The Latest on Virtual Reality, Facebook ‘Lookalike Audiences’ and Microsoft Flow Applications

John Vrooman | May 2017

John Vrooman

I finally decided that it was time for me to check out a virtual reality (VR) headset and have a real “VR” experience. To accomplish the goal I went to a Microsoft Store, signed the required waiver, got directed to a seat that was set up for a virtual reality car racing experience…and started driving. What was it like? It was really cool! However, I’m embarrassed to say that 1) I crashed more than I drove; 2) the experience caused me to almost fall out of the chair, and 3) I started feeling nauseous within minutes! Sounds like fun, right? Well, it was and I recommend that if you haven’t had a virtual reality experience yet (while wearing a middle-higher end virtual reality headset) you should do so. Suggestion: I would recommend you start your experience with a slower moving, non-driving, VR experience and then move on to more exciting things after you get used to the new virtual environment first. Seriously, try it, you’ll like it! When you’re done with the experience you’ll be able to share your thoughts and opinions about VR technology and your firsthand experience with it. You never know where conversations may lead, but being able to share your VR experience will at least help to identify you as an agent who is on top of and willing to embrace new technology and trends!

Facebook ‘Lookalike Audiences’

Facebook marketing capabilities continue to improve and grow. A popular and powerful Facebook marketing capability/feature is its “Custom Audience” feature that enables you to identify and market to a custom audience. However, if you don’t have a lot of customers, your marketing “reach” may not be as large as you would like it to be. One possible solution to this problem/issue is to see if Facebook’s “Lookalike Audiences” feature may be able to find additional prospects for you to market to. The following link will lead you to a Facebook.com webpage that discusses the powerful and interesting “Lookalike Audiences” Facebook marketing feature… www.facebook.com/business/help/164749007013531?helpref=related

Tip: If you visit YouTube.com and do a search for “Facebook Lookalike Audiences” the search results will yield numerous videos that discuss the “Lookalike Audiences” topic/feature.

Microsoft Flow

Microsoft Flow is an automation tool that can help you to connect certain apps and/or web services together and then automate certain tasks between them (e.g. synchronize files, get notifications, collect data, and more). If you use several apps and online services I would encourage you to see if your apps/services are supported by Microsoft Flow. In my opinion, a couple of good ways to get started with Microsoft Flow is to 1) visit the Microsoft Flow webpage and explore the information that’s there, and 2) visit YouTube.com and watch videos that explain the service and show examples of how the service works. The following link will lead you to the Microsoft Flow website…https://flow.microsoft.com

To help speed thing along, the following link will lead you to a web page that lists the services that currently work with Microsoft Flow…
https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/services

Heads up: Two similar services that have been mentioned in this column previously and that are also worth comparing/evaluating are ifttt.com (If This Then That), and Zapier.com.

Google Maps Tip

Google Maps (I’m primarily focusing on the Google Maps Smartphone app at the moment, and not the website) is a popular navigation tool that can help guide you to destinations. A feature in Google Maps that many people aren’t aware of is the ability to share your location with others. Where are you? When are you going to arrive? When you enable location sharing with others, the answers to those previous questions can be answered/looked up by those who you have shared your location with. I would encourage all Smartphone users to install Google Maps on their device and to take a few minutes to explore (or re-explore) the Google Maps app’s features. The Google Maps app has been evolving over time. Today, the app likely has more features and capabilities than it probably had the last time you really explored the app. The following courtesy links will guide you to articles that I recently came across that cover the location-sharing topic in more detail.
http://www.idownloadblog.com/2017/04/12/how-to-share-location-google-maps
http://mashtips.com/share-realtime-live-location

DesktopOK (Tip for Windows Users)

Testing out how your website looks at different screen resolutions, recording computer screen based tutorials, using a projector to project your computer screen onto a large screen or to a television screen are all examples of activities that may involve wanting to change your computer’s normal screen resolution. Unfortunately, when you change your computer’s screen resolution, you often lose the organization of your desktop icons and end up having to reorganize them all over again. A solution to this problem that I recently came across is a software program called “DesktopOK,” which can remember and restore the layout of your computer’s desktop icons when switching between screen resolutions. If you’re familiar with the problem at hand, I think you’ll appreciate this free and simple to use solution. Here’s a link to the product’s web page where you can learn a bit more and download the product…www.softwareok.com/?seite=Freeware/DesktopOK

Products That Can Help You Use Less Electricity

P3 International Corp. makes several devices that can help you to better manage your power consuming household appliances and electronics. The company’s “Kill A Watt” and “Save A Watt” series of devices are all specialized to help you better use, monitor and understand your electricity use. To learn more about these products and to (possibly) start lowering your electric bill, simply visit…www.p3international.com/products/energy-savers.html

If you have comments, suggestions, tips, questions or just want to say “Hi,” you are invited to contact me at john@johnvrooman.com. I always enjoy hearing from you!

John Vrooman
John Vrooman is an experienced Realtor who enjoys staying on top of real estate, technology, gadgets, marketing, new media and small business trends/developments. John curates information from a wide range of resources and enjoys sharing tips, thoughts and discoveries with a something for everyone approach. He is an Associate Broker with Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty's White Plains office.