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

Promoting Others More Than Yourself

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How often do you promote yourself?  How often do you promote others?

Lately, especially on Twitter, but on Facebook as well; self-promotion has not only reached a fever pitch, but I think it’s reached a point that  people are being turned off.

I see “social media consultants” doing it; and as I shake my head, I also wonder why.  Does this person and others not have a strong enough network to promote  their posts, their tweets and important activities?  Or do they think “this is how social media” is done?  Maybe they don’t believe their network is strong enough. My next question is, wouldn’t their time be better spent building a network and then activating it to promote on their behalf?

In their book Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation and Earn Trust, Julien Smith and Chris Brogan presented what I believe is a powerful idea: promote others 12 times more than you promote yourself. What a concept…promoting others!

We all know that promoting others ultimately contributes to our own material getting promoted; but personally that is not why I do it!  Promoting others builds trust in what you have to say, but only if you build your network; and you do this by genuinely working to help others!

So, if you are seriously interested in helping others, here are some ideas on how to do it properly.  And remember the most important rule: You promote without expecting anything in return.

1. Spotlight Someone You Believe In: Shine the spotlight on a colleague or business partner through a Facebook post, a genuine Tweet,  your blog or newsletter. If you have many followers or subscribers, it’s as good for the person or brand you’re featuring as landing a cover story. Even if you do not have many followers, it provides them with exposure to your network! The value is that someone in your network could be beneficial to that person!

2. Face-to-face Conversations: Make a connection or like what someone is doing?  Sit down and talk with them.  Interview them for your blog, or just talk with them about how you can help their business or how they became successful!

3. Ask the Expert: If you want to tackle a topic you’re not familiar with or have been asked a question you don’t know how to answer, bring in a friend who can answer that question for you on your blog or e-mail newsletter and invite them to promote their services.

4. Lend a Local (Foursquare) Hand: Become the biggest cheerleader in your community by checking in and writing positive reviews of local restaurants, shops and other businesses you frequent.  Use services such as Foursquare to check in and promote these businesses!

5. Advance and Retweet: If you can’t think of anything nice to say, spread what someone else is saying by retweeting . Do it the old-fashioned “RT” way so that you can add a few words of praise. Just don’t get carried away, retweeting everything you see. That’s annoying.

6. Like It: As with retweeting, the “Like” button on Facebook allows you to approve of others’ messages without a second thought.  Spread the love around!

7. Show Up: Simply stated, there is NO substitute for actually attending someone’s event. Be there for the people you care about. And once you’re there, start tweeting and Facebooking to encourage others to come out. Oh, and bring a friend or two!

How do you promote others? Share it with us all in the comments.

Creative Use of Hashtags

Hashtags, hashtags, everywhere I look on Twitter I see hashtags! First and foremost, what is a hashtag and why should I care?As we know, Twitter is a great site to find and connect with people that share the same interests, business desires and hobbies as you have. Unfortunately as your followers continue to grow, it can become difficult to stay in contact with them all and to make sure the proper information gets to the right people.Enter Hashtags. A hashtag is a symbol – # – followed by a name that can be used to broadcast to a specific group of people. For example, there’s a group for #googlenews, #love and even #kmart. If you are a regular Twitter follower, you are familiar with #tweepletuesday, #followfriday and even #sexysaturday. If you are having a large event, you can use hashtags to keep all attendees up to date on what is happening at the event; this can be especially useful for people that cannot attend the event.To see which groups have already been created, visit hashtags.org – the official site that creates, organizes and displays these groups. Use the search box in the upper right corner to see if your group name is already available. If it isn’t, you can create it simply by tweeting and including the hashtag (#) within your post. If you follow me on Twitter, @johnlusher you will notice that some of my friends and followers have fun with me and hashtags. Examples: #lush – referring to my nickname; #abusejohnlusherweek – one night when some of my followers were ganging up on me and my personal favorite #johnlusherisareallygreatguy. I created that one myself :-)There is also a hashtag wiki – providing a user-editable encyclopedia for hashtags found on Twitterhttp://twurl.nl/qzdge4That is the brief explanation, but for a more thorough information by Mari Smith, THE Relationship Marketing Specialist and Facebook Business Coach, check out this video.So there it is, a brief explanation of #hashtags and what they can be used for on Twitter. Let me know how you have creatively used #hashtags on Twitter!Coming soon: Twitter Do’s & Don’ts, an update to a previous post, Ten Things Not To Do on Twitter.