Blogs 10 Jul,2018
Had LinkedIn killed the Business Card?
A Business Card is a 3.5 X 2 Inch card with a person’s name, contact details and job title on. They are exchanged with potential clients or associates as a way of remaining in contact after the initial meeting. This process of passing Business Cards has been the norm for 100 years. Ever since Business Cards first took off in popularity with the advent of multi-colour lithographic printing at the end of the 19th Century. However, as with everything, this too must end. The idea of the analogue Business Card must eventually fall to the wayside in favour of the next advancement. LinkedIn has come up with a system that they believe will end the need for Business Cards once and for all. In this article we’re going to discuss what it is, what its benefits and drawbacks are. Most importantly if it will be the death of printing services Nottingham, London and all over the UK.
What is It?
LinkedIn is a social media website for professionals to connect with contacts and apply for jobs. With over 500 Million registered users, LinkedIn has become a central point for professionals online.
Their new Business Card system will give every user a unique QR code that is tied to their account. By using the LinkedIn app on their iPhone or Android device, users can scan a user’s QR code and instantly become connected. It sounds like a very simple way to connect with clients and business professionals.
The question is: Will this kill off the standard Business Card?
In my own humble option: no. Not a chance.
This new system is certainly a simple way to connect with the other person on the website, yes. However, by making this process digital, it loses a lot of what makes the Business Card such an effective system.
Let’s go through the top aspects of Business Cards and why they will be badly missed with this new process.
Best Aspects of a Business Card
You give a Business Card to a prospective client or professional that you wish to connect with. The act of giving them a Business Card helps them to remember you as a person. When they look at the card later on, they will the person who gave them the card: you.
By making this process online and essentially streamlining the overall procedure, more people will connect online, yes. However, it will also shorten the process. This means people will have more contacts to remember and less time to make a lasting impression on each other. When they look back through these contacts later, they are likely to not remember any specific person they’ve connected with.
The Business Cards Acts as a CTA
Often, when giving someone a Business Card, it is followed by the words “give me a call/email and we’ll chat more”. Then, when they later pull the Business Card out of their pocket, they will remember that and contact you.
By just connecting online with the person, they lose the reason for connecting in the first place. You become just another person they’re connected to online. You won’t have the time available to make an impression on them. This means its likely they will forget you entirely and never even visit your profile, let along contact you.
Business Cards Show Personality And Expertise
The purpose of a business card is to pass on your information to someone else. It is also, however, a way to express to them your expertise and reason for contacting you. Explain your business role and expertise on the card and back it up with an explanation of your skills. When they see the card later, your job title will remind them of your skills and why they should connect with you. Linking online turns you into just a name and a face.
Business Cards Can Be Creative
The single best thing about Business Cards is their ability to be varied and different. The ability to grab attention and leave a lasting impression on the prospect. You can use a simple and elegant design that emphasises you’re a professional whose work should speak for itself. Or you could stand out with a bright a creative card design that expresses your personality. Using a photo on the card will retain their attention and remind them of your sector.
Its not just the visuals either. With a multitude of sizes and shapes, thicknesses and finishes, just the feel of the card can be a reminder. Elegant visiting card printing to cheap mini business cards or square business cards. With extreme thickness or soft finishes, you could create a thousand different and unique business cards.
With a QR code linking to your profile, you lose all of this creativity. Even though it’s a unique code, you become just another person in the crowd. There is no way to stand out with this new system, and that is the single best aspect of Business Cards.
Issues with the new LinkedIn process
The LinkedIn new QR application does offer a streamlined and simple system to connect with people online. However, I also hank there are some issues with the basic idea. These will change over time, but to start with, these are going to be huge hurdles for the system.
Requires LinkedIn App
LinkedIn currently has over 500 Million online profiles. To connect with another user however, you need more than a profile; you need the LinkedIn app. The app has a build-in scanner using the phones camera function.
The issue is that not everyone has the LinkedIn App. Of those 500 Million unique users, less than 2/3 actually access LinkedIn on their mobile. That’s not entirely through the app either; those users could still be accessing the site through the Mobile browser.
Only if the LinkedIn application is used by 100% of registered users can the new system be fully optimised. Until this point, Business Cards still have a large market share through people not using the app.
QR Codes have a bad history
The QR (Quick Response) code was invented way back in 1994. They became very popular in advertising around 2010, around the boom of Smart Phones. They had a bright future ahead of them too. With the possibilities of continuing content from interested parties, incorporation into ARG games and interactive advertising, the QR code had a future.
That was until the rather sudden decline and relative death of the QR code around 2013.
The issue was that they became very popular with advertisers and suddenly, QR codes were being plastered over all kinds of advertising. The issue was that the QR codes didn’t add to the experience. Oftentimes, they just led to just more advertising and no real content to keep people on the page.
This was a new technology, but everyone was treating it the same way as older technology. People were not willing to spend the time downloading the app, scan the code and wait for the website to load to find, most likely, adverts.
QR codes have had a resurgence in the past few years, with iPhones now including QR scanners built into their cameras. However, interest is slow to rebuild after users had such bad experiences in the past. This is likely to go away in time, but it will be slow going.
Passing a business card to a prospective client or contact can be a personal moment and does have its own etiquette rules. Giving a business card before a handshake is bad practice as you seem more interested in pushing your business than in the person. Putting a reciprocated business card away without reading it shows a similar lack of interest.
Now, imagine the new rules that would be involved with scanning the other persons phone. Perhaps its just me, but it seems remarkably impersonal and yet rather invasive. At best it will be an awkward situation, and at worst it will seem pushy and invasive.
Again, this issue is likely to go away with time. For a while though, I think it will be a very awkward experience to ask someone if you can scan their phones.
Anything good to say?
It may seem that I’m just being a huge naysayer. I like to think of myself as a realist with a slightly pessimist bent.
To be entirely clear here: No, I don’t think the LinkedIn App will kill off Business Cards. However, I likewise don’t think it will become the new standard for connecting with contacts or clients.
The LinkedIn app has its own charm and the ease of use is certainly a benefit. This is good for large networking events in which you want to connect with as many people as possible.
However, I think this totally ignores the human element of the Business Card, which is a huge factor to its success. Personal business meetings will still do better with a business card and a casual conversation.
If you agree and want to express your individuality with Business Card, try IntelePrint. They offer printing services Nottingham and are making a name for themselves. Offering great deals on cheap mini Business Cards, square Business Cards and Visiting card Printing. Even on other office supplies like sticker printing, letterheads and presentation folders. Go see what they have available and how it can help your business.