Category: How to

Google Maps, FourSquare, Twitter and Google Search on a map of AdelaideGet your business on the map by taking advantage of local events with Twitter.

Adelaide is a happening place this time of year. We’ve already had the Fringe Festival, Tour Down Under, the Adelaide Festival, Soundwave, Womadelaide, Adelaide Food & Wine Festival, and there are many more events to come. Such events often draw many tourists from interstate and overseas and these visitors can benefit from your goods and services, if they are aware of you.

Be a part of the conversation

Even though your business may not be directly involved in these events you can still jump in and participate on social media as a neighbourhood authority. Your own local knowledge can benefit others who are wanting to find information about the area. Mingling with others online who are talking about the event raises awareness of your goods and services with these visitors and introduces them to your business.

Twitter: backbone of the social web

Twitter is one of, if not the, most used platforms in conjunction with events and is often used as the backbone to other services. Many of the major social networks such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and GooglePlus have integrated Twitter as a means of sharing their information with the public.

Keeping an eye on Twitter and interacting with others there during an event can provide great commercial opportunities for local business.

FourSquare, the world’s most popular location sharing app and regarded as the “location layer of the internet”, recently united with Twitter to enable users to include their location in their tweets.

Earlier this year in February, Twitter also renewed a partnership with Google allowing the search engine giant access to it’s API, or ‘firehose’ of real-time activity on Twitter. Your tweets are now indexed by Google immediately after they are posted on Twitter and show up in Google search results.

This recent union of location and search with Twitter is terrific news for businesses that are using Twitter!

Hashtags: the cross-platform unifier

The simple concept of a keyword beginning with a pound sign was invented by Twitter user Chris Messina eight years ago. Hashtags have now become ubiquitous on the web, and even stretching outside of the internet appearing on television programs, commercials and news broadcasts.

Other platforms such as Facebook, GooglePlus, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, etc, and new comers Meerkat & Periscope have taken up the hashtag function and built it into their systems. A great benefit of this is that these clickable keywords retain their functionality across multiple platforms. The hashtags used in a post to Instagram, for example, will still function as links to related content when that post is shared to Twitter.

One detail you need to be aware of though is that some characters are not supported by certain platforms. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to avoid using +, !, $, %, -, ^, &, or * in your hashtags.

Finding the most relevant Twitter hashtags

Use the search function on Twitter to search for the event name. You’ll see in the search results some of the hashtags that are being used in relation to the event. If you are using the Twitter mobile app you can save the searches of these commonly used hashtags to make it easier to switch between hashtags.

screenshot of Hashtagify results

Using Hashtagify to find the top 10 Hashtags being used at an event.

There are also a range of online tools that can be utelised to find the appropriate hashtags, here are just a few:

  • Hashtagify – find the best hashtags to reach your audience – and it is completely free.
  • RiteTag – RiteTag provides you a set of tools to maximize your return on hashtags.
  • – Organising the world’s hashtags.
  • Tagboard – uses hashtags to collect public social media within seconds of being posted.
  • Keyhole – a real-time hashtag tracker for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
  • TweetReach – Find out who else is tweeting that hashtag…and much more.

Getting Involved

Before the event see if you can locate those who will be attending, whether they be participants or punters. If you’re not comfortable tweeting to them directly, you can get their attention by retweeting or favouriting one or two of their tweets, or by following them. Reaching out and making these connections with them prior to the event will establish a level of trust and familiarity.

In the build up to the event, search for relevant people who are actively sharing information related to the event, consider following them and sharing their content with your audience.

During the event search for activity on Twitter using search terms and hashtags, find photos and retweet or favourite them and reply to the person who took the photo. To make these retweets most useful to others, I usually like to add my own short comment or hashtag to propel the tweet further.

Your business can provide a free service for an event by curating others’ content. Instead of sharing single YouTube videos as you find them, compile them into a playlist and share that to those who are following the event. Create a Twitter list of accounts that are involved in the event and share that to Twitter with the appropriate hashtags to create a richer experience for others who are following the event.

If you have a website consider creating an event page, with an embedded YouTube playlist or photo slide show, a custom Google Map, or a Twitter feed based on hashtags related to the event. By curating this sort of event-related content you are adding value and providing a free service to others. Each time you share that event page with the community you are also bringing visitors to your website and promoting your business as a result.

A screen shot of the SA Wine page on Vintuitive.

A page of curated content to provide a free service to others can attract visitors to your website.

Some examples of this sort of curation can be viewed here on Vintuitive on the following pages: Adelaide Cello Festival, Eye on Adelaide, South Australia Wine, Free Wifi Access in Adelaide.

When to tweet about yourself?

How you work your self-promotional tweets into the stream can be tricky without sounding too spammy and should always ensure that your tweets are relevant to the discussion. A general rule is to talk about the event and share event related tweets from others about 70% of the time and include relevant information about your own business about 30% of the time.

You can search out tweets from people looking for services that you offer in the area and respond to them. Twitter’s advanced search is useful for this task as you can hone your search with fine grained controls, or you can use one of the many third party tools as suggested above.

Putting a village on the map

A couple of months ago the 2015 World Alpine Ski Racing Championships was held in Vail, Colorado. Over 100,000 fans and spectators turned up to experience the renowned sporting event.

Nearby in the Vail Valley is a town called Eagle, which covers about 2.4 square miles and has a population of about 6,500 and 135 businesses.

I worked with a team of GooglePlus consultants that helped sixteen of these local businesses in Eagle “get on the Google Map” so they could be found easily in local searches, and thereby take advantage of this global event happening right next door.

A case study that documents the process and conclusions can be found here: Local Businesses on Google Maps – A Case Study.

Are you on Twitter?

Are you wondering if your old iPad 2 will run the latest operating system from Apple, iOS 8.2?
I stopped upgrading my iPad 2 at iOS 7.1 fearing that the iPad 2’s hardware was not up to running the more modern versions of iOS as they became more demanding. After reading that iOS 8.2 was running smoothly for many others who had an iPad 2, and not finding many negative reviews, I went and did it, I updated.

I’m very surprised by how well iOS 8.2 does run so I wanted to tell all of you who have an old iPad to try it out. Here’s a video demonstrating how there is no lag or delay when using iOS 8.2 on the iPad 2:

Don’t hesitate go and update now!

Do you like my Australian accent in the video and would like to give your iPad an Aussie accent? Check this video with Sarah Lane featuring a tip from Vintuitive on iPad Today!

Keep Calm, Keep Cool Adelaide

Keep Calm Keep Cool posterThe year has commenced with a scorching start! Today in Adelaide it will reach 42 degrees and will remain in the 40s most of the day, even until as late as 6pm!

How to stay cool

The hot weather can make some people very lethargic, others get uptight and agitated. In either case it’s not easy to work in such conditions. It’s important on these hot days to take measures to keep the fluids up and stay cool. Your health and wellbeing are integral to getting your work done. Dehydration and over heating is a very real threat to your heath and can result in cramps, heat exhaustion or even heatstroke. If you don’t have air conditioning in your home or office there are other methods to keep calm and remain cool and in control. SA Health has some good tips of dealing with extreme heat on days like these and you can find their Guide to coping and staying healthy in the heat online.

Here’s a tip I picked up while in Queensland – the Frozen Towel Technique:
Read More »

I want it all, and I want it easily and effortlessly. And you can have it all, with this simple keyboard shortcut.

Select All with this swift Keyboard Kung Fu move

As we saw with cutting, copying and pasting, using a keyboard shortcut is often much easier and more productive when completing common tasks.

How do you currently go about selecting all the files in a folder, or all the text on a page? Do you click and drag diagonally across the files or text? Or do you right-click and then choose ‘Select All’?

Use the Command-A keyboard shortcut to achieve the same result with very little effort:

A = select all

fingers on the command a keys to select all

Using the Select All keyboard shortcut with files

As mentioned above, this nifty little move works with both files and with text. If you find yourself needing to move all the files in a folder, Command-A will enable you to select all the files in any given folder very quickly and effortlessly.

Here’s an example of how Command-A could be used with a previous lesson, Send To Trash to select all the files in a folder and to trash them:

A then delete = select all those files and send them straight to the trash

Using the Select All keyboard shortcut with text

It can also be useful when editing large slabs of text. Command-A to highlight all the text and then copy or cut or adjust the font size, colour, etc.

Here’s an example of how Command-A could be used with a previous lesson Make Your Make Speak to select all the text on a page and trigger the text-to-speach feature to have the Mac read it out loud to you:

A then S = select all the text and have the Mac speak all the text on a page.

It really is such a simple tip but it’s power is great.

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A very simple tip this time, after all, simplicity is the way of the Tao. Have you ever wanted to make a key do the opposite of it’s usual function?

More than just uppercase

Most people think of the shift key as a way of reaching the uppercase of a key. For example, the letter ‘v’ can be turned into a capital ‘V’ by using the Shift key, or the ‘@’ sign can be obtained by using the Shift key with the 2 key:

v = V
2 = @

A little known fact is that the Shift key can also be used to reverse the function of a key. In fact, we’ve already seen it in use in an earlier Keyboard Kung Fu lesson, Switching Between Open Applications.

Tabbing and shift-tabbing through fields

Online forms are a good example of how the addition of the key can be useful.

shift and tab key held down on a vintage mac keyboard

You are probably already aware that the tab key can be used to move your cursor to the next field in a form or web page. But what happens if you accidentally move past a field and now need to move back to it? It is at this point that many will take one hand off the keyboard and reach for the mouse to reposition the cursor into the previous field.

Instead, the key can be held down while tapping the tab key to move back up through the previous fields:

tab in a form = jump to next field
tab in a form = jump to previous field

This is a very simple tip that can be utilised to reduce stress and increase productivity. Try it with other keys to see what other key functions you can reverse.

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This tip will help to increase your productivity while working with text, something many of us do every day. Whether it be writing an important business proposal, or just an email to a friend, while you are typing your mind is focused on writing. You don’t want to interrupt your train of thought by having to take your hands of the keys to operate a mouse just to move the cursor to a different point in the text. Instead, the same result can be achieved with a few taps of the arrow key.

One letter at a time too slow? An alternative option

Tapping that cursor arrow can get tedious very quickly if you find yourself needing to move around the text a lot. You may find that this tip is limited to certain apps, but this is where the Option key can be your arrow keys’ trusty companion. Holding the left Option key down with your thumb while tapping the left or right arrow keys will soon become second nature.

= move forward through the text word by word.

Option and forward arrow keys on a mac keyboard

Too many words in a line? You are in command

An additional tip that works well with this one is the Command key. Holding down the Command key instead of the Option key while tapping the left of right arrow will jump you straight to the end of the line.

= jump to the end of the line

Horizontal and Vertical

Both of these tips work moving back and forward through text horizontally but you can also move through lines and paragraphs by applying the same techniques.

= move up through the text paragraph by paragraph
= jump to the top of the page

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Sometimes you need to get the volume just a bit lower than the first notch. Is that even possible? It certainly is! All you need is a little Keyboard Kung Fu know-how.

Adjusting the volume

Apple Remote ControlThere are a few different methods of altering the volume of the speaker output on the Mac. Back in the old days every Mac used to come with it’s own infra red remote control that could be used not only with iTunes but also with other video and audio apps as well as the fundamental aspects of the Mac’s operating system. I must confess, my little white remote still lives in my pocket and I use it many times every day, mainly for altering the volume when not sitting in front of my computer.

While I am sitting at my Mac though, I find that the keyboard’s own volume keys are without question the fastest and easiest means of adjusting the volume.

Shows the normal way of decreasing the volume

Decreasing the volume using the volume keys

Can you turn it down just a bit more please?

In those quieter moments it can be beneficial to have greater control over the volume levels. Perhaps you have earbuds in, or are in a quiet place and find that even at the lowest volume setting that last notch is just not low enough.

This is when it is beneficial to know how to adjust the volume in finer increments.

Keyboard shortcut showing Incremental Volume Animation

Decreasing the volume in finer gradations.

While adjusting the volume, all you need to do is hold down two additional keys, Option and Shift:
F11 = Decrease volume in incremental steps.
F12 = Increase volume in incremental steps.

With the addition of the Option and Shift keys the volume can be made to go as low as 0.25.

Smaller increments of brightness too

Way back in Audio/Visual Adjustments we saw how the Option key could be used with a range of buttons across the top of the keyboard, otherwise known as the F keys.

Here’s a little extra tidbit: this shortcut also works with the brightness controls.

F1 = Decrease brightness in incremental steps.
F2 = Increase brightness in incremental steps.

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