What are you doing to take advantage of it?
Whatever your plans, taking advantage of some of the newest technology can help you.
Following are some examples of how five new technologies are being used…and how they can help you prep for 2012.
Pinterest is an online bulletin board or scrapbook. It allows you to create boards or books of things that interest you. Self-promotion is prohibited, but there are plenty of ways you can build a board that will get the word out on your franchise.
For instance, if you sell a line of children’s clothing, pin photos of children wearing your clothes to a board. Create different boards for different outfits; jeans, tops, sweaters, PJs.
A restaurant could create different boards for menu items; appetizers, lunch, dinner, salads. Pair wine or beer with your food, if you have liquor sales, or post recipes.
For fitness locations, pin photos of people working out in your locations.
You can use your own photos and images, or you can scour the web for photos your customers are posting and pin those to your board.
We don’t need more on Google+, but we can all agree the best way to use it, right now, is to drive new traffic to one of your web properties. You can track in Google analytics how much traffic it’s sending by watching the plus.google.com source. It can be pretty significant so don’t ignore it.
It looks like next month is the Google+ roll-out for businesses, so watch for it.
Instagram + Tumblr
Instagram is an app for your phone that allows you to become a photographer, even if you have no talent. Snap a photo with your phone and then apply one of 15 filters to it. You can then set it to upload to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, email, Foursquare, Posterous, or Tumblr.
Tumblr is a micro-blogging site, which allows you to post to your account directly from your phone or iPad. You have the option to write copy, but it isn’t necessary.
Using Instagram and Tumblr, together, works like this: Snap a photo of something inside your business. Think about it as behind-the-scenes kind of stuff; things that customers wouldn’t see unless you gave them a private tour. Then upload it to your Tumblr account and voila! You have a blog post.
GE is a great example of using these two tools together. A company that is known for its privacy and not sharing any kind of information with the public has provided us a look behind the curtain with their Tumblr account.
Think about things most people don’t have access to and take photos of them and upload. People like photos. A lot.
There is a lot of debate about QR codes and their effectiveness. The place they have the most value is at point-of-sale, on tables, on windows, or anyplace you have foot traffic.
The cool thing about QR codes is you can drive people to anything you want. Have a discount you want to offer for extra inventory? Create a QR code and give that discount only to people who scan it.
Want people to fan your Facebook page, follow you on Twitter, subscribe to you YouTube channel, follow your Pinterest, follow you on Tumblr, circle you on Google+, or visit your website or your blog?
Create a QR code so customers know where to find you without having to search.
Rewarding loyalty, upselling, or generating traffic to one of your web properties is easy with QR codes.
I can only think of two places QR codes don’t work well: Your emailed newsletter and the subway. While people can scan it from their laptop or desktop computers, if they’re reading your newsletter on their phones, they are not always able to access the code. And I don’t think I have to explain why a billboard with a QR code on it in the subway doesn’t work. Do I?
By no means are any of these going to increase sales and drive new customers overnight. But they’re easy and effective enough to test, expand your social prowess, and show off a little.
This first ran as my monthly column in Franchise Times.