Texting, social media, and the internet in general seem to have lowered the standards of spelling and grammar. People shorten entire words to a single letter, typos abound, and we all rue the seemingly senseless results of auto-correct.
When you see everyone, even your managers and your parents, regularly referring to you as “u” and utilizing abbreviations like “ngl” and “lol,” you tend to let a “how you been” or “whats up” slip by. What does it matter if you write in slang or leave out an apostrophe? Who is it hurting anyway?
It may be hurting your company’s image and your entire brand, that’s who.
Internet Slang Affects Brand Image
Business owners need to monitor the level of “internet slang” and the lack of grammatically correct content that they let slip into their digital marketing. Sure, it can be annoying to find a misspelling in a Facebook post or on the “About Us” page of a company site, but it goes much deeper than that. The way a company communicates and expresses itself online is a direct reflection of the company itself.
We’ve all heard that businesses can use social media to stand out and make themselves relatable to their clientele, but that does not mean that they should throw brand standards out the window. So while companies may express themselves more casually on Twitter or Instagram, they should also remember to spell check and use proper grammar while doing so. In fact, it’s better to sound more formal on social media than to drop off the other end of the spectrum.
The Degradation of Print Language
Typos happen. No one, not even a giant corporation, is perfect, and everyone is prone to making a grammatical or spelling error from time to time. But people tend to judge harshly when such errors are made, and even more so if made by a business or professional organization.
Some experts feel as if internet-speak has permanently changed our language. Even Merriam-Webster says, “We regret to inform you that Internet slang is fair game for the dictionary. OMG WTF?” In fact, OMG was entered into their Online Dictionary in 2009.
So, it’s safe to use OMG in your business correspondence and marketing materials, right? Well, no. Merriam-Webster tracks language as it’s used in various media, including slang. Just because others are saying it, does not mean that your business should.
The sheer amount of content – blogs, social media posts, landing pages, and so on – opens up a greater possibility of making errors. Not only must you keep each piece of content in line with the brand voice and message, but you should also fit in with each platform’s own given tone, including hashtags, shorthand, memes, or internet slang that’s commonly used on that social network.
Many people won’t even notice an error or will overlook it, especially if it’s minor. But mistakes that are obviously not intentional can cause damage to your company’s reputation and ruin any trust and credibility you’ve built with your client base.
Speaking the Language of Your Audience
How do you write relatable content within social media outlets without damaging your credibility? It’s important for your community manager or content strategist to have a complete grasp of the tone, etiquette, and social customs of each online network in order to fit in with the community. This includes using hashtags, slang, acronyms, and memes if not doing so would be inappropriate.
Participating in a given social media outlet in an open and germane way shows that you understand not only the media itself, but your audience. Communicating with your audience in a format that they use can help develop a deeper, long-term connection. However, it’s important to maintain your brand voice and proper grammar. Falling into casual, informal conversation at the expense of your perceived intelligence is a risky and dangerous move.
While social media allows businesses to utilize more natural and intimate tones, it does not give them reason to ignore their professional image and proper use of spelling and grammar. You can still be funny and respond off-the-cuff without potentially causing damage to your corporate brand and company image and doing so may turn casual followers into brand ambassadors.
We’re offering new clients a free check of their website to uncover grammatical errors, typos, and confusing content. Just send us an email with your name and website address, and we’ll proofread your homepage to find out if you have problems that may be affecting your company image.
Are you making a good first impression with your potential customers? Find out today with a free check of your homepage!
Free grammar check is only available to new clients in and around the Youngstown, Ohio area. This offer is only available for a limited time and will no longer be available on March 1, 2021 or whenever deemed by Aardvark Writing. We retain the right to change the details of this offer as we feel appropriate.