Think Social Media needs to take up all of your time? Think again!

One of the things I hear the most is how people stay away from social media because they think it will take up too much time, or they stopped ‘doing it’ as it sucked up their time.

This great infographic from Dendrite Park shows that this needn’t be the case. In just an hour a day you could:

  • Curate content
  • Write blog posts
  • Manage Facebook
  • Deal with Twitter
  • Explore Linkedin
  • Add to Google+
  • Use Social Bookmarking
  • Track and measure through Analytics

The accompanying article is well worth a read and might help you to get a handle on the time social media actually takes.

social-media-thirst

Scheduling Tweets for best effect

This is an extract from the 30 Day Twitter Challenge by @NikkiPilkington

bufferAs we’ve said, Twitter search is constantly changing as more and more people Tweet, so staying on top indefinitely is pretty difficult.

With this in mind, let’s look at scheduling your promotional Tweets throughout the day / week.

Now, if you use Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, you can do this easily, but what I prefer to use is Buffer (that’s an aff link but I don’t make any money, just get brownie points!).

Buffer allows you to add Tweets to a kind of storage area, and have them Tweeted out at intervals, rather than bombarding followers with a series of 5 or 6 Tweets – we’ve all seen that happen and know how annoying it is.

You can set the times that your Tweets go out through buffer, and you can schedule to multiple accounts if you have more than one.

If you don’t Tweet much, then it’s best NOT to schedule all 5 of your promotional Tweets to go out on the same day – maybe one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

If you Tweet a lot, then you can get away with maybe 3, definitely no more than 4, promotional Tweets a day.

Set up your times in Buffer app, and set up your Tweets – Buffer will send them out at the times you’ve asked.

Similarly in Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, set them up for the week and forget about them.

Not only will they bring in traffic from your followers and increase awareness of what you do, they’ll enable you to be found in search and gain new followers and interest.

So, set up your Tweets for the next few days and you can forget about promotional Tweets and concentrate on the fun ones!

Like this tip and want to get 29 more, along with Twitter strategy and details of how to REALLY get business from twitter? Get the 30 Day Twitter Challenge below:

How calls to action work on Social Media

A while ago  I wrote about having a call to action in all blog posts, yet it’s still the number one piece of advice I give out to all mentoring clients.

So it was nice to come across this handy infographic from Dan Zarella showing how a decent call to action can affect all aspects of your social media marketing.

See below how:

  • ASKING people to comment on blogs gets you more comments
  • ASKING people to retweet your Tweets gets you more retweets
  • ASKING people to share on Facebook gets you more shares

Comm0n sense really, but so many people forget their call to action and are missing out on valuable eyeballs because of it.

Your challenge today is to use a call to action in every aspect of your social media marketing, and report in the comments below as to how well it worked for you!

social-calls

 

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Simplify your online marketing efforts in 7 easy steps

SIMPLIFYDespite what the snake oil sellers might tell you, there are no miracle shortcuts in internet marketing. It’s an ongoing conversation requiring commitment, effort and perseverance – but that doesn’t mean it has to be gruelling.

Smart planning can pay off, so here are seven tips to get you started.

1) Set up email alerts

Whatever your business, it’s important to track your brand’s internet mentions so that you can respond promptly to opportunities or criticisms, but running internet searches everyday is time consuming, so this is one job it’s wise to automate.

With Google Alerts you can set up multiple key words or phrases to be monitored. Choose the ‘comprehensive’ and ‘as-it-happens’ options and you will alerted immediately whenever Google indexes a web page containing those terms.

2) Subscribe to follow up comments

Commenting on a blog post or forum thread has numerous benefits – you will usually be allowed to hyperlink your name to your website, and if your comment is insightful, it may raise your profile among peers and potential clients. However, if your comment is responded to, you may need to come back to keep the conversation going.

You can’t revisit every post you comment on indefinitely, so always tick the ‘Notify me of follow up comments via e-mail’ checkbox and know automatically if you need to come back.

3) Recycle your blog posts

Go back through your old blog posts and see if they’re still relevant to your current audience. Bloggers often only promote their new content, but this isn’t giving due credit to your older work.

During your conversations online, look out for opportunities to mention an old post in relation to a current event and consider editing and re-publishing some posts to create a more contemporary version of some old material.

4) Share and re-share your pearls of wisdom

Once you have been blogging, tweeting and commenting for a while, you will have amassed a considerable amount of valuable advice. From time to time, review what you’ve written and extract the best pearls of wisdom into a central reference sheet.

When you have a spare moment, search through forums, message boards or LinkedIn Q&As for questions relating to your core topics. Chances are, you’ll already have ready-made advice on file. A word of caution though, while the core points will be the same, it’s important to make sure every answer is tailored to the questions asked– if you just re-paste your points verbatim, it’s essentially spam!

5) Don’t use all your best material at once

Lots of people take a town-crier approach to internet marketing – they just want to be the first and the loudest to get a new piece of information out. While being among the first to link to – or blog about – a new story can win you attention, it often pays to hold back.

Not all material is time sensitive, so if you’re online for an hour and find a dozen really useful articles on a subject, resist the urge to share one every five minutes. Keep a central record of valuable information and share it intelligently over time. That way, you’ll never be lost for things to say, and you’ll have plenty of inspiration for future blog posts.

6) Schedule your tweets

You can’t be on Twitter 24/7, so scheduling posts can be an effective way to make sure you reach different audiences at different times, and don’t miss out when you’re away from your computer.

Tools like Hootsuite and TweetLater enable you to schedule your Twitter posts, but be warned: repeatedly reposting items with identical wording is spam. As a general rule, vary your wording so that your posts aren’t duplicated verbatim, and limit yourself to three tweets, at least four hours apart for any one link.

7) Take a systematic approach and stick to it

People who struggle with interacting online as part of their marketing toolkit generally fall into two groups: those who lose momentum and forget to log in for days, thereby failing to engage people or retain followers, and those who log on with the intention of doing 30 minutes work, only to find they are still chatting several hours later. Either way, the problem is one of planning and efficiency.

The best way to get internet marketing working for you is to do a little bit each day, with some set targets that you write down and stick to. For example, “In addition to blogging once a week, I will log on to Twitter for an hour each day, comment on three blogs, have a couple of chats and post three links, one of which will link to my own site.”

Yes, there’s still a lot of work involved in internet marketing, but if you employ these time saving measures, it’s entirely possible to see a great return without breaking your back.

Need some help? Try my Social Media Marketing Mentoring taster for just£25!

 

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7 Things You Can Do To Make Your Content Social Media Friendly

socmedfpWhen marketing your website online through social media channels you need to do things a certain way. It’s a bit like redecorating your house; you could do it quickly and as cheaply as possible. But will it look good, and will it last?
In this article we’ll cover 7 things you can do to make your website content social media friendly. If you follow all the steps listed below you should stand a great chance of scoring highly with social media sites as well as effective search engine optimisation.

Let’s get started:

1. Include a picture
If you’re going to bookmark your blog or content, but it doesn’t have an associated picture with it, it’s not as attention grabbing. Think about it; when you’re on a social website and you see a picture next to text; you’re drawn to it.

2. Title tag
If you bookmark your content to a social site; your pages title tag is often used as the title. If your website has the title “My Amazing Blog | Updating daily with super cool content” it’s not going to grab the attention of others. Give each page on your website a unique and grabbing title.

3. Social media buttons
They’re so simple to install and most blogs come with them pre-installed! The buttons next to a blog that allow users to instantly add your website to their favourite social media sites are a great way to help your visitors help your online marketing.

4. Allow comments
Many website owners disable commenting on their blog posts. However, it makes your site interactive. It allows your visitors to talk to you personally. Even more so; it adds more unique content to your website. By enabling comments on your website you might get more people returning to check if their comments have been replied to.

5. Controversial comments
If you do enable comments, do you allow the negative ones? Not everyone is going to agree with what you say and debate sparks interest. If people disagree or even get angry over your content, allow others to read. You’ll soon have many comments and conversations going on.

6. Title for tweets
If you’re tweeting your updates; make sure your titles aren’t too long. Twitter has a 140 character limit on its tweets so just keep an eye out for titles that are too long. Sometimes you can still have an effective, attention grabbing title but without the length.

7. Easy to read
With modern communication channels such as Twitter and FaceBook people don’t always have enough time to read a long article. By making some of your content short but sweet you may engage more readers

If you can implement all of the above tips into your website or blog you’ll be well on your way to social media friendly content. You can expect to see more visitors to your website and an increased client database too.

Need more advice? Check out my Social Media Marketing Mentoring from just £25 a month!

 

Seven Sins of Internet Marketing

This article originally appeared on Business Zone

Untitled designNikki Pilkington looks at the mistakes entrepreneurs all too often make in a bid to get noticed online.

It’s so easy to start promoting a business online that many people seem to launch into it without much thought for the image they are portraying or the consequences of their actions.

Here are seven internet marketing faux pas, and the preferable alternatives.

1) Unfocussed, mass emailing

You acquire a huge list of random email addresses, tap out a nice salesy email about your business and send it out to everyone on the list in the hope that someone will find your offer relevant. Good marketing model? No. Spam? Yes.

Mass emailing with no target, and worse, no permission, is spam, pure and simple. Your mailing list should be entirely ‘opt in’ and the content you send should be relevant and useful to the recipients, even if that means writing slightly different mail outs for different groups.

2) Irrelevant content

You have read that lots of fresh content is the key to getting your site noticed, so you scour the internet for any free to use bits and pieces that vaguely relate to your offering and post them all over your site.

Posting any old nonsense on your site just to bump up content is a very, very bad idea. Not only could this be to the serious detriment of your credibility, it is also very unlikely to pull in relevant visitors, so you won’t benefit in real terms.

3) Content theft

In your quest for relevant, useful content, you come across some great posts on other people’s sites – perhaps even competitors. With a quick bit of cutting and pasting, you have reams of fresh, high quality content on your site.

Lifting content from other sites and publishing it on your own without permission is a seriously inadvisable. Unless clearly stated otherwise on the content owner’s site, you should always seek permission before republishing content. You should also include a credit and a link back to the original source.

4) Spamming forums

You want as many people as possible to hear about your new sales promotion, so you search for any forum with a relevant-ish topic and post your promotion verbatim on as many threads as you can. Before you know it, there are hundreds of references to your offer all over the web.

And the result of your efforts? You are seen as a spammer, banned from several forums, probably attacked in others, and people are generally rather annoyed with you. Remember, internet marketing via social media is about conversations, not shouting the loudest. By all means mention offers when they are relevant to the topic, but don’t expect to get results without putting time in to build relationships.

5) Falsifying testimonials

You’ve had a lovely new site developed for your new venture, and in the left hand column there’s a special section for displaying your best testimonials. In time, you’ll have some great things to put there, but right now, you’ve got nothing. You decide the best this to do is make a few up using generic names like Joan S and Bill P. It can’t hurt, can it?

Using false or unsubstantiated testimonials is another quick route towards losing any credibility and trust you command. Instead, use the space for something else and work on getting real testimonials by providing a great service.

6) Puffed up claims

Your company is newly formed, so you don’t feel you have many legitimately impressive claims to make yet. You know your employees have collectively worked for several blue chip firms, so you tell a little white lie and claim your company has served those firms. Well, it’s kind of true, isn’t it?

Bad idea. You could be threatened with legal action and suffer irreparable damage to your reputation. Be honest, work with what you’ve got, and publicise your achievements as they happen.

7) Abusing social media trends

Social media trends – the topics users are talking about most – can be a real temptation for internet marketers. Take Twitter, for example: it seems all you need to do is put the ‘tag’ for a current trend at the end of your ‘tweet’ and you’ll get seen. Who cares if the tag isn’t relevant if it gets you an audience? Well, your audience cares.

Abusing social media trends with irrelevant content has landed a few companies in hot water in recent months. Most famously, a ew years ago, a Habitat ‘intern’ caused some serious damage to the brand’s reputation when it put out promotional messages tagged with a reference to the Iran elections. Use tags honestly so that only those interested in what you offer will see your messages.

So the bad news is that it’s easy to get internet marketing wrong, but the good news is it is possible to get it right and get great results, so long as you have the time to invest and are willing to learn from the mistakes of others.

Want to get it right? Check out my Social Media Mentoring services!

 

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5 Ways to keep your Blog updated over the Christmas period

You’ve worked hard all year on your blog, and your comments, visitors and Google traffic is reflecting that graft. But let’s face it, it’s Christmas week and you might not feel like blogging with a bellyful of mince pies, or nipping down in between basting the turkey and boiling the gravy to pop in a quick post or two. And then there’s that odd week between Christmas and New Year when no-one’s quite sure what to do…

So is your blog going to be a barren wasteland over the Christmas period? Will your readers think you’ve given up on them? Will Google wonder where you’ve gone?

Not if I can help it – here are 5 ways you can keep your blog updated over Christmastime, leaving you free to enjoy your family and forget about work for once.

1 – Schedule, schedule schedule

You’ve got a few days yet, so get writing! You’ve probably got some half written posts sitting around that you’ve either not finished or not used yet, so finish them off and then use the scheduling facility in WordPress to post them for you. Your blog posts will appear as if by magic, and you don’t have to lift a finger!

Install the editorial calendar plugin and you’ll be able to see at a glance which days you have or need posts for, and move them around with ease.

2- Grab some guest posts

A great last minute standby, guest posts could keep you going over the festive season. As long as you make sure they’re relevant and of interest to your readers, they could save you wondering about your blog while the sprouts are burning to the bottom of the pan!

Ask your Twitter and Facebook followers if they have any blog posts lying around they’d like you to feature, or maybe they could write you something in the next couple of days? No takers? Then pop along to the fab MyBlogGuest where they have a whole host of bloggers with content to spare – you could find a great source of guest blogs well into 2012!

3 – Create some round up posts

Round up posts are great for filling space, and for only taking a little time to set up. If you’re on WordPress, install the Instant Weekly Round Up plugin – it allows you to pick and choose the categories you want to include from your old blog posts, move them around, and delete the ones you don’t want to show. For only a couple of minutes work you could have a great post ready to go, purely from all the work you’ve put in this year.

4 – Reschedule some older posts

Not everyone will have seen your post the first time around, so why not spend some time going through your archives and reschedule and reuse some of your older posts? Maybe ones that didn’t generate the traffic you thought they would, or haven’t had as many comments as you would have liked, or even really popular ones you think people would be interested in seeing again.

Different to a round up post, this is a reposting of a whole blog post. In WordPress simply change the post from ‘published’ to ‘scheduled’ and you could get a whole new audience.

While you’re scheduling you may even see bits of the post you want to elaborate on or change, or there may be an update you can add – a great way to use old content in a new way.

5 – Get someone else to do it for you

(Come on, you knew this was coming, right? 😉 )

It’s not too late to hand your blog over to someone else for a couple of weeks and give yourself a complete break.

A fresh eye, some new ideas, and more importantly some great content to ensure that your blog isn’t forgotten over Christmas.

Whether it’s your trusty VA or someone like me who gives small business blogging management, you can rest assured your blog is in good hands and isn’t going to languish. An added bonus is that I’ll give you a swift kick in the New Year to either get back on the blogging horse, or decide that you’re happier leaving it to someone else.

OK Nikki, if I decide to use you, what’s it going to cost?

Depending on your blog industry, the amount of blogs you need over the Christmas period, and how long you need me for, it could cost as little as £50 per blog site for me to write blog posts, upload them, optimise them and promote them while you’re pulling your Christmas crackers with your kids.

But, as always, places will be limited (to 5 in this instance) – I’ve got to have time to cook my own Christmas Pudding and those parsnips aren’t going to maple glaze themselves!

Interested?

Drop me a line to nikkipilk@gmail.com and let’s chat.

So there we are – 5 ways to keep your blog going over Christmas with the minimum of effort and hopefully the maximum of results.

Enjoy your turkey!

Like this post? Don’t forget to check out the 30 Day Blogging Challenge, and kickstart your blogging in just 30 days!

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Which of these mistakes are you making on Twitter?

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Let’s be honest, using Twitter isn’t exactly brain surgery. A short 140-character message that you send out to your Followers is hardly a strain. Yet knowing how to effectively Twitter for Business without annoying people seems to elude even some of the sharpest minds. There is a Twittiquette and if you want to use Twitter to promote your business, you need to stop making these TEN irritating mistakes:

ONE – MOANING
There’s no better way to drive your followers away than spend your entire time on Twitter moaning about this and that irrelevancies. It’s fine to have an opinion, it perhaps makes people engage with you, but if you’re just there to complain about your love life, stop Twittering and go on the Jeremy Kyle show.

TWO – TXT ABBRVTNS
Stpd pple use txt abbrtns on Twttr! It might be good if you’re a cheapskate trying to save money on your mobile phone bill, but Twitter is free. Surely you have sufficient grasp of the English language to actually make your message fit into 140 characters without resorting to txtspk. Avoid looking like a twt by avoiding text abbreviations.

THREE – ADVERTISING FOR FOLLOWERS
One of the best things about Twitter is that people follow you out of interest or allegiance; they don’t follow you because you ask them to do so. By advertising for followers, you end up looking rather desperate, devaluing your current followers and distancing potential followers.

FOUR – WITTERING ON
By ‘wittering’, I’m talking about the frequency of your Tweets. If you spend a lot of time on Twitter, tweeting to everyone, all the time, very soon they’ll get sick of you. People soon sicken of anything they get too much of, don’t get blocked for wittering.

FIVE – STUPID NAMES
HotJenna may work for HotMedia but HotJenna sounds like a porn star. Your Twitter name is all part of your brand, would you put ‘HotJenna’ as your email address? The informality of Twitter blinds people to the fact that you are still representing and promoting your business online. Twitter is great for spreading the word about your company or business. It’s the Internet version of word-of- mouth.

SIX – SPAM SANDWICHES
As soon as Twitter became a useful business tool, some other tool started using it for spamming. By now, Twitter users are so used to being spammed, that they respond with enthusiasm and affection to human contact from real people. Don’t spam, make connections, people will appreciate it.

SEVEN – AUTO RESPONDERS
It’s just sloppy Twittering to care so little about your Followers that you just use Auto-Responders. How impersonal! How bad for business! It’s simple, Twitter offers a personal connection to people, if you disregard that, your followers will disappear faster than an MP with an inappropriate expenses claim.

EIGHT – FIGHT CLUB
Twitter is absolutely NOT a tool to help you gossip, bitch, bitch slap or attack people. I mean, it’s fun, but it’s bad for your image, your credibility and it leaves you looking like a petty bully. It’s okay to speak your mind, within reason, but it’s not a place to engage in fighting.

NINE – NO BIO
Once someone follows you, they may be interested enough to find out more about you. What happens when they find you haven’t even bothered to fill in your bio? They figure out that you’re not in this to make connections, it’s just another tool to try to get their business. Or perhaps you’re one of those people that signs up, adds people but never Tweets! Build credibility and relationships by adding a bio, go on, you must have SOMETHING good to say about yourself.

TEN – NO AVATAR
Nothing screams ‘I’m new to this’ like failing to brand your Twitter account with an appropriate Avatar. You can use your photo or your company logo, but being an egg or a comedy avatar just makes you look lazy, like you don’t care about the impression that you make on others.

So, if you’ve made some of these mistakes, and you want to make less, or you’d like to see your business grow as a result of using Twitter, why not take a look at my mentoring service where I can help you make the most of Twitter and more?

 

 

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NikkiPilkington 12 Days of Christmas song

The Singing Christmas Tree, Werdmühleplatz in ...

Image via Wikipedia

All together now!

On the first day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

A first place on Google for me

On the second day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the third day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the fourth day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the fifth day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the sixth day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the seventh day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 8th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 9th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

9 SEO tips,
8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 10th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

10 brand new Challenges,
9 SEO tips,
8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 11th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

11 ways to get links,
10 brand new Challenges,
9 SEO tips,
8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

On the 12th day of Christmas, Nikki gave to me:

12 hours of mentoring,
11 ways to get links,
10 brand new Challenges,
9 SEO tips,
8 sales from Facebook,
7 brand new meta tags,
6 tweets for Twitter,
5 great reviews…
4 Foursquare checkins,
3 ideas for blog posts,
2 new subscribers, and
A first place on Google for me

Happy Christmas everyone and here’s to a fab 2012!

Thanks to Suze St Maur for the idea 🙂 )

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Would you like an hour of a Social Media Marketing Specialist’s time?

Telephone

Telephone (Photo credit: plenty.r.)

*** STOP PRESS *** First 10 places gone – price now increased to £50 for next 10 places!

I ran this service a while ago, and it went really well, but time constraints and lack of internet stability meant I had to stop – but I’m back!

Nikki’s Social Media Marketing Telephone Mentoring

It’s easy to read generic information, advice and tips about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging, SEO, Pinterest etc, but it’s not so easy to apply this specifically to your own website.

And while you’re spending all of your time learning and practising the new skills you’ve learned, who is running your business?

While I fully believe it’s possible to learn everything you need to know just by reading, sometimes you need a little extra help.

Imagine if someone could advise you:

  • How many times a day to post to Facebook
  • How to get interaction on Twitter
  • How best to direct people to your blog
  • What could be improved in your SEO
  • What you’re not doing with LinkedIn that you could be
  • When you should be posting to Pinterest
  • as well as answering any questions you have
  • and more!

Well that’s what this service is for!

In a one hour phone call with me, Nikki Pilkington, you’ll learn all the above and more. You’ll also get a follow up email detailing everything we’ve spoken about, as well as suggesting 5 blog post titles you should be writing.

In addition you’ll have email or Facebook chat access to me for 2 weeks afterwards.

OK, I need your help, how much?

In the future I will be £75 per call for this service, but as I’ve not offered the service for a while, the next 10 people to sign up and book their call will get this fantastic service for just £50.

£50 for 19 years of internet marketing knowledge.

£50 for a personalised plan of action.

£50 for 14 days access to me.

£50 to find out where you’re going wrong, and how to put it right.

You’ve probably spent more than £50 of your time just reading and testing the things you’ve read, right?

I’m in – how do I book?

Using the Paypal link below, you can book your session. Upon completion of payment, you will be returned to our calendar where you can book your call at a time of your choosing.

Remember, the next 10 only will be £50 – after that the price will revert to £75. So book now and let’s get your social media marketing and SEO back on track!




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