Wednesday 15 February 2012

Why Checking your Profile is Important

Don't let poor spelling, grammar or unexpected text truncation damage your social media presence.

"Dave and I worked together on implementing a new system, Dave on the customer tea...". This turned out to be an unfortunate summary, as Dave actually worked on the "customer team and was hugely instrumental in the success of the project".

I saw this recently on LinkedIn. We use our web sites, blogs and profiles on social media sites to promote ourselves, our businesses and the things we do. Yet the number one problem I see in all these things - poor accuracy of textual information - can be both the most damaging and the easiest to fix.

Spelling seems to be a problem, which is hugely surprising as pretty much all the content entered on the web is via a browser, and spell checking should be pretty much the norm. I'm typing this using Firefox, and anything with dubious spelling is underlined in red, as it would be if I were typing a letter in Word. So there really is no excuse for poor spelling on your LinkedIn profile, or that latest marketing Tweet.

Grammar can be dealt with similarly, but there is of course a much harder issue of using the wrong words in the wrong places - my favourites being "there" and "their" and of course "your" and "you're". You can only get round these by taking the time after you've completed your typing to review what you've entered, and make sure it's correct. If you've any doubts, or the content is really important, perhaps a new product launch page on your web site, get it proofread, either by a professional or by a colleague with a keen eye.

Reviewing your work is important for another reason, it gives you a chance to put yourself in the position of the reader and make sure that the message appears in the way that you intended. This is especially important for those sites which take long pieces of text and truncate them to create a summary, with a hyperlink to "click for more". That truncation can appear in exactly the wrong place, not only reducing the impact of the text, but sometimes reversing it completely, as in the example above.

Here are some other examples I've seen recently:

A profile of a marketing professional where the summary stressed their focus on brand management, consistency and attention to detail, before ending with "you're cup is always full".

There was also the profile written by the "apllication developer".

I also recently saw a competition web site where the names of two brand products - which were the prizes - were spelt incorrectly.

Why is this important? Well, our presence on the web shows our potential clients what we can do for them, and the precision with which we can do it. They will expect us to produce work which represents their brand and business objectives accurately and consistently. If we can't do that for our own brand, then why will they trust us with theirs?

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