5 Ingredients For a Successful Holiday Social Advertising Campaign

5 Ingredients For A Successful Holiday Social Advertising Campaign

Whether or not we want to believe it, the holiday season is upon us. We see turkeys and pumpkin pie everywhere we go. The pre-Black Friday sales are going on. Christmas music is starting to filter through our radio stations.

Is your business ready?

The holiday season is one time of year that it seems advertising dollars are unlimited based on the traditional ads we see. Social advertising, however, has been slow to warm up to those levels. I believe that social advertising is more effective in reaching your audience – and this is coming from a former print advertising sales girl.

If you are using social advertising this holiday season, you want to make sure you are getting your biggest bang for your buck. In this article, I am going to share with you 5 tips for a successful holiday social advertising campaign.

You’ll find out –

  • Why having a budget is important.
  • Why you need to get creative.
  • Why you need to know your audience.
  • How targeting works for you.
  • Why tracking is a requirement.

Know your advertising budget.

In a perfect world, businesses would have advertising budgets as big as Santa Claus’ toy bag. With an unlimited amount of money to spend, just imagine what businesses could do. Unfortunately, that is not the case in our world. Company budgets are run tight, often cutting sales and marketing first. When you advertise online and do not set specific start and end dates, it’s very easy to run up a high advertising bill. That’s the last thing  company needs in the 4th quarter.

Having a budget is important because:

  1. It controls cost. You can keep track of where the money is being spent accurately.
  2. It’s easier to calculate ROI when it’s over. When you track the response of your ad against how much you spent, it’s easier to figure out that elusive number as compared to traditional print or broadcast ads.
  3. It shows you just how much you can accomplish with social advertising when putting it up to a traditional form of advertising.

Think outside the box.

Since so many companies are vying for your customers’ dollars, the gloves really come off where creativity is concerned. This is a time of year when you need to start thinking outside the box and leave your comfort zone. You need to be seen and heard among the Targets, Macy’s and Wal-Marts of the world. This is where creativity comes in. Think of the successful holiday advertising campaigns you’ve seen. The ones that come to mind to me are:

  1. Coca-Cola. The Polar Bears are so endearing that it makes an emotional connection with the audience.
  2. Hershey’s Kisses. The Kisses as bells playing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is my favorite holiday TV commercial. They have aired the same commercial every year for as long as I can remember. Continuity definitely says something.
  3. Elf Yourself from Office Max. 9 years later, people are still getting elfed each year.

Now take a look at what made these successful – it wasn’t your normal run-of-the-mill advertising – they set out to really connect with people. Whether it was from an animated character, musical chocolates or making an elf in your image – they all started as something outside the box.

Know who your audience actually is.

Ask any business who their audience is and you’ll see a lot of similarities – people who like to spend money and have money are just two. Knowing who your audience is and being able to relate to them is key. You’ll know exactly what to say – and how to say it. The way you’d phrase an ad you want moms to see would be much different from ads geared towards teens.

For example, you are a clothing store targeting teenage girls. For an ad targeting their moms, you would say something like “We help 14 year olds look like 14 year olds.” (Disclaimer: I’m a mom of a tween – trust me, clothes these days do anything but make them look their age – moms are looking for ones that do) For the tweens, it would be, “Look totes adorbs & wow your friends.” Just knowing how tween girls talk helps you relate to them and get in front of them easier.

Knowing your audience is much different than just knowing the demographic stats. Know what they like, how they talk, who they interact with. That will help you put together a more successful campaign.

Targeting is your friend.

Once you really know who your audience is, you know who and how to target them. Facebook and Twitter have hands-down, the best targeting options out there in the realm of social advertising. With these two platforms, you can get in front of your competitor’s followers (Twitter), target people based on their net worth (Facebook), get in front of people talking about or watching certain TV shows (Twitter) or target trendy moms specifically (Facebook), just to name a few.

Targeting will help you:

  1. Use your advertising budget more effectively.
  2. Get you in front the exact person you want to reach.
  3. Stay within the goals of your campaign. Your ad won’t be the needle in the haystack.
  4. Separate yourself from your competitor.

Track your ad’s performance again and again and… again.

Any social advertising platform includes analytics on how your ad is performing. Knowing what these metrics mean and how they are performing will determine the success of your campaign.

Tracking can show you:

  1. What wording and/or graphics work best. Use A/B testing to see what resonates with your audience the most.
  2. Your ROI. With social advertising analytics, you can see the number of impressions for your ad, the clicks and if you have a conversion tracking pixel installed on your website, the number of conversions. Take your number and compare it with what you spend and bada-bing – you have your ROI. Ask a print or broadcast ad rep if they can get that specific.
  3. How wise you are using your advertising dollars. This does relate some to ROI, but you can watch your ad and add or subtract money from your budget at any time. Is your ad off the charts? Add some more money to it! Is it totally bombing out? Then lower it.

Not only can these 5 tips be applied to your holiday social advertising campaign, but also to your everyday ads you run online.

Social advertising is going to become the dominant form of advertising. Just watch over the next 5 years or so. With people using their mobile devices more for internet searches and social networking or just doing pretty much everything online, it’s just a matter of time before we see more social ads than we do on TV or radio. Fortunately, social advertising is affordable for every business from your mom and pop store on the corner to the behemoths like Wal-Mart or Target.

Question is – how are you going to make it work for you? I hope these 5 tips help you out this holiday season. Have a tip you want to share? Comment below and let me know!

photo credit: roitberg via photopin cc

Digital Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing Strategy 101 for Boring Brands

Over the past decade, and especially within the last five years or so, digital marketing has more or less infiltrated every area of our lives. Online advertising has evolved in leaps and bounds thanks to the internet and social media platforms.

You’re unlikely to escape the sponsored ads on Facebook, promoted tweets on Twitter, or those pesky popups on websites you like to visit – and everywhere else in between. We can thank the latest and greatest digital marketing plugins and algorithms (and other technical things, such as tracking pixels, which I won’t even pretend to understand).

Regardless of whether you consider current digital marketing techniques to be effective or “creepy/stalkerish,” many brands are finding success with using them.

In a recent article for TopRank Marketing’s blog, Ashley Zeckman pinpoints three attributes of a successful digital marketing strategy:

  1. Authoritative (having or showing impressive knowledge about a subject – Merriam-Webster)
  2. Credible (able to be believed – Merriam-Webster)
  3. Trustworthy (able to be relied on to do or provide what is needed or right – Merriam-Webster)

Sounds simple enough, right?

Sure, but how can I apply these digital marketing strategy attributes to my essential, but boring brand?

First of all, let’s determine what type of brand might fall into the “boring brand” category. These are brands that also want to creatively market their products, such as those for feminine hygiene, or medication for hemorrhoids, toilet paper, or auto insurance, for a few examples. You know, mundane things people don’t typically talk about in their everyday conversations.

And so, in a nutshell, the marketers for boring brands are tasked with creating and promoting brand awareness, starting conversations about and ultimately driving sales for these necessary, yet “blah” things – but for their brands.

For some time now marketers for this unique niche of brands are often left scratching their heads in the past when it comes to developing effective digital marketing strategies. They may be wondering, is it really necessary to “reinvent the wheel” just to gain more attention on the internet?

The short answer is, “yes.” Although many of us have become accustomed to seeing ads for these boring brands on television or hearing them on the radio, there is an entirely new and growing audience online. In my opinion, it’s just a matter of time before we fully embrace ads and other content for the so-called “boring brands” on the internet as well.

One issue the marketers or boring brands face is determining why their products and/or services don’t seem as easy to promote with the digital marketing tactics currently working for those not so “ho-hum” brands and how to work around it. The good news is that even though it may seem difficult to attract and retain an audience, it certainly isn’t impossible.

Scott Ayres has written an inspirational post for boring brands of all sizes for Post Planner, a social media engagement app. The post, which is titled, “36 No-brainer Social Media Tips for Boring Brands & Products,” provides an excellent list and resource guide that is perfect for creating content to use on social platforms or anywhere online.

Here are a few of Ayres’ tips you may wish to consider as you begin creating a digital marketing strategy for your own “boring brand”

  • Don’t be “salesy” — The 70/20/10 formula for content is ideal! This includes 70% informative, 20% other people’s posts, and 10% sales
  • Be personable — people want to see the personal side of your brand, and also use humor if appropriate
  • Share customer reviews/testimonials – potential clients often trust what others say about you and your brand
  • Create and share “How to” content related to your product or service through blogs, video or social media
  • Share posts from “experts” in your brand’s niche or industry

How real “boring brands” are finding real ways to reach their online audiences through digital marketing

As I have seen in my own experience there is truly no one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy for any type of brand. There is a lot of essential research, testing, and trial and error involved in achieving success online.

However, there are several brands of various sizes and within different industries that are seeing positive results.

Here are a few examples:

1.  Charmin

Regardless of who you are, you probably (hopefully!) use toilet paper. It’s one of those essential, yet mundane products I referred to above with few marketable qualities.

In 2014, Charmin drummed up brand awareness when they launched a hugely successful social media campaign on Twitter using the hashtag #tweetfromtheseat. The tweets prompted interaction with the followers and provided some humor for the brand’s followers.

 

 

2.  General Electric

Although most B2B companies have had mixed results with their digital marketing efforts, General Electric (GE) has successfully boosted their brand using social media and other online marketing platforms.

One surprising platform where they have excelled in introducing their industrial products to a mainstream social media audience is Pinterest. Pinterest is still a widely popular visual platform. As of 6/8/16, Pinterest has 100 million active users according to Expanded Ramblings.

As for GE, Gina Hutchings says the following in her post for digital marketing site Receptional:

As a visual medium GE set up a ‘Badass Machines’ account to share images of not just their own work but also amazing innovations worldwide. The whole portal of the page is that ‘engineering is cool’ it’s new and exciting and something you would want to be part of.

 

3.  The Zebra

Car insurance is yet another one of those essential items people need. When it comes to gaining brand awareness it’s typically not an industry that attracts loyal online audiences by using the digital marketing strategy and techniques that work for more common consumer products.

The Zebra has taken steps to set themselves apart from some of the other car insurance providers online. As a startup in 2013, The Zebra’s goal was to be the “Kayak for auto insurance,” by aggregating quotes to provide car insurance shoppers with the best options. Consumers are also able to do this comparison shopping anonymously and without any obligation.

One unique way The Zebra is boosting its digital marketing strategy to attract the everyday, mainstream consumer is through providing free car insurance advice on demand through their website. Their page, “Ask an Agent,” promises fast, accurate, trustworthy – and 100% free – expert answers and tips from licensed and experienced insurance agents.

 

Zebra Ask an Agent

 

Which digital marketing techniques do you see working well for “boring brands”? What are other examples boring brands you think have been successful online? Please feel free to leave a comment below.

 

Your Business Needs a Social Media Marketing Strategy Right Now

Your Business Needs a Social Media Marketing Strategy Right Now

Last year I made the case for social media marketing for small businesses in terms of why they need to even use it. According to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner, 92% of marketers said that social media is important to their businesses (that included business owners as well). So obviously businesses are getting the message.

 

This year, not much has changed, you still need to use social media for your business, however, it’s more important now to have an exact plan, or strategy, about how you are going to implement your social media marketing.

 

Get this – 41% of Americans say it’s important that the institutions they engage with have a strong social media presence and of those Americans who have a social media account, 28% would rather engage with a brand/organization on social media than visit a physical location.

 

So let’s do some math. There are roughly 326 million Americans. According to Pew Research Center, 69% of adults in the U.S. use social media, which makes approximately 225 million people. If 28% would rather engage with you on social media than walk in your door, that means 63 million people prefer interacting with businesses on social media than in-person. And that includes me.

 

The top choice for a customer care channel is social media (Sprout Social) so now is the time to start crafting that oh-so-important strategy to make it all work.

 

Social media marketing is more than just posting content to Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Instagram. It’s more than sharing articles or videos. It’s connecting with your audience in a precise manner. To me, there’s an art, or science, to it.

 

Before you start doing anything on your social media platforms, you have to know why you are using it.

 

In the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, the top two benefits of social media marketing that were listed were increasing exposure and increasing traffic. 88% indicated that their social media efforts have generated more exposure for their businesses and 78% reported positive results for increased traffic. Most are using social media to develop loyal fans (69%) and gain marketplace intelligence (66%).

 

Ask yourself – why you are you using social media for your business? Everything you do online needs to start from your answer to that question. If it does not, then it won’t work. If you are outsourcing your social media marketing and the consultant or company is clueless about this, fire them now and find someone else.

 

You need to know who you are targeting.

 

Not every one of the 225 million Americans (if you are in the US) on social media is someone you should target. In fact, not everyone in a 10 mile radius of your business will be people you target. Think of the perfect person you want to buy from you or hire you for your services and build your targeting around that. I know it includes A LOT of assumptions and stereotypes, but in marketing, it’s just something you have to do.

 

Once you’ve figured that out, have a strategy as to how you are going to reach those you are targeting. Questions you need to answer:

 

What platforms am I going to use?

 

You do not have to use every platform. If you have a marketing consultant tell you you have to be on all of them – run, and run fast. Any social media marketing professional worth anything will know better than to tell you that. Think about that target audience and look at what platform(s) they are using. Start there.

FYI – Facebook is still the choice among every age group. Do not let anyone convince you teens and millennials have left Facebook – they are still there. If it wasn’t the choice, there wouldn’t be 65 million Facebook business pages.

 

What content am I going to share?

 

Think about what your target audience wants to see. Keep in mind 46% will unfollow a brand on social for posting too many promotional messages (Sprout Social). A good ratio to keep is 80% educational/20% promotional. For every self-promotional messages you put out, you need 8 that are not. You can share articles relating to your industry, tips, behind the scenes of your business, etc. Just do NOT publish sales pitch after sales pitch.

Visuals and video go a long way in terms of engagement and being remembered. 85% use visuals in their marketing and 73% plan on increasing their use of visuals this year, according to the 2017 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. When it comes to video, 61% plan on using live video services such as Facebook Live and Periscope, and 69% want to learn more about live video. With Facebook’s big push this year with video, you just might want to consider wading into this.

 

What advertising will I invest in?

 

Long gone are the days of “post it and they will come.” With all platforms unleashing algorithms that show content based on how much users engage with people and brands, chances are your posts are not going to be seen often without a little bit of a boost.

Facebook ads are amazingly inexpensive and you get a real bang for your buck. Plus you will get a boost in eyes on your content. A surprising 93% of social marketers regularly use Facebook ads and 64% plan on increasing their Facebook ads activities – this applies to businesses as well (Source: Social Media Examiner).

You can read my Facebook Ads primer here.

 

How will I engage and interact?

 

I see SO many businesses (and competitors) just broadcast on social media all day long. They post about themselves, or just post, and never interact with their followers. Comments go unanswered, questions left unresponded to. In fact, 89% of social media messages to brands go ignored and the average response time for a brand to reply on social media to a user is 10 hours, while the average user will only wait 4 hours. (Sprout Social). That’s unacceptable. If you are going to invest the time and resources into using social media for your business, you have to be present and show up.

The majority of consumers buy from brands that are honest (86%), helpful (78%) and friendly (83%). It turns out that at the end of the day, consumers want brands to use social as a customer care channel (Source: Sprout Social Q2 2017 Index).

 

All said, social media marketing is time-consuming. For example, 64% of marketers are using social media for 6 hours or more and 41% for 11 hours or more weekly. It’s interesting to note that nearly 20% of marketers spend more than 20 hours each week on social media (Source: 2017 SMM Industry Report from SME). That’s why people like me have been able to build successful businesses – we take the time to educate ourselves and stay up on the latest so you can do what you do best – run your business.

 

But some businesses choose to handle their own social media marketing – and that’s fine. Any use of social media for business has to have a strategy behind it. You wouldn’t blindly go on a hike in a forest without a plan, so why would you consider using social media to market your business the same way?

 

If you have questions about how to better market your business on social media, or how to even get started, we have answers. Click below to let us help get you on the right path to being successful.

 

Schedule a FREE 30 Minute Social Strategy Consultation Now!

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26 Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

26 Social Media Statistics to Back Up Your Strategy

“Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.” – Ryan Lilly

 

I came across the above quote and thought it to be a great illustration of how social media has molded itself into a business’ marketing strategy. Yes, social media is taking over marketing. And the world.

 

Of course any good marketing strategy is built with statistics and data behind it – behaviors, interests, patterns, demographics, etc., and any good marketing strategist will make sure said strategy truly has the measurable data to back it up.

 

Being a fan of data and statistics, I love finding different bits of information among the common data we social marketing professionals regularly use. Some bits are eye-opening, some are really odd. Some make you sit and really evaluate what your actual usage behavior is, while some just make you laugh. Below are 27 social media statistics I have found while doing client research and putting together my weekly Marketing Fact Friday series (which you can follow on my Instagram account). If you want to dig deeper, I’ve linked the source for you.

 

Social Media Usage

  • Generation X (ages 35-49) spends the most time on social media: almost 7 hours per week versus Millennials, who come in second, spending just over 6 hours per week. (Nielsen)
  • Almost 80% of time spent on social media platforms happens on mobile. (MarketingLand)
  • 81% of millennials check Twitter at least once per day. (Pew Research Center)
  • Nearly half (43%) of weekly Facebook activity and a third (33%) of weekly Twitter activity occurred on Sundays. (Nielsen)
  • The number of active social media users worldwide is 2.78 billion, out of the world’s population of 7.47 billion. (we are social)
  • Smartphones accounted for 78% of adults, ages 18-34, total weekly social minutes. (Nielsen)
  • Adults ages 50+ spent 64% more time on social media in 2016 than in 2015. (Nielsen)
  • 85% of people rely on Twitter and Facebook for their morning news. (Byte of Data)

 

Social Media + TV

  • There were 11.8 million TV-related interactions on Facebook from 5.9 million people on average each day this fall. (Nielsen)
  • On an average day, 42% of those interacting with TV on Facebook are Generation X, 40% are Millennials, and the remaining 18% are Baby Boomers. (Nielsen)
  • 81% of engagement with TV-related Tweets comes organically from the audience. (Nielsen)
  • 57% of people who used their tablet while watching television said they visited Facebook while doing so, compared with 24% who said they visited Twitter. On smartphones, those numbers were 58% and 20%, respectively. (Nielsen)

 

Social Media + Business

  • More than 2 million advertisers regularly use Facebook to market their business. (Hootsuite)
  • While 64 percent of marketers have a Snapchat account, only 67 percent of those accounts are active. (L2)
  • 59% of Americans with social media accounts think that customer service through social media has made it easier to get questions answered and issues resolved. (Hootsuite)
  • 13% of heavy social media users clicked on an advertisement within the last 30 days. (Nielsen)
  • 30% of heavy social media users think it’s very or somewhat important to engage with social media in order to show support of their favorite companies or brands. (Nielsen)
  • 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan or make purchases. (Pinterest)

 

Social Media Content

  • Tweets with images received 150% more retweets than tweets without images. (HubSpot)
  • When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later. (Brain Rules)
  • 62% of B2B marketers rated videos as an effective content marketing tactic in 2016. (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. (Cisco)
  • 51% of all video plays are on mobile devices — this growth represents a 15% increase from 2015 and a 203% increase from 2014. (Facebook)
  • Cisco projects that global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. (Small Business Trends)
  • Videos under five minutes in length account for 55% of total video consumption time on smartphones. (Ooyala)
  • 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. (Digiday)

 

Some of these statistics you may be able to use for your own business, or for a client. Having data to back up anything you propose or want to do yourself, is always key – it gives you and what you are proposing more credibility (as long as the data is from a credible source).

 

What kind of data and statistics are used in your business’ marketing strategy? Share with us below!

 

I wrote this article as a guest post for My Social Game Plan and has been republished with permission.

 

 

Making Facebook Advertising Work for Your Business

Making Facebook Advertising Work for Your Business

At this year’s Southern C Summit, I had the honor of leading a pre-conference workshop on Facebook advertising. I was blessed to have 15 fabulous ladies sign up for this session and we had a fun time digging into Facebook ads.

 

Why should businesses invest in Facebook advertising? According to Buffer, “91% of marketers invested in Facebook advertising last year. And it’s easy to understand why when you look at the data: more than 1.18 billion people use Facebook every day, and on average, each person spends more than 50 minutes a day across Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.”

 

If that statement doesn’t convince you, take a look at these statistics from Hootsuite

 

Social media advertising is the most cost-effective way to advertise in this day and time, with Facebook leading the way with the various, and amazing, options available to businesses.

Social advertising is the most cost-effective way to advertise, with Facebook leading the way. Click To Tweet

 

Now that you’re interested, let’s take a look…

 

When starting a Facebook ad, there’s a process you walk through in the Ads Manager to help you set up the right ad, and maximize it for the best results.

Step 1: Figure out what you are promoting and select an ad type.

When running a Facebook ad, you need to know what you are promoting and why you are promoting it.

Then there are three decisions to make –

  1. What are you promoting?
  2. Will your ad run via auction or reach & frequency?
  3. What type of ad will you choose? (Hint: Awareness ads are best for small budgets)

 facebook advertising objective

Step 2: Select an audience

Selecting your audience is the most important part – more important than the ad itself. When selecting your audience, you are narrowing in to target the ideal customer/client.

Your choices are to either –

  1. Create an audience from the options you are given (which can make unlimited combinations).
  2. Use a custom audience.
  3. Use a lookalike audience.

Step 3: Ad Placement

facebook advertising placement

Source: Facebook

Your choices for placement are:

  • Desktop
  • Desktop Right Side
  • Mobile
  • Instagram
  • Audience Network (this lets you extend your ad campaigns beyond Facebook to reach your audiences on mobile apps, mobile websites     and videos. We use the same Facebook targeting, measurement and delivery to make sure each ad on Audience Network helps you reach your campaign goals at the most cost-effective price.)
  • Instant Articles (See more here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/825186870955247 )
  • In-stream Video

 

If you’re not sure, Facebook will recommend using the default placements for your objective:

  • Brand awareness (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook and Instagram
  • Engagement (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook and Instagram
  • Video views (including Reach & Frequency buying): Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network
  • App installs: Facebook, Instagram and Audience Network
  • Traffic (for website clicks and app engagement): Facebook and Audience Network
  • Product catalog sales: Facebook and Audience Network
  • Conversions: Facebook and Audience Network

 

For more information on ad placements, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/175741192481247?helpref=related

Step 4: Set an ad budget and schedule

Ah, the budget. Here’s where you determine how much you are going spend for your ad. You have two choices: daily budget (how much you spend per day) or lifetime budget (how much you want to spend for the entire campaign).

 

Yes, you can run an ad for as little as $1/day but not every ad will let you do that. Here are the spend minimums:

  •      If the ad set gets charged for impressions, its daily budget must be at least $1 a day
  •      If the ad set gets charged for clicks, Likes, video views, or post engagement, its daily budget must be at least $5 a day
  •      If the ad set gets charged for low frequency events like offer claims or app installs, its budget must be at least $40 a day

 

For more information on ad spend minimums, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/203183363050448

Step 5: The ad

 

Now the second-most important part of the whole process – creating your ad.

 

You can choose an existing post as your ad or you can create one from scratch.

 

If you are creating an ad from scratch, you have 5 formats to choose from –

 

facebook advertising ad format

 

Note: Formats will vary based on the ad objective you have chosen.

 

And after that is done and your ad is running…

Step 6: Track your ad

 

How do you know if you Facebook advertising is working (or did work)?

 

facebook advertising campaign dashboard

 

You can view the results of your ads in the Campaign Dashboard and view each ad (as shown above). You can customize your reports through Columns and Breakdown.

 

It’s really an easy process and once you’ve created and successfully run your first ad, you can start over with your next promotion.

 

The content above was taken from my workshop guide I created, “Making Facebook Ads Work for Your Business.” If you’d like your own copy of the 23-page guide, please click here to download your FREE copy!

 

What has been your experience with Facebook ads? Share with us below!

 

 

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