Week 2 – Finding My Inner Geek

Starting week two of our social media exploration, we dive into the discovery of location-based services within social media.

I am a big fan of Foursquare. Mostly because my friends and I have an ongoing ‘Mayorship’ battle to see who can obtain more than the others each month, but I mean hey, who’s counting?

I also have a QR code scanner on my phone, which at first I was quite excited about using, but after discovering that so many businesses have not utilized the purpose of QR codes properly I stopped paying attention. I did notice a poster the other day with a QR code on the bottom. It was advertising travel in Scotland, unfortunately to scan it I would’ve had to stand on the third rail of the subway tracks and frankly, I’m just not that interested in learning what they have to say.
I started to think about how Foursquare and QR codes could be put to better use in the Public Relations world. There’s no doubt that I enjoy using Foursquare on a personal basis but I wanted to see what a Public Relations team could possibly gain from using Foursquare in their PR strategies?

I came up with a few ideas.

The first would be using Foursquare as a rewards program for their customers. For example, reward the person who obtains ‘Mayorship’ with a free coffee or if you reach 20 check-ins at a specific location, they receive a percentage off your next purchase. Then by encouraging your clients to check-in you can pay attention to the demographics of your clientele and apply this information to your PR strategies, essentially Foursquare keeps both you and your clients happy, everybody wins.
A start-up tech company I work for currently is developing business cards for their team. In an attempt to build a name for themselves and become recognized globally I suggested using QR codes on the back of the business card (shaped in the company logo).  I reasoned that the QR code would contain their media kit, for anyone who would want to seek additional information on the company, or for press use. This way it’s environmentally friendly and provides people with useful information right at their fingertips. I think it’s a relatively innovative way to use QR codes and something that people will and can actually scan.

I would have to say that the most important thing I learned, in paying close attention to not only my own use, but the importance of QR codes and Foursquare, is that if these newly designed social media services are misunderstood by the businesses that are supposed to be using them they will quickly become obsolete. It’s unfortunate that the some of the general public fails to understand these services as they can and are quite helpful and effective, if used the right way. The other unfortunate thing is, that in these days when information is being delivered in nano seconds, that people also fail to take the short amount of time to understand something that can be beneficial to them in the long run. Hopefully someday we will learn to take our time, even if it’s a matter of mere seconds.


4 thoughts on “Week 2 – Finding My Inner Geek

  1. “…if these newly designed social media services are misunderstood by the businesses that are supposed to be using them they will quickly become obsolete.” Well said. All people need is one disappointing experience as a reason to never go back.

  2. What you highlighted is very true- in order for QR codes and Foursquare to be successful they need to be employed properly and for that to happen, it requires a bit of thought, planning, and creativity on the organization’s part.

  3. You’ve presented some great ideas with the foursquare rewards program, as well as the business cards with the QR code on the back…I’ve seen both used with various brands/companies and I think it’s a very effective way of encouraging people to get more interactive with a brand and seek out more information with a quick click of a button!

  4. I think your suggestion of using a QR code as an environmentally friendly way to access a company’s media kit is a great idea. I’m not a huge supporter of the technology. I completely agree with what you said about the technology being misunderstood and misused, and therefore in danger of becoming obsolete, which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing. Four square is a fun toy, but I think there are tools that have far surpassed it’s function as a practical public relations tool.

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