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QR Codes 101

Stacie Saunders QR CodeQR codes, or quick response codes, are popping up everywhere. You may have seen them at conferences, in catalogs, on billboards and even in the Journal of Accountancy. What are they and how can you take advantage of this growing trend?

Let’s start with the basics.

A QR code is a two-dimensional code that can be read with an application on your mobile device. They are used to drive users to digital information, such as websites, Facebook pages or registration links. It is as simple as a click of a button!

If I see a QR code, what do I do with it?

First, you need to download a QR code reader to your smartphone. There are tons of free applications out there; just go to the app store on your phone and search for “QR Code Reader” or “QR Code Scanner.” These apps use the camera in your phone to ‘scan’ the codes. Then, point your phone camera at the QR code; the application will read it and take you to the intended digital content.

How do I create a QR code?

First, decide what action you would like your visitor to take. Do you want them to find directions to your practice, join a LinkedIn group or have your phone number right in the palm of their hands? Once you know where you want to point visitors, you can choose a QR code generator that fits your needs.

Next, find a QR code generator online. There are many good QR code generators out there, and the good news is that they are FREE! I use Kaywa, because it allows you to create codes for a web page, text, phone numbers and Short Message Service (SMS).

How would I use a QR code in marketing myself or my firm?

The possibilities are endless. Here are some of the applications I have seen recently:

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* Just remember, the destination for your QR code should be optimized for a mobile device. There is nothing worse than scanning a code and being led to a page FULL of tiny text!

I once saw a QR code on a T-shirt at a networking event; it led to the person’s online resume and portfolio! Have you seen QR codes used in a unique way? Please share your ideas in the comments section. 

Want to find out more?  Accounting Today published a great article about implementing QR codes into marketing.  

Ready to get scanning?

Go ahead, try it. Scan the QR Code at the top of the page. There is a special message waiting for you!

, Social Media Strategist, American Institute of CPAs. Stacie leads and guides the AICPA’s social media strategy and has oversight of the Institute’s social networking properties; serves as key contact for all social media initiatives; manages main AICPA LinkedIn groups and Facebook page; and leads staff and member education and training on social media.

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