Whoops, you wrote “their” instead of “there” in a post. As a person, the worst that happens is your annoying, nit-picky friend comments with, “*there.” As a brand, the implications could be far greater.
Grammar mistakes could very well hurt a brand’s online reputation. In fact, according to a recent study, consumers value proper grammar and spelling more than anything else when it comes to interacting with brands on social media. It’s not just “grammar nerds;” customers across the board are paying more attention to these little things than you think.
Before you dust off your 8th grade English textbook, review the quick refresher below. Here are six common grammar mistakes brands make on social media—that you might just be making too.
1. Noun Agreement in Statistics
Statistics are often shared in online content. Not only should you get your facts straight, but you should make sure to check your pronouns. When saying that 1 in 6 people believe/say/do “X,” a singular verb should follow.
Example: 1 in 6 women will update her Facebook today.
2. “They” Rather Than “It”
Remember: Companies are not people. Make sure to use “that” when referring to an object (like a brand) and “who” when referring to a person.
Example: Twitter made its announcement yesterday.
3. Hyphens Rather Than Dashes
A dash should be used when an abrupt change in thought occurs in a sentence. A hyphen should only be used to connect two words. Of course, because hyphens are so much easier to type, they’re often used in place of dashes online. Pro Tip: Copy and paste a dash into your post or tweet.
4. Overuse of Exclamation Points
An exclamation point should be used sparingly. Its purpose is to create the most impact.
When overused, an exclamation mark will lose its punch. Plus, let’s face it: No one is THAT excited all of the time. Beware: Using exclamation marks too frequently (or using too many of them!!!!) can also come off as juvenile or inauthentic.
5. Capitalization in Company or Product Names
There are a few creative spellings for social media companies and products, so typos are certainly not rare. For instance, it’s “Snapchat” not “SnapChat” and “LinkedIn” rather than “Linkedin.”
Here’s a pop quiz. When referring to Facebook, is it:
b) News Feed
d) news feed
(ANSWER: News Feed)
6. Misplaced and Misused Quotation Marks
Periods and commas always belong inside quotation marks. Question marks and exclamation marks, on the other hand, are trickier. They belong inside quotation marks when they refer to just what is being quoted, but outside when they refer to the sentence as a whole. Bonus Tip: Single quotation marks should only be used when writing a quotation within a quotation.
“I’m going to tweet this,” she said.
“Did you tweet this?” she asked.
Did she really just say, “I'm going to tweet this”?
Have you spotted a common grammar mistake on social media? Share it in the comments!