Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

QR Codes: Scannable business cards November 13, 2010

A few weeks ago in our Missouri State chapter of PRSSA our executive board was really excited about something called a QR Code and how it can make your networking life a breeze. Lost? I was. Time to rewind and research.

A QR Code looks like a complicated maze  and serves as a unique link to information, a video or website.

According to Mobile-Barcodes, “The acronym QR is derived from the term Quick Response. The company Denso Wave originally spawned the term QR as the creator intended that such barcodes and their contents were to be decoded at high-speed electronically.”

A QR Code is similar to the bar codes you find on products at stores because both barcodes because stored information can be retrieved by scanning/ taking a picture with your phone.

Consider a QR Code like a hyperlink on the Internet, but is a 2D picture that can be put on a tangible item you can hold outside of the online world. For instance, a movie poster QR Code would show a movie trailer when scanned.

Other ways companies and people are using QR Codes is to link to a website, coupon, video or contact information. As a student beginning to network for jobs, I found the vCard especially interesting.

A vCard is a QR Code that stores all of your contact information. To create one using Nokia, it asks for your name, phone number, organization, email, title, address and website. This is an excellent and creative way to create a business card because you can store the image to your computer and print it on a business card to hand out.

I am definitely learning as I write this blog, but as far as I can tell, a QR Code and vCard can be stored as text, immediately as a contact, as the website or as an image depending on the application the person you are sending it to has to read it.

Mobile Barcodes has an excellent comparison list of QR Code readers that you can explore to find the best one for your needs. While some are free, there are others that cost anywhere from $.99-$2.99.

vCards and QR Codes can be printed on stickers, t-shirts, business cards or anything you can imagine. I can definitely see this trend picking up in the next few months as more people begin to use it. If businesses begin engaging their audience with QR Codes it will grow immensely. For now, I am still learning and wishing I had a phone with this capability.

Here is a video example of how this all comes together:

Would you use a QR Code?

Find out more:

Here are a few resources I found useful during my quick research for this blog:

Fun fact: Thanksgiving break begins in one and a half weeks.

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Politics, religion and sex November 4, 2010

In my personal selling class we have been talking about how to use small talk when networking with people as well as when approaching a prospect customer. Small  talk means you can talk about random topics, but everyone knows to avoid politics and religion.

This is the same for nearly every aspect of conversation at work, online and when meeting someone for the first time.

Christina Khoury, author of the PRBreakfastClub, wrote about trying to find the fine line between being yourself and “word vomit” or as she defines it, “the act of putting one’s foot in thy mouth.” A few ways to avoid this, according to Christina, is by not discussing politics and religion for their tendency to lead to debate and why you hate your job, because the wrong person (boss or client) might see it.

#PRStudChat aired their first podcast on Monday and featured Brandi Boatner (@brandiboatner) from IBM for more great discussion on online transparency.

Brandi’s best tip was to “treat your online relationships like your offline relationships.” She presented the scenario that if you walked into a party where you did not know anyone and yelled ‘I am here’ it would be considered rude and awkward. In a normal situation, you would talk to people and get to know their background a little and earn their trust before getting deep into a conversation. Brandi says the same thing applies online, listen and gradually add to the conversation instead of being the loud obnoxious new person.

Brandi also mentions three key topics to avoid in conversation: politics, religion and sex.

It is all about our online image. We are branding ourselves out there in the gigantic world of online networking and just as people are forming opinions  about our company whether we like it or not, they are being formed about us as individuals as well. As a student looking for a job or even someone currently employed by a company, filtering your online presence is very important to building your credibility.

Hopeful parting words:

Brandi mentions in the podcast that human resource people don’t necessarily have all the time in the world to dig up your history in photos. That is not to say they will not look, therefore, becoming more conscious of how your online presence looks currently is definitely a step in the right direction.

Our guest speaker in class last night, John Scroggins from Noble and Associates, mentions that he understands being in college and utilizing privacy settings. He considers that a judgement call rather than hiding a deep dark secret.

That said, not everyone will be as generous as these two professionals and we should dfinitely still use discretion. If you wouldn”t want mom to see it, don’t post it.

 

Careers in social media October 9, 2010

Did you ever think you could make money by updating Twitter or Facebook accounts? Simply Hired has 6,063 current job listings related to social media and Indeed has 26,624 listings. Something many people use as a social tool or, simply something to pass the time, is introducing a new and very important job opportunity.

Social media’s ability for instant communication and allowance of anyone to post comments about a company or product anywhere on the Internet presents the need for someone to monitor conversations at all times. This allows businesses to not only appreciate and thank consumers for the positive comments, but also to react to negative attention when needed.

This past summer, my best friend had a paid internship that was dedicated to creating and implementing a social media plan. I felt a little jealous that she was getting paid to use Facebook, but there was a lot more research and intention to what she posted than I imagined. After my own internship supervisor left me in charge of our Facebook and Twitter accounts while she was on vacation, I began to realize how much work and consideration actually went into a career in social media and understood why this job deserves to be a paid.

This 2009 podcast from the Ottawa news, “Social Media Jobs on CBC News,” aired during the pioneering stages of social media jobs. Now, in 2010, these jobs are everywhere.

As students, the idea that we could be making money for our knowledge in something we use everyday is pretty exciting. Though it is used differently than when I update my friends that I am going to the movies, the concepts are still familiar. Here are a few tips taken from a Mashable article for people looking for internships or future careers in social media.

The article states that:

  • The top four qualities employers look for are good communication, writing and social skills as well as enthusiasm.
  • Recruiters claim that utilizing social networking websites on their own is an important skill for their intern or employee to acquire because it shows they know how to use them as well as determines their own personality and brand.
  • Interns should be creative, flexible, a team player and willing to learn. They also would like to see their applicant show their social media work rather than simply talking about it.

For more tips and job postings, please read the full article: “What Companies Want in a Social Media Intern,” by Amy Mae Elliot.

So what are you waiting for? Get paid to be social! Did you notice the video from 2009 said social media jobs pay $50,000? That could be you!

 

 
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