Social Media

30 Minute Social Media Strategy

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I am constantly meeting people who are trying to use social media to help grow their business. The trouble is, they aren’t doing such a good job of it. Why? Time they claim. I get it, most small business owners are stretched extremely thin. But time shouldn’t be a barrier to doing social media well. As with anything else, if you go in with a plan your chances of success are much greater. If you follow these rules, tools, and to-do’s, time won’t be a barrier to being successful on social media. I promise.

The Rules:

  1. Don’t post the same content across all platforms – Why? Because you are giving your fans a reason NOT to follow you on all platforms.
  2. Don’t use social media as a megaphone – A lot, and I mean A LOT of people get this wrong. They think that social media is merely an advertising channel and they use it as such.
  3. Interact – This is the whole point. Get social. Go ahead, see other people. Experience new things. SHARE those experiences. Talk WITH people, not AT people.
  4. Take advantage of tools and aids to help you be effective – There are so many good resources out there to help you manage, curate, and communicate via social media. Make your life easier.

The Tools:

  1. Hootsuite – Meet your new best friend. If there is any one tool that will help you manage your social media in less than 30 minutes a day, it’s this one.  Make sure you use Hootsuite’s stream ability to monitor any keyword, search term, or list that pertains to you. It will make retweeting and mentioning a snap later. Schedule out your posts in advance, monitor topics, and stay efficient.
  2. Feedly.com & Scoop.it – Set up an account and set up monitoring on things that relate to your brand on social media.
  3. Google Alerts – Determine search terms that are similar to the terms you set up on Feedly or scoop.it and use Google alerts to monitor the web for them.

The Platforms:

The sheer amount of different social media platforms can be overwhelming but the important thing to remember is that not every platform is for every business or individual. There is no written rule that says every business has to have a Twitter account, or Pinterest account, or Facebook account, etc. Take a minute to think about the content your audience wants and choose the best medium to deliver it to them through. Especially if there is one person taking this on, don’t manage more than 3-4 platforms and don’t forget the first rule, keep each platform’s content unique to the others. Here is a list of some of the major platforms you may want to consider.

  1. Twitter: Perhaps one of the most engaging platforms running today, Twitter can take a lot of work but can pay off in dividends when running right. A lot of people don’t get on Twitter because they don’t think they have anything to say, but they are thinking of it in the wrong way. Instead of thinking you have to have something to say, think about sharing. Share things you find interesting. Pretty soon you will find you have a lot to say. Daily Tasks – Tweet something. Retweet something. Mention someone. Follow someone. Hashtag something.
  2. Facebook: A good Facebook presence has the most up to date information to your business possible. Especially if you don’t have a website you are proud of, use Facebook to keep your community up to date on what is happening with you or your company. Share events, give insight on new products or variations to existing ones and build your audience. Daily Tasks – Post something. Like something. Respond to each comment.
  3. LinkedIn: Get connected with like-minded individuals through groups. While individuals in your network may include long-term business connections or people you just met briefly over coffee, groups are a targeted audience that has similar interests, and essentially help filter the noise. Start small and join just a couple groups where you can monitor discussions. Set up alerts to get notifications when discussions are posted, take 5 minutes to review, and respond when you can provide knowledgeable insight on a subject matter. You can also make it a goal to post your own discussion topics, maybe once a month, so that you’re actively engaging with the community. And if you’re not participating in discussions, allocate those 5 minutes to share good content that you’ve written or read. It’s a less crowded space in terms of social platforms and stands a better chance of standing out. Daily Tasks – Share something. Connect with someone. Add to a discussion (or start a new one, don’t do this one day though).
  4. Pinterest:  The great thing about Pinterest is you don’t have to be a great photographer to use it well, you simply need to curate your content well. If Pinterest is a good fit for your business, the power of engagement can be incredible. For a deeper look at Pinterest, check out Pinterest for business. Daily Tasks – Pin something.
  5. Instagram: Although most social media platforms have some visual element to it, Instagram is almost purely visual. Though they make it easy to make your photos look amazing, not everyone always has amazing things to photograph. If you don’t have a visual product, i.e. if you are not constantly creating something try to find another approach. For instance, Instagram can be a great way to give a behind the scenes glimpse into your company culture. For more information on Instagram download our Instagram guide. Daily Tasks – Photograph something. Respond to comments.
  6. Google+: Although to some it may seem like Google+ is the social platform being shoved down everyone’s throats by Google, it can actually have a ton of benefit for your social media presence. For more information on how to get the best of Google+ download our guide.Daily Tasks: Post something. Add someone to your circles.
  7. YouTube: When thinking of social media platforms, YouTube isn’t often one to comes to peoples mind, but it is, in fact, a social media platform, and an incredibly powerful one at that. If you are taking the time to upload things to YouTube, make sure you have your own channel and monitor it well. Video may be a lot of work but can pay off dividends. Daily Tasks – Respond to comments. Weekly to Biweekly Tasks – Post a video.

The To-Dos:

*30/30 is an app that my colleague Nathaniel Seevers recommended to me. It has proven to be one of the best tools to keep myself on task for something like this. If you really want to stick to 30-minute social media management, this app is invaluable.

Sunday

This is Hootsuite day, and if you can spare the time you should block off an hour, but if you can’t it can definitely still be done in 30 minutes.

10 Minutes – To review what your Feedly, scoop.it and google alerts have caught for the week. See which articles pertain well to you or your product and pick a few to share throughout the week. While your skimming or reading through the articles, jot down lines straight from the text that you find compelling. That way when it comes time to share, you have an easy quote from the content itself. Also, this is where if you can take that extra time, do so. Use up to 40 minutes if you can spare it.

5 Minutes (per platform) – Take 5 minutes for each platform to schedule out your posts throughout the week. Use the content you just curated from the feeder services and shoot for 3 posts per platform, also schedule out posts about upcoming events or product information that your social community would find interesting.

Monday – Friday –

Your tasks throughout the week should really be focused on interaction, i.e. directly interacting with others and responding to people who are interacting with you. This is where your streams in Hootsuite become super important. Make sure you have them set up to monitor things like the name of your product or service, subjects and things that apply to your product or service, or anything else your community would talk about and be interested in.

7.5 – 10 Minutes (per platform) – Ideally you should be interacting in real time as things happen, but if you don’t have the means, block off your 30 minutes and divide the time up equally. Look at your streams and use it as a guide to interacting with people. Also, use this time to add more posts to be scheduled as things come up with your business throughout the week. For specifics, see the daily tasks under each platform.

Saturday – Social media never really take a day off, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. Unless you have a special event, are responding to someone directly, or find something you just have to share at that moment take Saturday off and let the time you don’t use carry over to Sunday.

 

In conclusion, social media can be easily managed by anyone who is willing to prepare, use the right tools, and be diligent about daily management. Is there any other trick you know about to help with social media strategy? Share with us in the comments!

Photo Credit: Robbie Howellcc

Social Media Platforms of 2014

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New forms of social media are popping up all the time, but the question is which ones are going to be the next big thing in 2014? I’ve heard about a few platforms through word of mouth and I’ve read about some online as well. However, I wanted to do thorough research of my own, so I downloaded the apps or played around on their sites to really test these guys and see what all the hype was about. Here is a list of the top social media platforms of 2014 to look out for, and if they are a thumbs up or a thumbs down:

Jelly – Thumbs Up

Jelly has already been brought up in our internal meetings more than a few times due to its rising popularity. The question is, will it take off? Available on the iOS and Android, the Jelly app is very new, but the creator Twitter co-founder Biz Stone is certainly not new to the world of social media.

The concept of Jelly is genius, yet simple enough to understand. Let’s say I’m walking around Columbus and I come across a statue or piece of art that interests me and I want to know more about it, I can snap a photo and ask my network of friends to get a response. According to the website, “using Jelly is kind of like using a conventional search engine in that you ask it stuff and it returns answers.” Here are the 3 key features of Jelly:

  • Friends follow friends. – Jelly is designed to search using the groups in your existing social networks so you can ask your friends.
  • Paying It “Forward” – Jelly works so you can not only ask questions or answer your friends’ questions, but it provides the capability to can be shared outside of the app accessing friends of friends as well.
  • Point, Shoot, Ask! – Being able to ask questions with images deepen their context. Snap a photo and ask away!

We Heart It – Thumbs Up

If Instagram and Tumblr had a love child, We Heart It would be its cute little baby girl. It’s built with a younger generation in mind but since the younger generation is taking over the Internet, the world, and everything else, we can expect this to take off as well. Similar to Tumblr and Instagram it’s a collection of who you are expressed through photos. I enjoy coffee, wine, and shoes so my page is a collaboration of those things in a pretty little package. My only complaint is this social media platform could do with more variety of photos, but with a growing user-base, this issue should fix itself sooner rather than later.

Shots Of Me – Thumbs Down

If you really enjoy taking photo after photo of yourself this app has your name on it. If you aren’t into that kind of thing, stop here. However, I will say if you want a good laugh check it out. Shots of Me is a Justin Bieber backed mobile app, helping you take selfies and only selfies. Without a real purpose, this app doesn’t particularly interest me, so unless Matthew McConaughey joins I won’t be getting back on this app anytime soon. One positive? It might be the key to getting all those selfies off of Facebook and Instagram. Can I get a hallelujah?

Sportlobster – Thumbs Up

You can always tell when a good game is on when you get on social media and dudes and bros from across the country are debating about bad calls. Sportlobster is giving users the ability to follow scores live, predict results, create content, and interact with other fans. You can follow your sport(s) of choice and jump right into the conversation within minutes of creating an account. When you join the app you can go through and select preferences about the sport(s) categories you are most interested in reading about. This weekend I chose to follow Tiger Woods and when I did so I learned that Sportslobster has a pretty awesome menu of your notifications, predictions, blogs, and news. If you go to your preferences such as Woods, you can check out his events, blogs, news, posts and who the fans are. Sportslobster provides awesome access to athlete specific info. This weekend I chose to follow Tiger Woods and discovered tons of relevant content about his events, fans, news and more.

The one negative about this app is its pretty European-based so there is more Cricket and Rugby than Nascar and College Basketball. They do have American football and professional basketball, so again, with a larger user base, we might see more universal content soon.

Whisper – Thumbs Down

Whisper is a social media platform that is anonymous for people who want to share and connect with other socials. Even CSBC got in on the action on this one posting an article begging the question if Whisper is the next big social media play. There are already 3 billion page views per month. Since this platform is solely based on animosity it really makes me wonder if it will stay strong. This sounds great, but my issue lies in the fact that the focus of being on social media is being social. If I’m on Instagram I’m on there to share my photos with my friends and family. Similarly, when I log onto Twitter during this award season, I’m on there to read what Perez Hilton is saying about Jennifer Lawerence’s dress on the red carpet. My point is, the main focus is that I know who these people are and that’s my point on being on social media.

So, I did my research. I got an account and looked around a bit. The reality is that from the position of a young professional, this app is not for me. When I was 14-15, maybe it would’ve worked. This app gives teens the ability to “whisper” on an anonymous social media platform and connect with other kids who feel the same way. While I may not be a fan, that doesn’t mean it won’t be huge this year because it has a target audience, and with 3 billion page views per month, the makers of this platform are reaching their goal.

Impossible – Thumbs Up

I am completely diggin’ Impossible. I get where they are coming from and I think the world could use a few more social media platforms like this, especially comparing to other social sites. Thank goodness for a little restoration in my faith of humanity.

Impossible is a new website and app that encourages people to do things for others for free. People can post wishes of things that they want or need help with and offer what they can give, which can be things or skills, even a simple hug. Impossible shows these wishes on their site and people can connect with one another to accomplish these wishes being turned into reality. It’s a great concept and aside from some people asking for gnomes and other odds and ends, I think this project could really take off. If a few large corporations get involved and the word gets out more this could be a really great thing.

That’s what’s on my social radar. Anything new you’ve spotted trending?
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Pinterest for Your Business

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There’s no denying there’s a visual aspect to digital marketing especially when it comes to social media—heck look at Instagram, which is virtually an image-based medium with little content. In the last couple years, Pinterest has definitely matured with an audience of 70 million users. From a medium that was once ruled by consumer pinning preferences to a place where brands have pinpointed the opportunity that lies within.

Pinterest has managed to influence many aspects of the online world. You may have even noticed big brands like a natural food market, Whole Foods, and luxury shoe brand, Jimmy Choo has adopted a Pinterest-like visual style to their website design. Most recently during the holiday season Target even created a Pinterest-powered online storefront with the beta launch of the Target Awesome Shop.

So it’s clear that brands understand that consumers like to visualize product, but let’s get back to the real question, how can you make the best use of Pinterest for your business?  Here are some suggested approaches to make Pinterest interesting to your followers:

Not Just Pinning Product

Some brands find Pinterest an anomaly and believe it’s no place for their brand. But if you think out-of-the-box and consider your strategy you might realize it’s a better fit than you think. Don’t be focused on just pinning your product. Pin things that represent your brand, inspire you or even give your followers a behind the scenes perspective into how you make the magic work. One brand who uses their pins to showcase their brand personality is Ben & Jerry’s. You’ll find boards like The People Behind the Pints, The Factory, The Flavor Graveyard, and Fan Photos, which gives recognition to the fantastic brand lovers of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. They even have a history board to serve as a visual timeline for the brand. The key is developing boards that represent your brand accurately and utilize an authentic brand voice.

Create a Guest Pinboard

Create endorsement for your brand and gain traction with your followers with an expert contributor. Piperlime’s Guest Editor, New York-based fashionista, Olivia Palermo, also serves as a guest contributor to the brand’s Pinterest profile with her own board of picks. It’s a great way to engage your audience through a like-minded point of view, but also potentially leverage interest from the guest’s followers too. At the same time explore what opportunities are out there for your brand to pose as a guest pinner for other brands. Whole Foods serves as a guest pinboard contributor for eCommerce site Etsy’s Pinterest board.

Engage with a Creative Campaign

If you’re looking to create awareness about a new product launch or seasonal product, creating a Pinterest campaign might be a great strategy for you. GUESS saw great success with their “Color Me Inspired Contest.” The brand invited pinners to create boards around spring colors that inspired them. The boards were judged by popular style bloggers and winning pinners received color-coated denim from the GUESS spring collection. Another brand who has found value in the campaign model is Michaels. In an effort to build awareness around their new upscale line of frames, “the Platinum Collection from Studio Décor,” the brand launched a “pin it to win it” contest. Little activity was required of the pinners. They simply had to re-pin a frame from Michaels “Frame” board to one of their own boards with a pre-crafted description about the frame, and they were entered to win. The end result was an increase of 86% of followers of the Frame board during the length of the contest.

Pinterest On & Offline

We know that consumers use multiple channels in the shopping process and while they may start by exploring pins online, the actual purchase may end up taking place in-store. Consider how you can bring the Pinterest activity into your in-store experience. Nordstrom was one of the first brands to really make a move with this. The high-end retail brand started to identify the most pinned products online with hangtags featured on racks in-store. We know consumers love recommended products, in fact, we know they’re more likely to select a product that has been recommended than not.

Watch for New Features

In the last six months, Pinterest has launched several new initiatives like Place Pins, which allows pinners to explore pins in a map-like visual. This creates a huge opportunity for small businesses to utilize and put themselves on the map, literally. Not to mention the integration of advertising, and also the recent purchase of VisualGraph, which will allow Pinterest to suggest more relevant content or ads. For example, if you’re always pinning pointed flats (the hot spring trend), it’ll show more of those items instead of high-heel stilettos.

The key is to keep your eye on this social media platform and determine what new elements add opportunities for your brand to engage with the consumer. Monitor others who are doing it well, learn from them and see how you can make it work for yourself. At the same time, you can also use analytics to measure your pinning presence. Check out these recommended tools from Social Media Examiner.

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Some Companies Should Not be on Twitter

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No matter how much we want to think otherwise, some companies should not be on Twitter and we’ve seen more than our share of people that burn out because they are just working against a system that doesn’t support social media for marketing. A lot of times these issues have nothing to do with social media per se but has to do with the overall company culture

Well, taking a cue from Letterman here is our take at considering whether you should be paddling at all…

Reason 5: Your CEO asks once a month what Twitter is.

If your executive team doesn’t understand Twitter then they will never understand expending resources to use it.

If you think it’s valuable and it is helping build your brand, business or customer base, then prove it. Do the math and build a compelling argument for Twitter. If you can’t demonstrate its effectiveness, then maybe you should be asking yourself why you’re on it. read more

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Using Instagram’s New Tagging Feature For Marketing

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Could the new tagging feature improve Instagram for marketing?

You know how Insty is already thebomb.com for creative and visual interaction with fans of your company? Well party people, it just got turned up a notch.

Put down those not-so entertaining pics of cats, food and #selfiesunday’s. Instagram has a new secret treasure they have unlocked:

The new tagging feature.

Put simply, this new feature is a quick and easy way to store fan photos of your company. Before this feature, you received a notification when someone mentioned you in a photo and you had to repost/regram every photo onto your own Instagram for your followers to see it. Who has time for that?

If you haven’t stumbled upon it already simply click on the profile button bottom right, then the icon on the far right in the bar under your bio. read more

Social Media Burn Out

The Trend in Social Media is on Reducing the Noise

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Why the Move in Social Media is Toward Reducing Noise

It seems like everyone has a blog these days and every company is cranking up the content marketing engine. Information is a dime a dozen and it’s accessible from every device and we consume more of it than ever before.

But there’s a shift taking place. Local, regional and craft movements aren’t just happening on the streets in your hometown. They’re also happening across social media.

We’re using Feedly and Pocket to collect and filter info we actually want to read and save it for later. Mailbox is helping us put off reading less important emails until tomorrow. Smart social media is allowing us to Consolidate, Segment and Simplify. Is it possible we’ve nearly come through the stage of Social Media Glutton and we will now trend toward reducing the noise? read more

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Basics for Getting the Most from LinkedIn

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Building a Solid LinkedIn Foundation

Just because you have a presence on LinkedIn doesn’t mean it’s doing things for you. LinkedIn is considered the world’s largest audience of influential, affluent professionals in one place, and they are gaining one new member every two seconds. Use this almighty information to your advantage. Here are straightforward, but often overlooked, basics for getting the most from LinkedIn.

4 kick-ass things you should be doing on LinkedIn?

Share Information.

You find a cool new tool that helps your business and you keep it all to yourself. Well, that’s selfish. Share it! And don’t do that ultra-mega social media blast unless it is earth-shattering information. Pick what info you are going to share on which social network.

Why? Because each platform could mean a different type of audience for you. An awesome Ryan Gosling meme will be loved and shared on Facebook but on Linkedin, that’s not what your audience is looking for. And don’t just share your own articles, curate great info your connections and groups can use. read more

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5 Quick and Savvy Ways to Build Your Business Using Your Pinterest App

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Pinterest should be kept up with as often as your Twitter or Facebook. The more relevant, interesting, and inspiring the pins, the more attention your boards will get. Here are 5 awesome and convenient ways you can help your Pinterest grow using your Pinterest Mobile App:

1. Keep Up with What’s Happening

The best part of having an App is that you are getting the bulk of what’s online on a Smartphone-friendly device at the touch of your fingers. When you are on the go you still have the ability to keep up with what is going on with your Pinterest home feed, as well as keeping up with the Pinterest community. This also allows you to Pinterest before you go to sleep and dream of fantasy closets… oh wait, that’s just me? read more

Twitter For Business Part 2 – Tools of the Trade

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Last week in Part 1 we provided some really fundamental notes on getting your business’ Twitter account rolling. The common thread of that post, which will carry over here, is that you should focus efforts that drive engagement on Twitter. Efforts of that kind can take time, dedication and patience. In this post, we’re going to talk about some tools available to help you more efficiently manage and tailor your activity.

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Twitter Tips for Business Part 1

Twitter Tips and Basics For Business Part 1

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Twitter provides a tremendous opportunity for businesses looking to talk with and learn more about their customers and potential customers. What happens all too often, however, is companies sign up, toss a Follow Me icon on the website and wait for followers to show up. Twitter is a community of give and take. You should get to know your neighbors. Here are some pointers are running a more engaging Twitter account for your business. read more

Reflections on KitchenAid’s Twitter Gaffe

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The social media ecosphere has been going crazy after the gaffe made by a KitchenAid employee who thought they were tweeting from their personal account but quickly found out they weren’t.

When I first read this story all I could think of was what a sickening feeling the individual responsible must have had when they realized what had happened. We’ve all had an email, tweet or message we couldn’t recall and had to live with the consequences; to some degree that has become the nature of the beast.

There have been some really good reports on what happened and how it ultimately impacted KitchenAid and their brand. One of the best is from Simply Measured which shows the statistical response to the entire event including the crisis management by KitchenAid’s team. read more

Which Social Network for What?

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LinkedIn has just released a new report on how people use various social networks to stay in touch: “The Mindset Divide Revealing how emotions differ between personal and professional networks.

Most of us have multiple networks we use on a regular basis. This report highlights the differences between how we use them as well as the strengths and weaknesses of each. read more

Great Social Media Research

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Looking for some good and current research information on social media and how it is being used by various small businesses and segments in the market? What sites are generating the most action and where is the time/money being spent?

Marketing Pros just published a new study covering current usage of social media. Here are some of the highlights. read more

General Colin Powell on Social Media

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Salesforce.com invited General Colin Powell to speak at its Dreamforce 12 conference and share his thoughts on the ups and downs of social media. He spoke on a number of points including its role in the Arab Spring and its threat to totalitarian regimes.

This is a good background article and is a fairly quick read.

 

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Social Media Sales Grenades

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Columbus, OH – September 23, 2012

A Cease and Desist Order has been issued by the Federal Circuit Court requiring an immediate stop to the use of Sales Grenades as part of all social media communications efforts. read more

Instagram Launches a New Business Resource

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A year ago only the early adopters knew about Instagram, now it has become the latest social media darling with over 100 million users.

If you don’t know about Instagram yet or just haven’t had time to check it out, give it a shot (pardon the pun); it’s worth experiencing.

Now the Instagram has launched a Tumblr “Instagram for Business.” Like most resources, you will not find everything they recommend useful, but it’s a great way to get some ideas for your company and see what others are doing.

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Big Success by Small Organization Using Social Media

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The small Swiss village of Obermutten, population 79, became a Facebook sensation after its fan page launched with a video (in Swiss German) of the mayor promising that anyone who “liked” it would have their profile picture posted on the town’s (real, not virtual) message board. After the first 10 “Like” they posted a new video showing the town’s message board. read more

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