Disruptive Communications, a digital strategy and content marketing company in the United Kingdom, carried out a study in August last year to find out what customers hate about your social media. What was their impetus to “dislike” a page that they had consciously made a decision to follow?
To writers and editors, Disruptive Communications’ findings will be no surprise: The number one turnoff for followers was poor spelling or grammar, coming in at a whopping 42.5%.
Other flaws such as not enough updates, too many updates, too ‘salesy,’ and trying too hard to be funny were also cited as reasons customers couldn’t stand a brand’s social media. However, the margin for poor spelling and grammar was incredible, with about 15% more votes than any other flaw from the 1,003 people polled.
If it wasn’t already clear, this study emphasizes the importance of an editor, copy editor, proofreader, or at the very least, someone looking over your work for blatant errors (if your budget doesn’t allow for an experienced editor). Your social media isn’t a novel, but everything from tweets to blog posts contain copy that represents your brand–so your grammar and spelling should be as impeccable as any other marketing materials you produce.
It’s true that spelling errors won’t make or break your brand, but they certainly will detract from any credibility or trust that every marketer hopes a customer will feel towards your brand. Here are a few tips that editors and writers alike can use to keep their social media airtight and error free:
Do You Have an Editor? As we previously mentioned, even though tweets are 140 characters, there’s plenty of room for error that can have a massive impact on your brand (see the 11 most common grammar gaffes on social media). If you have room in your budget, someone trained in editing and proofreading will be invaluable, and can catch mistakes you never knew you were making.
You Don’t Already? Read Out Loud. Most English and writing classes teach this tip these days, but reading anything you have written out loud to yourself before it’s posted will help you catch minute errors that just won’t sound right. This won’t necessarily help with spelling, but our brains will process the words and syntax differently when we hear them than when we read them. Before posting a tweet, Facebook post, or even long-form blog post, take the extra few minutes to read out loud.
Find a Friend: Most writers know that the most important part of writing is editing. Sometimes, after working on something for too long, it’s difficult to see errors that may have been introduced in the editing process. This is where a different set of eyes can come in handy to read through your work and find mistakes you may have missed from being too close to the copy. This isn’t a bad thing, but simply a step that could save you time and headaches down the road!
Most social media experts and marketers are no Leo Tolstoy, but having a grasp of writing techniques and correct grammar is a must in a world filled with eyes ready to criticize any little mistake. Take the time, proofread and edit, and watch your credibility grow day by day. Writing and social media go hand in hand.
Photo Credit: CC by sidewalk flying