In episode 323, Megan chats to Anika Gandhi, founder of Anika’s DIY Life, about using videos and reels to generate engagement on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. They explore what is the best length and topic for reels and what are the most important differences between the social media platforms.
We cover information about saving time and repurposing video across platforms, Facebook Reels are growing, short and sweet is more effective and you still need to be consistent with your posting!
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Bio Anika is a DIY and woodworking blogger/content creator focused on inspiring and empowering beginners. After a bit of experimenting with videos on Facebook – Reels and long-form, she has figured out how “feed the machine” for recurring revenue and wants to share that with others in addition to her passion for woodworking.
- You can repurpose your videos on all social platforms so be sure to save them and not do double duty.
- Videos can bring value to your account in a more personal way no matter which platform you are on.
- If you see success in one platform with your videos, be sure to consider adding them to other platforms.
- Instagram favors Reels.
- Reels that are edited within the app seem to be favored for engagement, even if you import some artwork from outside of the app.
- Tips and tricks that are basic and quick do well on any platform. These tend to get followers.
- Projects on Reels tend to get more shares.
- Find a hook to share and then fulfill the promise.
- You need to be consistent in sharing, whether you do share once a week or 5x a week.
- With TikTok specifically, and Instagram too, share all kinds of interlinked content, much like you do on your blog to support your entire content so when viewers check out your other content, they learn more about what you’re teaching/sharing.
Kristin Hoffman, otherwise known as Baker Bettie, chats with Megan in episode 269 about building your online presence with video to increase your audience engagement.
Click for full script.
Anika Gandhi: Hi, this is Anika Gandhi from Anika’s DIY Life and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
Sponsor: Food bloggers. I wanna take a really quick second here to talk to you about something new that we’re starting this summer. I’m super excited about it. I am loving this new movement of food bloggers who are digging into podcasting as a way to add an awesome, unique new layer to their business. I feel so passionately about this topic. Audio is so powerful and food bloggers digging into audio in the form of podcasting is going to be a huge successful movement. It will be a way to expand your brand into new areas that you cannot even imagine. There is an entire episode dedicated to this. So go listen to episode number 306, if you haven’t already and I promise you’re going to be inspired to dig into audio yourself. As a way to support this movement, I am creating a group coaching experience starting in June of 2022. If you are interested in joining us, there are a limited number of spots available, just because I want to give you all my dedicated attention. Send me an email at [email protected] if you’re interested. I am including an introductory rate. It’s a monthly rate. If you want in, you will be locked in at that rate. Send me an email, tell me you’re interested in the group coaching for podcasters. I can’t wait to see you inside and I can’t wait to see how this just totally explodes your business. All right. Back to the episode.
Megan Porta: Food bloggers. Hey, welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in their businesses. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I’m your host, MeganP orta, and you are listening to episode number 323. Today I have Anika Gandhi with me. She is going to talk to us all about using videos and reels to generate engagement. Anika Gandhi is the creator behind Anika’s DIY life, which is a website, YouTube channel and a social media channel where her goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY and home improvement ideas and skills. Her work has been showcased in Popular Woodworking, Family Handyman, HGTV.com, DIY Network, Apartment Therapy, Buzzfeed and Molly Makes among others. Anika, it’s such a pleasure to have you here. How are you today?
Anika Gandhi: Thanks so much, Megan. I am great. It’s amazing to be here.
Megan Porta: I’m excited to talk about reels and videos. It’s been a bit of a hot topic lately in the food blogging space, but before we get into it, I wanna hear what your fun fact is.
Anika Gandhi: So my fun fact is that I am a trained Indian classical dancer. I trained for almost 10 years when I was back in India. I still love all things, dance and love learning new dance techniques.
Megan Porta: Wow. That’s so cool. So you said 10 years you’re trained. Wow. So you must be amazing and you still dance regularly?
Anika Gandhi: Not as regularly as I would like, especially in the last eight, nine years since the kids and stuff. But I do. I try to, yeah.
Megan Porta: Do you plan on teaching your kids to dance?
Anika Gandhi: My daughter is all into dance. She does ballet, jazz, and tap, and yeah, she’s all about dance.
Megan Porta: Oh, so cool. Love that. Do you dance on your videos and reels is the question?
Anika Gandhi: No, I don’t.
Megan Porta: Okay. Maybe we should incorporate that in.
Anika Gandhi: Yeah. I don’t know how I would do that with woodworking.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Oh, that would make it very interesting. But you are an expert with videos and reels, and I’m excited to learn from you because this is such a hot thing in our space. There’s always a debate. Do I do them? Do I not. Which ones do I do? Now there are reels on Facebook specific to Facebook. There’s reels on Instagram and of course you can put videos pretty much anywhere not to mention TikTok . So let’s start with Facebook. What have you tried with Facebook videos in the past and how has that gone?
Anika Gandhi: So in terms of my journey with Facebook, when Facebook had originally introduced long form video, I think that was like two, three years ago. I added a few videos and it didn’t go anywhere. So I stopped. Recently I got access to Reels, end of November, early December timeframe. I was like, okay, fine. I’m already making these TikTok videos and I’m already posting them over on Instagram Reels. Why don’t I just take them and post them on Facebook Reels as well? So I basically just repurposed all my TikTok and Instagram Reels onto Facebook. I saw that they started to take off and they started to get a lot more engagement than anything I have ever posted on Facebook before. So I ha d written off Facebook, in the last few years, as it’s just something that’s there, but just keep posting there. I have a VA who posts things every day. She posts a few things on there and it was just working, kind of chatting along. But with the Facebook Reels starting to take off, I saw that there was a lot more engagement. There were people that were coming over and also following. The page started to grow. The best part that I really liked about Facebook Reels, more than TikTok or Instagram, is that in Facebook, you can actually have conversations in the comments. You can drop links, you can have really long conversations, right? Facebook comments can get really long and there’s no character limit and it’s a great way to drive traffic. So you’re not just talking about that one link. You can add multiple links when people ask, okay, what was that? You can just add the link right there. You don’t have to say, go to my bio. Go click on that and go find that and things like that. So it started to look really promising and I was able to convert a lot of people over. I had a lot of people come over looking for things on my website, sign up for my email and all of that stuff.
Megan Porta: This is interesting. One of my favorite food bloggers, Jenna Urben, she’s at the Urben Life. She has been promoting Facebook Reels recently because she had a similar experience where her Facebook account was pretty stagnant for a while, I believe. Then she started doing Reels and found this wild engagement and her entire account just took off. I don’t know her numbers exactly. But it went from something like a thousand total followers to 30,000 or something ridiculous like that. Have you found something similar where it’s more than engagement and also you’re acquiring new followers?
Anika Gandhi: Oh, yes. Yeah. When I started in December, I had like 18,000 followers. Honestly I probably only got 3000 followers for the last three, four years because I was at 15,000 followers four years ago when I had one of my videos take off. That was like a short hands and pans type of video a long time ago. Then it was just stagnant. So I was at 18K, but as of today, I’m at 70.3K.
Megan Porta: Oh, my gosh. Okay. See, those numbers are just so cool. They’re hard to argue with. It’s worth the time.
Anika Gandhi: It is. The deal is that it’s not just the Reels because like rising tide lifts all boats. So once the Reels started taking off, all my other posts started to do very well as well. Just regular posts, like a picture and a caption kind of post. They’re doing well as well. Since everything was doing well, I was like, okay, fine. Let’s try long form videos, like three minute plus videos that you can post on Facebook and monetize that and stuff like, okay, let’s try that. So when I started posting those videos, they started to do well as well, and I hit monetization in just six weeks, four or five weeks of starting to post them.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. Okay. Do you anticipate this getting more saturated? The more bloggers that learn, or I guess anyone who learns about it? Because I feel like it’s an untapped space right now. So what are your thoughts about the future of Facebook Reels?
Anika Gandhi: I think Facebook is putting in a lot of. Resources into it, for sure. Because now you see Reels everywhere on Facebook. Like when you scroll through your home feed, you’re gonna see these little carousels of Reels, every few posts. So they’re putting a lot of resources into it and a lot of push into it. Of course, like everything else, as more people come in, it is going to get saturated. But if you can create that audience, if you can create that loyal audience who always comes back to you, so you’re not just any other person who’s creating entertainment Reels or just dancing Reels or things like that, but you are bringing value. That’s what I’m getting at, is when you’re bringing value, when people see, okay, I learn something every time I watch this person’s videos or Reels. Or I find some really great ideas every time I watch this person’s Reels or videos, they’re gonna keep coming back. They’re gonna look for them. That’s the important part. No matter where you’re making those videos.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s very well said. So you, and I know others who are finding success with Facebook Reels, are using this new traction to really grow your entire business. You can gather emails, you can pump up your groups. If you have a group on Facebook, you can do so many things just through this, it’s like a portal. This portal will allow so much growth in other areas, right?
Anika Gandhi: Yes, absolutely. Yes.
Megan Porta: Yeah, that’s so cool. I did an experiment at the urging of the friend I mentioned, to just put up Facebook Reels on my account for, I think we agreed on three times a week. So not much. For six to eight weeks and I already had videos created, so it was a no brainer for me. I just took my videos. I repurpose them. I put them on Facebook, added music and then put a short description and I just looked at the results last week. I think I had 14,000 visits to my blog from Facebook, which is unheard of. That is extraordinary for me. Usually it’s I don’t know, 500 a thousand, like something not close to 14,000. That’s huge. And I put such little time into doing that. So especially if you have content that you can repurpose , I think it’s a no brainer to get on this train right now.
Anika Gandhi: Absolutely. Yeah. I’m seeing the same similar numbers, like you mentioned. The traffic is huge. I had never expected to say that Facebook’s one of my biggest traffic drivers right now, but yeah, there is so much potential there. So much potential.
Megan Porta: Yeah. Get on this wagon because just like every other platform and tool, it quickly gets saturated and I just think get on it while it’s not. Reap some of those benefits if you can. Okay. Is there anything else about Reels before we talk about other platforms and videos?
Anika Gandhi: One other thing to mention is that, so Facebook also has a Reels bonus program like Instagram does. So I got invited to that and I don’t know what the requirements are. I haven’t been able to find that anywhere, but at some point I got invited to it and that’s pretty lucrative as well. Much more than Instagram Reels.
Megan Porta: I believe Jenna was talking about this program. I think that it’s really one of those things it’s really hard to achieve. It’s a crazy number, but if you can achieve it, then you can make some extra money. So definitely, if you’re into Reels, keep your eyes open for it. It can’t hurt just to check it out, right?
Anika Gandhi: Yeah. It’s very sneaky because it shows up in your creator’s studio, like a little banner that you might dismiss, what is this kind of thing? But you have to keep looking in your creator studio and yeah, you’ll see it one day. I think it probably depends on the number of views or something. I don’t know exactly what the requirements are.
Megan Porta: Okay. So before you click that X away, read what you’re clicking. I’ve done that before where I’m like, oh no, I just clicked away an amazing offer and I don’t know how to get it back or find it. So that’s great advice too. Let’s talk about some other areas where we can put up our video. Where do you wanna start? Do you wanna talk about Instagram? TikTok?
Anika Gandhi: Yeah, I’d probably like to talk about the Facebook videos just a little bit more. Because Facebook has the long form videos as well that you can monetize, which are different from Reels. They’re the one minute plus videos, three minute videos. They can start doing well as well. So with the Reels doing well, I started adding those videos in and there as well, if you have video content already, you can easily take it and edit it to create multiple variations of it. So you can make a square video, which is three minutes, make a 16 by nine, which is five minutes long. Take the same video, turn it into three tips to do something rather than the whole project or recipe. So you can make multiple variations of it and just start posting those videos. That will help also achieve the requirements that you need to monetize those videos.
Megan Porta: You mentioned earlier that in this situation with Facebook Reels, a rising tide lifts all ships . So if you really dive into Facebook Reels and that’s succeeding, then most likely everything else on Facebook is going to be succeeding too. What are the requirements for just the long form video? Is it up to three minutes or a minimum of three minutes?
Anika Gandhi: So it’s a minimum of one minute now.
Megan Porta: Ah, okay.
Anika Gandhi: Originally their requirement was something really crazy, which was very hard to achieve. So it used to be, I think, 60,000 1-minute views on three minute videos, which was really ridiculous because people would have such a small attention span, right? Nobody’s gonna watch one minute of a three minute video. But now their requirement is 600,000 minutes viewed on one minute plus video. So even if somebody views 15 seconds of your one minute plus video, it counts towards the overall minutes viewed. So it makes things a little bit easier.
Megan Porta: Okay. That makes sense. I love how they just constantly rework things. So it’s like the numbers change and then you have to adhere to new standards. So how do you keep up with that? How do you know what the standards are as they evolve?
Anika Gandhi: This was basically an accidental discovery because I was posting those three minute plus videos. Then I think I posted by accident a version of the video, which was not three minutes long. It was the video I made for my ad network for AdThrive and for my website. But so they’re all usually about 60 – 90 second videos. So I posted that by accident and that took off and I was like, wait. Then I went into my insights and I saw that I was actually achieving the requirement a lot faster than I thought I would be because I didn’t have as many views on one minute views on three minute videos. So it just happened by accident. Then I dug into what they were saying for the requirements, because it’s not very clear anywhere. Yeah. That’s how I discovered it, but it’s hard to keep up with all things that keep changing.
Megan Porta: Yeah, for sure. I know it’s just our world though. Something we get used to. Does that cover everything with Facebook or was there anything else you wanted to cover before we move on?
Anika Gandhi: No, I think that pretty much covers Facebook.
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Megan Porta: Okay. Do you wanna talk about Instagram since there are Reels over there too. Talk about what we need to know with those Reels and also just video in general.
Anika Gandhi: Instagram reels. Instagram is definitely favoring Reels. We all know that now because our feeds are full of Reels and that’s mostly what we see. Reels are mostly that get the most engagement. I have noticed that in the last few weeks, I think there’s been a change to the algorithm and my older Reels, Reels. I posted probably a month ago and are getting views, still getting views, which was unheard of with Instagram. So there’s definitely a lot of possibilities there. So what I have started doing is taking my TikTok videos, my Facebook Reels and pulling them over to Instagram and just reposting them. The great thing about Facebook Reels is that when you download them from Facebook, they don’t have a logo on it. They don’t have anything, so you can easily repost them to Instagram or TikTok without any issues with that.
Megan Porta: That’s great to know. I know TikTok does have logos, but…
Anika Gandhi: Instagram does too. Instagram has them too.
Megan Porta: Okay. So Instagram and TikTok both label their Reels, but Facebook does not. Do you think they will eventually.
Anika Gandhi: They probably will. They probably will.
Megan Porta: Okay. So another reason to get on that before they change it.
Anika Gandhi: Yes. Yes. Essentially. I do all of my editing on my computer, on premier pro instead of doing it in the app or doing it on my mobile. But I always take it over and add some in-app effects or of course the captions and music and stuff, but, I might take over a couple of clips and put them together in the app, whether it’s TikTok or Facebook or Instagram. Because they like you editing things in their apps, right?
Megan Porta: Uhhuh, Yep. I’ve noticed that when you take the time to add unique music or maybe put a text overlay or something that those Reels do way better than if you just pull it in with embedded music. Have you found that too?
Anika Gandhi: Yes, absolutely. Yes. Yeah.
Megan Porta: Okay. What else about Instagram videos? So aside from Reels, what about just uploading a video to Instagram?
Anika Gandhi: I haven’t done much of that, so I can’t really speak to that. I used to use videos before Reels was a thing I would upload, just square videos to Instagram and those used to do well. But since Reels has come in, I haven’t really been using much of that.
Megan Porta: Is IGTV dead?
Anika Gandhi: I have no idea. I haven’t heard about it in a bit, so I’m not sure.
Megan Porta: Yeah. I know a lot of food bloggers were digging into that when it, I don’t know, a couple years ago, when it first came out. It was one of those things where I was like, oh no, am I gonna have to learn how to do this? Because it was longer form and it was something people put a lot of time and energy into. I think it just died off, but I must say I’m happy that Reels took over because reels are short and sweet and you don’t need to talk in front of the camera. You can just produce really easy lowkey content that doesn’t have the best, most polished appearance. Does that make sense?
Anika Gandhi: Yes. Yes, absolutely. I think that is also very key to being relatable to people and that sort of works a lot better than just really edited videos.
Megan Porta: Yes, that’s it, right there. Being relatable. Because people, when they see the highly polished content, they think who is this person? I could never possibly be like them. But when they see something that’s not as polished, then they’re more likely to relate to it. What else do you have about timing for Reels or content? What’s doing really well with Reel’s content right now?
Anika Gandhi: So with Reel’s content, on every platform. So I’m gonna include TikTok as well because it’s basically the same kind of content, right? So TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, what I have found does well are tips and tricks. Really quick, basic things that people either don’t pay attention to or they don’t know can be as simple as, I’m trying to think of a food analogy here. How to melt butter, how to soften butter in a microwave, or something really simple that might be very intuitive for you, but it’s not for a lot of people. So those little things do really well. I’ve found them almost every time I’m doing something and I’m like, oh wait, if I’m using a drill and I’m like, okay, wait, I’ve never talked about what these numbers on the drill are. I just went and recorded a quick video while I was in the middle of a project about that. I posted that and that did amazingly well because everybody else also has that question, but nobody asks it. They’ll just use it without thinking about what those numbers are for.
Megan Porta: It’s very interesting.
Anika Gandhi: So simple little tips and tricks are doing really amazingly right now.
Megan Porta: I’ve also noticed that the Reels seem to be getting shorter on Instagram and that those are doing great too. Like just five seconds or something like that.
Anika Gandhi: Just five seconds?
Megan Porta: I’m talking about food videos where it’s like a caramel pour and someone pours the caramel and then it’s a couple seconds of another part of the recipe, but literally just yeah five to 10 seconds. Those seem to be trending right now. Have you seen anything like that?
Anika Gandhi: What you’re talking about are like those oddly satisfying videos, right? That the hashtag is oddly satisfying. So yeah, definitely those do very well too. So one of my videos on TikTok that did well, which I should probably bring over to Facebook and reels is me just driving this screw into a board. The ASMR and yeah. So definitely those really quick little videos, for sure.
Megan Porta: I like how you said the oddly satisfying, because that does relate to a lot of food content because there’s the chocolate drips and the cheese pulls. I have a few of those I should totally put on Reels. Or caramel being dripped or syrup being drizzled over pancakes or something like that. People will sit and watch that on repeat because it’s just yeah, like oddly satisfying. It’s so crazy. Okay. So what else about Instagram to create engagement? Or do you wanna move on to TikTok?
Anika Gandhi: We can move on to TikTok. With Instagram yeah, basically we’ve already talked about the Reels and people creating engagement there. Yep.
Megan Porta: So what do we need to know about TikTok?
Anika Gandhi: TikTok is essentially very similar in terms of the type of content that I’m putting out. It’s either a recap of the project or it’s simple tips and tricks, and they both seem to do well. The tips and tricks seem to bring in more followers and the projects seem to get more shares, which is very interesting. I think one of the things that I’ve noticed with TikTok is, and actually I found this because I was watching food videos and I saw this tactic where it creates a loop. So you’re like arranging food on the platter. Then you go into how you made it. At the end you’re still arranging food on a platter. So you don’t realize when the video ends. You don’t realize when the video ends and it starts again. Oh, so it’s a loop.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. That’s brilliant.
Anika Gandhi: So yeah, that’s one thing that I actually learned from the food TikTok videos is.
Megan Porta: Oh my gosh. That’s so cool. I just wrote that down. That’s a great idea. Food is a really easy way to do that because I can see someone just getting stuck in that loop and not knowing when to click out because they think it’s just ongoing.
Anika Gandhi: Yes. Yeah. The other thing that always works, for all the platforms is that you start off with a hook, of course, but of course you do wanna fulfill your promise that you make in the hook because I’ve had videos where you are making eggs the right way. Then you are like, okay, wait, what? Am I making the eggs the right way? Is this how you’re supposed to make them? Then you just watch it. But the video that I’m thinking about that was complete, he literally just cracked an egg on the pan and that’s it. That’s all he did. That was like a quick fade, but there’s so much you can take and do with it, if you really have a little trick that you can use. Then using that hook makes a huge difference at the beginning.
Megan Porta: Yeah, the hook is good. Again, same with that oddly satisfying content. There’s a lot of ways to hook people in with food because we need food to survive and it’s so yummy. So I think we have a lot of opportunities here.
Anika Gandhi: You eat with your eyes.
Megan Porta: Yes, absolutely. Yep. What else about TikTok? I know it’s pretty easy to gain followers, like you said, and shares and all of that. Are there ways, extra ways to get extra engagement?
Anika Gandhi: Pretty much it comes down to consistency because that’s the case with all the platforms of course, is that the more you create videos, the more consistently you create videos, the more your account grows and you get more engagement as well. One of the things that I’ve noticed with TikTok is that people will come over to your profile and go through your videos. So I’ll see somebody come over and just like all of my videos or comment on 10 of my videos. I know that they just discovered me and they’re going through my videos. So you always wanna have a nice collection of things that kind of portray you, what you are about. So you always wanna make sure that there’s a mix of content in there. There is a good, if you are talking about, say one project or say a recipe, you wanna have supporting content around it on your profile. Like how on the blogs, we write something and then we’ll have supporting content about that so you can web everything together. Similarly on TikTok, you wanna create that kind of a web, because that makes a huge difference.
Megan Porta: Would you say that applies to other platforms too? Like Facebook and Instagram?
Anika Gandhi: Instagram. Yes, but Facebook it’s very hard because when you come into Facebook, You’re seeing all the other content on your page as well. So you wouldn’t be able to create that cohesive thing with just Reels. You see what I mean?
Megan Porta: Yeah. Yep. I do.
Anika Gandhi: Instagram for sure. Yes, definitely. But it works wonders on TikTok for sure. I’ve seen it work on TikTok.
Megan Porta: So the bottom line, what I’m pulling away from our conversation, Anika, is that we really should be diving into Reels on every platform that offers videos. That will increase our engagement on all the platforms and only benefit our business. Does that sum it up?
Anika Gandhi: That is right. Yes. Yes. Okay. It seemed like it’s a lot because now we are talking about all of these platforms and all of these videos. But you can easily just create it one time and post it on different platforms and just stagger them out by a couple of days. Create a calendar and stagger them out and it works.
Megan Porta: Thank you for inspiring us. Is there anything you want to leave us with? Is there anything we missed or if a main takeaway you want food bloggers to have in mind as they venture out into the world of Reels and video?
Anika Gandhi: No, I think the main thing is just try it and just get started and just keep trying. It’ll get there eventually. Yes.
Megan Porta: Yes. It is a patient situation. You have to be a little bit patient and consistent, like you mentioned too, I think. The ones who do that are rewarded. At least from what I’ve seen. So thank you so much. This was such a fun chat and definitely encouraged me to venture more out into the world of Reels. I have dabbled, but I’ve never been consistent with it. So thank you for the encouragement today.
Anika Gandhi: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me here. It was a pleasure to talk.
Megan Porta: Yes, my pleasure. Do you have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to leave us with?
Anika Gandhi: Yeah, actually it falls into what we were just talking about towards the end, as this quote from Jim Collins, Good to Great. It’s, “sustainable transformations follow a predictable pattern of build up and breakthrough. So it’s like pushing a giant flywheel. It takes a lot of effort to get it moving but you have to persistently push it in a consistent direction to get over the hump and it builds momentum and eventually it’ll hit the point of breakthrough.”
Megan Porta: I love that. I love that so much. There is so much truth in that, and it’s so hard to get the momentum to get to that point, which is why I feel like a lot of people don’t get there. But if you can, there’s absolute magic and then it just, everything explodes in a good way.
Anika Gandhi: Absolutely.
Megan Porta: Yeah, I love the way we ended there. We’ll put together a show notes page for you Anika. So if anyone wants to go look at those, go to eatblogtalk.com/anikasDIYlife. Tell everyone where they can find you online and on social media, et cetera, Anika.
Anika Gandhi: Yes, absolutely. My website is AnikasDIYlife.com and it’s Anika’s DIY Life on all social media. So Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube. Everywhere.
Megan Porta: Yep. Awesome. Go check Anika out and thank you again, being here so much. Thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
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