Mind your language
- July 3, 2022
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Summer is in full swing but it’s always the season to spring clean your online presence
Imagine one afternoon you decide to sit down in your favourite armchair to read an interesting book which has been waiting for a long time and along the pages you come across weird, wrong words. Wouldn’t you feel undecided whether to laugh or cry, thinking you wasted money on a book which carries all those mistakes and lose all your trust in the author? How credible would the author or publisher be to you? Would you finish reading it?
Likewise I feel the same when sifting through social media content. An ocean of grammatical and spelling mistakes which sadly and wrongly is becoming acceptable in the virtual world. It is ok I guess that social media has created a new modern vocabulary but it does not give anyone the license to abandon rules of even simple basic spelling, let alone applying good, correct grammar (which are easily avoidable thanks to the spellchecker tools which are part and parcel of every communication tool nowadays)
Tradition has it that when a business seeks new human resources for its workforce, the bar is raised very high for skills, education, experience and character. Which is all great and that’s how it should be.
The problem seems to emerge when a business seeks to take its brand online, especially on platforms like those of social media. It is apparent that the standards fall quickly, in the majority of cases it’s taken as lightly as engaging a member of staff to “play” with the company’s social media accounts as if it were their own personal profile.
Companies need to understand that social media is an equal communication channel to a call centre, a customer office, a website presence, a physical shop. It is an extension of your brand; a reflection of the image you wish to portray. If these physical and virtual locations are not manned professionally, the business will not grow and its reputation will be tarnished. Same with business pages on social media – unless managed by professionals who spend the majority of their time studying digital marketing and have expertise in the digital world it can have catastrophic effects.
What hurts me most as a specialist with a particular interest in proof reading and content creation to manage business accounts is coming across grammatical errors which are a clear sign of the superficiality or incapacity of the person entrusted to the keyboard. If the brand is not sensitive enough to communicate to me in a high level with attention to correct language, what should I think of the overall attitude of this brand to customer service and communication?
As we emerge from a pandemic in a race against time to save our lives and our livelihood, online media takes a leap of faith to shape our present and future consumer behaviours. The problem is created in this rush to catch up with time lost, finances gone and a craze to get hold of what went by, forgetting the reputation possibly built on long years of service.
We cannot allow the fast world of social media to damage our brand. It’s all about credibility.
Being innovative and modern in a digital world does not exclude old-school techniques and etiquette. Do your research, be open to public opinion, take your time to build content, share content at the right time rather than just scheduling it to make your life easier (I’ve seen so many posts going up at the wrong time, in terms of clashing with contrasting world news for example). But most of all, mean what you write and write it down well. Give up on automations, they’re a thing of the (recent) past.
Social media is great to show the human side of a business, but always keeping in mind the respect you owe to your vast audience. So personal opinions by the content writers should remain personal, even when engaging with users.
Companies extending their presence to digital media have a responsibility to shape us and future generations. Not just with their products or services but especially with the content they create and generate, potentially influencing hundreds and thousands of followers. Let’s all do our part to respect languages and keep them alive and in good shape.
Trust the right person with the experience necessary to handle your social media presence.
PS: And by the way, did I say how annoying restaurant menus are when they’re full of typos?!
Written for The Sunday Times of Malta by Alison Casha (Founder at Socialogy™) one of the first marketers with a 20 year strong career and practical experience who believes in social media as one of the most important marketing/customer care channels for any business giving importance to customer satisfaction and real time engagement.
Socialogy™, “The Art of Social Marketing” provides cost-effective and sustainable social media marketing to SME’s and marketing agencies at a European level. Whatever the job, Socialogy™ will always show maximum respect towards our planet.