Put Your Online Avatar to Work

Lucy Langdon
Thursday, Mar 24, 2011 at 3:00 AM
Using a Custom Tag as an Avatar

An avatar is your online image, but you’re more than just a thumbnail picture or brand name, right? A 2D barcode, particularly one that’s personalized to suit your style, is the perfect way to stand out from the crowd and share what’s important to you. People can scan your barcode avatar with their smartphones and visit your website, watch a video, or learn more about your products.


One great thing about Microsoft Tag is that its usefulness is only limited by your imagination. And, because you can customize the Tag as well as the content behind it, you can truly do something unique with a Tag avatar. We think Twitter is a great place to start, so here are some thoughts on barcode avatars and ways they can make your online avatar sing (perhaps literally).


Right now, there aren’t many Twitter profiles using 2D barcodes as avatars, and most of them are barcode companies. There are a couple of reasons why this might be the case:

  • 2D barcodes aren’t mainstream enough. Some users worry that a barcode avatar won’t make sense to Twitter users. However, given the massive growth of Tag and 2D barcodes in recent months, and the fact that Twitter is all about trendsetting, this shouldn’t be a problem much longer.
  • A 2D barcode avatar isn’t personal enough. First impressions are important, and many Twitter users are concerned that a grid of black-and-white dots won’t give a good one. SETJapan has worked around this by neatly integrating QR Code into a thumbprint avatar. Microsoft’s custom Tag feature goes further, enabling you to add color and images to create a truly personalized barcode avatar that suits your character or brand – check out mobile marketer Brett Circe’s custom Twitter avatar


Although few Twitter users have 2D barcodes as their permanent avatars, some companies are using them for specific promotions, leaving the barcode up for as long as the promotion lasts. These avatars are often linked to larger digital and print campaigns. For example, Make The Logo Bigger commented on a campaign from Popeyes Chicken, which used a QR Code to point its 10,000 followers to a mobile-friendly promotional site boasting about its supremacy over KFC and helping visitors find the nearest store.


The beauty of Tag is that it lets you play to your strengths. Whatever you’re using Twitter for – socializing with friends, talking about your hobbies, or promoting your brand – there are countless ways you can use Tag to make your online persona more irresistible:

  • It’s cutting edge. Whatever your industry, it pays to be seen as a leader. Now that 2D barcodes are hitting the mainstream, show that you’re ahead of the competition by using a Tag for your avatar.
  • It’s intriguing. A Tag can take people anywhere, so use the element of surprise to excite your followers. If you’re a musician, treat anyone who scans your Tag to a free download. If you’re a photographer, provide them with phone-camera tips.
  • It’s fresh. You can update the content behind your Tag as often as you like with Tag Manager, and with Real-Time Location, you can even tailor people’s experience to their location. Let followers know when you update the Tag, but let them discover for themselves what new treat you’re sharing. If you’re a brand, you could use your Tag to share seasonal offers or take visitors to an online version of your monthly mailing.
  • It’s personal. Microsoft Tag makes it easy to customize your Tag avatar. You can incorporate your face or logo into the design, so followers recognize you on Twitter, or design something completely new to surprise and captivate your audience.


Custom Tag Examples


And remember that avatars aren’t only used on Twitter – how about using your Tag avatar on Facebook as well?


Are you using a Tag for your Twitter avatar? Have you seen one in the wild? Let us know in the Comments below or on Tag’s Facebook or Twitter pages.




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