Learn how to master the British accent in two minutes

Let’s be honest. We all break out the ol’ British accent every once in a wee while. There’s just something about it that has a touch of, oh, I don’t know, aristocratic je ne sais quoi. Apparently, I like to break out in the occasional French, too.

Lest we digress.

New York-based voice-over and dialect coach, Patricia Fletcher, teaches us how to master the British accent in less than two minutes.

Due to some technical difficulty (video embedding link doesn’t seem to be working), check out the video on Business Insider

Do you ever find yourself speaking in a foreign accent? Which one’s your favourite? Drop your comments in the box below.

[H/T Business Insider]

Shareable marketing stats that are downright pretty

As a content marketer, I like to try all the new social media platforms in an effort to maintain my game.  With Instagram, however, it was a bit of an enigma as to how I could possibly ‘relate’ to others solely based on images. I followed the trends, posting selfies, OOTDs, every meal I cooked or consumed, and endless memes, but that got boring. Fast.

I had to dream up a way that I could share content that interested me and my potential followers. So, I started designing my own branded graphics with marketing tips and stats from notable sources that individuals and businesses alike could benefit from, but were also engaging. In other words, I put the sexy in statistics!

Sure enough, I found my Instagram niche. I still post the odd meme, inspirational quote or pic of my baby to show I’m human (after all, he’s super cute), but by-and-large, my graphics have conjured up more engagement with like-minded followers, and that, my friends, is what social media is about. They also work well on all my other sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, Pinterest, and even LinkedIn, because they’re eye-catching, short and suh-weet!

So, in case you’re not following me on Instagram (hint hint!), here’s my March collection of shareable stats that you’re welcome to, like, share.

Are you on Instagram? What kind of content do you enjoy posting? Share your comments in the box below!

8 inspiring tips to achieve a profitable and sustainable small business

Getting your small business off the ground is no small feat.

Whether you own a salon or a café, a boutique or a gym, you can never absorb too much inspiration for high-impact and creative ways to market your business without breaking the bank.

As a freelance copywriter, I’ve been fortunate that my customers have found me, but that’s no reason to get lazy! I am always on the hunt for straightforward strategies to find more prospects, build my customer base and secure my niche in the market.

During my research, I found some great tips on how to get your business started on the right path from author, public speaker and mentor, Carolyn Tate. She’s the brains behind Carolyn Tate & Co., a company that’s evolving into an inspiring and supportive learning community for unconventional thinkers who share a common goal to create a sustainable and profitable business that makes a difference.

Here are some of her tips:

  • Know your target market — identify your ideal customers, and what, how and why they buy.
  • Develop business and marketing plans — learn how to create them and why they’re so important.
  • Build effective databases — develop a database that creates business for you, without the headaches.
  • Solidify your branding — create a unique brand and keep it fresh and exciting.
  • Understand the power of advertising — assess if it’s right for your business and how to pick the right strategies.
  • Master publicity — get your business in the media with the right message.
  • Implement relationship marketing — develop and maintain networks to create new opportunities.
  • Embrace websites and online marketing — build a website that drives customers to you, and use online tools and search engines to generate business.

Of course, this is pretty top-level stuff, but these tips are the foundation that will bring your business to life.

Do you own a small business? What tips can you offer other small business startups? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

4 tools to find fake followers and kick ’em to the curb

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Back in December 2014, Instagram cracked down on spammers and fake accounts by removing those who didn’t meet up to the company’s community guidelines. Some users were thrilled about the cleanup because it legitimized their followers; while others were outraged as they saw their number of followers plummet (especially those who paid for them).

How exactly do these spam bots and fake accounts find their way to you?

When you use multiple hashtags, this makes you more visible and searchable, resulting in all kinds of wanted – and unwanted – followers. Paying for followers is another big magnet.

Sure, it may seem great to have thousands of followers, whether they’re genuine or not, but the consequences of having fake followers are that they clutter your stream, reduce your engagement, don’t add any real ROI (i.e. they can’t buy your products and services); and they further expose you to phishing and spam activity, putting your account at risk for deletion for breaking community guidelines.

Many users with a mass of followers are none the wiser that a significant number of them are actually bots. In fact, they might even be following a bunch of bogus accounts themselves without even realizing it.

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If you’re looking to kick bots to the curb, here are four tools to help you find and get rid of the fake accounts that have infiltrated your Instagram and Twitter profiles. Note that you may need to grant access to your account in order for reporting to take place.

#1: TwitterAudit

TwitterAudit is a tool developed by Dave Caplan and David Gross. It works by taking a random sample of 5,000 followers from your Twitter account (ideal for large accounts) and assigns a score to each follower based on the ratio of followers to following, the number of tweets, and the date of the last tweet from the account.

Currently, only the free version of TwitterAudit is available, which will provide your score. When the pro version is eventually released, it will also let you hide your audit, block followers and re-audit your account at any time.

#2: Fakers App

Developed by StatusPeople, this app produces a report from your account enabling you to see how many fake or inactive accounts follow you, as well as check on the competition.

StatusPeople’s definition of a spam account is one that has few or no followers, has little activity and yet follows a massive number of accounts.

The report also lets you view a few details about your followers, such as their language preference and tweet activity.

The app offers three levels of service:

  • Free – unlimited checks on your Twitter handle, plus eight free searches for friends or competitors, and basic analytics.
  • Basic – unlimited searches and advanced analytics. It also allows you to manually block fake accounts and track up to five friends
  • Premium – auto-block fake accounts and track up to 15 friends.

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#3: IGExorcist

Developed by Michael Landers, this app’s motto is, “IG is about people, not numbers.” The message is clear! IGExorcist allows you to check for ghost followers on Instagram, which are the inactive or bot accounts that follow you. It works by crosschecking your followers against accounts you’re following to measure interaction over the past 300 days.

Once you grant access to your account, you’ll be able to view a list of inactive users. Because of its in-depth process, it can take a few minutes to generate results.

The main criteria for removal are when people are following you and you aren’t following them, and they haven’t liked or commented on a photo in the past 300 days. The app doesn’t remove people you’re following.

If you want, you can bulk delete any of the users identified as inactive. The process takes about 2-3 seconds per follower. The default setting is to remove all of the followers identified, but you can protect a user by clicking on their picture.

#4: Fakefollowers*

Created by Socialbakers, the social analytics company, this is a free app that will generate a report by checking 100 of your followers at random against a list of criteria, including follower-to-following ratio, red flag (spammy) words, a high percentage of tweets that are retweets or links, and more.

Socialbakers defines an account as inactive if it hasn’t tweeted in the past 90 days or sent fewer than three tweets.

The report, with a 10-15% margin of error, will also let you see some of the suspicious/empty accounts identified during the scan. You can block those accounts by clicking the Block All button.

*Note: This app is currently unavailable due to updates currently in progress at the time of this post, but be sure to check back for the improved version, available soon.

Keep in mind that not all accounts flagged by these tools are fake, so be sure to check out the accounts slated for deletion before hitting the ‘go’ button. Some empty accounts could merely be people who have a Twitter account to follow news and sports, for example.

What’s your take on fake followers? Have you used any tools to monitor your follower behaviour? Share your thoughts in the comments sections below.