facebook page – Stay N Alive

How to Find the Fans of Your Facebook Page

I had a client ask me the other day if they could identify their 10,000th fan for a giveaway. The truth is on Facebook, they don’t make it easy to know who your fans are. In the Facebook API it limits you up to only a few hundred fans that you can retrieve (and that only works on occasion). You can use Graph Search and a combination of a couple Google Chrome extensions to download up to about 5,000 fans (I’ve never been able to get more). But to get the entire list hasn’t been possible until I discovered this one cool hack, and it sorts it by most recent person who liked your page! Here’s how you do it:

The secret is in a little-used feature that allows you to easily block fans, and find fans you have banned from any Facebook page you manage. To get your list of fans, do the following:

  1. Go in as an admin of your page to your Facebook’s “Settings” tab at the top. This is where you can configure your page and modify how you want to administer your page.
  2. Select the “Banned Users” option on the left. This section allows you to configure who has been banned and who hasn’t.
  3. In the drop-down that appears at the top, click on it and select “People who like this”. This is the list of all people who have liked your page!
In the ensuing list, if you scroll through it all you will have a list of every single person who has ever liked your page, sorted by who liked it most recently! So if you want to discover who your 10,000th fan is, wait until shortly after you reach 10,000 fans, go to this page, and count down the number of fans over 10,000 it was when you looked at the page, and the fan you end up at will be your 10,000th fan!
Unfortunately, you can’t use this trick to enable a Chrome extension like AnyAudience to download the list yet, so you’ll have to scroll through all users to see the entire list. This does enable that possibility though, and I anticipate app developers (maybe I’ll do it) will build out a Chrome extension that works with this so you can use your list to build lookalike audiences, or to analyze with Facebook ads.
However, this does provide, since it is a sorted list, a way to identify who your latest fans are, and do promotions around that. What other tricks have you seen allowing you to learn more about a Facebook Page’s audience?

How to Replace Twitter With Facebook

I just wrote about how Twitter is becoming much less necessary for me.  In this post, I’d like to show you how, with just a few steps, you can get exactly what you’re getting on Twitter and more with just a Facebook account and a Page you administer.  It’s actually really simple now.  Here are the steps:

  1. Set up your Facebook Account. You’ve probably already done this, but if not, just go to Facebook.com, enter your details, and click “Register”.  Log in, and you’re set!
  2. Create your Facebook Page. You can do this at Facebook.com/pages.  I also cover this in detail in Facebook Application Development for Dummies soon to be released.  Create one that mimics your Twitter Profile.
  3. Go to your Facebook Page, and click “Use Facebook as (your Page name)”. You’ll see the options on the right change to “Use Facebook as (your Profile name)” when this has worked.  Also, note that if you already have a Facebook Page, just go to the new Page, upgrade it to the new profile, and you should also have these options.
  4. Click the big “Facebook” logo in the upper-left. You’ll now be presented with a news feed, just like the one you would normally see on your profile.  Looks familiar, doesn’t it?  It probably doesn’t have much information in it right now though.  Now you need to make that News Feed valuable.  You’ll do that with step 5.
  5. Find interesting Facebook Pages, and click “like”! On the right you should already be presented with some suggestions for Facebook Pages.  Click “like” on those if you like them.  Or, find friends and brands that you like via the search box and click “like” on those as well.  The more you click “like” on, the more you’ll have appear in your feed.  Looks a lot like Twitter, huh?  In fact, you could create multiple Pages, and use those as “lists”, each one following accounts that are relevant to just that Page.  Click “use Facebook as (Page Name)” for each Page, and you’ll get a new view of different types of users to follow on each.  Scoble ought to like this one 😉

Replacing Twitter Search

At the moment I’ll admit, Facebook Search isn’t quite as granular as Twitter search.  However, you can get search results from status updates, as your personal account, or as your Page.  Just type in “facebook” into the Facebook search box as an example and click on “See more results for Facebook” in the drop down.  Then, click on “Posts by everyone”.  You’ll immediately see a real-time stream of updates from people, that updates in real-time, of people and Pages posting in public about “facebook”.  Try it with other terms, like “Scoble”, for instance.

There’s also another, more advanced, way you can search.  It’s sort of a hack, but definitely possible, and something I also show you in Facebook Application Development for Dummies.  By calling https://graph.facebook.com/search?q=scoble&type=post in your browser you should get a parseable result set back from Facebook with all public Profile and Page results mentioning “scoble”.  You could technically call https://graph.facebook.com/(id) (replacing id with the id of the user or Page) on each post and look to see if the object type is a user or a Page.  Or maybe it doesn’t matter.  I imagine Facebook will get more granular with these results in the future though.  You can also, with some advanced magic, get back all the posts from Pages your Page subscribes to that match “facebook” or “scoble”.

What’s Missing Still

  • Search. Of course, Facebook still needs more search options compared to Twitter for them to be an exact parallel.  Twitter’s search was built to index and retrieve granular data at the user level, and you can subscribe to each resultset as simple RSS.  Facebook just doesn’t have this yet, although I wouldn’t doubt they see the power in this.  After all, Facebook’s CTO, Bret Taylor, founded FriendFeed, and they have perhaps an even more granular (when it’s working) search than Twitter has.  I have no doubt Facebook recognizes the value in this.
  • Lists. With Facebook, even before Twitter, you could organize your friends into lists of users you can follow and organize by list.  This is yet to be released for Pages.  While, as a user, you can organize a list of Pages, a Page cannot yet create its own lists.  Where a Page is more comparable to a Twitter account, adding list support, and public list support (which others can subscribe to) would significantly increase the value Facebook has compared to Twitter.  Public lists are one of Twitter’s crown jewels right now.
  • Firehose. Twitter charges for this as a whole and actually makes it very accessible compared to Facebook.  Right now I’m pretty sure you can get access to Facebook’s firehose if you have money and the right contacts and reasons to do it.  However, Facebook doesn’t make this very easy.  Maybe it’s rightfully so in that only a few developers and companies can be capable of even handling such data, but Twitter does make this pretty easy to access via services such as Gnip.  I argue this is an advantage Twitter has over Facebook right now.

What else am I missing?

Some Things Facebook Has That Twitter Doesn’t

While Facebook still misses some elements that Twitter provides, there are still features Facebook has, that, IMO, make it an even more valuable solution than Twitter, namelyI:

  • Insights. Facebook provides very granular data on how well each post is doing, demographics that are visiting the Page, growth of the Page over time, and much, much more.  Twitter has been rumored to be making a similar analytics suite, but has yet to release anything comparable to what Facebook provides.  (I wouldn’t count Twitter out of providing one in the future, though)
  • Richer, inline content. Facebook shows photos, videos, links, and more that a Page has posted.  You can also view the same, all inline, with the News Feed view of those accounts you’ve liked.  With Twitter, you have to click on each post, and only occasionally that content appears on the right column of Twitter.com.
  • Viewing Wall Posts of Other Users. On Facebook, as a Page admin, I can enable the default view of my Page’s Wall to be posts to the Wall by other people that have “liked” the Page.  This is an interesting strategy if your brand has a devoted audience, as it’s a great way to show people that are interested in your brand and show that you have a loyal following.  It’s also a great way to maintain a positive perception of your brand.  With Twitter there is nothing even close to this.
  • Events. Each Page can create its own events, that other users on Facebook can RSVP and have their friends see they RSVP’d.  This is built into Facebook, making it an integrated part of the experience, and a very viral tool for getting information out about a particular event occurring surrounding yourself or your brand.
  • Customization and Branding. With Twitter I get a background and a profile picture.  While Facebook doesn’t allow background images, it does allow a default, full HTML view, for every Facebook Page that chooses to do so.  Therefore, I can set it so the first time you visit my Facebook Page you are presented immediately with a welcome message from me and any other relevant information. This is very powerful!  (I show you how to do this in Facebook Application Development for Dummies)  You can’t do this with Twitter.
  • Advertising. As I mentioned earlier, frequent requests to promotedtweets@twitter.com return no response (others are tweeting me saying they’ve seen the same, despite spending millions on Facebook).  There is no interface to create ads for the common user.  It’s almost impossible to advertise on Twitter.  On Facebook, it’s as simple as visiting http://facebook.com/ads and following the instructions.  In fact, I can see close to exactly how many impressions I’m going to get through my ad on Facebook.  Facebook has been pretty transparent in this.

What else am I missing?

There’s no doubt Facebook is making it harder and harder to justify Twitter any more.  For many, this article may actually convince you.  My hope is that a) Twitter realizes this and adapts to compete, or b) Facebook realizes this and closes the final missing pieces to remove all needed functionality that a Twitter account can provide.  There are actually very few of those missing pieces any more!

If you haven’t yet considered a Facebook Page or the possibilities it can provide, now may be the time to start considering if you’re on Twitter.  Assuming Twitter does get acquired, or Facebook does continue competing the way it has, you’re going to want an audience on Facebook just the same as you have on Twitter.  More importantly, build your own presence and blog so it doesn’t matter any which way what network you’re on!  2011 will be an interesting year, that’s for sure.

7 Strategies I’m Pitching for Businesses to use Facebook Places

Facebook Places is the latest and greatest service offered by Facebook that has many Brands raging around how to build a strategy.  Never has the advertiser or brand had so many options as they do now on Facebook to target demographic, interested parties, that you can now actually track whether they’ve been to your physical location!  My good friend, Jolie O’Dell of Mashable, wrote a great post on the American Express Open Forum last week on “How SMBs Can Start Using Facebook Places Now”.  Granted, the brands I’m used to working with lately are much larger entities and far from SMB, but I think the strategies I suggest in the large corporate Brand environments can still apply in a Small Business setting.  In addition to what Jolie recommended (which are great tips), here are some of the ways I’m suggesting businesses deploy Facebook Places.  Also note that these strategies only work if your customers (or visitors or users) actually have a place to meet and congregate in real life.  Perhaps you could create these real life places for them as part of your strategy.

Claiming the Place – Why This is Important

Jolie Touched on this – she said that as a business you can claim a “Place” and turn it into a real “Page” (or “Fan Page”) on Facebook that you can manage, add pictures, moderate, and more as soon as you’ve proven you are the owner of the actual location.  This is powerful, and you want to be sure you’re doing this if you want to be aware of what’s happening online at your locations.

Here’s why it’s powerful.  Let’s say you have an event at a particular store – let’s say it’s a grand opening.  Or let’s say you’re a band and you’re performing at a particular arena.  Now you can have a physical location you can brand in preparation for your event.  Let’s say your store is a restaurant and you have a menu you want to be sure only your Facebook customers are aware of.  You can post that on the Facebook Page, since you claimed it, and only those that check in on Facebook can know about it.  Or perhaps you own a venue and you want to pitch events to frequent visitors.  Anyone visiting your Page currently can see what’s coming up and what they can look towards in order to come back again at the right time.

I’m not going to cover this now, but I have a hunch that you’ll even be able to advertise with this data in the future, so it’s to your benefit to try to own these venues that people are checking into on Facebook. (What happens when Facebook enables Push notifications on the iPhone in the future for Venue owners?  Just a thought.)

Deals, Deals, Deals! (and Events)

Here’s where a little API knowledge is helpful, and why you’re going to want to read my next book that comes out in a few months. (hint, hint)  Right now you can make a simple call to https://graph.facebook.com/[place page id]/checkins, appending an access token you get from Facebook to identify your application and you can have all the people that have checked into your place.  With a little code, all you have to do is add a tab to your Facebook Page, query that URL above to get the list of people that have Checked in, and if the current user visiting the tab is in that list you can offer them a special deal, only for people that have checked in on Facebook.

This has several benefits.  First, for each person that checks in on Facebook their friends see that checkin and have the opportunity to click through and like your Page (you did claim the Page, right?) and learn about your Page.  Hopefully you have a welcome Tab (which I talk about below) to welcome those people.

Second, it gives people motivation to visit your location.  You could set up a deal that offers a discount at the store only if they’ve previously checked in on Facebook Places, or perhaps they have to check in more than one time.  You could almost turn this into a loyalty rewards system of some sort.

Or what if you’re managing an event?  Let’s say you’re a band and want to promote your latest CD.  You could offer a sneak preview of streamed songs only to your most loyal and devoted fans who have checked in at one of your concerts and have liked the Page (I would require both, as once they like the Page you can then promote future events and sales).


One thing I really like about Places is that for each Place users check into you have a running tally of everyone that attended that event or visited that store or location that felt the need to check in on Facebook.  I can now go through that list and get a running total of how many people are checking in on Facebook and what they’re saying during their visits.  Let’s say I run Best Buy’s Social Media campaign.  I could now have a running view of what type of experience all the visitors of my stores are having as they check in (assuming they want to share that experience).  We could maybe even feature some of those on our main corporate website using Graph API.  You can browse this manually or use the Facebook Graph API to tally it automatically for you (with very little effort).

SMS – Yes, Facebook Has This, Too

One little used feature on Facebook Pages is something I think that has a very powerful effect.  I use this every time I speak.  Did you know that if you send the text message “like stay” to 32665 (FBOOK on your mobile phone) you’ll get regular updates sent to your cell phone of every post I publish on http://facebook.com/stay?  Try it. 🙂  Not only that, but you have now liked my Facebook Page, and even if you turn off the mobile phone updates you’ll get them in your Facebook News Feed.

Since you claimed your Checkin location as a Page, you can now do this for your Page as well.  I think every retail store in the world should have a sign that says, “Send ‘like suchandsuch’ to 42665 (FBOOK) on your mobile phone for updates and deals!”  This gives you a distribution channel right to the actual hands of every customer of yours that takes advantage of this, bringing more engagement and more participation by your customers.  This is a very powerful tool you should be taking advantage of.

Or, what if you’re a band?  Take a moment during your concert to ask your fans to do that, right then, then have everyone hold up their cell phones showing that they did, swaying back and forth as you begin the next song.  Then, send out a message to your fans during the concert offering a special deal on the CD for the concert that only those that checked in at the concert can take advantage of.  See what I mean?  You’ve just acquired an audience of thousands that have come out to see you in person, all at once.

The Welcome and Other Custom Tabs

The Welcome Tab is powerful.  Check out my article over on Techipedia on how to set this up in a simple manner.  Since you claimed your Place as a Page, you can now add these to your Place.  You should use these to welcome new customers visiting the Page (keep in mind that most people checking in probably haven’t liked the Page yet, so you want to be sure to give them a welcome message and get their e-mail or promote a deal or something similar that encourages them to like the Page).  You can create tabs for specials you offer.  Remember what I said above about offering special deals to people that checkin at your locations?

Most Frequent Customers

One custom tab you can offer is one that the Social Media development firm, Context Optional, created that creates a “Leaderboard” on your Page of the top checkins for your location.  I think there is value in knowing the most frequent customers of a location.  You could offer a contest, giving a deal to the 10 most frequent customers of your location, for instance.  This is a great way to find out who your most loyal fans and customers are and reward them as such, creating competition with others to also do the same.  If you need a similar tab contact me and we can talk about getting this added to your SocialToo account as well.


This post is about Facebook Places, but I did want to briefly mention FourSquare.  Gowalla also has similar strategies you can employ.  There is one strategy with these that I think brands should employ, and will target a younger audience (Facebook’s average age is 38 right now – FourSquare’s and Gowalla’s should be much younger).  That is the process of creating an account on FourSquare for your brand and encouraging your customers to follow it.  Then, post “Tips” for your place – this can be a deal, or additional info, or whatever you like.  Then, when people who are following your brand on Foursquare check in nearby your locations, they’ll get these tips and hopefully feel motivated to come by and take advantage of what you have to offer.

I’ve only mentioned a few strategies here – there are so many more you can take advantage of!  Knowing the location of your customers and knowing, especially when they’re checking into your location is a powerful concept and gives you so many opportunities to virally grow your brand online.  I strongly suggest you take a look at how Facebook Places can benefit your brand – this is perhaps Facebook’s most powerful tool ever to enable brands to engage and convert sales from customers.

Want to learn more cool stuff like this?  There are just 3 more days until the 50% off deal is over for Facebook Success Summit registration (after that it’s full price).  I’ll be one of the presenters and will be covering stuff just like this.  I get 50% of all sales through this site (I don’t get paid otherwise), so please register now!

Facebook Questions as a Strategy – Answering Questions for Your Brand

Facebook logo
Image via Wikipedia

In the last few weeks Facebook has been slowly rolling out a feature that, while not exactly new in concept, I think gives businesses and brands another opportunity to think strategy surrounding their Facebook efforts.  The feature is Facebook Questions.  The feature is pretty much a re-release of Facebook Polls (see my previous article on InsideFacebook.com in 2008 where I discussed this as a business tool), with even greater viral potential.  In fact, it makes even more sense today than ever, with the increased focus on Facebook Pages, something Facebook has chosen to focus on with the new Questions feature.

Facebook Questions, in many ways is like my SocialToo Surveys, with a pure Facebook focus (on SocialToo we have Twitter and Facebook integration, with more Social Networks coming soon), and the ability to completely take the poll out of the question (no pun intended).  Facebook Questions focus on one question that the user can ask to his or her friends, and those friends can answer anything they want to (something you can do in SocialToo’s comments for each SocialToo Survey).  The difference is that on Facebook you can vote up or down each answer, and the most popular answers get pitted at the top in a more prominent position.  This puts it at more of a competing stance with Yahoo Answers, or Quora, or Aardvark.

With each Facebook Question, the person asking can also add a poll, allowing other Facebook users to answer a set of pre-defined answers, allowing the person asking to see what the most popular of his or her own answers might be.  All this while allowing users to also add their own answers and vote those up or down.  I admit, it’s a pretty cool implementation, and something I’ve long wanted to do with SocialToo Surveys (and hopefully we will).

Here’s where you should get involved with your brand though.  With each Question, the person asking can assign “Topics” to the Question.  Each “Topic” is essentially just a Facebook Page somewhere.  It can be any Facebook Page, and doesn’t even have to be one the person asking has even liked or administers.  Assigning a Question to a Topic ensures that the Question has the potential of appearing in the list of Questions on the side of other users’ News Stream who have “liked” the Pages listed in the Question.  So, in essence, you have the potential for a targeted, free, Facebook Ad if the Question is pitted right (albeit with much fewer customized options for targeting).

Businesses and brands ought to be taking advantage of this.  Ask interesting questions to engage your audience, and tag Pages you think have people that might be interested in that question and your brand.  Keep in mind though that Facebook currently has no way to moderate (or delete) the answers to the Questions you ask, so be prepared if a Question happens to turn against you.  You can create Facebook Questions as an individual user, or as a Facebook Page.

In addition to asking and essentially tagging specific audiences with your Questions, there is another great strategy surrounding answers that you can utilize.  I actually saw this with Facebook’s own “Facebook Pages” Page on Facebook.  A user asked a question about Facebook Pages, and “Facebook Pages” answered the question for that user.  I’m sure this brought more attention to that Facebook Page, and the user was even more satisfied as a result.  Not only that, but future users will be able to see the “official” answer from Facebook on the issue.  In a way, this also makes Facebook Questions a competitor to GetSatisfaction, as it can be a great Support Channel for your brand.

I wanted to know how Facebook did this, so I asked my own Question on Facebook.  Damien Basille quickly answered with the following: “You must be an admin of the Facebook Page you want to answer as. Then, next to the Publish Answer blue button it will say “as [First name Last name] (change)”. Click on the (change) link and you will be able to answer as any of your FB Pages that you change to.”

So, with a simple click of the “change” link I’m now posting as my own Facebook Page, answering Questions all around Facebook about my brand.  I think that’s pretty useful!

If you’re a brand, you should be carefully looking at Facebook Questions and figuring out a good way to integrate this great tool into your current Facebook Strategy.  We can only hope that we’re given even more flexibility in the future to access these questions via an API.  Hopefully a search API is provided, and we’ll start to see tools allowing brands and others to easily search and find people asking relevant Questions on Facebook.

If you’re not yet seeing the “Ask a Question” link in your status update box at the top of your news stream, have no fear – it will be there soon, as Facebook slowly rolls out this feature.  This is something all brands should be looking at right now.

You can learn more about Facebook Questions at http://facebook.com/questions.

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Make Your Facebook Page Fly With the FBFoundations Facebook Chicklet

facebook-wordpress-twitterMost guys (and girls) who love Facebook like I do probably have a Facebook Page where those wanting to get a scoop of the latest in our professional lives can come learn, chat, and converse with each other.  I consider a Facebook Page (some call them “Fan Pages”) the equivalent on Facebook to a Twitter Profile, as it enables a public, anonymous way to express yourself without limit to the number of people that “follow” you.  Pages are powerful, and can build strong engagement for you and your brand in ways Twitter or even a regular Facebook Profile can’t.  I was surprised that with all the little “chicklets” out there displaying anywhere from the number of readers on your blog to the number of followers you have on Twitter that there wasn’t anything for blog owners to display the number of Fans they have on Facebook. That’s why I created the FBFoundations Facebook Chicklet for WordPress blogs.

The premise of the chicklet is simple.  It uses Facebook Connect (something I argue is even more powerful than a Facebook Page, but requires someone with at least HTML and Javascript knowledge to implement) to go out and get the number of fans for a Facebook Page you specify, and share the number of those fans right on your blog.  In addition, it hyperlinks the chicklet back to your Facebook Page.  Displaying this chicklet on your blog can be a great way to encourage readers to click through and become fans on Facebook as well, where more conversations can take place and your blog can spread even further.  You can see the Facebook Chicklet for this blog up above this article next to the subscribers and twitter followers chicklets.  Go ahead and click on it and become a fan and I’ll send you more updates!


To implement the chicklet, you’ll first need to download the FBFoundations plugin (download here) that I wrote and can be downloaded here.  This just makes it so that it can access Facebook to get the number of Fans for your Page.  It will also add an additional meta tag or two to make sharing your blog a little prettier when it’s shared on Facebook.

Once you’ve downloaded and activated FBFoundations on your blog, just download the FBFoundations Facebook Chicklet plugin, extract it into your WordPress plugins directory, and activate it.  You’ll then want to configure it to point to your Facebook Page in your blog’s admin (if not, it will point to mine!).  Now, go to either the sidebar widgets section in your administration if your blog is widgets-enabled, or go into your Blog’s theme files, and place the following code anywhere you want the chicklet to show up:

Once that’s in and the plugin is activated, the chicklet should start showing with the number of Fans on your Facebook Page.  It’s that simple.

Again, be sure to enable the FBFoundations plugin on your blog for this to work.  Also, if you want to also enable sharing for each blog post on your blog to Facebook, along with the number of people that have shared the post, be sure to also check out my FBShare plugin for WordPress!

I guess this is kind of my Christmas present to you all.  Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, and Happy Chanukah this season!

You can download the plugin straight from WordPress right here.  Here is the WordPress plugin page: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/fbfoundations-facebook-chicklet/

Image Courtesy Robb Sutton from http://robbsutton.com/micro-blogging-are-facebook-and-twitter-replacing-personal-blogs/

Announcing the Winners of the Static FBML Contest

FacebookOver on Tamar Weinberg’s blog, Techipedia, I wrote an article about how to customize your FBML Page utilizing the Static FBML app on Facebook, along with a few other techniques.  As part of the post we announced a contest.  The 2 best Facebook Pages left in the comments to integrate FBML into a tab using the Static FBML app would win.  I’m proud to announce the winners.  The winners are:

  • HyperArts Web Design – these guys did some interesting stuff with Javascript to enable loading of the different tabs without an entire refresh of the page.  One of the tabs even had a web form on it enabling you to contact them.  The overall experience, use of multiple types of HTML elements, and more, provided a full package that I thought deserved to be one of the winners.
  • Express – this is a very simple one, but very elegantly designed, and they have a very friendly welcome page on their “What’s New” tab.  I like their use of HTML, and well-designed layout.  I also really like that they used bit.ly links to enable tracking of clicks on the Page.  They link to their other outlets such as Twitter and Youtube as well.

I was very impressed with all the designs and the effort put into them.  Consistently, there are a few things that everyone, including the winners, could have done better though:  I would have loved to see you utilize FBML a bit more.  Perhaps you could utilize the tag to implement tabs to look like Facebook’s.  Or I would have loved to see and video – I don’t think any of the entrants had that.  Maybe you could use to produce a form in a pretty, Facebook-like format.  Perhaps a nicely formatted image of the owners using and could personalize it a bit.  Be sure to get to know as well so you can add comments to your tabs if you want to facilitate discussion.

Overall I’m happy to see what came out of the contest.  My hope is that you can continue this and push your Pages even further.  Get to know what you can do with FBML.  Learn what’s possible, and show me what you’ve done!

For the winners, either Tamar or I should be contacting you, but you can also shoot me an e-mail at jesse@staynalive.com and I’ll arrange to get you a copy of FBML Essentials.

If you would like help customizing your Facebook Page please don’t hesitate to contact me and arrange a consultation.  Congrats to the winners!