What’s the worst thing about writing an article about proofreading? I would say it’s having to read it 30 times to make sure it has no typos! What I’d like to do in this short post is encourage you to set aside the common perception that proofreading is all about spotting typos, and show you the many ways good proofreading can enhance your social media output. (And if you spot any typos in the process, shoot me.)
Smartphones, as super awesome as they are, have made us lazy. And the larger our thumbs, and the smaller the device, the bigger the chance of mucking up the message. Twitter won’t let us edit our messages once they’ve been stuck to the worldwide wall, so it’s vital to read, re-read and have a friend read your message before it goes live. If you’re running a business and these are the posts you expect your followers and prospective clients to see, you should be checking it with big Elton John glasses. One social media mistake is perhaps OK, but consistent mistakes make you look like you’re composing a piano concerto with your elbows.
What about clarity of purpose? What are you hoping to achieve with your social media channel? How many channels do you have? With so many social media options out there, it would be a shame to stick the same content on each and every one of them. I think it’s good practice to alter your message from channel to channel, and even develop a different tone for each audience. Your analytics will reveal what’s working and what isn’t, and whether it’s time to ditch the channel or simply tweak it.
“Each major social network has continued to diverge both in how they are set up and what your audiences expect on each one,” said Ash Read on the Buffer Social site. He’s dead right. Not all social media channels work the same way, even though at first glance you may think they do. The untrained eye thinks noodles and spaghetti are the same, right? There are slight differences in the way they’re created, but huge differences in terms of cultural structure and social use.
A good proofreader will know the difference between the social networks and what they offer, and will combine this knowledge with what your business is trying to achieve. They will explore whether you’re wasting time on channels that seem inappropriate or irrelevant, and will ensure you’re using the right hashtags and keywords according to trends and industry keywords. And that GIF you posted to illustrate the audience at the awards dinner you recently attended – is it really what you want on your LinkedIn company page?
If your proofreader is checking for clarity, purpose, grammar and tone, as well as channel appropriateness and good scheduling practice, they’re worth hiring. It represents excellent value for someone you thought was paid to look for typos.