Drew Harding

How to use NFC and social media to bring the offline world, online

Social Media & NFC - Two of the hottest topics in marketing for many years. NFC (Near Field Communication) is the a two way contactless communication technology starting to work its way into our daily.

facebook RFIDThis time last year NFC was beginning to grab serious attention when the big players like Google started to invest heavely  into the development of the technology for their smartphones and the eventual release of Google Wallet.  

NFC can be used for mobile contactless payments, true, but what else can it be used for? Well NFC technology can carry out the following tasks, amongst others:

  • Enable / Disable / Toggle Wifi
  • Enable / Disable / Toggle Bluetooth
  • Launch any installed Application
  • Connect to any known SSID
  • Enable / Disable Auto-sync
  • Changing Phone Ringtone
  • Change Notification Tone
  • Changing Ringer Mode
  • Changing Ringer Volume
  • Changing Media Volume
  • Changing Alarm Volume
  • Changing Notification Volume
  • And so on...

So as you can see NFC doesn’t just allow you to pay with your contacless mobile wallet, it can be used to trigger changes to your phone for various situations i.e. loud settings for the car, silent for your bedroom etc.

But how do you tie this in with Social Media?  Well, NFC chips or tags included in smartphones can be scanned against programmed chips to perform various actions.  For instance at a trade show having a chip on your stand and asking people to swipe their phones to like your Facebook page, check-in at your location, sign up to a newsletter, receive a free gift via their phones etc.

NFC can also be used for sharing content - which goes back to the social sharing opportunity of any business and application.  If you have something worth sharing, it can spread - rapidly! The more phones with this type of tag built in, then the easier it will become to share content like music, videos, photos and documents.

Think about the possibilities of connecting Social Media & NFC... a treasure hunt competition where you have various NFC chips scattered around a location, people get told where the first location is and then they need to scan the NFC station to get the next clue... but it also gives them a bonus clue if they share their journey via Facebook or Twitter.  By doing this the competition is taking the offline experience online, for people to follow and enjoy.

Now you may have heard of NFC but did you know it was built from RFID technology? RFID is Radio Frequency Identification - tags that communicate with a reader.

RFID has already been put into action with direct connection to Social Media and created some of the most enhanced and engaging, on and offline experiences since the social media era.  Dutch agency Dorst & Lesser have worked with several top brands to bring the online world of social media to life at events.  A campaign with Ibiza Hotel, Ushuaia allowed users to sync their RFID wristbands with their Facebook accounts and then scan various Facebook stations around the hotel to share their offline experience with their online friends.  

Dorst & Lesser - Ushuaia Facebook Video:

The same idea was carried by Dorst & Lesser with Renault at a Car Exhibition, where people could sync their RFID wristbands with their Facebook account and post content to their Facebook walls by swiping various FB Stations at the event.

Dorst & Lesser - Renault Facebook Video:

So as you can see the offline and online world is getting ever increasingly connected and we as marketers need to be aware, be forward thinking, and be creative about how we can tie these tools together to best promote our business / products.

I hope this has given you some ideas and I’d be very keen to hear what experiences (if any) you’ve had of bringing NFC & Social Media together. I look forward to hearing your feedback / comments!


Posted by Alex Claremont, 8 December 2011

A very interesting proposal, but with only a handful of phones with NFC incorporated will the investment in using this technology in events pay off? While it's a great look into the future it's not something that can be suggested whole-heartedly currently in my opinion.

Posted by Drew Harding, 8 December 2011

Hi Alex, thanks for your thoughts... the tech and price would probably mean that many businesses would not see this as a viable option right now however we need to be aware of what tech is available and how it can be used, even if it is for the future!

As you can see with the examples of Renault & Ushuaia the experience for the consumer is enhanced massively and the online exposure is increased, so although you may not be able to initially measure this in monetary value, the brand reputation and awareness will have been increased - potentially leading to more profits in future.

Thanks again for your comments.
Regards, Drew

Posted by Tim Letscher , 3 January 2012

I thought we'd see NFC incorporated in this last set of phones running Android and in the iPhone 4S but maybe next year. Another example of real world NFC similar to the hotel experience from the above link is from Coke. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r5t3tFS1E0&feature=related This was developed by http://www.gravityworld.com/ - smart people.

Posted by Erin Dwyer , 3 January 2012

I'm really looking forward to more NFC campaigns but till phones are equipped and it's standard it's not as prevalent. I believe the recent BudLight program in New Orleans used NFC. There are more RFID campaigns currently such as the examples in the article and the famous Coke village, Bud Light Hotel and Bud Light's cruises. The main difference is NFC allows two way communication and RFID is one way. Hope that helps!


Drew Harding Eclipse Creative Drew Harding
Company: Eclipse Creative
Position: Digital Marketing Manager
Drew Harding is the Digital Marketing Manager @ Eclipse Creative. Sales & Marketing @ Eclipse Digital Media. Eclipse Creative Links: Website - http://www.eclipse-creative.co.uk Facebook - http://eclp.se/fb Twitter - http://eclp.se/tw LinkedIn - http://eclp.se/li Eclipse Digital Media Links: Website - http://www.eclipsedigitalmedia.co Read Drew's full bio

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