Social Media/Print Integration: How NOT To Do It.

By Nicole Fletcher

In a mad dash to get ‘with the times’, people seem to be flocking to their designers and agencies in a desperate attempt to ‘get social’. Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare icons in addition to the newer QR Codes are popping up in print collateral everywhere…but are they working? Clearly there’s a line between brands who ‘get it’ and those who don’t, as if you just took a moment to think about marketing from the consumer side, you would clearly realize the short comings of the majority of this ‘new age’ marketing.

Clear calls to action are the name of the game. You want to give people as few ‘jobs’ as possible, eliminating as many obstacles between them and their transaction (whatever that may be) with your brand. That said, if you’re trying to drive traffic through your doors, you’re not going to say “Look for us San Diego” – you’re going to give your address to them. Eliminate the obstacles. Similarly, you wouldn’t say ‘Find us on the Internet’ – You’re going to provide your website address. Social should be no different. Don’t slap a Facebook icon on a flier and call it a day. Provide the url. Facebook search is an imperfect place and with duplicate page names, people, etc, you want to be as clear as possible. “But my url is full of numbers, letters and gibberish”, you say. Fair enough. Set your custom Facebook url (provided you have at least 25 likes) by visiting BEWARE: Once you set this puppy, consider it stone so be sure to spell everything correctly and avoid a rebrand in the near future.

What not to do:

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As you see above, they tell me to go to Facebook. Ok. That’s vague. You don’t know my level of tech savoir faire- break it down.

What to do:

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This one’s better. Foursquare is geo location based so you’re not going to provide a url necessarily but Facebook is clear and ready to go.

Moving onto QR Codes, if you have a QR Code, make sure you use it right. Since they’re newly popular, you might want to include the name of the app to download and a brief how to with respect to QR Code Scanning. Drive traffic to a mobile friendly site…NOT your full website..especially if it’s built in Flash (flash is NOT mobile friendly). That can be overwhelming and you’ll lose your prospect right then and there. Ideally you’ll send them to a mobile landing page with a simplified version of your website catered to the mobile market. For example, if you’re a fast food joint, I don’t want to see your full site. I might want to see a simplified menu, a location based restaurant finder, a coupon or a new commercial or funny video to name a few. Always keep your user in mind. Make the transaction as easy as possible.

In sum, think about your user. Think about what you want them to do – ultimately – and what channels you can use to get them where you want them to go and to do what you want them to do. Ease is the name of the game.