Amanda Webb is the owner of Spiderworking.com. She is a trainer and consultant who works with small and medium sized businesses helping them to develop their social media and online marketing strategies, making the most of their limited time and budgets. She has worked as a trainer with both enterprise boards and private colleges and with a diverse range of businesses as a social media consultant. She is co-founder of the KLCK Bloggers network and Blog Awards Ireland.
I’ve always found Dan Zarrella’s graphs, stats and blog posts interesting so when I saw that he’d just released a new book ‘The Science Of Marketing’ I bought it for my Kindle immediately. It’s a great read and I find myself highlighting massive sections of it as I go.
This week I thought I’d share the 8 top Twitter tips I picked up from it. You’ll notice I have my skeptical hat on for some of it but in general it’s great advice.
1. Contra Competitive Timing
The data on the best time to post to get click throughs on Twitter shows that it is very often after the working day is finished or at the weekends. Dan calls this contra competitive timing.
“I follow thousands of accounts on Twitter. My Twitter stream is very active during the business day Monday through Friday. On the weekends, it moves much slower and what content does come through is often about sports and other non-work-related topics. The few times something interesting about marketing does show up on a Saturday or Sunday, it gets more of my attention because there are fewer things fighting for it.”
I am a day time, week day tweeter, maybe because I’m business to business, however it is worth experimenting with tweeting at different times, particularly if you are sharing your own content to see if you get a better result with less competition. Try tweeting at weekends or late in the evening.
2. Tweet Your Own Links Later In The Day
According to the research:
“Tweets posted later in the day – afternoon Eastern time – tended to have higher CTRs [click through rates]than tweets posted early in the morning”
Again it’s worth trying. Dan puts this behaviour down to the working day, people are more likely to procrastinate or take their foot off the pedal later in the day meaning they are more likely to look and interact with links on Twitter.
3. Put Links To Your Own Content Closer To The Beginning Of a Tweet
Dan’s data shows that tweets with links posted towards the beginning of the tweet get a higher click through rate:
“After I posted these data several people have told me that they’ve experimented with the format like ‘new post: http://linktopost.com title of the post’ and it worked for them.”
Why is this? Even Dan isn’t sure. Could it be the novelty of seeing a tweet constructed another way or do we psychologically click a link when we don’t have to do much reading beforehand?
4. Share Your Content Often
I was on the #blogchatie Twitter chat recently and I was surprised to hear that many of the contributors only posted a link to their newest blog post once. I tweet mine at least twice a day until the next one comes out! I understand that it can be overkill if all you see the same link constantly appearing from the same account but it’s important to remember that Twitter a fast moving stream, because of this many of your followers won’t see your post if you share it just once.
“Share your content – and don’t be afraid to share it a few times – and find content from other sources that will also interest your audience and share those links”
It’s not enough just to share your own content of course, you must share other relevant links as well but you don’t have to worry so much about the CTR on those.
5. Be Original
“If you want me to share your content, you need to say something new, something I (and my followers) haven’t heard – or read before”
This is something we have all encountered on social media, a huge media event happens and businesses all try and jump on the bandwagon. Newsjacking and Real Time Marketing can be hugely effective but it is always important to contribute something new to the conversation. In doing so you become more attractive to followers and will look like an authority. For example I try and do this by looking at events from the perspective of small and medium sized businesses as this is my niche.
6. Avoid being self referential
This is an unusual one. On Facebook posts tend to perform better when you refer to your own experiences and yourself. Words like me & I do well there. On Twitter it’s the opposite. The Data proves that you are less likely to get retweets when you refer to yourself.
“If you’re on Twitter to communicate with friends you know in real life, feel free to talk about yourself all day long, but if you’re there for marketing and business reasons, stop talking about yourself.”
Rather controversially the data also shows that the highest followed accounts on Twitter rarely engage in conversation. If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know I’m a big believer in the power of conversation in social media. The problem with the data as far as I can see is that it is an analysis of the most followed accounts on Twitter. For smaller businesses and people just starting out it is almost impossible to get followers without conversing. My Facebook followers seem to agree.
7. Ask For Retweets
“Calls to action work in all forms of marketing, and social media is no different. If you want more retweets, ask for them”
This is another one that I’m uncomfortable with. I’ve seen this data a lot over the last few years so it does seem to be true that asking for a RT will get you more RT’s. However from a personal branding point of view I would rarely ask for someone to share my content. To me it always seems a little like begging. However, it does work so if you feel comfortable enough with doing it you should see results.
8. Post lots of links
“Accounts that posted 60 to 80 percent links tended to get the most retweets.”
Dan’s analysis concludes that posting lots of links (as opposed to tweets without links) will result in more retweets. Could this be because a link adds more value than 140 characters alone?
Even Dan himself says you should take the data with a pinch of salt, experiment with it and see if it works for you. I’ve been playing with putting my links closer to the start of my tweets this week and might try a bit of contra competitive timing.
I’d highly recommend reading the rest of The Science Of Marketing as it’s jam packed with tips like these covering multiple networks, blogging and promoting e-books and webinars. You can buy it here in hardcover or Kindle version. (affiliate link)
This weeks cool tool is a bit of fun but one that is bound to delight you.
The new video feature from Vizify makes a short trailer of your Twitter account. It’s a nice one for a Monday as it’s bound to put a smile on your face.
From a professional point of view it could be a good tool to show people why you are worth following you. It’s easy to say that you do a certain thing or promise something when people follow you but this shows people.
Click the ‘Go button’ and authorise the app with your email address and Twitter
Wait a couple of minutes as Vizify processes your account, it will show you a cute animation whilst it computes.
Now make sure your sound is switched on and click the ‘continue’ button.
Click the ‘edit’ and you can customise your video. You have the option to edit what information appears, delete specific segments and add more of others. This gives you the opportunity to customise your video 100%.
You can also change the background music.
I love that there is a ‘Follow’ call to action at the end as well, this really is a trailer for your Twitter account so it’s worth spending some time making it an accurate representation of what you do.
It’s been an interesting week. Facebook finally added hashtags, although I don’t have them yet, and there’s been loads of great content for me to choose from. I even found a fantastic tutorial on setting up a hosted WordPress blog which is particularly relevant as we’re just about to launch Blog Awards Ireland 2013.
5 Ways to Make Your Customers Feel Loved
The first article I’ve chosen this week isn’t exclusively about social media but the lessons learned can certainly be applied to it. Delighting our customers is one of the best ways to encourage positive word of mouth both online and offline. This article is full of tips on how to be delightful.
How to Ensure Your Facebook Contests Attract Genuine Fans
I love this article. Once you have got to grips with your social networks and understand posting you should start thinking about how you can be more creative, how you can really stand out and be special. That’s what ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ is all about. It’s one you definitely want to sit down and have a good read of, you will be inspired!
How to Set Up a Hosted WordPress Site
WordPress is a very impressive blogging tool but it can be so much more. If you are comfortable with your WordPress.com account but would like more features or if you want to expand from just a blog to a fully fledged website I’d highly recommend looking at a hosted WordPress.org site. My own site is slowly being built on it and I’ve recently developed the We Teach Social site on it.
The Infographic I’ve chosen to share this week, cheekily branded an ‘InfoComic’ by it’s developers is fun but also quite relevant. I agree with most of the points and love that they’ve managed to slip a Breaking Bad reference in there.
Facebook Introduces Hashtags – #Copycats
This week Facebook introduced clickable hashtags, although at time of writing they are still not enabled on my account, some people are delighted, others are terrified that this will lead to a flurry of unreadable status updates peppered with irrelevant tags. Love them or hate them I’m pretty sure they will be here to stay and that Facebook will soon be selling advertising based on them. Here’s an excellent overview from the Wolfgang Digital blog.
Nine Reasons Fans Don’t “Like” Your Status Updates
If you are not using Twitter yet or are struggling to get started take a look at the online course that I am running. It’s part of a new project ‘We Teach Social’ that I am working on with the women from Write On Track. More info here.
I’ve been working with a lot of small businesses recently and it’s becoming apparent that when many of them talk about social media they are talking about Facebook. I often slip into the trap myself, referring to Facebook examples when there are just as good marketing going on on Twitter, Pinterest and even Google+.
I believe that Twitter is a hugely underutilised business tool and here’s why I think it beats Facebook:
1. Your Tweets Will Appear In The Newsfeed Of Everyone Who Follows You
Probably the biggest gripe from Facebook business users is that not everyone who Likes their page sees their updates. Facebook filters what is shown to individual users using an algorithm called EdgeRank. This means that not everyone will see your posts.
There is no EdgeRank on Twitter, your tweets will appear on the feeds of all the users who follow you. It is a nosier network so although they appear they may not always get seen, but Twitter isn’t filtering them out so you have a better opportunity to reach the people you want to. If you use a tool like Tweriod you can even find out what the best time to tweet is in order to reach your followers.
2. You Can Talk To Anyone
The biggest challenge on Facebook is to get people to Like your page. It’s only then that you can really engage with them. You can connect with business pages and chat there but I find the conversation is quite limited.
On Twitter you can talk to anyone, they don’t need to follow you, you don’t need to follow them you can just find people who are of interest to you and get straight into a conversation. It’s a fantastic tool for finding and connecting with new people, potential clients and those who will help spread your message further.
3. People Don’t Have To Follow You To Discover Your Tweets
People on Twitter can discover you because of your Tweets, if you are tweeting useful information they may find you via a ReTweet (like a Facebook share) from another user or they might find you when they search for particular topics.
You can meet huge amounts of people by tweeting with a hashtag during a television show, a conference or by joining a Twitter chat. Try out #blogchatie tonight (13th June 2013) if you want to see what a Twitter chat is like.
4. Twitter search
For me Twitter search is the killer feature. You can search posts on Facebook but it is very limited due to privacy settings. On Twitter you can enter any simple search term and find people talking about a particular word or topic. It’s a great way of finding people who are looking for your service or for the content you have created.
Of course Twitter isn’t for everyone, you need to make sure that your customers and potential customers are there before you embark on a campaign but if you are using Facebook alone I would highly recommend giving Twitter a look.
I asked my Facebook Likers which network they preferred and here’s what they said. Which do you prefer Facebook or Twitter? What are the killer features for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Oh and don’t forget to follow me @spiderworking when you join up.
This weeks cool tool is one for Twitter newbies. Navigating the language of Twitter can be a minefield, you’ve got the RT’s the MT’s the HT’s the hashtags, the @replies and more. It can be enough to scare people off before they’ve got started.
Beyond those more obvious examples there are multiple other terms that pop up in Tweets and that’s where this weeks cool tool ‘Twittonary’ comes in handy.
Now Twitter presents you with a list of results. The one that struck me here was ‘Quacking’ but of course it does describe a hashtag too.
This is in no way a comprehensive guide to the language. The first term I searched ‘Subtweet’ returned no results. It is however being constantly updated and it’s worth having a look at some of the terms stored in the app. There were a few there that I’d never heard of.
And if you find something new yourself you can even submit a word to the dictionary.
The cost of Facebook offers seems to have spiraled out of control. A simple Facebook offer that cost me €8 to promote when they were first launched now costs €64. Luckily I’ve been paying attention to Jon Loomer’s blog so that when I wanted to launch my latest Facebook offer I knew exactly what to do.
Here’s how to pause your Facebook offer so you can just let it spread organically for free or go and choose your own budget in Power Editor.
When you are a Twitter newbie it can be hard to find people to follow. I know when I started out I followed a bizarre mixture of people. Some of them I still follow, others I’d like to ditch but it seems like such a lot of work to go through my list and unfollow, so I just live with it. Because of this I rely heavily on lists and although this is a really handy way to filter my stream I’m always aware that I’m not connecting with all the people I should be on a regular basis. To stop this happening to you try this weeks cool tool FollowerWonk comes in.
Whether you are new to Twitter and are just looking for relevant people to follow or if you a more seasoned user who wants to connect with new people it will be really helpful.
Once you have found people to follow you could create a list of them prompting you to engage with them more frequently.
FollowerWonk has lots of features but this week I’m just going to look at the search feature which is by far the most useful.
Now you can filter your search to a specific location, the number of followers or folowees a user has.
I searched for key-phrase ‘Small Business’ location ‘Ireland’
The results should bring up a mixture of my competitors and people who share my target market, both good groups of people for me to get to know better.
Now you can choose who to follow from the results. In the free version of the app you are unable to follow with one click within the FollowerWonk site but you can easily click through to view a profile and follow it.
You can also filter your results by number of tweets, following count, follower count, how long they’ve been using Twitter or social authority.
I can see this app coming in very handy. It can be hard to find new, interesting people to follow on Twitter and I love that I can search so easily for people within my target market or people who influence them. I can see me using this tool regularly in the future.
This week I seem to have chosen a bunch of links that are full of tips. From how to see more info on people on Linkedin without going premium to how to mark all your mail read on your iPhone or iPad it’s a tip filled social 7. Enjoy!
Worst Kept Secret On LinkedIn
I’m sure that like me you are getting a pile of emails from LinkedIn encouraging you to sign up for their premium service. I haven’t taken them up on their offer yet as it’s not a massive part of my strategy. I do get customers from LinkedIn but this year it’s not where I’m concentrating my efforts.
I have to admit I’ve been a slow starter on the Facebook Ads Power Editor but Jon Loomer is always promoting it. I’ve always been a fan of Facebook offers as they are a good way to measure return on investment and capture leads. However they are beginning to get expensive. In this tip Jon shows you how you can set up an offer, pause it and then target it to specific users later on. I’m about to launch an offer for We Teach Social so I guess I should really open up that Power Editor again!
How to Create A Blog Purpose Statement In 3 Simple Steps
It helps you put together a statement that should govern your blogging efforts in the future. It won’t take long to set up and will really help you focus on achieving results. I’ll have to spend a bit of time putting together my own blogging statement.
How To Mark All Emails As Read On Your iPhone
I’ve included this link as it was a problem that had been bothering me for some time. Yet it was only this week that I thought to Google for a solution. It’s annoying that when you collect your email on an iPhone or iPad via the inbuilt Mail app that you may have seen many of them before on another device. Unless you clicked on them one by one there was no way of getting rid of that annoying red flag telling you that you had mail.
A brand voice does sound like it’s something a big business should have but as I’ve mentioned before it should be an important part of your strategy as a small business particularly if there is more than one of you updating social media pages.
And finally this week some great examples from Short Stack on how you can get more from your Facebook cover photo now that the rules have changed. I’m loving some of these, particularly the one with the finger pointing at the Like button. Maybe because the finger belongs to someone with a big smile.
And From Spiderworking.com This Week
RT The Old Fashioned Way With Classic ReTweet
I was delighted to find this tool, it’s a browser extension that makes it as easy to RT the old fashioned way as it does the new way from the web. No idea what I’m talking about? Read more here.
How To Get Thumbnail Images To Show For Links On Facebook
Have you ever tried to post a link to Facebook and found that no thumbnail image appears? It’s frustrating as you know very few people are likely to click a link, or even notice a link with out one. Luckily there is a fix in most cases and in this weeks one minute video I demonstrate it.
An 8 Step Guide To Setting Up Facebook Competitions
Last week I was asked to speak to the KLCK Bloggers Network about Facebook competitions. It’s always a topic that gets people talking. Some people know they are running Facebook competitions against the rules but don’t know how to run them properly. Others are already running them by the rules and are frustrated by those breaking them and then you have users who have got used to the Like and Share competitions that pop up but are getting tired of seeing so many in their newsfeeds.
Whatever your opinion there are some strong marketing reasons to obey the rules.
1. You will attract more of your target market to Like your page
2. You won’t attract as many fake or spam accounts
3. You can get more information from the people who enter your competitions such as email addresses and use that information to market to entrants on other platforms.
4. You run the risk of loosing your Facebook page and you won’t get it back unless you spend thousands a month on advertising.
It’s important to put a plan in place for your competition before you start. This will mean that you will maximise the return on your investment and be able to measure more accurately what does and doesn’t work.
Here’s my 8 step guide to getting started
1. What is the purpose of your competition?
Likes – Yes Facebook competitions are absolutely the best way to get new Likes to your page but I think it’s important to target these likes. Do you want new Likes from the country or the town you operate in? Do you want to reach more people in the US? What age group do you want to target? Is it mostly male or female people? By getting into the nitty gritty of your targeting you can start to build your competition to attract the right audience.
Engagement – The ‘people talking about’ statistic on Facebook is becoming the most important stat to watch. Getting people talking about you will help push your page updates to more people, increase brand awareness and rank you higher on graph search. The best way to get a good stat here is to create and share valuable shareable content that is of interest to your target market but a competition can help too.
Using my favorite Facebook competition tool ShortStack (affiliate link) you can configure a sharing widget that prompts people to share your competition every time they enter.
When you are sharing the link to your competition on your Timeline you should share it with a good image. This way people are more likely to Like and Share it even if it isn’t part of the competition itself.
User generated content – If you run a photo or story competition you are getting your followers to create content for you. This is a great way to encourage more interaction and to involve users in your business. They will feel like they are part of what you are doing and are more likely to become brand ambassadors. Make sure you state clearly in the T&C’s of the competition that you will be using the uploaded images or stories for promotional and marketing purposes too.
Email subscribes – For me this is one of the easiest and most valuable reasons to run a competition. Even though I am essentially a social media marketer you cannot deny the power of email. Email subscribers will still be there even if Facebook isn’t and once you have that email, and permission to use it, you are able to communicate directly on a one to one basis with your potential customers. By using a competition app like ShortStack (affiliate link) you will not only increase your Facebook Like count but you can also increase your newsletter subscribers.
Whatever it is you want to achieve make sure you set yourself realistic goals. You can monitor these for the length of the competition and adjust your strategy if you feel that you are going to fall short.
Tip – Make sure you set SMART goals for your competition. That is goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Timely
2. What competition type?
I’ve written about Facebook competiton styles before. It’s important to choose the right type for your business and one that will match your goals.
Sweepstakes – We’d call these a draw in Ireland. This is when you put all entries into a hat and pick a winner. This is the type of competition that gets the most entries as users don’t have to do much. The barrier to entry is low.
Caption contests – Choose an amusing photograph and ask people to caption it. These work best if you include pictures of people or animals and ask contestants to tell you what they are saying. The barrier to entry is higher than the sweepstakes style so make sure that you have reasonable interaction on your Facebook page before you start. You will also need to decide how you will choose the winner. Will people vote for their favorite or will you get someone to judge it for you?
Photo competition – These competitions are great for getting user generated content. You will get less entries than through a sweepstakes or caption contest as people need to put in more effort. They will however give you lots of content to share and will encourage the friends of the people who enter to visit your page. We created one of these for Blog Awards Ireland last year and shared some of the photos as part of the AV on the night.
The barrier to entry is quite high so make sure you have a good interaction rate consistently on your page before you set one up. Asking people to vote for the winner will attract lots of extra people to your page but you can end up with not the best picture but the most popular person winning.
Story competition – Again the barrier to entry for these is pretty high but you can get some really lovely content to share. Once the competition is over you might think of making an ebook from the best entries.
Tip – Make sure you choose a competition style that matches your current interaction level to ensure enough entries
3. How are you going to seed it
How are you going to get your Facebook competition going? Getting those first entries is essential to it’s success and you will need to continually promote it to ensure a good flow of entries for the duration of your competition.
Mailing list – If you have an existing email list in place you should email them to let them know about your contest including the link and details. This is a great way to get existing subscribers to Like your Facebook page. For me this is the easiest and best way to seed a competition as you are starting with people who have already shown an interest in your brand by subscribing to your email list.
Facebook advertising – I’ve found Facebook advertising to be extremely effective for seeding and getting momentum behind a new competition. It also makes it easier to know that you are targeting the right people. Depending on the size of your target market you don’t need a huge budget. You can make a good start with €20 or €50. Make sure the ad is set up to land on your competition tab and not your Timeline.
Tease – Like a teaser trailer you can build up a bit of excitement about your competition before you even launch it. Tell your Facebook followers that you are going to launch a competition soon, you could even hint at the prize and what it might be about. The cleverer you are with your teases the more traction you will get when you do launch.
Promoting via newsfeed – Just because you’ve got a lovely shiny competition app on your Facebook page it doesn’t mean that anyone is going to enter. You are going to need to tell them about it regularly and the best way to do this is to share it as part of your posting schedule on your Timeline. It’s a good idea to vary the way you share the link to your competition tab. Create a few good images and share the link as part of the description when you post these. Post it as a link a few times and occasionally share that link without the thumbnail. This way you know you are going to reach a large portion of your existing fanbase.
Tip – Don’t forget to promote the last few days of your competition, make sure users know it’s the last chance to enter, this will spark a last minute rush of entries.
4. Choose A Prize
Choosing the right prize for your competition can be crucial. It can make the difference between lots of entries or just a few. Take into account all the steps above; your target market, how much effort they have to put in, how much it will encourage people to share.
Aspirational – your prize doesn’t have to be high cost but it should be aspirational. It should be something that people can imagine themselves with, something they can see themselves using or enjoying. A book is more aspirational than a book token, a years worth of chocolate more than a box of chocolate bars.
Related to your business – If you are someone who sells iPads it might be a good idea to give away an iPad, if you don’t find something that is relevant to what you do. If you can give away your own product that is ideal but if not find something that compliments what you do. For example if you promote a business service why not give away a stack of business books, if you are a local business why not club together with other local business owners and give away a hamper of prizes from the area.
Appeal to your target market – In step one you defined who you wanted to attract with your competition, your prize needs to compliment this. For example chocolate might attract more women and a sports prize might attract more men (I’m being very sexist here apologies).
Tip – If you are targeting people outside the country you are resident in always check the shipping rates and what you are able to ship to specific countries. For example some food items can’t be sent by post or courier to some countries.
5. What App Are You Going To Use?
Competition Apps – You have probably noticed by now that I am a big fan of ShortStack (affiliate) which has a free starter option for pages under 2,000 Likes and is well priced if you are over that. Download my ShortStack tutorial here.
There are plenty of other apps available. Probably the easiest to use is EasyPromos, it’ss slightly easier to get started with than ShortStack although lacking in features.
Image Editing Apps -If you really want your competition to stand out you will need to do a bit of design work. Sites like PicMonkey can help you resize and add text to images. If you want something more feature rich but a little bit more complex I use Photoshop alternative GIMP which you can download for free.
Tip – On ShortStack you can upgrade to a paid plan for a month and downgrade to the free plan once the competition is finished.
6. What Question Are You Going To Ask?
Whether you are running a sweepstakes competition or a photo competition you need to think about the question you are going to ask or what is required in the photograph/story/video etc.
Market research – You could use your competition as an opportunity to find out more about your customers. I’d recommend staying away from asking too many questions but if there is something that you would really like to know the answer to you have the opportunity to ask as part of your sweepstakes contest.
Shareable content – Even if you are running a sweepstakes you can ask your entrants to share something that you can then use for content on your Facebook page. This will not only encourage more entries but more interaction. Think of a question that isn’t too hard to answer that would provide interesting answers. I once ran a ‘tell us a joke’ competition for a client and they were able to make shareable memes from the less saucy jokes that were shared. For a photo contest you should set a theme that will compliment your brand so that when you re-share entries they will compliment your message.
Tip – It can be a good idea to ask a question that people will need to visit your website or bricks and mortar premises to enter.
You should however write your own set of rules for your competition. Here’s some things you should consider including:
Who can enter?
No cash alternative or substitution for the prize
If people are sharing quotes, jokes, stories, images or videos you need to say what you intend to do with them. Will you use them for marketing and promotion? If so include this in your rules.
Who can’t enter? What age group? People who work in the business or a sister company? People who are related to you?
How will the winner be picked?
What is not included in the prize – Delivery? Flights? Spending money?
Tip - If you are stuck for ideas for your rules Google ‘rules for Facebook competitions’ and you will find some great examples from other businesses to inspire you.
8. Measuring Success
At the beginning of this process you set yourself some SMART goals, now it’s time to see how you measured up. Of course measurement will depend on what goal you set but here’s a few tips.
Facebook Insights – Take a look at your Facebook insights page and monitor the increase in specific types of users. This could be by age by gender by country or by city. Make sure you make a note of these before you launch your campaign so you can easily measure results. You can also use insights to measure the increase in people talking about your page.
Email Subscribes – If you have asked people for an email address as part of the entry process and if you have requested permission to use this address in future it’s easy to measure new subscribers. ShortStack will either send you an email for every entry (free version) or write them to a database that you can download and open in Excel on completion of the competition. You can then take these emails and add them to your mailing list where permission is given.
Google Analytics – If you don’t have Google Analytics added to your website I highly recommend that you do. It gives you so much detail on where your traffic comes from and what pages it looks at it beats any other statistic tool. If website traffic was one of your goals you should monitor the traffic coming from Facebook before, during and after your competition.
For more info on Facebook competitions take a look at my previous posts on the topic: