Magnetic Real Estate Agent

Magnetically Attracting Real Estate Agent Leads

Magnetic Real Estate Agent - Magnetically Attracting Real Estate Agent Leads

How To Be Different As A Real Estate Agent

The Real Estate Agent Difference

In real estate we are often looking for ways to set us a part from the heard. How can we stand out? What makes us different from than the real estate agent around the corner?

We all basically plug the same things about ourselves to the public. “We give outstanding service” or “We have the best people” or “Our technology and systems get you more sales” That’s great in the general world but in reality it’s not always true; is it?

Today we can’t be just general. We need to be specific. And by that I mean we must be personal.

People don’t really care how you are to the general world. They want to know how you make them feel. Do you care about them? Do you stay in touch with them; during and after the sale. People only want to know what’s in it for them.

So how do you get the edge?

You connect with people. You follow up. You show that you care. You show them that you are DIFFERENT by doing these simple things. Yes a lot of agents say they keep in touch or follow up. But they don’t. For most real estate agents, a sale is like a one night stand.

They come across all caring and interested while having a specific goal in mind. To sell you a house. They stay in touch during the settlement process. They make sure they are around for the building and pest inspection within the 5 day cooling off period. And if you are lucky you may get a call on settlement day to congratulate you on your purchase.

But after the commission is spent from this sale, you’ll probably never hear from this agent again. Do you ever feel used? Girls, how do you feel after a one night stand?

That’s how ‘average joe’ real estate agents operate. But not the professionals. Professionals understand that they need to build relationships. Professional know that by staying in touch with a customer over the next 4 – 5 years will have that customer coming back to them.

Professional real estate agents know what it takes to be different. One of the world’s most successful, professional real estate agents Tom Hopkins understands what it takes to be different. Have a listen to what he says helped him be so successful

Being different is easy to do and easy not to do. You can make a choice right here and now to continue down your existing path or you can adopt some simple changes. And I’m not talking about some complex procedures that require you to get up at 4am to implement or require you to mortgage the kids to fund this new way of being different.

I’m talking about getting the edge over your competitors by showing your customers, existing and future, that you care. As I write this post it’s about 4 weeks to Christmas. There’s no better time in the year to show your customers that you care.

One thing all real estate agents proudly show off in their office at this time of year (besides a tree and some tinsel……..and maybe a few flashing lights) are the Christmas cards they have received. Every agent wants to show that they are popular by having hundreds of  Christmas cards on their reception desk and walls.

You know what I am saying here; don’t you? It makes you feel good; right? It vindicates that in some small way you are a nice person and that people care about you because your walls are filled with good wishes.

Well don’t you think your customers would like the same feelings? Do you think that by receiving a high quality, personalised, printed Christmas card in the mail from you, that you would be perceived as being DIFFERENT. Darn right you would! Here’s what some smart savvy real estate agents are doing.

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“We have over 1200 landlords on our books that we mange their properties for. Sending Christmas cards used to be such a expensive cost, that we had to become very selective in who got a card. But after discovering we could send cards from under a dollar, now everybody gets a card. The comments we get are priceless” – Pat W, Texas USA

“4 years ago I sold a couple a house here in East Brisbane. I kept in touch by sending them about 4 cards a year. You know anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas etc. Just last month I relisted and sold that original house plus sold them a new home.  Total sale: $1.84 mill!

That was the best $25 over 4 years that I have ever spent!” – Jason D, East Brisbane AUS.

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This Christmas, do something DIFFERENT. Send a Christmas card. But not just any old card from the store which requires you to stand in shops, look for the ideal card then shuffle down to the nearest post office to buy a stamp and post your card.

Be DIFFERENT. And I’m not referring to you sending a whole bunch of non personalised, spammy eCards either. How cheap!

There is an easy, low cost, high tech way to send hundreds of printed Christmas greeting cards to your customers without leaving your office. See how it’s done here:

To be the real estate agent who cares this Christmas, check out the videos at

www.WeLoveGreetingCards.com

then click on LEARN MORE and follow the tabs on Customer Options at the top of the next page.

Merry Christmas DIFFERENT real estate agent!

 

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Blogging To Get Real Estate Leads

generating leads with business blogging

 

 

Blogging is not just about content, publishing posts and hoping for the best. Done well with the right structure it can be a powerful portal for revenue.

In a previous post on this blog, I have analyzed how to collect email addresses using interactive pop ups. It made me realize that this advanced tactic may sound a bit complicated to people who are just getting started with business blogging. But I think that a complete guide to show how can the content marketer generate leads with blogging for an online business would make more sense.

This piece of content is an introduction to a series of five posts that will go through the phases of lead generation such as creating a framework, using surveys, optimizing landing pages and much more.

Here are the steps and insights into generating leads with business blogging.

The beginning

Now let’s start at the the beginning.

There are two key business models that operate well with lead generation using content marketing tactics:

  • Service-based businesses: internet marketing firms, agencies and freelancers

  • Software as a Service (SAAS) businesses that offer products for client side marketers or agencies

Business blogging is an inbound marketing tactic used to generate leads. The lead could be defined as a person who is filling out the form to get in touch with an expert or to require a service. On the other hand, the lead for a SaaS business could be a user who is signing up to try the product for free for a limited period.

How does business blogging support business objectives?

The Essential How to Guide on Generating Leads with Business Blogging

Business blogging is a marketing tactic used to increase the online visibility of the company. This tactic involves using a blog to inform people about the company’s activity, values, mission and products. It is meant to educate, inform and it also needs a persuasive component too. To become visible on the internet, you need to provide content to let people know that you have something valuable to offer to them.

 The benefits of business blogging

 #1. Drive traffic to the website

The ultimate goal of business blogging is to generate qualified leads. This process involves driving traffic to the website’s landing pages (e.g.: contact page, sign up page) using inbound marketing tactics.

To get traffic to the company’s website you need to appear in the search results, right? In order to get that, your website’s pages have to get indexed by Google. But how much content can you include in a website? Besides the homepage, pricing page, contact page, about us page you don’t have too many options. The blog is the only solution to provide to Google pages to get indexed. Therefore, you need to create enough content (quantity matters), to post it on a regular basis on the website (freshness) and to convince people to share it (relevancy).

 To understand how people get to your website, I’ll sum up the ways visitors arrive on the company’s website:

  • Direct search:  Users type in the search bar your company’s name or brand

  • Paid search: Visitors are exposed to Ads, either on Google, Facebook or other channels

  • Organic search: Users arrive on your website because you delivered relevant content that got indexed by Google in front of your competitors

To become relevant for Google, you need to become relevant for your website’s visitors. Direct traffc is the most valuable for a company, but it requires having a strong content strategy. Every new blog post is a chance to get Google to index your website, increase the organic traffic and make people aware of the company’s offering.

 #2. Reduce the amount of required content

Besides the company’s blog, there are other marketing channels that could help with getting noticed on the internet: Email, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc. Once again, you need content. Imagine, though, how much effort you would need to invest into creating content for each marketing channel.

The company’s blog help with reducing the quantity of content required to get noticed on the internet and also allows creating targeted content for the social media traffic. Moreover it insures that people are exposed to a unique, commited message about the company’s offering.

 I see business blogging as the company’s attempt to tell a story. Like regular bloggers who are writing about their passions, the companies use blogs to let people know what they do, like and expect from this world.

 #3. It generates qualified leads

It would be a pity to use the blog only to drive traffic to the website because it allows you to do much more. Once people get to the blog, they can do two things:

  1. Consume one piece of content and leave

  2. Consume one piece of content and request more

It’s in your control if they will leave or stay. To convince them to request more, you need to offer more. That’s why I say that offering free ebooks is efficient to grow an email list. I guess that you don’t want to work insanely to create content and drive traffic to the blog and then let people leave once they have finished consuming it.

Let’s see the exact steps to generate leads with blogging:

  • Visitors come to the blog and consume content

  • Visitors see a Call to Action with an offer (free digital paper or webinar)

  • Visitors click the Call to Action and arrive on a landing page(download or register to webinar page)

  • Visitors fill out a form to get the offer

blogging for business

Use the company’s blog not only to drive traffic to the website, but also to generate leads for the business. As I’ve mentioned before, the blog has to support the business objectives.

#3. Create authority, differentiation and achieve other long term goals

The company’s blog becomes a valuable asset only if it delivers high-quality, relevant and targeted content. Integrated in the AIDA marketing model, the blog plays the following roles:

Awareness – the blog’s content is making people aware of a problem or opportunity

Interest – the blog’s content is making people interested into solving their problem

Desire – the blog’s content encourages people to give a name to their problem and raises the desire to solve it (you do that with Call to Actions)

Action –  the blog’s content encourages people to solve their problem with the company’s products or services

 As you see, business blogging requires commitment and consistency. It’s a never ending task because its role is to drive to continuos growth. Traffic, leads, brand awareness and authority are the major four outcomes of business blogging when done right.

 Why does the company’s blog need optimization?

As I’ve mentioned earlier, the goal is to drive people who want to solve their problem with the company’s products or services on the website.

But writing content is not effective if it is not integrated with smart ‘Call to Actions’. You will be wasting all that traffic and tose visitors you have been working so hard to acquire.

Remember that people who have identified a problem after they have consumed your content will want to learn more.

This is what you have to do:

  • Offer them more, otherwise you’ll see them go to the competitors to get information about the problem and purchase their products instead of yours.

  • Optimize the blog’s design for conversions (i.e.: conversion is a qualified lead that arrives on the website’s landing page to sign up for a free trial or request a service). Optimization involves aadjusting the website to achieve your goals. Website optimization has to be sustained by content marketing, email marketing and landing page optimization efforts to give results.

The 4 steps process to generate leads with blogging

Optimization techniques help with adjusting the blog to achieve the blog’s goal – to generate leads for business. In order to achieve that, you should focus on the conversion funnel. When creating it, have in mind the AIDA model to define the exact steps the ideal customer has to follow to close.

Generating leads with blogging is a continuous process and requires taking one step at a time. Therefore, I have included in this beginner’s guide four steps:

  1. Measurement – analyze data, set up goals and target metrics to see how you do against your objectives now and where you want to get.

  2. Listen to the customer’s voice – Google Analytics is telling you what’s happening on the website. To find out why, you need to use surveys.

  3. Grow the email list – you’ll find out the exact steps you need to take to get email subscribers. This post will also show how to test CTAs and landing pages and use advanced techniques to get more subscribers.

  4. Convert subscribers into leads for business – learn how to use email marketing tactics and landing pages to increase the number of blogging conversions

These being said, hope this guide will help with having a clear, informed idea about what you need to do to get conversions from blogging and become a successful content marketer.

For more on blogging check out this Kindle Book

 

blogging made easy

 

Thanks Jeff Bullas www.JeffBullas.com

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Personalised Christmas Cards For Less Than A Dollar

 

Christmas Cards

christmas cardWLGC

I just had an offer from a printing company to get Personalised Christmas Cards at $2.70 each (min order $50). Nice but NO THANKS. I can get Personalised Christmas Cards from 62 cents!! at

www.WeLoveGreetingCards.com

The company also places the card in an envelope, puts a stamp on it and posts it for me – and I don’t have to leave home!

They also have a cool tool that allows me to send hundreds of cards in just  minutes. I sent 173 cards yesterday in under 7 minutes.

www.WeLoveGreetingCards.com  

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15 Things Real Estate Bloggers Must Do

Blogging Checklist

Use this checklist to make sure you’ve got everything in place before launching your blog:

1 Pick a profitable niche that you’ve evaluated is in demand and profitable.

2 Choose your blogging platform – I recommended self hosted WordPress.

3 Choose a memorable and branded domain not something generic.

4 Install a premium theme from the likes of Studiopress or DIYThemes.

5 Add the basic pages like about, contact, terms and conditions, privacy policy and

earnings disclaimer

6 Install a security plugin to avoid being hacked.

7 Install Google Analytics to track and test your traffic.

8 Create 3-5 pieces of launch content so your visitors have something to read on launch day.

9 Write up 50 potential blog post ideas and work out a content strategy and schedule. Use

BuzzSumo to find out popular content in your niche and create something bigger and better

10 Do keyword research and sprinkle them into your blog posts so you have some chance

of ranking but always write for your readers first

11 Create images for blog posts or buy stock images to use at the top of each post.

12 Work out where your target audience hang out online so you know where to get traffic.

13 Create a monetization plan BEFORE you launch and implement from day 1 – I recommend

affiliate marketing

14 Start networking with others in your niche before you even launch – comment on their

blogs, share their content, feature them in posts.

15 Have your email list ready to go from day 1 and make it the sole focus of your blog.

Follow this checklist and you’ll create a better blog

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21 Ways Real Estate Agents Can Get More Facebook Fans

If you build a Facebook Page, will fans come? This is the great hope for many businesses. However, fans do not magically appear from the Facebook mist.

People must be lured to your fan page. And there are some good and bad ways to go about doing this. In this article, I’ll share a big myth and 21 ways to drive more fans to your Facebook fan page. (Though Facebook recently changed the “Become A Fan” button to the new, omnipresent “Like” button – and a fan page is called a “Business Page” or “Facebook Page” – we can still call them fan pages and people who join are fans!)

The Big Myth

There’s a great myth that once you create a Facebook fan page for your business, the first thing you should do to get fans is invite ALL your friends from your personal profile using the “Suggest to Friends” feature.

Unfortunately, this strategy may not be that effective and can, in fact, often backfire. I have seen many industry gurus complain that when they decline a fan page request, it’s frustrating to continue to be asked again and again.

There are several reasons not to use the Suggest to Friends feature:

  • Facebook users can only like up to 500 pages and may wish to be selective. (Though I have seen it’s possible to go over this limit).
  • Fan page suggestions may often build up, unnoticed. (At last count, I have 593 overlooked fan page suggestions and am already a fan of 500!)
  • To aggressively pursue all your friends to join your fan page – for no apparent incentive – is counterintuitive to the nature of social media.

So, the good news is there are many ways to promote your fan page and proactively increase your fan base without bugging all your current Facebook friends, and also by thinking wider than just Facebook.

Here are 21 ways to get more fans for your Facebook fan page:

#1: Embed Widgets on Your Website

Select from a number of the new Facebook Social Plugins and place them on your website and blog. The Fan Box widget is now the Like Box and it works well to display your current fan page stream and a selection of fans - see screenshot below with Whole Foods Market Facebook Like Box. I would recommend adding a title above the box encouraging visitors to your site/blog to click the “Like” button (which makes them a Facebook fan).

Whole Foods Market Facebook Like Box.

You might also consider the Live Stream widget for more advanced uses, particularly on an FBML custom tab of your fan page itself. The Live Stream widget allows Facebook users to add their comments to a live event, for example, and that activity pushes out into their stream.

#2: Invite Your Email and Ezine Subscribers

Assuming you have an opt-in email list, definitely send out an invitation to your subscribers via email (several times, over time) letting them know about your fan page and encouraging them to join. Ideally, provide them with a description of the page and an incentive to join.

Be sure to have the Facebook logo/badge appear in your HTML newsletters. Instead of the usual “Join our Fan Page,” say something creative like “Write on our Facebook wall,” or “Join our Facebook community,” or “Come add your photo to our Facebook group” (where “group” is actually your fan page). Users have to be a fan in order to interact with your fan page in this way.

#3: Add to Your Email Signature Block

Instead of promoting your Facebook personal profile (if you do), include a link to your fan page in every email you send out. If you use web-based email, check out the Wisestamp signature addon.

#4: Make a Compelling Welcome Video

Create an attractive landing tab (canvas page) with a video that explains exactly a) what your fan page is about, b) who it’s for and c) why they should become members.  The result: you’ll increase your conversion rate from visitors to fans. One of my favorite fan page welcome videos is by Steve Spangler, the Science Guy! After watching his video, you can’t help but want to join!

(By the way, with the new Facebook changes, if your custom welcome tab and video talk about clicking the “Become A Fan” button, you may want to change the wording to “click the Like button” now).

#5: Use Facebook Apps

I recently tested a new live video-streaming app called Vpype. The app adds a tab to your fan page called “Shows” and when you broadcast as your fan page, everyone can view by default. (You can also broadcast as your personal profile and selectively invite friends/friend lists). I wrote up a review of this app here. By announcing via Twitter, your personal Facebook profile, your blog and your email list, you can broadcast regular live Internet TV shows from your fan page and create much buzz.

Another example of app integration is Target’s “Bullseye Gives” campaign. Target had their fans vote on which of ten charities they most wanted to see the company donate to. By voting, a post goes out onto your Facebook wall and into the News Feeds of all your friends, thus providing Target with valuable exposure. (For custom apps, see companies like Buddy Media, FanAppz, Wildfire Apps, Involver, Virtue, Context Optional.) [UPDATE: Thank you to Context Optional, the creators of Target’s “Bullseye Gives” campaign!]

#6: Integrate the Facebook Comment Feature

My favorite example of this is the t-shirt company Threadless. On their landing tab (canvas page), you can view and purchase t-shirts as well as Like and comment on any item and choose to have that comment posted to your Facebook profile, as shown in this screenshot:

(Screenshot of Threadless Facebook Fan Page landing tab)

Threadless actually has their landing tab set up so visitors don’t have to become a fan to purchase/comment/interact. Yet they have organically built well over 100,000 fans.

As users comment on items, that activity is pushed out into their stream (profile wall and their friends’ News Feeds), which creates valuable viral visibility for your fan page.

(Important Update: Facebook no longer supports FBML. Please refer to the articles on Facebook iFrame.) For further information on adding the comment box to your FBML page/app, see these pages.

#7: Get Fans to Tag Photos

If you host live events, be sure to take plenty of photos (or even hire a professional photographer), load the photos to your fan page and encourage fans to tag themselves. This, again, pushes out into their wall and friends’ News Feeds, providing valuable (free!) exposure. And, a picture says a thousand words – we notice the thumbnails in our feed more than text. (Props to Nick O’Neil for this tip.)

#8: Load Videos and Embed on Your Site

Facebook’s Video feature is extremely powerful. You can load video content to your Facebook fan page, then take the source code and embed on your blog/website. There is a “Become a Fan” button right in the video itself. For an excellent tutorial, see Nick O’Neil’s post: How To Get Thousands of Facebook Fans With a Single Video.

[UPDATE: Since Facebook changed the Become a Fan button to the Like button, embedded Facebook videos now display a white watermark hotlink of the Facebook name in the upper left corner of the video player – see first screenshot below. This is a clickable link that goes to the original video page on your fan page. If the visitor to your site clicks through to Facebook from your video, and they are logged into Facebook at the time, they will see a Like button at the top left corner of the video player - see second screenshot below.]


(Screenshot shows example of an embedded Facebook video on an external site)

(Screenshot shows the same video on the original page of the fan page with the Like button)

#9: Place Facebook Ads

Even with a nominal weekly/monthly budget, you should be able to boost your fan count using Facebook’s own social ad feature. It’s the most targeted traffic your money can buy. To buy an ad, scroll to the foot of any page inside Facebook and click the link at the very bottom that says “Advertising.” From there, you can walk through the wizard and get an excellent sense of how many Facebook users are in your exact target market.

Then, when you advertise your fan page, Facebook users can become a fan (click the Like button) right from the ad as shown in the screenshot below. Additionally, Facebook displays several of your friends who have already liked you, thus creating social proof.

My book with Chris Treadaway, Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day (Sybex) contains comprehensive instructions on maximizing your marketing through Facebook social ads.

#10: Run a Contest

This is somewhat of a gray area because Facebook changed their Promotional Guidelines last year. Essentially, you need prior written permission from Facebook and need to be spending a significant amount on ads per month. However, you CAN require Facebook users to become a fan of your fan page in order to enter a contest, sweepstakes, drawing or competition. See these two posts for further explanation. PLUS, good news: you CAN run contests and sweepstakes with the use of the apps created by Wildfire App.

#11: Link to Twitter

Link your Twitter account to your Facebook fan page and automatically post your Facebook content to Twitter. You can edit what gets posted, choosing from Status Updates, Photos, Links, Notes and Events.

You have 420 characters on the Facebook publisher and 140 on Twitter. In the tweet that goes out, Facebook truncates your post past a certain character count and inserts a bit.ly link back to your fan page. To track click-through stats on that link, just paste the bit.ly link that Facebook created for you in your browser’s address bar and add a “+” sign to the end. This works for any bit.ly link!

I also recommend you promote your Facebook fan page on your Twitter background and possibly in your Twitter bio/URL field too.

#12: Get Fans to Join Via SMS

Your fans can join your fan page via text message! You’ll need to get your first 25 fans and secure your username. Then, to join your fan page, Facebook users just send a text message to 32665 (FBOOK) with the words “fan yourusername” OR like yourusername (without the quotes).

This feature is ideal when you’re addressing a live audience, say. Have everyone pull out their mobile phones and join your fan page on the spot! This would also work well for radio or TV. (Note that this only works for Facebook users with a verified mobile device in his or her account.)

#13: Use Print Media

Look at every piece of print media you use in your business. Your Facebook fan page (as well as Twitter and any other social sites you’re active on), should be clearly displayed. Put your Facebook fan page link (and the logo) on your business cards, letterhead, brochure, print newsletter, magazine ads, products, etc.

#14: Display at Your Store/Business

If your business is run from physical premises, put a placard on the front desk letting your customers know you’re on Facebook. Ideally, you have a simple, memorable username. Incentivize customers to join right away via their mobile device and show you/your staff the confirmation for some kind of instant reward!

You might give out physical coupons promoting your fan page. For restaurants, put the Facebook logo, your username and a call to action on your menus.

I was at a hotel in San Francisco last fall and they had a placard in the elevators promoting their presence on Facebook and Twitter. The sign was very noticeable because of those ubiquitous Facebook and Twitter logos/colors!

#15. Add a Link on Your Personal Profile

If you’d like to promote your fan page to your Facebook friends, just under your photo on your personal profile there is a section to write something about yourself. I call this the “mini bio” field and strongly suggest adding a link to your fan page like so:

Be sure to format the URL with http:// otherwise it will not be clickable with just the www’s. You have a limited amount of characters, so keep it succinct and leave out the www’s. You can put in hard line breaks though to make the content easier to read.

#16: Add a Badge/Button to Your Profile

Using an app like Profile HTML or Extended Info, you can create your own custom HTML, including a Facebook badge and/or graphic embedded, as shown in the screenshot below:

#17: Use the Share Button

The Share button is all over Facebook and is a very handy feature. It only works for sharing on your personal profile. So periodically go to your fan page, scroll toward the bottom left column and click the “Share+” button. Add a compelling comment along the lines of exciting news, recent changes, special incentives, etc., happening on your fan page and invite your friends to join if they haven’t already. I find the Share button far more effective than the Suggest to Friends approach. (And, if you’d like to Share content from the web on to your fan page vs. profile, I highly recommend using the Hootlet bookmarklet tool at HootSuite.com).

#18: Use the @ Tag

As long as you’re a fan of your own fan page, you can “@ tag” it on your own personal profile wall. From time to time, you can let your friends know about something happening on your fan page by writing a personal status update that includes tagging your fan page with an @ tag. Simply start typing the “@” symbol and the first few letters of your fan page name (this works whether you have your username registered or not), and it will appear from a drop-down menu to select. This then makes it a nice, subtle hyperlink that your friends can choose to click on.

#19: Autograph Posts on Other Walls

A subtle way to gain more visibility for your fan page is to add an @ tag for your fan page when writing on your friends’ walls as a way to sign off.

I would use this one sparingly and, again, monitor the response from your friends. I have never been a fan of adding a signature block on Facebook wall posts because our name and profile picture thumbnail are always hyperlinked right back to our profile anyway. But the simple @ tag could be effective.

#20: Autograph Other Fan Pages

As with adding your fan page @ tag to posts you make on your friends’ walls, you could equally use the same technique when posting on other fan pages. This needs to be used with discretion and I would advise against doing this on any potentially competing fan page!

#21: Maybe Use “Suggest To Friends”

I won’t rule this one out completely as it does depend on how many friends you have, your relationship with your friends, how often you suggest fan pages/friends to your friends, etc (see ‘The Big Myth’ above). But I do recommend monitoring the response to this technique – perhaps simply by asking for feedback in your status update.

So, these are just 21 ways to create strategic visibility and promote your Facebook fan page.

Let’s hear from you.  Which ones have you implemented with success? Plus, do feel free to add any of your own creative promotional ideas in the comments box below!

Article by Mari Smith

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6 Tools Every Real Estate Agent Should Have For Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Tools For Real Estate Agents

Social media can be confusing.

Keeping up with the multiple social channels; posting original content and coming up with a social media plan that generates leads, engagement, revenue or some other tangible goal can make you feel like pulling out your hair.

However, studies show that social media marketing works. In 2014, investment in social media is a necessity, and no longer a luxury.

According to Social Media Examiner, companies using social media for 3 or 4 years see an improvement in their search rankings too.

Social media is not just a trend that’s going to pass – and marketers are taking note of it. Since there’s no ignoring social media, here are some tips on how you can make it painfree and easy (even if you hate it).

Choose your social media platforms

You don’t have to be active on all social platforms out there. There, I said it. You can breathe now.

In fact, be very aware of what accounts you monitor and focus on.

Don’t spread yourself too thin. As a rule of thumb, if you’re starting out, have your presence on the “Big 4” sites:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Google+
  4. LinkedIn

You should consider Pinterest and Instagram depending on your target audience. Once these are out of the way, you may then consider the more focused community-based platforms such as Tumblr, StumbleUpon and the likes.

Everything else? Only focus on them once you’ve crossed the bare-minimums off your list. So when your photographer friend comes raving about a new social platform, stop and ask some smart questions before jumping in and creating another “free” (and soon-to-be-dormant) account.

It could be that a platform works well for them because it attracts a strong community of people interested in photography and related services.

But for you? It’s plain distraction. Choose and invest your time wisely.

Be intentional about social media

Many small business owners focus on the immediate number of followers or shares. Only about one in three marketers agree that they are able to measure their social activities ROI.

What is your goal from those followers? Is it brand awareness, leads or loyalty? If most of the 25,466 followers on your Twitter are disengaged, does that do any good to your ROI?

In short, get clear about your end-goal from social media.

Make posting a part of your morning routine to schedule posts for social media. For example, if you’re a retailer, you can have a daily post about “Featured and discounted item of the day” with visuals.

Have “themed days” so your audience gets used to expecting a certain type of content from you depending on the weekday. When your intention is clearly laid out, it’s super-easy to come up with content and you gradually build a habit to post everyday.

You can spend as little as 6 hours/week on social media and still generate leads off it.

According to Social Media Examiner’s 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, more than 64% of marketers are doing just that. Out of those, more than 84% saw an increase in their traffic from the invested hours of effort.

Here are 6 social media marketing tools to make your management pain free, quick and easy.

1. Outsource

Sometimes you just don’t have the time, inclination or energy to manage several social accounts.

In an ideal world, you want an inhouse person or team to take charge of your social media. But hiring a dedicated staff as a small business can be expensive.

For small businesses, outsourcing is a brilliant midway that doesn’t cost much and let’s you dedicate a resource for your social media tasks.  Done-for-you service $99 Social can help you save time and money.

At $99/mo, you get a dedicated account manager who posts individualized content 7 days a week to your pages.

6 Social media Marketing Tools

If you’re the DIY type, here are more tools that will help.

2. Scheduling

You can use popular tools like IFTTT and Buffer for scheduling purposes. But what if you’re posting great content all at wrong times?

Small businesses can be smart by analyzing the best times to post with Tweriod.

6 Social Media Marketing Tools

Go to Tweriod and sign in with your Twitter account. Tweriod will work out a report based on your followers. Once the report is ready, they share it via DM. The free version can analyze upto 1000 followers.

3. Management

You’ve already heard about tools such as Hootsuite and Sendible. These work well for small and mid-sized businesses.

If you are a B2B marketer with a lot of content to distribute, Oktopost makes social media management easy across your many profiles, groups and company pages. It can also monitor LinkedIn company pages and groups. Oktopost focuses on tracking to determine which channels bring the most ROI.

The tool integrates with Marketo and Salesforce also.

6 Social Media Marketing tools

You can start your 30-day free trial and choose from plans as less as $9/mo to $249/mo for multiple users.

4. Content curation

Swayy tells you what to share with your audience on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

6 Social Media Marketing tools

Once you share a suggested piece of content, you can view analytics inside the app (retweets, mentions, favorites, followers, shares links clicked etc).

You can start with $0/mo for one dashboard.

5. Visual content

Social has evolved into visual social. Twitter recently allowed larger header images following Facebook’s successful move to Timeline in 2011 that brought a whopping 65% increase in engagement for Facebook.

According to a study conducted by the folks at Buffer, images can increase retweet rate by 150%.

6 Social Media Marketing tools

Compfight is a free Flickr search tool that makes image sourcing a breeze. It pulls all photos under Creative Commons for Commercial use license.

You can do a quick search for emotions, objects, concepts and pick an image that best represents your content. Compfight also provides you with an HTML attribution code to give attribution to the owner.

6 Social Media Marketing tools

Search results for “smile”

6. Online reputation

Topsy is a neat little social search engine to keep a tab on what’s being said about you or your brand online. Just punch in the keyword (or your name, industry, competitor) and Topsy will search links, tweets, photos videos, and any influencers who mentioned you.

You can sort the search results by relevance, oldest or newest.

Here’s a search result on my name:

6 Social Media Marketing tools

Wrapping it up

There are simple ways to make your social media management a breeze, and they don’t have to cost you a fortune. When it comes to social tools, which ones are your favorites? Share with us in the comments!

Author bio: Pooja Lohana is an Online Business Coach + Writer & Editor. She helps entrepreneurs shine their blog and copy, and simplifies online marketing so they can make more sales and live the Un-9-5 life. Check out her step-by-step course on breaking into freelance writing.

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7 Steps To Social Media Stardom

7 Steps to Becoming a Rockstar at Social Media

Writers of fiction and indeed all artists are creative but most importantly, they are natural born leaders.  If they were not leaders, they would not start creating in the first place.  The mark of a great artist is that he or she continuously improves and gains vitality with each new creation.

A true artist never stops exploring new ground with their art.

Artists are open to feedback (and feedback is often negative), are resilient in the face of adversity and use all that happens in their lives to improve their self-expression.  They balance the challenges of staying true to their vision with commercial viability.

If you’ve been working in social media for a while, chances are, you relate to the plight of artists.  Like great artists, the best social media marketers are creative and are natural born leaders.  Inspired artists express themselves without the presence of a manager or any sort of supervisor.  They just simply do what comes naturally.

Be willing to experiment

You probably jumped on social media marketing without any manager or boss telling you to use social media as a marketing channel.  As a marketer, you have the innate curiosity to find out how you can shape the new social media channels and like all great artists, you’re not afraid to experiment.  You don’t allow trolls to deter you and you keep pushing for your vision for your business or career.

Maybe you’re already inspired by a mentor, a manager or a business person and are seeking to become more like him or her.  You have a vision for the life you’d like to create for yourself.  You are focused on self-actualization and insist on delivering the best of your abilities no matter what you do.  You are in a way, an artist.

The habits

So what are the seven habits of artists who end up enjoying success in their careers?  By the way, success can have different meaning to different people.  It does not always mean fame, fortune, you know the trappings.  It could be the mastery of a particular style, a mentorship or acceptance by a group of people whom one respects highly.

1. Be inspired

Follow those who inspire you.  Observe what they’re doing.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.   For beginners, visionaries like Steve Jobs, Sir Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington all have biographies that you can read.  Once you’ve started there, find out the people they worked with and start following them on social media.  Observe very carefully what they talk about, what they share, read, read and read.

2. Connect with others

As you go on reading about those who’ve made a huge impact on our lives, you’ll also observe some of the people they’re inspired by and some people they collaborate with.  By all means, connect with these people on social media.  Make an attempt to find out what they’re working on.  At this stage, start forming a strong idea of how your strengths (you know your personality type, your strengths, skills, weaknesses and what you love to do) can contribute to projects that you’re finding yourself getting excited about.

3. Get Personal

You will get rejected and you will have good and bad interactions with others in your pursuit of strengthening your personal or business brand on social media.  Let all of these interactions be a lesson to you.  Do not be afraid to be vulnerable.  Reveal any weaknesses you felt and how you could improve for next time.  Think and express these thoughts on social media in a way that can help others express themselves and objectives better.

4. Get over yourself

I love to throw in the random Prince reference.  If you haven’t seen Purple Rain, check it out ASAP.  In the movie, Prince is a real dickhead.  He bullies his band mates and refuses to look at the songs they write (even though they’ve just written Purple Rain).  He strokes his own ego by literally jerking off on stage with his guitar.  Don’t be that guy.  Write stuff that will be meaningful to others and that also brings me to my next point.

5. Seek collaboration

There are people out there who are possibly doing a better job than you are.  Acknowledge and seek collaboration opportunities with them.  You will learn so much by working within a team.  Yeah, yeah, creating and being an artist is a solitary profession, but consider this, David Bowie is known to have brought out the best in the musician he’s worked with, so seek people who have a knack for bringing out the best in you, and do great work together.

6. Accept that sometimes your less inspired work will be rewarded

I will throw in another David Bowie reference here, my apologies.  I’m somewhat obsessed with his career.  You will also find that sometimes your most inspired work will not be the one that gets the most amount of attention or attracts the most funding.  Ziggy Stardust was truly inspired stuff, as was Thin White Duke, but when we talk about David Bowie’s commercial success, that peaked with Let’s Dance, an album that David Bowie does not consider to be his most inspired work.  Such is life.

7. Never stop exploring

No matter how many goals you’ve kicked, how many followers you’ve got, who you know, etc… there’s always got to be something you’re striving for, otherwise you might be on your way out.  Find some way to always have something to look forward to.  You can.

Take these tips, apply them liberally and see where it takes you.  I look forward to connecting.

Guest Author: Eda Utku is a writer who believes that every fiction writer is an entrepreneur.  Eda shares inspirational thoughts and her writing projects on her website, NeedHelpWriteNow.com 

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8 White Hot Twitter Tools To Becoming A Tweeting Pro

The reasons to join Twitter are plentiful. In fact, Jeff recently wrote a wonderful post on why it is often misunderstood and people aren’t jumping onto it earlier.8 Great Twitter Tools That Will Get You Tweeting Like A Pro

The experiences I have had with Twitter were amazing and it was by far the most valuable Social Network for me to use.

What I like best about Twitter is it’s open structure, not only for users, but also for developers. It has grown to an ecosystem of over 1.5 million Apps and continues to register a new Tool every second. With this massive amount of Apps it can often be quite overwhelming to know which Tools to use.

Here are the tools I use daily to make me more efficient and get you Tweeting like a Pro:

1. BufferTweet With Better Results

Whenever I am reading an article, I wasn’t quite sure, whether Tweeting it right now was a good idea. It might have been very early in the morning or late at night. By putting all Tweets I have into my Buffer, they will be posted for you at the optimal times, well spaced out over the day. You can add Tweets your Buffer right from the article with the browser extensions with just one click.

Pro Tip: What helps me a great deal is that Buffer provides me with analytics for each Tweet that I post. You will learn about the number of clicks, retweets and reach right inside the App.

8 Twitter Tools to Tweet like a Pro

2. TwylahGive Your Tweets A Longer Life

As a matter of fact, a Tweet’s life is only very limited. If you want to prolong its life, Twylah is a wonderful way to do it. The App automatically displays all Tweets from your stream on a beautiful Twitter Brand Page for you. It will give your followers a chance to learn about the topics you are Tweeting without having to study your Twitter stream beforehand.

Pro Tip: Twylah also offers you to send a “Power Tweet”, which will allow you to post a Tweet to a Twylah page. This page is surrounded by a lot of other relevant content and has shown to increase engagement with a Tweet considerably.

8 Twitter Tools to Tweet Like  Pro

3. MarketMeSuiteYour Powerful Social Media Dashboard

Only recently the paid only MarketMeSuite has opened up its service to be free for everyone. It boasts a ton of great features that make it well worth giving a go. You can create reply campaigns, pull in RSS feeds and compare the Klout score of the users you are interacting with you. On top, you can also collaborate with other’s through the App’s multiple user setting.

Pro Tip: What I like best about MarketMeSuite is that all its features are explained in comprehensible videos as soon as you sign up for it.

8 Twitter Tools to Tweet Like  Pro

4. TweriodFind Out Your Best Times To Tweet

Ever wondered which times of the day would be the best for you to Tweet? Look no further as Tweriod, as the App gives you a wonderful analysis of when you will be able to reach most followers. The App takes into account how well your Tweets have performed at various times and when your followers used to Tweet the most.

Pro Tip: What I like best about Tweriod is that the algorithm excludes Twitter Tools which schedule or auto-tweet as this obviously means your followers aren’t online.

8 Twitter Tools to Tweet Like  Pro

5. TwilertGoogle Alerts For Twitter

This is an App I suggest you might give a go if you are trying to monitor a brand or search term on Twitter continually. Similar to Google Alerts, Twilert can set up any term and then be notified about any activity on Twitter about it. This was particularly helpful if you can’t spend too much time on Twitter each day, yet need a daily digest email to be informed.

Pro Tip: If you give it a go, take a look at the great filtering options ranging from mood, languages and date filters.

8 Twitter Tools to Tweet Like  Pro

6. TweetWallyTurn Tweets Into Blogposts

Similar to an App called Storify, which Jeff has reviewed a few weeks back, TweetWally is a wonderful solution to bring life back to your Tweets. You can take your own stream, do a search or follow a hashtag and make beautiful collections of any Tweets you find valuable. This can be very useful if you are following an important event, conference or else.

Pro Tip: Once you have made your collection you can easily embed all Tweets as a blogpost and offer it as an innovative piece of content for your readers.

8 Twitter Tools to Tweet Like  Pro

7. ParrotFishGet More Insights Into Tweets On Twitter.com

ParrotFish from Embed.ly labs is a wonderful productivity tool to save you a lot of time. It displays all links from Tweets you come across with rich text preview. This means you can read up on the post from the link, before clicking through. I found this to be a great way to stay focused on reading news and not get distracted by clicking on posts which aren’t worth my time.

Pro Tip: The Chrome Extension also comes with a functionality to save items to Instapaper directly from Twitter.com, this was a huge efficiency boost for me.

8 Twitter Tools to Tweet Like  Pro

8. TweetLevelConnect with the right people on Twitter

Whilst building your network on Twitter, it is often key to make those people you engage with relevant and impactful for your niche. TweetLevel offers a wonderful solution to search other Twitter users by a number of different parameters. For example you can search by influence, trust, engagement or popularity. It then makes it very easy for you to follow and start talking to these people right from the App.

Pro Tip: On top of users, you can also search by topics and key words. This will give you a wonderful display of graphs and pie charts around this topic.

8 Twitter Tools to Tweet Like a Pro

These are the top 8 Tools that help me the most to put Twitter to work for me. They all allow me to do things faster and more efficiently, yet they still require me to be active and not on auto-pilot.

Over to you now. Do you think these Apps can help you to improve your Tweeting too?

Author: Leo Widrich Co-Founder Buffer

The MagneticRealEstateAgent.com blog is hosted by Bluehost Web Hosting. For only $3.95 a month, Bluehost can help you set up and host your blog. Because MagneticRealEstateAgent.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, my readers can use this link to receive a 50% discount off the monthly price and a free domain name. *(Bluehost Terms & Conditions Apply)

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21 Hot Tips For An Awesome LinkedIn Profile

21 Steps to Create an Awesome LinkedIn Profile

Attending a conference, a networking event or a dinner party often leads to “that” question. “So what do you do?”

It used to be easy.

You trotted out words such as farmer, accountant or even lawyer if you were brave. One word was all it took. Today it can be a bit more complicated. Today we have careers, businesses and life work that didn’t exist a decade ago.

What are some of these?

  • App designer
  • Life coach
  • Zumba teacher
  • Offshore wind farm engineer
  • Chief content marketing officer

Often the person you are describing your career or business to has never heard of “that” job.

I remember one conversation, when I answered with the one word description “blogger”. The response was, “never met a blogger before”. Often the next part of the communication can get a little tricky when you have to describe what that means.

It can lead to using words that were only invented last week, causing raised eyebrows and quizzical looks. But conversation was always meant to be interesting!

The resume has changed forever

Resumes just like many things are migrating online. In the past you had a few sheets of paper that you mailed or faxed to potential employers to obtain that important interview. Today you are “Googled’ and your online resume is now a collection of “search engine results”. This means your activity online needs to be well managed and optimized. How many times has a person lost that important job due to a poorly considered weekend Facebook update or Tweet?

Employers like to see passion for a career so having a blog can be the difference between standing out or blending in.

The 21 steps to create an awesome LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn has redefined the online version of a resume and having a well organised LinkedIn profile is now essential. Melonie Dodaro is sometimes described as “Canada’s #1 LinkedIn Expert” and knows her stuff about LinkedIn.

Here are her 21 steps to making your LinkedIn profile awesome.

  1. Your name should only contain your name
  2. Your headline should be catchy and have keywords and phrases that you would want to turn up in Google search results
  3. Photo should be taken by a professional
  4. Social proof is important online, so make sure you have at least 500 connections. This leads to credibility and authority on the web.
  5. Add all relevant contact information
  6. Customize your website names to attract your target market
  7. Customize your profile URL
  8. Update your status daily that adds value to your network. This could mean your latest blog post, presentation or some content you found that is worth sharing.
  9. Use keywords and phrases that you and your business would like to be found for online
  10.  Write in the first person
  11. Speak directly to to your target market so they can self-identify
  12. Add a video or slideshow. Many people prefer to watch rather than read
  13. Tell people to click to play video as it is not that obvious
  14. Keyword load your skills and expertise section
  15. Use the “Projects” section to highlight free reports, downloads or to showcase the products and services you are promoting
  16. Again, keyword load your current and past work history
  17. Use keywords and phrases when filling out your “Experience” section
  18. Make sure you have at least 10 recommendations
  19. Add any volunteer experience you may have including causes you support
  20. Add any significant media awards, recognition and achievements to enhance credibility in the “Honors & Awards” section
  21. Join 50 groups

If you want to see how it should be done in a visual format check out the infographic below.

How to create an awesome LinkedIn Profile

Infographic source: Melonie Dodaro from TopDogSocialMedia 

What about you?

How is your LinkedIn profile? Could you do better?

What about your other profiles on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are they up to date? What have you found to be most important when optimizing your online profiles?

Look forward to your insights in the comments below.

Article by Jeff Bullas

The MagneticRealEstateAgent blog is hosted by Bluehost Web Hosting. For only $3.95 a month, Bluehost can help you set up and host your blog. Because MagneticRealEstateAgent.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, my readers can use this link to receive a 50% discount off the monthly price and a free domain name. *(Bluehost Terms & Conditions Apply)

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10 Clever Ways To Get Killer Article Ideas

article ideas 10 Creative Ways To Get Article Ideas

 

This is a guest contribution from Andy Nathan.

Have you ever asked yourself: How did they come up with that?

Have you ever read a blog post that made you wonder how you could do the same thing?

Well, in the list below we discuss the top 10 ways to find killer blog post ideas.

Some of these ideas are one-off solutions, and others can be used continually to help you create more blog posts that resonate with readers.

As we go through, take note of the ideas that will work best for you.

Top 10 Methods for Finding Killer Article Ideas

1. Google Keyword Planning tool

If you are going to write a killer article, make sure that it gets some SEO juice as well. The Google Keyword Planner tool can help you do just that.

Google 10 Creative Ways To Get Article Ideas

 

This tool not only helps advertisers bid for keywords on Google, but it is also a great research tool for bloggers looking to create quality articles.

Enter in a keyword relevant to your blog, and discover similar keywords that you can use in your writing as well.

2. Surveys

Do you want to write poignant articles that your clients will love—ones that they’ll thank you for because you’ve created something that helped them?

Surveys can provide insight into what your clients want to know and read about.

Develop surveys that ask your clients what their biggest problems and concerns are and write articles based on those topics. It’s a surefire way to keep their interest.

Simple survey tools like Survey Monkey and Gravity Forms can help you create targeted surveys.

 

survey 10 Creative Ways To Get Article Ideas

 3. Client questions

Perhaps you administered a survey, but still do not have enough to write about. A simple way to generate additional killer article ideas is think about what your clients ask you on a regular basis.

For example, if you have a coaching program, what are the top 10 questions clients have about using your services?

One question might be: Why do they need coaching?

If you get this question often enough then the simple solution is to create a blog post addressing the Top 10 reasons why you need coaching.

Blog posts that address a specific questions can be emailed to prospective clients as well.

4. Use Q&A forums

Next, look through the Q&A forums to find out what people want to know.

Sites like Quora have a wealth of information on virtually every imaginable topic.

This is great for new entrepreneurs who have not had enough appointments to know their clients most important questions.

 

quora 10 Creative Ways To Get Article Ideas

 5. Check out the competition

Use Spyfu or Google Trends to check out what keywords your competition is using and keep up to date on information they regularly put out on the web.

What is your competition writing?

You should never, ever copy your competition directly, but competitors may provide you with insight into what to write for your audience.

Why reinvent the wheel when someone has laid the groundwork for you? Use Spyfu or Google Trends to check out what keywords your competition is using and keep up to date on information they regularly put out on the web.

 

competition 10 Creative Ways To Get Article Ideas

 6. Set up a Twitter Search

The Twitter Search tool is one of the most valuable tools to research trends and ideas on the web, and for learning what people are discussing around specific hash tags and keywords.

Just enter a keyword, and it will give you the latest Tweets about that topic.

 

twitter search 10 Creative Ways To Get Article Ideas

Bonus Twitter Idea: You might also want to check out Twitter Trends to see what the big stories on Twitter are now. You might find a perfect lead-in for an article.

 7. What would piss off your readers?

Sometimes the best articles make us angry.

While we are not talking about just dropping the F bomb to elicit an angry response, you might want to irritate people with an article topic to grab their interest.

Be careful with this though, because it can backfire. Also, make sure the topic is something that people will care about enough to check out your page.

For example, if you have an affiliate site dedicated to health and wellness you might want to write an article tongue and cheek with a title like:

Let Them Eat Cake: Why Unhealthy Behaviour is Great Population Control.

8. Junk mail

Finally, you have a reason not to hate junk mail. If you are like me, then you probably receive numerous junk email notices every day. They pile up in your trash can until you remember to delete them.

Now you have a reason to hold off deleting your junk mail. Search your spam folder and find out what other people are talking about in their email.

 

junk mail 10 Creative Ways To Get Article Ideas

Most junk mailers spend time designing a message that motivates readers to action, despite the fact that no relationship was created with the recipient.

This means they spent time thinking about the titles and ideas that would attract attention. Are any of these ideas great blog posts?

If so, then you need to start trolling through your junk mail every day.

9. Be alert

You never know when a brilliant blog post idea will sneak up on you— whether it’s at family functions or networking events, while you’re spending time with your friends or on vacation.

Keep a notepad with you at all times or use the modern equivalent: Evernote.

With Evernote, you can do a voice recording on your phone about your great idea and then get back to your day.

Be vigilant, because great ideas are everywhere.

10. Spy on yourself

Earlier in this post, we discussed how you could research competitors for blog ideas.

Here’s another option. For blogs with at least 50 posts or more, review what posts drove in the most traffic to your site.

Google Webmaster and Analytics help you analyze your traffic numbers, and get a sense of which blog topics are resonating with your readers.

 

traffic sources 10 Creative Ways To Get Article Ideas

 

Final Thoughts

Creating killer article ideas can come from anywhere.

The inspiration is all around you.

The ideas mentioned in this post will make it easier for you come up with them on an ongoing basis.

Let us know your favorite, killer article idea in the comment section below, as well as how you came up with that idea.

 

Author bio: Andy Nathan is the founder of Smart at the Start, a blog and social networking consulting company that helps small businesses grow through bite-sized internet marketing services.

The WhoIsGregReed.com blog is hosted by Bluehost Web Hosting. For only $3.95 a month, Bluehost can help you set up and host your blog. Because WhoIsGregReed.com is a Bluehost affiliate partner, my readers can use this link to receive a 50% discount off the monthly price and a free domain name. *(Bluehost Terms & Conditions Apply)

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