Gotcha Grammar: The Importance of Grammar in Social Media

What would you think if you saw this post from a doctor’s office on Facebook?

Graphic for Gotcha Grammar the Importance of Grammar in Social Media

Your first thought would probably be, “Yikes, if this person doesn’t even know how to structure a sentence, how can I trust them to save my life?”

While social media is, without a doubt, a powerful and inexpensive way to market your business, it is vital to make sure that you’re using the opportunity to put forth the best possible image of your business. Consumers will be paying attention not only to when and how often you post (including whether you take the time to respond to their comments and engage with them), but what you post, and sufficient grammar plays a large role in that image.

Why is grammar so important in marketing your business?

Regardless of what your business does, every business needs to earn the trust of its potential consumers, and in order for the public to trust you, they need to see you as a professional and as an expert in your field. If the information that you give consumers has grammatical errors, it may portray you as being less intelligent and therefore less proficient in your field. For example, the sample Facebook post above makes consumers ask, “If they clearly didn’t learn anything from elementary school grammar, how could they have possibly learned enough in medical school to make them good doctors?” And this rule applies not only for grammar, but for links as well. Before including a link in any social media post, check the link to make sure it works and leads to the correct page.

Besides painting your business in a good light, correct grammar also makes it easier for the consumers to actually understand what you’re saying. America is a world of extremely diverse dialects, and especially in the world of marketing in Atlanta, consumers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and regions. Most casual conversation uses some regional language (even if you don’t realize it), but Standard American English (the dialect of English that’s taught in grammar classes and used in textbooks and news broadcasts) is uniform throughout the country. It’s also the way that English is taught to people for whom English is not their first language, so by using accurate grammar, you make your message understandable across cultures and avoid alienating any of your consumers.

Why does social media require even more attention to detail than other media?

One of the beauties of social media is how easy it is to pass along information that you see—it only requires a few clicks of the mouse. In other words, if your social media efforts are successful, it’s not just your own followers who will see your posts, it’s their friends and contacts as well.

For many of those who see your posts, this will be their first impression of your business. Because social media is a format with very limited wording, you have an even smaller space in which to make that essential great first impression, so minor details become highly important. For example, if a consumer’s first impression of your business is an e-newsletter,  a couple of grammatical errors don’t make as much impact because you have three pages of space in which you can “make a case” for your business. But when all the consumer sees is a 140-character tweet, those two grammatical mistakes become far more noticeable, and their first impression of your business is an unprofessional one.

This first impression is also affected by the articles and links that you share. Anything you share on social media is a representation of you and your business, so before posting shared material, always check that the information is coming from a reliable source.

How can you safeguard against mistakes?

The key to preventing a social media blunder is multiple sets of eyes. First, prepare your posts ahead of time, then put them away and out of your mind for at least a few hours. When you come back to review them, you’ll be seeing them with fresh eyes and you’re more likely to catch any grammatical missteps or awkward wording. Another easy way to avoid poor posts is to set up a checks-and-balances system, in which everyone who writes social media posts must have them reviewed by someone else before posting them.

This may all seem overwhelming, but keep in mind that you don’t have to do it all yourself. The best way to prevent poor social media presence is to work with professionals with extensive experience in social media. McCauley Marketing Services can handle all your social media marketing needs, as well as other marketing efforts that can promote your business in a way that shows off your expert status. Check out our portfolio or our own Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ pages for examples or give us a call with any questions you may have.