Excuse Me, But You Have a Little Something in Your Post
Early in my career, I worked at a place where we all wolfed down salads at our desk in-between a series of long, and often very formal, meetings. One day, a group of us were in my boss’s office just before a VVIP was to be escorted in, when I noticed she had something green in her teeth. I tapped my finger to my mouth. She glared at me. I scraped my own tooth a little with my finger nail. She looked away. Finally, I grabbed my lipstick mirror, crossed the room to her desk and handed it to her, whispering in her ear that she should check her smile. She did, and later in the day, my very formidable boss thanked me for telling her what no one else would. Since then, I’ve always made a point to help others avoid those socially awkward moments – even if my help might not be welcome at first.
Except when it comes to grammar mistakes on social media. Even when they are at their most cringe-worthy, I rarely mention them. We all post everything so quickly, and usually on a small phone screen, that typos and grammar mistakes can just seem like collateral damage. On the other hand, I certainly welcome anyone to notify me (on the QT) when I err because I want the chance to fix it before I am too harshly judged. Because, make no mistake, people judge.
I know this thanks to an informal poll I took on my Facebook page where many of my friends – even the ones who said they’re not so bothered by their own mistakes on their personal pages – reported that they definitely notice the mistakes of others. And those who said that they would want to be told (discreetly) by a trusted friend or relative often said that they would never presume to call out someone else’s grammar mistake, no matter how gently.
Most people who have a business page said they were extra careful about grammar and spelling there, but admitted that sometimes a mistake has gotten past them. Many respondents said that errors in social posts turn them off a business. To them, it made the business seem “sloppy or lazy” or to “have poor attention to detail.” One person even said they make her “doubt character” (an observation that made my Lisa Simpson heart light up).
Grammar errors and typos on digital communications are the food that no one wants to tell you is in your teeth. At best, they are embarrassing. At worst, they can cost businesses customers and nonprofits sponsorships. While we often tend to think of social posts as an informal way of reaching our audience, it is also the way they hear from us most often. Which makes it vitally important that we put our best foot forward at all times.
If you are interested in learning more about how Albers Communications can help you communicate more professionally in your digital marketing, please contact Gina Pappas: firstname.lastname@example.org / 402.292.5553, x. 9.