Grammar. Is it really THAT difficult?

I’ve written a few times about why having a professional handle your social media effort makes sense if you’re going to outsource, rather than your neighbor’s college-aged niece home for the summer. But here’s one that even my children could get right: grammar.

I get that we’re all moving in a million directions everyday. I understand that Twitter happens fast and sometimes we make mistakes. It happens to all of us.

However, when you are creating a social campaign (or a PR campaign, advertising campaign, you name it), don’t you think it’s important that the words, punctuation and message have been critically thought through, proofed by several sets of eyes and absolutely free of errors? How can a brand expect a consumer to take it seriously if the consumer is too fixated on a huge typo in the campaign?

This morning, I received an email from a company inviting me to a 30-minute webinar about successful social campaigns. The subject interested me, so I clicked for more information. Inside was a description of the course with an example of a “successful” campaign (it is not clear if the company holding the webinar had anything to do with the campaign it was using as an example). But the screenshot of the campaign they are sharing has a typo in it. The typo made the sentence so confusing I had to read it multiple times to even figure out what the campaign was about (hmmm… I’m wondering if maybe this was the actual tactic).

So two things are concerning here:

  1. An international company (fine, I’ll just say it, Converse), sent a tweet on July 29th (the typo’s still there, you can see it) that says, “We’re making in rain new Chucks over at Converse.com (cc: @milliebbrown) #FirstDayFeels #ForeverChuck.” The tweet includes a cute .gif of someone “making it rain,” so-to-speak. The problem is “making in rain” makes no sense – so I literally read that multiple times. This makes me scoff at Converse. And the fact that it’s still up two months later invokes a serious eyeroll by me. So Converse made a mistake and it’s not the end of the world, I get it. But… 
  2. A company used this tweet as an example of a successful campaign to send out to people in order to entice them to register for their webinar and continue their education.

Talk about an eyeroll. I actually responded to the company and told them I had considered registering, but they lost all credibility with me when they used this example. Of all the companies out there, they picked one with a flawed tweet? If they wanted to use Converse, fine, but surely Converse has another example out there of a successful campaign without this grammatical mess.

All of this goes back to what I remind my team time and again. We regularly have reminders to slow down, proofread and make sure that whatever we are saying on behalf of our clients sounds correct. Because anything incorrect can reflect poorly on that brand, which then reflects poorly on our brand.

Are we perfect? No. Do we make typos? Sure. But we catch them, and we fix them. I consider my team some of the best writers around. But even they make an error once in awhile. We’re big on proofreading around here and checking over work and making sure that we are confident that the work we put out is professional and correct.

So slow down. Check your work. Make it right. Because people care and grammar matters.

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