Last week I wrote my monthly letter to the COMPUTER EXPLORERS franchisees. I shared my beliefs about participating in conferences to learn from peers, attend educational sessions and grow personally as a leader. The connections I make at conventions like IFA (International Franchise Association) or ISTE (International Society for Technology Education) allow me to network with my peers, connect and learn from other leaders in the industry and in turn help implement new strategies that will increase our bottom line and grow the system as a whole! I can share my successes and challenges and always return home with new ideas and a renewed enthusiasm.
The sessions I moderated and presented mostly dealt with social media. It is a well known fact that social media is not a fad. It’s not going away any time soon. Applications that are strongly used today may be replaced with another one tomorrow. The key to success is to be aware of the social media platforms, how to implement into your brand/organization and be ready for the next one to arrive. The Technology Summit and sessions related to social technology were standing room only events.
The round-table discussions I participated in dealt with lead generation, growing your system in tough economic times, local marketing strategies, etc. I used my iPad to take notes and have distributed to the group. They are adding their comments and we have now established a new network group.
There are several great blog posts and articles about the convention. Here are few you can link to and learn more about what you may have missed.
Brooke Howell, Editor of SmartBrief wrote this blog post: Live from #IFA: How franchises can put social media to work. Brooke covers the presentation by Ford Saeks, president of Prime Concepts Group, who spoke during the Technology Summit: Social Media — Ignore it at Your Own Peril.”
Thomas Scott, CEO Brand Journalists shared this post “Top 10 Marketing Take Aways from the IFA Convention.” He shares his thoughts on how to use social media for lead generation, business blogs and PR efforts.
My takeaway from IFA is the use of or lack of knowledge about QR codes. A QR or Quick Response code is a two dimensional bar code that contains information that can be scanned and saved. The code may link to a Website or contain contact information that can be saved quickly to a smartphone. Below I listed a few ways that QR codes can be used in business.
QR code scarf
QR code scarf: Attending a convention with 2800 others using identical bags needed a little personalization. I had a QR code scarf created that I used in the winter. I used it with the tag line “scan me” so those I met for the first time could scan my code and save my information. The IFA convention was held in Las Vegas and there was no need for a winter scarf to wear but tied around my bag it distinguished my bag from other attendees. My contact information was at my fingertips. I had a great time sharing what I knew about codes and showing attendees how to download a scanner and then how to scan my customized code.
IFA QR sticker
QR code stickers: I had stickers customized to link directly to the IFA Website The stickers were distributed and placed on the back of name tags, program brochures and notepads. The use of smartphones this year compared to last year was exponential. It was great to see franchise industry leaders using their smartphones and connecting to social networks but many were unaware of QR codes and what to do with one. A quick 3 minute demonstration was all that was needed and it was great to witness “aha moments.”
Business card with QR code
Business card displaying QR code: Michael Wright, Business Development Director of People To My Site and his team had impressive business cards. Not only did they have a code on their cards containing their contact information, it displays an icon of a smartphone next to the code! I can imagine that anyone who receives their card will quickly understand what the QR code represents. Brilliant!
When I attend a conference or convention I am always prepared to share and ready to learn! What did you share and what takeaways did you return home with?
Note: QR code scarf and stickers were developed by IFA Supplier Graphic Management.