Brandwatch reveals stunning Social Media Week dataviz

Social Media Week is well under way today and even though there isn’t much happening here in Scotland, us penguins will still be monitoring the conversations around the globe at over 2500 events across five continents that are scheduled this week.

Helping to guide us towards the hot topics, biggest influencers, and top events around the globe is Brandwatch with a brand new dataviz.

Brandwatch’s powerful social media monitoring technology allows you to monitor hashtags, @usernames and tweets from Social Media Week via data visualisation. It looks pretty amazing too.

SMW Brandwatch dataviz

Brandwatch said, “Each Social Media Week city is represented by its tallest building, creating a visual spectacle in the form of a tallest building bar graph, pitching each city against each other in a mentions battle.”

This is genius! Surely this will get more people tweeting and battling for the top space. Remember, keep it worthy and not just post any random stuff just to gain that title. What do you think?

Brandwatch also go on to say, “Below the multi city skyline, we have two leader boards: the first for Social Media Week’s top hashtag, the second for top tweeter, revealing the influencers behind SMW13. By clicking on each city’s icon, you can drill down into the data to reveal the runners and riders on a city level. You will also gain valuable pub quiz knowledge with our facts on the world’s tallest buildings.”

There’s so much you can do with this data if you’re participating in Social Media Week and I love the pub quiz facts too. Such a great way to keep you engaged.

If you want your event to get involved, tweet your event hashtag to be featured on the leader board. @Brandwatch will be crediting leaders everyday on their Twitter account. If you don’t make the top spot today, not to worry as everything gets reset for the next day so you have another chance to make the leader board. Keep tweeting!

Click here to enter the dataviz: http://labs.brandwatch.com/smw/


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Set an Expiry Date for your Tweets with Twitter Spirit

Recently I made the decision to delete all of my 32,000 tweets that I have accrued over the past few years. I’m a bit of a natural knowledge hoarder, and so it was something that I had been loathed to do. The reality is though, that even the most privacy conscious of us use Twitter like an instant messaging service, and there is bound to be statements floating around that we might rather not have quite so publicly accessible for all time.

Delete Everything!

There are services that can delete your entire stream (whilst retaining your tweet count!), as well as those that can automatically delete everything prior to a certain date. (mine is now set to a maximum of one week) However, the latest service to emerge gives a more granular power than anything that we’ve seen before.

TwitterSpirit (or ‘Spirit for Twitter’ depending on where you look) allows you to set a fixed shelf-life of a tweet by using hashtags. ‘3h’ will mean the tweet disappears into the ether after 3 hours; ’10d’ gives it 10 days, and… well. You get the idea. The total extent to which you can control this doesn’t seem to be listed anywhere obvious, but minutes, hours, and days appear to be the standard fare.

Image from WikiMedia Commons

Hopefully the Twitter Spirit doesn’t look like this

Twitter’s SnapChat?

TechCrunch ran the story yesterday, and declared that this was akin to a SnapChat functionality for Twitter. That is quite clearly utter bollocks, as SnapChat messages are sent to specific users, not broadcast in public. This is a different beast entirely, and could turn out to be an incredibly useful feature, for a whole variety of reasons. Some of the scenarios I’ve briefly thought of are as follows:

  • Making a statement that may be controversial, and you just want to say and then have disappear in a short space of time
  • Promoting a one day only event or competition
  • Giving out promo codes that disappear after so as to not confuse or disappoint users that find them later
  • Automatically deleting messages to other people that are more IM style than designed for public consumption

I’m sure there are far more creative ways to make use of this though. Any ideas?

You can sign up for TwitterSpirit here, although with the influx of users since yesterday you might need to wait a bit to test it out for yourself.

Image By Gallowglass (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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#FAIL: When Hashtags Go Wrong

The humble hashtag. It might not be big and it might not be flashy but it’s fair to say that Twitter’s original calling card has revolutionised the social media industry. Easy to use and essential, hashtags have transformed the way users find and share content and they’re now an integral part of not just Twitter but other social networks like Facebook and Google+ too.

Hashtags are a key element of Twitter and, when used correctly, can help to introduce your brand and content to a legion of potential new followers, customers and fans. In the past, hundreds of brands have jumped successfully on the trending hashtag bandwagon or created their own hashtags and benefited from increased exposure and attention… but there are some who have had a much rockier road to hashtag success.

We’ve all heard of them; the brands that have spotted a hashtag trending and, keen to cash in (quite literally!), have quickly thrown together a self-promotional tweet, attached said hashtag and excitedly pressed ‘tweet’ – only to find themselves in a bath-load of hot water. Or the brands that hurriedly created their own hashtag as part of their social strategy and failed to think twice before unleashing their creation to the social-stratosphere, only to be left red-faced and facing a very public social backlash.

when hashtags go wrong

Here are five of the best (or worst!) hashtag howlers we’ve come across at The Social Penguin:

1. Blackberry: Want to work for the smartphone maker Blackberry? You’d better apply for some ermm…. #RIMJobs then! Yes, really! OK, so Blackberry used to run under the parent brand “Research In Motion” but really, you’d have thought that at least one employee might have noticed the obvious connotations related to this seemingly innocent hashtag before they pressed ‘tweet’.

2. Waitrose: Keen to generate some nice user-generated content from its loyal customers, Waitrose launched the #WaitroseReasons campaign in 2012, encouraging followers to fill in the blanks of a “I shop at Waitrose because…” tweet – but it didn’t quite go to plan. The response? A shed-load of jokey tweets from amused followers who claimed to shop at Waitrose because, among other reasons, “the butler’s on holiday” and because “Clarissa’s pony just will NOT eat Asda Value Straw!”.

3. Susan Boyle: The best way to launch a new album? Give it its own hashtag of course. But perhaps the SuBo team should have thought twice before releasing the #susanalbumparty hashtag to the ever excitable public.

4. McDonalds: A bit like Waitrose’s tale of woe, McDonalds launched the infamous #McDStories campaign in January 2012 in an attempt to generate a public love-in with the brand and generate some “good news stories”. Needless to say, the resulting tweets were far from complimentary….

5. Entennman: In the midst of the recent controversial Casey Anthony murder trial, American bakery Entennman decided to get involved with the trending #notguilty hashtag by tweeting “Who’s #notguilty about eating all the tasty treats they want?!”. It goes without saying that a hasty apology soon followed…

Think we’ve missed out any major hashtag disasters? Leave us a comment below.


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How to Use Social Media to Generate Leads [Infographic]

Social media is a great tool to tell your business story and create brand awareness but what about lead generation? Are we creating enough leads through social media and what platforms are the most effective for B2C and B2B marketers?

How to Use Social Media to Generate Leads [INFOGRAPHIC}

Infographic was created by wishpond.

Key Takeaways

    • Facebook leads the way at a staggering 77% of B2C accruing a customer through Facebook.
    • 34% of marketers have generated leads through Twitter, whilst only 20% of them have closed deals.
    • LinkedIn is 277% more effective at generating leads than Facebook and Twitter.
    • 77% of B2B marketers say they have acquired a customer through LinkedIn.
    • Even though LinkedIn generates more effective leads, Facebook still leads the way as 90% of B2B marketers use Facebook and only 47% of marketers use LinkedIn.
    • Social media produces almost double the marketing leads of trade shows, telemarketing, direct mail, or PPC.
    • 77% of buyers are more likely to buy from a company whos CEO use social media.

What platforms do you find most effective for lead generation? Do you have any success stories you would like to share with us?

Steven


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Four Brands Rocking Social Media Hard

As social media bloggers, we spend a lot of our time telling everyone how to “do” social media. Use hashtags – but not too many. Reply to commenters. Choose a tone of voice and be consistent etc etc etc. Often we include examples of people who get it so, so wrong. But who’s getting it right? Read on to discover my top brands on social media.

Glasgow Subway

Glasgow Subway Twitter

The Glasgow Subway is a pretty straightforward mode of transport – it’s in a circle, you can go clockwise or anticlockwise, and they run at short “intervals” rather than on a timetable. What could they possibly have to say on a Twitter account? I had the pleasure of hearing Elaine Magee and Stephanie Todd, the voice(s) of the Subway, talk at Social Media Week Glasgow 2012, and they provided some insights into how they keep it interesting. Their number one goal is to give the Subway a bit of personality to match the colourful residents of Glasgow, and to engage followers in a conversation. They not only Tweet service announcements, but tidbits and trivia about the subway, information on what to do and see around Glasgow (travelling by Subway, of course) and instigate a bit of banter with their followers. On top of this, they’ve run some great campaigns, including a real life treasure hunt around the city.

Sony Electronics

Sony Electrics Pinterest

This is a great example of a brand doing more than just Twitter and Facebook. Sony take a unique approach to the visual platform, finding creative ways to get followers excited about their products. Pinterest has a predominantly female user base – recent stats show women are five times more likely to be on Pinterest than men. This could be why the most popular boards and images include fashion, crafts, humour, quotes, how-tos and animals. Sony has tapped into these trends, going beyond products shots and the hard sell, in favour of getting followers truly interested in the brand. One board, “I Can Haz Gadgets”, is exclusively shots of animals with Sony products; another depicts the fashion of their music label’s artists; yet another is full of crafty ways to personalise and protect your gadgets. Their board dedicated to what their followers are lusting after is the icing on the delectable, pinnable cake.

Brewdog

Brewdog Twitter

The craft beer scene is getting more and more attention in the UK, and one of Scotland’s stars is Brewdog. A huge part of their popularity has been down to their pushing of boundaries, both with their hoppy beers and their punky branding. On Social Media, their brand has a “personality”; a bearded, swearing, beer glugging personality. Their biggest online success to date has been their democratic beer, a collaborative project with their online fans. Over the course of a week, Brewdog put every brewing decision to their followers and craft beer enthusiasts via Facebook, Twitter and their blog. From beer style to the name of the brew, votes were cast using the hashtag #mashtag. The final brew? A 7.5% American brown ale called … yep, you guessed it. #MashTag.

Sharpie

Sharpie Instagram

Much like Sony, Sharpie shares what their product can do rather than sharing pictures of their product. And what can Sharpie do? Draw. On anything. This results in a colourful, likeable, shareable Instagram feed. While most of their posts are illustrations (using Sharpies, of course), Sharpie shares photos of different things that can be, and have been, customised using Sharpie pens. This ranges from wall plugs to white-framed sunglasses. Most recently, Sharpie had their fans attack some white marks with their new neon range, and showcase them under UV lights. Their approach targets teens, with a focus on getting fans involved and inspiring creativity. This means its fresh, visual and engaging, to constantly dodge teenage boredom.

Over to you

What are your favourite brands using social media? Let me know in the comments, or tweet Dave the Penguin @social_penguin and he’ll get the message to me. He’s reliable that way.

How to Write Effective Tweets

140 characters. Talk about a pair of pixilated handcuffs! But that limit shouldn’t be seen as an issue, it should be seen as an opportunity. It can be hard to get your point across within that limit, never mind getting people to actually act upon your tweets, but with the right approach, writing effective tweets will become like second nature. Read on for some key pointers…

Think message first!

Twitter moves at lighting pace – that means your tweets have to catch the eye! Lets imagine a scenario within which you’ve written a blog post and you want to share it via Twitter. What should your tweet look like? I’ll start with a bad example:

In my new blog post, I’ve written tips on how to write effective tweets so that your tweets get noticed – http://bit.ly/11sOdHu

Why is this bad?

  • It doesn’t hit the reader with a key piece of information first
  • It rambles
  • The language is clumsy

How can you make this tweet more effective? Start with the headline of your post:

How to Write Effective Tweets –  http://bit.ly/11sOdHu < essential reading for digital marketers #marketing 

The use of ‘how to’ lets the reader know that they are going to (hopefully!) learn something by reading the post. I then tell them exactly what they will learn. The link is nice and early in the tweet, meaning they don’t necessarily need to read the rest of the tweet. By saying ‘essential reading’, I’m making the reader feel like they must read this, or potentially miss out on key information. I’m playing on their minds a little. Notice I’ve only used one hashtag, I advise never to use more than two. There’s also plenty of characters left, meaning users can add a note if they want to when re-tweeting etc.

Always think key message first!

Offer value from within the tweet

Try taking a key point from your post and including it in the tweet:

Never use more than two hashtags in a tweet! More great tips here – http://bit.ly/11sOdHu #twitter #writing

This approach allows you to give the reader a valuable piece of info, and entices them to read more. Again, that tweet leaves 32 characters free. The 140 characters isn’t a target!

Don't be scared to mix it up! Image used under CC via MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr

Don’t be scared to mix it up! Image used under CC via MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr

Ask a question

Like this:

Struggling to write tweets that hit the mark? You need to read this – http://bit.ly/11sOdHu #digitalmarketing

This tweet is effective as it endeavours to identify an issue that people may have when using Twitter and offers a solution to it. Again, it uses a strong statement – ‘You need to read this’. An effective tweet with 30 characters to spare.

Invite audience participation

When you write and publish a blog post, you hope that people will not only read it, but comment on the article too. Try to spark some interaction within your tweet:

How to Write Effective Tweets –  http://bit.ly/11sOdHu < have you got any tips to share? We’d love to hear them!

Nice punchy start, link is early in the tweet and it asks a question at the end. With room to spare. Nice one!

Mix it up!

When I publish a blog post, I tend to tweet about it across the day in order to hit different timezones etc. This practice is fine, as long as there are other tweets unrelated to the post coming from you that day! Why not write a bunch of tweets that use the different approaches from above and test what works best for you in terms of clicks and re-tweets? Test and learn baby!

Good luck! Feel free to had any hints/thoughts in the comments below!


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Image used under creative commons license and via MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr.

Top 6 Tips for Generating Leads via Social Media

Is your business still struggling to use social media to generate leads?

Businesses need to choose either a direct sales approach, leading straight to a sale with no need for further endorsement, or self-promotion, showcasing their knowledge and skills to generate leads and do the selling bit later, the traditional way – face-to-face.

In most cases social media is best used to generate leads, or send traffic to your website where you get a chance to do this again. Producing great content that your audience wants to read will help you do this.

For example, you can use social media to build trust by giving away valuable content and offering free advice. By doing this you will give your audience a reason to engage, and continue conversation, until you ask them for that all-important face-to-face meeting.

If you are unable to meet them face-to face then Skype is your friend.

Top 6 Tips for Generating Leads via Social Media.

LinkedIn Answers

LinkedIn has an Answers section. Dive right in and answer questions that LinkedIn users have about your specialty, and if your answer is voted the best answer you will gain a point of expertise.

Who has recently seen your profile ~ LinkedIn

One of the best features on LinkedIn is the ‘who viewed your profile’ section. Check if these users are a good target for your products and services, if they are then reach out to them, if not then find out how they came about your profile and try to build a relationship with them anyway, you never know when you might need their help in the future!

Who's viewed your profile on LinkedIn

Who’s viewed your profile on LinkedIn

Twitter Questions

Add this handy bit of code to your Twitter search bar and change the keyword to something more specific to your products or services -http ? “accounting software”. Adding this code will generate all the questions being asked throughout Twitter on that subject. The idea is, if someone has a question then they might have a problem, and if they have a problem that you can answer, it will help you generate more leads.

Twitter Questions

Twitter Questions

InboxQ is similar, but this service searches for more than one keyword and will save you having to do multiple searches on Twitter. There is a Chrome extension or you can install the plugin to your HootSuite dashboard.

Create compelling content that people will share

Whilst this is easier said than done, once you get the hang of it you will reap the rewards. Even if your content isn’t great to start with you will be creating more unique content than most businesses and your content will get better with practice.

Share tips, help guides and cheat sheets

Create a landing page offering a cheat sheet or help guide in return for an email, name and telephone number at a push. If someone responds to a great tip then ask if they need more help.

Post regularly, including weekends

I recommend you post at least once a day on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and at least 4 times a day on Twitter, if not more.  Spread the messages throughout the day, as your posts won’t stay long in people’s news feeds.  If you’re not posting you’re less likely to receive any leads. Use a tool like HootSuite, Sprout Social or Buffer to schedule your messages at different times throughout the day and week.

Use your leads to sell the traditional way.

The saying “people buy from people” is a great saying but you need to show results and this is where a face-to-face meeting is crucial.

face-to-face-penguin-meeting

Face to face meeting. Image courtesy of Muddy Bones on Flickr

When selling over the phone, or through online communication, have you ever felt you get lost, or believe the job is in the bag when it turns out you were flogging a dead horse? During a face-to-face meeting, body language, posture and facial expressions come into play and will tell you how serious the lead is about you and your product. Better still, if you have managed to get them to the meeting through your social media efforts then chances are a trust has already built between you and your current prospect.

Instead of spending lots of money on low quality leads consider using social media to generate leads and meetings. Face-to-face meetings generally have a higher conversion rate because you get a chance to show your knowledge and passion for your business or company.

Once you master this you will be able to fill your week with meetings and generate more sales.

What other ways can we use social media to generate more face-to-face meetings? And do you believe in the power of face-to-face?

Steven


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How Twitter Can Help You Settle in a New City

I have a confession to make: I judged people who use Twitter. I thought people who tweeted were raging narcissists with poor grammar. Oh, you tweet? Yeah, I just stopped taking you seriously. That was the old me – before I quit my job and moved to a new city.

Get to Know Your City

A funny thing happens when you’re the new kid in town and have no job. First, you spend a lot of time in coffee shops. Second, you open up to the value of social media. Four months ago I joined Twitter, and I’m glad I did.

During my second week in the city, my car got a flat tire, and I found myself in a rough neighborhood. Like bullet-casings-in-the-street kind of rough (damn you, GPS). Long story short, after I tweeted about my plight, I got a text from an acquaintance with the name and number of a reliable auto mechanic nearby.

Not only have I found a mechanic, but a fantastic sushi place, discounted train tickets and free networking events. Using Twitter to aggregate job posts and city news saved me time and money. Because let’s face it, who has time to check 40 different sites for that kind of information?

Make Friends

Sometimes a surge of desperation comes over me when I meet new people. I go into speed dating mode like I have two minutes to win them over. (Look, I can turn this cocktail napkin into a swan! Please like me!) Nobody likes a Desperate Debbie. I needed to leverage my network better so I turned to Twitter.

I followed people who lived in the city and engaged the influencers and those active in the social scene. If they mentioned an affinity for cupcakes or craft beer, I clicked “follow.” Simply letting people know I’m new to town opened up doors. Followers whom I had never met contacted me with the names of people they suggested I meet. Those people introduced me to more people and so on.

Find a Job

Few things suck more than being unemployed. Just like everyone else does when it’s time to find a job, I dusted off the old LinkedIn account and shouted to the world, Hire me! But I knew that wasn’t enough. You see, in my line of work—marketing and PR, social media is a big deal. You need to have a voice, and you need to shout a little louder than everyone else.

I jumped on any piece of industry news or trending topic I could find. I followed recruiters, company VPs and media sources. I even put in my Twitter bio that I was looking for a job. And then a cool thing happened. People reached out to me with advice, and in a few cases, freelance work. A well-known news contributor asked me to pitch blog topics after I tweeted an article of hers.

The point is that you never know who’s listening (or reading in this case) so why not put yourself out there? I’m not suggesting you fire off any ‘ole tweet like “I just barfed up fish tacos.” Best to keep those to yourself. Please. The point is to tweet relevant messages that align with your goals and engage with people who can help you. Because guess what? Moving to a new city is scary. You need all the help you can get. Put the power of social media to use.

Have you used Twitter or other social media to help you settle in to a new town? Any big success stories? Or horror stories? Do tell!!!

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Buffer – A Perfect Example of Great Customer Communication

I’ve been using Buffer for months now and it’s value to me as a content curation and scheduling tool is huge. This post is however not about the product itself, but about the superb standard of customer communication the Buffer team show on a daily basis.

Rapid Response

The Twitter account for Buffer (@bufferapp) is run by many of the founders of the service, giving it a real sense of authenticity while displaying a will for the life-blood of the start-up to interact with its community. If a question from a user is posed via the account, the response is slick and indeed quick. No problem seems to be too much for the team to look in to. They don’t just respond to direct interactions either, they are clearly actively listening and seeking opportunities to communicate with their customer base. I recently bigged them up in a tweet and within minutes received a thank you from co-founder Leo Widrich. They are really unleashing the power of Twitter as a customer service channel.

Aside from communicating directly, the Buffer guys make good use of content by regularly tweeting links to interesting articles and news stories. They also produce their own content over on their pretty nifty blog. All in all, a best practice use of Twitter.

Not Just about Twitter

When Buffer releases a new update or adds a new feature, its users receive an email explaining the change. That’s nothing staggering, however it is a nice touch (Facebook take note!). The real wow factor comes at the end of the email. The founders make it clear that they are available for the next three hours to answer any questions via email. I tested this recently, suggesting that they try to integrate Buffer with Flipboard (who, incidentally are also awesome at customer comms). Within 5 minutes I had a response from Leo, thanking me for the suggestion and telling me that he would get on the case immediately. Impressive stuff.

They are also active on Facebook and appear to be growing a nice little community over there, the Page hosts a variety of content that attract strong interactions.

Benchmark

Your business should be striving for this level of quality. Especially in the case of start-ups like Buffer – if you serve and respect your customers from day one, you will quickly build trust and lay down the foundations of success and of course, learn a lot about your product and customer base at the same time.

I’m in the process of setting up my digital marketing and communications consultancy and can help you to communicate effectively using the abundance of digital tools available today. See here for more info.

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Would You Pay For Twitter? [OPINION]

Twitter is a really important part of my life. That may sound a little overblown or even a bit sad, however it’s true. It has helped my career massively and The Social Penguin Blog would struggle to exist without the traffic and interaction it creates. I’ve been thinking recently if I would pay to use Twitter and I am pretty sure that I would, especially if the future of the platform depended on it. It got me thinking, can services like Twitter stay free forever?

The Simplest Form of Monetisation

Twitter has, and is struggling to make money. Its ad model is far from perfect and isn’t even obtainable to the majority of businesses due to the expensive nature of the ads (options for smaller businesses are coming). Aside from the cost of products such as promoted trends, there is little evidence of any real ROI. So what if the ad model never really takes off  and Twitter decide to start asking users to pay? Not a huge amount of money, but a few pounds/dollars etc a month? After all, paying for products and services is hardly an alien concept to us humans, right? It’s the most obvious way for  a service like Twitter to make money and survive.

If they did take that step, what would they need to do justify that?

  • Really clamp down on the huge amounts of spam
  • Offer an ad-free option for those who pay
  • Ensure that it is so robust that it never goes down (although the ‘fail whale‘ is rare these days)
  • Be 110% committed to a truly excellent user experience

If the future of Twitter depended on paid subscriptions, would people pay? I asked Twitter:

@Tambourinos - ‘negative, however I do think most of the internet will cease to be free in the near future’

@ginandting – ‘Yes, but I’d want some added value for that (no ads, more features, etc)’

@_NatStar  – ‘I wouldn’t want to on principle. But could I live without it? Probably not. So I’d be likely to give in’

@Calzo – ‘Nope. It would turn into a bunch of companies trying to sell their products to each other. There would be no customers’

@UKHaiku – ‘Yes, if it was instead of any advertising or non-anonymised use of my data. I also reserve the right to my choice of client’

@btocher – ‘We’re already subjected to adverts on some Twitter clients, so I’d be very reluctant indeed’

@jackiecameron1 – ‘so far I have not paid for any social networking so I can’t imagine why that would change’

@craigmcgill – ‘Yes. But wouldn’t pay for Facebook’

@theFullSouter – ‘Absolutely! Twitter is my jam. I only use Facebook because friends and family do. I tried to hold out but caved’

A real mix of opinion there, interesting that people would pay for Twitter use over Facebook. This post has had real value added to it by those quotes, thanks to those who submitted feedback.

So, over to you folks, does Twitter offer you enough value to validate paying for the service? If it was a live or die situation for Twitter would you pay to help it survive? If Twitter allowed donations, ala Wikipedia, would you throw them a payment from time to time? Please do tell us your thoughts in the comments section below…

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