Boost Brand Awareness with Facebook’s CBO!

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Over time, we’ve seen organic reach become non-existent on social. These days it really is a paid social ecosystem and if you know what you are doing and you are committed to testing and experimenting it can bear a lot of fruit. Not only do you want your product in front of new eyes, but you want your product in front of the right eyes.

Creating your own, solid branded content is important and while it doesn’t need to be your entire diet (we actually believe it should be about 50-60% of your content mix) it should be a significant portion of it. Once made, if you want that content to be seen you need to pay to make that happen. Then, when you boost content, you need to target the right audience for better results.

That’s why we’ve been utilizing Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) within the Facebook Ad Platform. CBO takes your top audiences and puts dollars behind posts that perform the best organically. CBO creates higher reach, engagement, and even follows.

In order to utilize CBO to its fullest, boosted posts should be high quality and have engaging captions so your target audience is as responsive as possible. This is one of the many reasons we believe in investing in quality content as well as experimentation. You want to make sure the asset is powerful so that if it does get seen, it is memorable and then you also need to try out different tactics to see what resonates. It is very important to not just sit back and play it safe.

One of our clients, Driftwood Jeans, is a unique denim line with chic embroideries that has been seeing incredible results from CBO. For the past few months, we’ve been experimenting with this tactic on many of their posts. First, we created four audiences to be assigned to Driftwood’s top-performing organic posts. Facebook then pushes funds to whichever audience AND post perform best. Then, at the beginning of each month, we swap out those audiences and continue experimenting with new ones.

We created a specific audience, one of many that we have created for this client, (that we cannot share here) that has really stood out. Then, CBO paired it with one of our PFC (Product Front and Center) video posts.

This was an engaging video and had an interactive caption. Because the post was also targeted to the perfect audience, we saw 568 likes, 32 comments, and most importantly, 24,956 video views. For a nominal investment, this asset packed quite a punch!

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Organic reach is nearly zero and less relevant than ever before. It is so important to have someone on your side that is well versed in paid social and not just acquisition experts looking for the best possible ROAS. If you are in the social media game, then you need to be creating content at scale, experimenting with different types, styles, cadence, and captions and then putting funds behind guaranteed delivery of that content to a variety of audiences.  If you stay the course and use tools such as CBO, then sometimes things catch fire.

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Truth Nutrition X @Stellathelight = Influencer Collaboration Success!

When a great brand and influencer pair together, what you see are quick results. Recently one of our clients, Truth Nutrition, an all natural, vegan pre-workout supplement, and influencer @stellathelight, came together for an epic giveaway collaboration.

 Stella, who is a plant-based health coach and fitness enthusiast, was not only a perfect fit for our client, but was also a positive, and professional partner. For the giveaway, Stella was asked to create a post promoting Truth Nutrition’s Vegan BCCA and she truly exceeded our expectations!

Instead of a simple in-feed post for the giveaway, Stella stepped it up and created a well-directed video showing how she incorporates Truth Nutrition into her diet and in the caption, explained all of the benefits of the product. Her motivation to do a stellar job for the giveaway showed that she is a hard-working partner, and someone we’d like to collaborate with in the future.


Not only did Stella provide excellent feedback and create good quality work, but it also produced great results! Our client saw an uptick of 200 followers, which is significant for an unknown brand and from a single post. This giveaway also earned a reach of 16,861 users and 397 profile visits which represents some solid visibility. The fact that she presented it in a fun and simple usage case, made that even more impactful. This served as an excellent advertisement for how and when to use the product. = Win!

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Because Instagram is now saturated with influencers, it has become more and more difficult to find partners who will settle on a reasonable and accurate market price and also provide very solid work. Sircle is always on the hunt for value plays in this arena and this partnership with @stellathelight provided just that. We will most certainly be working with her again!

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Stop, Collaborate & Listen!

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Over the years we have managed countless examples of successful collaborations between like-minded brands. They are proven winners with regards to improved awareness, increased followers/reach/email captures and they just really add to and augment overall metrics for a brand’s social strategy.

One of the most common ways for brands to collaborate is through a giveaway. The most common formula we like to deploy is to have two or more brands give a prize to a random winner who follows all brands included, leaves a comment on the giveaway post, and tags a friend in the comments. This alone immediately increases followers, engagement, and reach.

Sometimes we will loop in an additional brand that might be outside of the vertical but still appeal to a similar consumer. Just this week, one of our clients, Simply Tera’s, a line of organic and deliciously flavored whey and plant-based protein powder, teamed up with well-known healthy CPG brand Carrington Farms, as well as the outdoor equipment brand Yeti, for an epic giveaway.

The giveaway offered a prize of Simply’s Tera’s Chocolate Organic Whey Protein, Carrington Farms’ Coconut Oil Go Packs, and a Yeti insulated mug to create the perfect cup of joe for #NationalCoffeeDay, a popular social media-based “holiday.”  These types of days add extra juice to collaborations because the hashtag is trending and there is already a conversation around it. Add in a nice piece of creative and a solid prize and you have a winning formula.

Tera’s was acquired by Carrington Farms, back in March of 2018 and became a Sircle client soon after. As a way to grow each brand’s following and pair the two together in the minds of consumers, they began partnering in a series of collabs in June of this year.

Not only was it important to cross-pollinate a bit, but it was just as important to appeal to new audiences too. To help with this, we decided to loop in a 3rd brand in each giveaway to guarantee even more reach and engagement among new eyeballs.

The first giveaway launched in June with a Keto theme, which included a prize of Tera’s Simply Whey Vanilla Protein, Carrington Farms MCT Liquid Coconut Oil, and a sampler pack of the delicious Keto Bars.

The giveaway received an uptick in 100+ followers with extremely high engagement on all brands’ posts.

Their next collaboration launched in July and featured the popular blender brand, Ninja. The collaboration included a smoothie bowl recipe using Tera’s and Carrington’s products, and a blender included as an extra incentive! This giveaway was posted on July 10th and ran until the end of the month, creating a longer-runway for entries. When giveaways run for a longer period of time, there’s even more opportunity to advertise the giveaway through Stories, paid social, email and WOM, which affords users more time and entry points, to follow all brands, engage and enter! Running this longer giveaway created an influx of 200 new followers throughout the month.

Our team has mastered the art of a successful giveaway and to do so you need to double down on the tried and true, while also always be willing to experiment with the new. When collaborating, it’s important to think outside the box and create giveaways you believe your audience will love. Try to pair with like-minded brands, create assets that are compelling (VERY IMPORTANT) and make sure you’re promoting your giveaways via as many tactics as you can to improve your results.

If any brand wants to collaborate, we are all ears!

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Creating a Community With Facebook Groups

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At Sircle Media, we believe in three key categories for a successful social media strategy; content, engagement, and growth. Engagement is often the least focused on, but we believe it is the most important of the three pillars.  The whole point of social media is to be just that, social. You need to post content with the hopes of striking up a conversation and then be ready to continue the dialogue when a person takes action. When you actively respond to comments, customer concerns, etc., you show your customers you care about creating a relationship based on trust and respect.

A great way to foster a community is with Facebook Groups. In 2018, the new Facebook algorithm made groups more noticeable on the feed. Nowadays, Facebook Groups operate more like fan pages did a few years ago and they offer the only real organic opportunities on the social network. If you create a group that is properly centered around your brand and what it stands for, you give users the opportunity to move from loyalty to advocacy. You do this by sharing experiences, giving customer support, testing products and services, generating feedback from group users, and much, much more. These groups give you the opportunity to showcase your expertise and display dedication to your customers.

Here are some best practices that we found worked best for our client, Rethink Water, when we created their Facebook Group, called Project MOM-entum. This is where brand ambassadors share photos of their children drinking Rethink and then take part in a small, but active community of like-minded parents.

Facebook Group Best Practices

Give your group a catchy and effective name

Choosing the right name is one of the most important steps when creating your Facebook Group. Make sure your group name reflects the people who will be engaging with it every day.

Define the What and the Who of your group.

What is it?: A community? A hangout? A support group?

Who is it for?: Fitness experts? Personal trainers? Dietitians?

Make sure to include keywords geared towards your niche audience, because Facebook acts almost like a search engine with this. For Rethink, we decided to name their group Project MOM-entum that would be a place for moms to come and share content and stories about their favorite topic, their kids!

Understand your target audience 

What are they passionate about? What do they have in common? What are their goals, dreams, and aspirations? What would make them feel like they’re part of a community? Knowing all of this early on will help guide you when posting and engaging with your group members. Make them feel like the group is about THEM.

Engage as frequently as possible 

It’s not enough to just know who your audience is, but you also need to give them attention and show that you care. Answer customer questions, generate feedback and improve the customer experience every day.

Post your best content 

Yes, a Facebook Group is a community, but it can also be a visual platform. Not only should you post your own “best-of” content to start a discussion, but you can also collect user-generated content from your group members and share, share, share.

Push the community agenda 

Make sure that your customers, influencers, brand ambassadors and even new prospects know about the group. Don’t be shy about spreading the word and then make sure to add value to your members so they feel compelled to do the same. You want people to want to be insiders and then partake as much as possible.

The goal is here is more about depth than width. Meaning you want to harvest real loyalists, more than just focusing on boosting vanity metrics. It isn’t about maximum members, but more about highly engaged members.

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#TastesSoFresh: A Mutti Pomodoro Influencer Success Story!

At Sircle we believe influencer marketing is a must-have component of your social media strategy. One of the best ways to generate exposure for your brand is working with influencers on a calculated social marketing plan. Last October, one of our long-time clients Mutti Pomodoro, launched their #TastesSoFresh campaign. Mutti worked with 16 foodie influencers who authentically paired very well with the brand to promote the freshness of their finely chopped tomatoes.

Mutti Pomodoro is a Parma-based company that produces 100% Italian grown and produced, non-GMO tomatoes in a variety of forms. Mutti is the self-proclaimed guardian of authentic Italian tomatoes and honors a rich history while investing in innovation and leading sustainability practices. When finding influencers for a brand like Mutti Pomodoro, it’s important to search for those who are interested in creating delicious recipes and can genuinely speak about why their products taste so amazing.

The foodie influencers we carefully selected for the campaign shared videos of themselves eating their freshly chopped tomatoes straight from the can. Not only did this create great exposure for the product, but also gave them excellent user-generated content for their Instagram Stories and feed. This plan, therefore, nailed each of Sircle’s core pillars; growth (followers, impressions, reach and emails), engagement (captions, comments and lots of buzz from influencer followers) and content (really nice, influencer produced UGC).

Because Mutti is a very traditional brand, it can seem a bit more difficult to make their campaigns seem trendy in a social media space. That’s why searching for the most compatible influencers such as @madelinemhall, and @meatballssmama was essential for this niche brand. What is unique about working with true foodie influencers, is that many of them never show their faces in their posts. Once we found influencers that truly resonated with what our client is all about and got them to actually try the product, nearly all of them showed their faces in their posts. This is significant, as it assigns a deeper stamp of approval from these tastemakers AND it ties in nicely with Mutti’s marketing philosophy, which is that it is about the “chefs” as well as the food. If you love to cook and use great products, this really is the brand for you. This came across well thru this campaign.

Throughout the #TastesSoFresh campaign, we posted an influencer regram every two days to keep the buzz and momentum going and to show that Mutti tomatoes are perfect just the way they are; just tomatoes and salt. Once all of the influencers posted their videos, Mutti created a compilation video to send to email subscribers, creating even more exposure and interest in the product and helping create excitement among their growing community.

This campaign was a huge success and didn’t require a big financial commitment. It was more about hustle, finding good, smart partners and believing in our client’s awesome product(s). We will be running something similar back in the coming months, so be sure to go and check out Mutti and keep an eye out.

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Uplift Food + Influencer Blocking and Tackling Work = Success!

Influencers help move product, plain and simple.  Statistics show that 49% of consumers rely on influencers for product recommendations, while 40% of consumers say they purchase products or services after seeing them on Instagram, Twitter, or Youtube.

Because influencer marketing has become one of the main ways for brands to reach new audiences, 59% of marketers plan to increase their use of influencers. Here at Sircle Media, we believe deeply in the benefits of not just influencer marketing, but meaningful influencer partnerships that take things a bit deeper than one time collaborations.

Creating authentic, long-term partnerships with influencers fosters trust between a brand and consumers. When an influencer truly believes in your brand, their followers will believe in it too, especially when the influencer is authentic and true to themselves. This makes selecting the right ones, very important. It might seem like a daunting task, especially when a company is young and might be new to the social media game; though there are certain tactics a brand can use to implement long-term partnerships early on.

One of our clients, Uplift Food, has recently begun to deploy paid partnerships with true believers in their product. They focus on gut nourishing, prebiotic fiber with vitamin D and magnesium to help boost your mood. Uplift was founded by well known Registered Dietitian named Kara Landau, also known as @thetravelingdietitian. She was adamant about only working with fans and consumers and not just empty paid partnerships with people who dont use her product or believe in the company.

One of the strategies Uplift has used for creating influencer relationships is gifting in exchange for recipe posts. This is when newer or smaller brands pitch influencers that they trust will resonate with their product. An influencer then agrees to create a post featuring the product, and the hope is that when they discover that they love it, they continue to post with it because they truly believe in the benefits. Gifting can create incredible ROI, and in Uplift’s case, will also provide great user-generated recipes and content to use for their blog and Instagram account.

Because Uplift prides itself on the mood-boosting aspect of their product, on their feed you’ll find smiling faces of soon-to-be Registered Dietitians, health coaches, foodies, nutritionists, etc. With Uplift being a newer brand, we’ve found micro-influencers to be extremely beneficial. Micro-influencers (between 1-10K followers) might have a smaller following, but typically have much more engagement, and cost less, when it comes to paying for posts/endorsements of a product. Working with micro-influencers, when they have a smaller following allows partnerships to be more authentic. Not only have we been able to see success with these followers, but we have been able to make meaningful connections with them. The founder, Kara is in personal contact with all of these influencers and enjoys getting to know each of them to create a community.

When reaching out to micro-influencers for Uplift, we found success with college students studying nutrition, or soon-to-be Dietitians. We chose this specific audience to work with because they are the up-and-coming experts in this field and love to educate themselves on proper diet and nutrition. With a Founder like Kara in tow, we are one step ahead of the competition, because she is a rock star in this space.

One micro-influencer that we have seen great success with is the incredible Hannah, also known as @wholesomely_hannah. Hannah is studying food science at Penn State and loves all things health and wellness related. Her feed is loaded with recipes from sweet to savory. Back in April, we gifted her a bag of our product and asked her to give it a try. At the time, Hannah was studying the microbiome, so Uplift really resonated with her. After creating her first recipe, she absolutely loved the product! About a month later, she created an in-feed recipe post including the Uplift powder.

As Hannah continued to make delicious recipes using Uplift in her Stories and feed, our relationship grew, and she even created a testimonial video explaining how much she loves the product.

Another great example of the success that comes from gifting influencers is our partnership with @paiges_plates! Paige is a recent graduate of the Dietetics program at the University of Delaware and has just started the next step in her journey to becoming a Registered Dietitian at Rutgers University. Like Hannah’s, Paige’s feed is full of delicious recipes. For some time, Paige has followed and seen great success with the F-Factor diet which emphasizes the use of fiber, making her the perfect spokesperson for Uplift. Because we saw great success with Paige’s recipe posts and because she loves the product, we decided to do a giveaway for Memorial Day.

As our relationship grew, she also created a testimonial video explaining how much she loves Uplift. This was an unsolicited asset and one that helped us both. Not only has Paige enjoyed the functionality of Uplift, but being able to post about the product has helped grow her portfolio as a future RD. Win-Win!

Another successful influencer marketing tactic that brands utilize are long-term paid partnerships. In Uplift’s case, one of our new and paid long-term partnerships with Krista, also known as @frozen_bananas_, began as a gifted, unpaid partnership. Krista also makes mouthwatering recipes on both Instagram and her blog.

Krista’s first post was a delicious Peanut Butter Cup recipe using Uplift. The recipe was well-received by her audience, and she continued to use Uplift in many more of her posts and Stories. When we first started working with Krista, she was considered a micro-influencer but has grown over time to 13.9K followers. As her page gained momentum, we thought she would be the perfect influencer to begin a long-term paid partnership with.

Long-term partnerships create more visibility and authentic, meaningful relationships between an influencer and brand. In addition to creating meaningful relationships with influencers, Uplift loves to make connections with followers of those influencers by engaging consistently with their posts. We do that heavy lifting for our clients to make sure they stay engaged in those conversations.

When recipe maker Nicole, also known as @lashesandlemons, posted a recipe including the Uplift powder at the beginning of August, we made sure to engage with every earned comment from her followers. Following up with potential customers shows that you truly care about your relationships and want to develop a community. The whole point of social!

While Uplift is still a young and relatively unknown brand, they are playing the game right and have a lot of exciting stuff on the horizon. Our influencer partners and their followers will certainly be the first to know!

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Bare Bones + @ADashofdolly = A perfect partnership!

Selecting the right partners for your social media influencer strategy takes skill and savvy and when you choose wisely, great things will come from it. Recently, we saw this play out with one of our clients, Bare Bones, who brings all time-honored benefits of bone broth and collagen in a convenient and ready-to-use package. Recently, they partnered with an influencer named Dolly Sengsavang (@adashofdolly) who has expertise in creating delicious Whole30 recipes and spreading self-love and positivity. So not only is she a well-versed authority in our space but given her energy, she is also the type of brand alliance that is favorable for the client.

On Dolly’s feed, you will see beautiful photos of her food creations along with their respective recipes on her blog. She used to be a Whole30 certified coach and has highlighted the use of liquid broths in the past. The Whole30 diet is similar to the paleo diet, which encourages eating unprocessed meats as a source of protein. This background made her a perfect pairing for our client.

This collaboration began with a giveaway on Dolly’s Instagram account, as well as a takeover on Bare Bones’ Instagram Stories, signaling the launch of the product in all Whole Foods stores nationwide! The giveaway included four pouches of Bare Bones liquid broths, as well as their Collagen Peptides. In the giveaway post, Dolly explained how Bare Bones liquid broths are Whole30 approved and went into detail about all of its incredible benefits. She also shared the creative ways she loves to use bone broth by featuring a mashed potato recipe right on the Instagram Story.

Dolly doing a takeover on a Bare Bones Instagram Story made the followers aware of the giveaway and drove traffic to Dolly’s page showcasing all of her amazing recipes. Because she is an expert on the Whole30 diet which incorporates bone broth, Dolly can speak authentically about the usefulness of those Whole30 approved products. Her audience trusts her to be an expert and trusts that she’ll only recommend products she believes in.

Not only has Dolly been a great ambassador for the product, but she has also contributed creative ways to incorporate Bare Bones in the recipes she creates on her feed and on her blog. For avid readers of her blog, this gives even more exposure to the brand and shows the functionality of the product in Whole30 approved recipes.

Because her audience is niche and pairs so nicely with Bare Bones, her recipes and posts have generated earned comments by new potential customers, sparking up a conversation around the brand.

 

Earned Comments:

What we really love about Dolly, is that she puts in the work when it comes to comments. We say it all the time, that it is one thing to just post about brands and another to go deep in the comments. Not all influencers do that, so make sure you investigate before engaging one. Here she facilitates a conversation and we jumped in there too, to create a deeper connection with our newest fan.

Choosing the right influencers for your brand can create so many possibilities. In this case, Dolly, a well-educated Whole30 expert, was able to speak authentically about the use of Bare Bones, to create recipes that entice her followers to put the product to use AND helped facilitate sales. This is a real win for all parties and the reason we will be working with @ADashofDolly again, real soon. :)

 

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Instagram abandoning ‘Likes’ is a good thing…

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Instagram removing ‘Likes” on posts is a good thing. Here’s why:⠀

1- It removes reliance from a marketing POV on this vanity metric and will encourage marketers to look for deeper, more meaningful interactions. In the trenches, I have seen the algorithm tailor itself more towards rewarding different metrics of engagement such as comments, DMs, and Story interactions.⠀

2- Facebook (owner of IG) has already been encouraging people to be a part of groups for their high engagement and personalization over pages and I have personally seen a major uptick in the amount of content that I see on my newsfeed from different FB groups that I am a member of.

3- Instagram is sniffing out the fakes and even shutting down accounts that violate terms. The Social Network is continuing the conversation of getting social media back to what it was originally created for: Bringing people together to be social.  Marketers getting back to authenticity is a good thing for all of us.

4- By removing ‘Likes,’ brands will be forced to rethink their strategy and get back into the awareness and/or sales game.

Brands should have smart tactics in motion to achieve awareness/brand exposure at scale (social media is excellent for this) and/or should be running ads to drive sales on their domain, Amazon and/or in retail (social is excellent for this too). I have always felt that LIKES on posts sat in the middle of the tennis court so to speak, on this topic and really provided little actual value.

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On Competitor Analysis…

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On this episode of the Inner Sircle Podcast, I talk about doing some competitor analysis to help you make some decisions for your social media strategy. If you are on the fence about certain topics or tactics, look at what some industry leaders are doing and then follow suit. I reference some ideas mentioned in this Social Media Today article. Here are some top suggestions:

1. Sign up to receive email updates

2. Analyze video content

3. Track social media presence

4. Review top-performing content

7. Monitor changes to a competitor’s site

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Snapbac + Santia Deck = Influencer Gold.

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As we’ve stated many times before, at Sircle Media, we love to forge partnerships with thoughtful, authentic influencers. Recently one of our clients, Snapbac, (a line of compression-based sportswear that helps you warm up, work out and recover, all in one garment with revolutionary heat and ice therapy pods) partnered up with the incredible Santia Deck, an Olympic USA rugby hopeful and USA flag football athlete. Not only does Santia have a following of 328,000+, but many of them are real athletes who love to engage with her posts. Meaning she has width and depth.

The partnership consisted of some Instagram feed posts and Instagram Stories each month over many months. On Santia’s feed, she went above and beyond the terms of the contract, because she really found value in the product. This is such an important, though often overlooked ingredient to true collaboration with people of influence. Many get paid to promote products they don’t even use, to be honest, and that is just not the real deal. Santia sported their gear organically during her sprinting exercises and rugby workouts because they help her perform at her best, which is the intent of the product in the first place. These posts resonated well with her audience and she was the “featured actress” and Snapbac was just the supporting cast.

She also did a Story takeover and she discussed the benefits of the heat and ice therapy pods as well as why she loves the compression on both the top and bottom part of the body. Before the takeover, she announced that she would be doing so on her own Instagram Story. During the takeover, Santia did not post on her own feed, so it felt like she was genuinely taking over the Snapbac account for the day.

Her takeover offered real content from a fitness maven, explaining exactly how to use our product (=content Gold) and it also provided 2-3X the amount of impression consumption on each Story (in comparison to 200-300 which is the norm). We also had a spike of 100 followers that day along with DMs about our product and pricing (=buying questions!).

Santia Deck has been such an incredible influencer to work with. She is awesome, a real inspiration in fitness and a great partner. Not only did she wear Snapbac’s apparel in posts directed towards the brand, but she also wore the apparel in posts where she was advertising for other brands (=added value).

Working together with influencers that resonate with your brand and understand how to represent the product is what makes the right partnerships so successful. This is why Sircle believes in the power of a fully integrated partnership with real influencers who wield actual influence AND know how to play the game and really collaborate with their brand partners. Just another reason, why @trackbaby001 is a star!

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