Here is an elegant workaround that uses QR Codes to help customers write reviews on Google+ Local using mobile devices. While this should be a simple task for Google+ app users, the functionality to write reviews on Google+ Local using mobile devices no longer exists on the app. The secret is to not use QR Codes in the conventional way (to represent a URL); but to encode a Geo-Location that will open the Google Maps app, where the capability to write reviews on Google+ Local using mobile devices is enabled.
How to use a QR Code to write reviews on Google+ Local using mobile devices
A few weeks ago we presented an article containing general knowledge on QR Codes for marketers. There, we noted that the most common usage for QR Codes is to encode a URL i.e. directing a user to a website page. We also mentioned that there are other uses for QR Codes. One of them is the capability of encoding a Geo-Location i.e. a specific latitude and longitude. When this special QR Code is scanned the location will open in a map. A query (i.e. business name) can be added as well. That is the starting point to our workaround to help users to write reviews on Google+ Local using mobile devices.
Helping customers to write a review on Google+ Local using mobile devices in two steps
Step 1: Find the latitude and Longitude of your business
- On a regular browser go to Google Maps, zoom the map to your business and perform a search with your business name. In the picture below you can see we searched for a restaurant called “100 Montaditos” in Plantation, FL.
- Once you have identified the business, press the “Link” button located on the right side of the print button.
- Copy the link and paste it on a text editor. In our case the link was:
- In the link above ll=26.113192,-80.253947 is the latitude and longitude for the map’s center point. sll=26.112614,-80.25429 is the latitude and longitude points around which the business search is performed. We take note of the later.
The end result for Step 1 is a set of latitude and longitude numbers. In our case Latitude=26.112614, and Longitude=-80.25429
Step 2: Create a Geo-Coded QR Code
- Open a simple QR Code generator. For this exercise we used the QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project
- Change the value of content from URL to Geo-Location.
- Enter the values of latitude and longitude INCLUDING the minus symbol. Since we performed this search in the US (North of the Equator and east of Greenwich) the latitude will always be positive and the longitude negative.
- On the Query section of the QR Code generator enter the name of your business. Press the “Generate” button. Now you can use the QR Code to invite customers to write a review on Google+ Local using mobile devices.
The end result for Step 2 is a QR Code that when scanned will open the default mapping application in your phone.
While simple, the process is not flawless. It will only work if the customer has Google Maps installed as the default mapping application. Even keeping that in mind, this process is much easier and more intuitive that sending the user to a non mobile optimized search page.
Despite the fact that this process offers an easy solution on creating a QR Code, it doesn’t mean that QR Codes can be used haphazardly. Go back and read our QR Codes best practices.
Try it, let me know if it works for you and if you succeed in having more customers write reviews on Google+ Local using mobile devices.