Someone once said, “It’s all in the details.”
As social media managers know, running social network sites for clients takes a lot of TLC and attention to details. Time spent researching and collecting information helps to establish credibility for clients in their industry. The last thing you want is for stakeholders, fans and even worse, clients, noticing grammatical errors in 140 characters or less. More than 40% of an account’s followers notice the mistakes immediately and according to a recent study, proper grammar is valued more than anything else in social media interactions.
Dust off your AP Stylebook and channel your inner English major. I’m putting you through a quick five question quiz to see if your (not you’re) online grammar and social media content creation knowledge is in tip top shape. Grab a pen and piece of paper and write down the letter you believe is correct. When you are finished taking the quiz, scroll to the bottom and see which ones you got right. No peeking!
1. Which of the two tweets is constructed correctly?
A: “I’m having the rib eye and Kennebec fries @latekitchen tonight.”
B: “I’m having the rib eye and Kennebec fries at @latekitchen tonight.”
2. Which of the following is punctuated incorrectly?
B. Veteran’s Day
C. President’s Day
3. Announcing news about events through social is very important. The correct spelling of this word below is…
A. “We apologize, but our annual company picnic is cancelled tonight due to inclement weather.”
B. “We apologize, but our annual company picnic is canceled tonight due to inclement weather.”
4. When writing a press release and referring to your business or a client, the correct term to use is…
A. StrataBlue said it is hiring a new Director of Social Media.
B. StrataBlue said they are hiring a new Director of Social Media.
5. Tweeting out about the weather can be a good way to engage your audience if you know the correct grammar to use. Which of the following is spelled incorrectly…
A. “@LocalEateryPub It’s hotter than Hades outside! Cool off with a refreshing craft beer from our bar.”
B. “@LocalEateryPub It’s hotter then Hades outside! Cool off with a refreshing craft beer from our bar.”
1. Correct answer: B. Option “A” is missing the word “at” in front of @latekitchen. Just because the “@” symbol is in front of an account’s handle does not literally mean “at.” Pretend the “@” symbol is silent in front of an account and read it out loud. You’ll notice a difference.
2. Correct answer: C. According to the AP Style Book, there is no apostrophe in Presidents Day. Holidays are a great way to plan content for a social media campaign but can put you under criticism if you don’t do your research. For instance, St. Patrick’s Day honors one of Ireland’s most well-known male saints. When shortened, the correct spelling would be “St. Paddy’s Day” to respect his gender.
3. Correct answer: B. In American English, the verb ‘cancel’ is usually spelled canceled. If you are outside of the United States in countries such as Canada, Great Britain or Australia, cancelled may sometimes be used.
4. Correct answer: A. Even though “they” may sound right, the term “it” is the correct word to use.
5. Correct answer: A. “Than” is a word used to compare two different things whereas “then” can have a variety of meanings. Rule of thumb: use “than” when comparing things.
How did you score? Here are a few quick tips to keep your content creation in perfect form.
- Ask co-workers to review your content once, twice or three times before hitting “send.” Facebook posts and tweets can quickly be altered if an error slips through the cracks but for something like a proposal, errors are like big red flags on paper.
- If your business hasn’t done so already, create a company Style Guide so everyone has a quick reference on the grammar tips we often forget.
- Spend fifteen minutes a week skimming through your AP Style Book.
What is your pet peeve in grammar on social media? Share it with me in the comments below!