3 Hot Ideas to Make You Cool News

Early Birds Get the Worms

The media loves the ‘bleeding edge’.  News is about ‘new’ after all.  As always, it’s the ‘early bird that gets the worm’.  In this case the ‘worm’ is neighborhood, industry, and even national news pickup.  What’s the scoop?

Geolocation, and QR codes

… Smart Phone Technology and ‘smart’ marketing!  It’s not the future … it’s now!

Although the mass appeal isn’t totally ‘mass’ yet, several of these new social media tools are hot-hot-hot and just starting to hit ‘in the news’.  You can be the first salon or stylist in your area to be really ‘cool’ and ‘in the news’ because you are using one or more of them in your salon to your client’s benefit.

It’s not difficult to grasp, but it does require you do more than read this post and move on.  It takes some looking into, thinking, and pondering.

Of course if you don’t … not a problem … it’ll be so much easier to learn about when the salon down the block shows you how.  (<sigh> how come he gets all the press?  Darn.)

Once you implement even the simplest idea using one of these concepts however, it’s only a matter of writing your news release and getting that news out to the media AND your clients.  I can almost promise you local news pickup.  Your clients love it when their salon is “a leader’ … and in the news.

“But So Few of My Clients are Techies”

Fine … who cares?  This is about marketing and pr leadership.  Don’t look at it strictly from a “how many of my clients use it now” point of view.  That’s not what this is about.  You’re first!  You’re going to share your knowledge with your clients and make life wonderful for them.  Trust me on this one.

Remember when you used to say “Facebook is for kids”?  Missed the Twitter curve eh?  Did you learn anything from that experience?  Smart Phone marketing is very shortly going to be a major component of everyone’s marketing and right now is your opportunity to have the world grow into your leadership for a change.

I’ll say it once again — Being first makes you newsworthy.  Remember the plethora of “Oxygen Bar’ stories around the country in the early 90s?  That was ‘cool news’ back then.  You remember the oxygen bars don’t you?  Well just in case you don’t … it was a unique and slightly controversial ‘service’.  It caused conversation, questions, and was a real curiosity.  Here are some leftovers from that ‘wave’.

So What are These Smart Phone Hotties All About?

Geolocation Apps

Geolocation social networks are to 2010 what microblogging was in 2008.  Currently the geolocation leader is Foursquare. Here’s PC World’s recent explanation of Geolocation. Start reading and watching this technology.  Although geolocation, and the apps for it have a way to go yet.  it needs your awareness.

QR Codes

QR Codes are absolutely now! …  And they are THE hot trend in Japan.  They contain addresses, information, and web URLs and are starting to appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or just about any object that users might need information about like the city of Manor, TX that gives users with a camera phone equipped with a ‘reader app’ guided tour information.

Lots of Apps

There are lots of apps (many free), like neoreader, optiscan, to name a few with better reviews.  A quick Google search on “QR Codes” will net you lots of choices.  The phone scans the image of the QR Code causing the phone’s browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL.  Techie phone users snap a picture and immediately are taken to a website’s special info, promotion page, special offer, value, coupon, and contest puzzle piece … whatever.

Happening Now

Don’t think this is where it’s going?  The Feds do.  Paper boarding passes will be ‘the old way’ within a couple of years.  The TSA pilot program is at 48 airports right now.  Read good info here.

… and it’s coming to Facebook soon too.

Stickybits

You can embed digital content on any ‘object’ and when someone scans that object they can “tune-in to the conversations around that product”.  Your object’s message and the conversations around it are delivered to those scanning with their smart phone and on the Stickybits website (which gets Googled).

It is your message and the social media conversations that form specifically around your object/product.  Ben & Jerry’s, Campbell Soup and Doritos already have content forming around their products.

What if your object is a bottle of shampoo or hairspray?  Prospective customers can view your video, photos, text, or audio right at the point of sale and make their own comments on it for the next prospect to see.  What’s that worth?  Your counter card might have a barcode that brings all the details of what your salon promotion is all about.  Tell a story.  Share your cause.  Whew.

Get Busy!  Be First!

Three new things to learn about shouldn’t be too difficult?  Huge payoff here.  It took me all of three hours to learn enough to ‘envision’ how a salon or stylist might use them and then find all this info for you.  Took a little longer to write the post though J.

After you do your own homework, come back and share some ideas with us.  We’ll share a few with you in future posts.

Question: How could you use QR Codes and geolocation in your salon or next public event?

Comments

  1. I have actually been interested in the QR codes since about last fall. We recieved a letter from Google saying that we had been awarded one of “Favorite Places” because we had gotten a certain number of hits in searches from July to September. They sent us a door decal with a QR code on it so that people could scan it with smart phones and it would go to their favorite places in their phone. I have been curious about putting that code on our website and in our marketing emails and other printed media that we hand out. When we put up the door cling I seemed to be the only one excited about it, but I think that it might have been a little ahead of the curve in this area. But after reading your article, I am going to explore getting the press to notice and get the word out.

    • Sandy,

      I’m interested to find out if there was ever any follow-up to your thought about pursuing the Google ‘Favorite Places” QR codes story idea. Remember you need to educate the press about QR codes first so if they are going to write the story they can educate their readers. Many don’t know or understand how it works. If you describe how it is serving you and your customers they will understand how to convey that to their readers. Yes, it’s a longer process but is a great excuse for getting in their face again with a newsworthy something, even if they don’t do the story 🙂

  2. I got a favorite place sticker from Google also and thought it was pretty cool, but didn’t think it was something that the press would have an interest in. Nor did I think about putting it on my website, since I have google maps on it.

    Are you saying that I can create my own QR Codes for products etc. instead of using links?

  3. Sandy and Judy …

    Indeed using QR codes is ahead of the curve. That’s the whole idea of my post. Early adopters making a commotion help to wake up the press too. Tech press get it, but only tech-savvy local magazine and newspaper writers understand anything about it. They haven’t done much with it yet.

    It behooves you to learn more about it so you can “educate the press” in your news release and then in person when you speak with them. If you understand it and can show them how you are using it to benefit your clients they will be intrqued. They love discovering new things like that and being first to share stuff with their readers. Their boss loves scoop stories like that.

    Do some solid homework and really understand QR codes and how they work. I started you out with links in the post to information resources. Do it not only for the press but ultimately for your clients. This is your chance to be a major educator of your local news writers, TV news anchors and clients. They’ll all love you forever. Everyone wants to be cool 🙂

    Also, go out and find am area retail partner to play with (cool clothes, jewelry, accessories, etc.) Bring them into your QR code dream. Work up a promotion together and use that to illustrate how you are using QR codes. Yeah the Google story is interesting but it’s arcane to many. Doing cool things of your own, now that has local interest.

    Here’s what I wrote to someone else who asked

    QR codes are definitely exciting for all of us. They are smart phone scannable, meaning when I see one of these graphics on a sign, a package, a sticker, anywhere, I can scan it with my phone (using the camera and free apps) and be taken to destination on the web to see a video, get a coupon, enter a contest on Facebook or your website, sign up for something, share an email address, hear a narration, or whatever is web-able.

    The photo in the blog post is a city in Texas (Mason, TX) that uses QR codes to give tourists a narrated tour of their city at its various stops. Imagine museums, amusement parks, etc.

    I hope you can start to envision some of hundreds of benefits e.g.

    Imagine your client is sitting in the waiting area and sees a small counter card on the table with the magazines. She sees the little QR code on the card and some copy announcing your upcoming fundraiser for ‘Mind Over Matter’. She’s curious and scans it to learn more about the cause and your event and has a chance to see a video of what they are doing with all that hair they collect. The video is already on ‘mind over matter’s website. Perhaps she can donate online, or volunteer or she gets a special value or enter your contest, or …

    Put QR stickers on your product bottles (specials) in the retail area. Buy one, get one free if they can show the front desk the coupon they get from scanning.

    I am less excited by the Google favorites than by what you can invent for your salon. Making QR codes is a snap.

    Sure post the Google one. Great to be on someone’s Google Maps favs. But now go on the web, use one of the free make your own QR Code and that points to to your website special page. Or photos of your dog, or, or, or.

    The possibilities are limitless. Hope you’re pumped. Someone in your area will be someday very soon.

  4. We used a QR code in one of our ad we ran in a local mailer. It raised a lot of eyebrows and got people asking about it. If you’re not using them, you’re missing out. Getting potential guests by them asking questions and getting them inquisitive of your business is what generates BUZZ!

  5. You got it Cassie. I really am surprised more salons aren’t catching the drift of the value here. QR codes are so simple and cheap … and so cool. Thanks for sharing.

    Alex

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