campaign internally without the right people, with the right experience?People will automatically find you. That misconception reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, Doing a good job around here is like peeing in a dark suit, It makes you feel warm but nobody notices” Jason Bolt. People will not automatically find you, but word of mouth, or spread by the click (mouse) can help!  Using tools like Twitter, StumbleUpon or Digg helps, but your network, combined with traffic driven by the professional you partner with for your campaign, will help the world find you!You can’t measure social media results. Sure you can. Just as you can measure traffic to your website and responses to advertisements in traditional media, you can measure social media results.  Using Google Trends along with other analytics can provide you specific statistics on who is finding you, who is clicking on your links and sites and how well your campaign is working. With the recent changes, you can find out the number of views, clicks, demographic breakdowns and more on your Facebook Fan Pages.Approach a social media campaign just as you would any other aspect of your business; carefully, with planning and the right professionals involved.Those are my thoughts. What say you?

Auto Correct

As an iPhone owner, these are so true, and I can attest that similar slip-ups have happened to me! I still believe that Apple engineer’s did this on purpose to laugh at us all :-D

Some of these are a little naughty, you have been warned :-P

Card-tramps

http://damnyouautocorrect.com/

Before I Die…

Many thanks to Clementine (clementine@reflectionof.me) for posting this on Posterous; such a great idea!