How do we drive more Facebook likes, get more Twitter followers and increase our social media outreach? This is a common question that comes up while discussing social media engagement for brands. For most online businesses that have virtually no physical location or presence like an online store or a web based business, that fan base often comes from creative online marketing and relies heavily on tapping into online web traffic sources. However, for a brand that has an offline footprint in the form of physical stores, walk in buyers, products they can touch, feel and pick up, there’s an added dilemma – how do we connect some of our offline store walk-ins and buyers to our social media efforts so that we can keep engaging with them well after they’ve left the store?
In-store traffic can potentially be a great source of fans for social media marketing if they can be convinced to connect online. The challenge has always been connecting the offline user to the online medium. After all, when they’re in the store, they are no longer connected online so why would they go to a Facebook page or locate a brand on Twitter? This line of thought doesn’t hold completely true as a large number of people who are offline and walking around in stores are in fact still connected to the web and social media – through their mobile devices.
“Ease” of connecting an offline person to your online presence is perhaps the biggest influencer when it comes to successfully converting walk-ins to fans or followers. You could interact with a buyer in a store and convince them to look up the brand on Facebook for example and “like” the page but it’s impractical. Signs are often used which give buyers a URL link to remember but the recall value is low and most would have forgotten it by the time they get home or go online. The scan-able 2D code, NFC or QR code is quickly emerging to be missing piece of the puzzle here. Placing a QR code, the brand enables the user to “quickly and conveniently” connect with them online by pulling out their mobile devices and scanning. Eliminating a single additional step like having to type out a URL may not seem like a lot to ask but does eventually become a barrier to having the user connect. Scanning however as a lot of research data shows, has a “trendy” factor attached to it and makes things simpler for the offline user to act.
Having a single QR-code enabled sign at the physical store or high traffic area can be effective but having every individual product tagged with a 2D label as we’ve seen with our QlikTag solution really taps into the widest point of contact between the brand and buyer – the product itself. This helps transcend the boundaries of physical stores and spreads a brands ability to connect online with its buyers as far and wide as the products go themselves. A QR-code label placed at a store that sells Terlato wine for example, can help reach out to those that walk into that store. A QR-code label placed on every bottle of Terlato wine on the other hand can help reach out to people at thousands of wine stores where they’re distributed and sold. That can contribute significantly to social media following and outreach while enabling a connection directly with the brand rather than being reliant on the retailer or individual store where buyers see the product.
At the end of the day the key to having offline buyers and walk-ins connect with a brands online presence is to “make it as easy as possible” for them to make that connection!