Thursday, March 14, 2013

Making lost pet fliers interactive

This post shows an example of a blog post, a Facebook page, and a flier that are all linked to each other.  The flier links you to the blog post, which links you to the Facebook page.  The Facebook page has flier you can print out, and it links you to the blog post.  Why would you do this?  In many cases, after you have printed out your fliers and distributed them, you will gain important new information.  When the fliers direct people to the internet, they can get the most current updates, including maps, pictures, and recent sightings.  Also, people can share your information more easily when they have several avenues to share it.  They can copy the flier and hand it out.  They can share one of the links, or post it on their Facebook pages.  The following are step by step instructions for making these fliers.  You can certainly make changes to suit your needs.  You might like to include a twitter link, or some other social media. 

1.  Start a blog page.  You won't be finished with the blog page until you've set up your flier and your Facebook page, but you need to start it so that you will have an address to share.  Go to and follow the instructions for setting up a blog.  Some people prefer wordpress, but my computer freaks out when I try it.  The same general principles would apply to wordpress, I would imagine.  At blogger, once your blog is established, copy the address for the blog or for the specific page.  In this case, I will be using the address for this blog entry, rather than the address for the whole blog. I get:

2.  Make a QR code.  I use but there are many QR generators you could use.  Paste the address for your blog entry into the box, and press enter.  You should be presented with a QR code that looks like this:
Save the code you have generated, and test it if you can.  If you have a smart phone, scan the code and make sure it leads you to the blog page.  If you don't have an app for scanning qr codes, you can easily download one for free.  I have had the best luck with QRReader.  If your code doesn't work, make sure that the http:// part of the address didn't get repeated when you entered it into the box.  When you have a functional QR code saved on your computer, it's on to step three.

3.  Make a Facebook page.  You probably know how to do this.  If you don't, just Google, "How to make a facebook page".  Or go here:  Choose "Cause or Community" as the type of page you will create.  Follow the steps, and you should have a new Facebook page in just a few minutes.  You will end up with an address like this:
Your Facebook page should include a link to your blog page.  You would post this in the About area.  You can also post a link in your timeline.  Once your Facebook page is started, copy the address so you can paste it into your blog page.  Make sure you copy the shortest possible address, like the one above.  Depending on what you were doing, you may have an address with some extra characters added.  Click on one of the many links you see that leads to your page, and you should see an address in the address bar without the extra characters.  I'm not explaining this very well, but hopefully you will figure it out.

4.  Edit your blog page to show the Facebook page link near the top.  To do this, you go to your blog, sign in, choose Edit, and insert the link near the beginning of your post. Now you have a Facebook page and a blog page that are linked to each other.  Test your links and make sure they work properly.  If your pages are a little rough, that's okay.  You can fine tune them later.  What you want for now is to have fixed addresses you can use as links.

5.  Create your flier.  Using a word processing application or a photo editing program, you will gather your QR code and other information and pictures into a flier for distribution.  When you are done with your flier, save it in various formats, such as Word (.docx), PDF, and JPEG.  You will want a JPG version of your flier to share it on your blog page and your Facebook page the easiest.  Making the flier should not be too difficult.  Saving it as a JPEG can be a little tricky.  This page tells you how to use the Snipping Tool in Word.  I open the PDF version on my iPhone, and take a screen shot.  You could print out your flier and then scan it or take a picture of it.  There are a dozen ways to do this, and none of them are exactly convenient or straightforward.  In the end you should have something like this:

6.  Test all your links, fine tune your flier, update your blog, update your Facebook page.  It took me an hour to do this, even though this is about the fiftieth time I have made one of the interactive fliers.  Once you have it set up, it should just take you a few minutes now and then to update the information.

7.  Share.  Once you are confident all the links and the QR code are working properly, share it with your Facebook friends.  If craigslist is a popular area for posting about lost pets where you live, create a craigslist ad for your lost pet, and be sure to include links to your blog page and your Facebook page.  Quite often, there will be a local blog that usually shares notices of lost pets.

If you have any questions about this process, call Three Retrievers Lost Pet Rescue at 206-552-0304.  You can also post your questions on the Facebook page associated with this blog post.

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