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But It's Only A Facebook Post!

23/08/2017 14:35
ogichobanov via Getty Images

As a social media professional, and an ex-content editor for a major education website, I can't state enough the importance of spelling, grammar and syntax to any communication you're putting out there. I'm not just talking about your latest press-release either, that will likely be edited by the publisher! Whether you're a large scale corporation, or a small start-up business working out of your kitchen, sending small scale copy into the void without review is a recipe for disaster. Some companies don't see social media as an important part of their marketing strategy, and hence give the job to the nearest millennial with no direction, no scope, and no editorial standard.

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Tweets and Facebook posts littered with spelling errors and bad grammar are, at best, a distraction from your message, or at worst, an embarrassment. A social media manager's job ain't easy - browsers often don't automatically spell check, and if you're working via mobile or tablet, an erroneous auto-correct can mess up a well-meaning tweet!

You can see it with a quick scan of Facebook entrepreneurs running cute competitions - all caps, no spell-check, and no punctuation. If you have dyslexia or you're just not that good at checking your spelling, it can be difficult to know whether there are mistakes in your content. If you're lucky, someone will bring it to your attention through a private message. Someone might make a public comment which, although embarrassing, is far better than the third option - nothing.

You might notice that you're page has lots of like from friends and family, but nothing from strangers. It might be because your spelling and/or grammar mistakes make your page look unprofessional and those people just aren't engaging. They don't care enough about your page/content/brand to let you know that there are errors.

So how can you avoid these pitfalls?

1) Look before you Tweet - it's all too easy to mindlessly compose and send a tweet. Stop, read, check, check again, Tweet.

2) F7 (spell check for Microsoft Office) - there's backstory here! In my day job, I once forgot to spellcheck a whole Excel workbook. Cue over one hundred F7 messages from the colleagues on my team (all in good fun of course)! If you're unsure and you have Microsoft Office, just open up a blank word document and copy/paste your tweet or Facebook post to get the inevitable red underlines of shame.

3) Show someone - a friend with editing skills is a friend indeed (to paraphrase). Good friends will help you out, you just have to ask.

4) Pay someone - if you're an entrepreneur, or small business intending to use social media, consider hiring someone for an hour per week to run your social media for you, or as an editor to check your work. It will pay dividends in the long run as your page continues to grow.

5) Don't be scared to edit - if someone points out a mistake on Facebook, click the edit button and correct it. It will be better in the long run. Although you can't edit Tweets once they're sent, there's no harm in deleting the tweet, provided you haven't had any interactions from it.

6) Use combined social media platform like Hootsuite to schedule content so that you can check and edit all in one place.

7) Use extension software, such as Grammarly for Google Chrome, or a website like slickwrite.com which will read your text and make suggestions on how to make your writing better.

So there it is, even if it's just a Facebook page, or just a Tweet, ignoring the basic tenets of good writing shows that you don't care about your content.

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