Saturday, June 12, 2010

Corporate tweeters should stay on message

Social Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Friday, June 11, 2010
Moncton Times & Transcript
Metro section

Corporate tweeters: I noticed that a local company has started to tweet so-called "jokes" on their Twitter account. The jokes are as old as the hills and not particularly funny and have nothing - zero - to do with their business.

My first reaction is, "Why?"

My next reaction is, "You must have a lot of time on your hands if business is that slow that you can tweet jokes that have nothing to do with your business."

And my next reaction was shaking my head at the content of the jokes, because they could be taken as insulting by some particularly sensitive people.

This is still one of the major errors I see being done by corporate tweeters, especially those who tweet as themselves and their brand at the same time. They keep tweeting about personal things under their company name. Stop! Just stop! Open up another Twitter account and post your jokes under that account name, not your corporate brand.

Corporate tweeters and Facebook profile managers need to stop this. The people who know you personally probably don't mind, but you're not on Twitter or Facebook as a corporation to make people laugh - unless you're a comedian or that's part of your brand. It makes no sense for a corporate tweeter to post jokes that have nothing to do with their brand. I just don't get it. The same thing goes for corporate tweeters talking about going to lunch somewhere or tweeting about the new purse they just bought.

If you're reading this and you have people working for you who manages social media platforms for your company, please do yourself a favour and check out what they're saying. Are their links showing up properly? Do they know enough to use URL shortening services such as or tiny.url? Do they know enough not to tweet about their personal lives on your corporate account? Do they spell correctly? Do they tweet about negative things that reflect badly on your brand?

If you own or manage a company that has corporate tweeters, it's imperative that you check on what's being posted. No need to be intimidated if you're not on Twitter yourself. You're smart and savvy enough to know what's right and what's wrong. If there are corporate tweets being posted under your name that make you wince, then have a chat with the person posting. If that doesn't work, then change the person posting or get off Twitter until you find the right person to do it for you.

Doing a crappy job on Twitter is worse than not being on Twitter at all. That may sound like an odd comment, but make sure you're truly ready before you leap.

Common spelling mistakes on Twitter and Facebook: Nothing can hurt your credibility more than constantly making spelling mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but there are certain errors that keep coming up time and time again.

"Lose" and "Loose": You lose your pants if they're too loose. I'm amazed at the number of people who make that mistake. I saw a local business organization make the mistake online as I'm writing this column. "What do you have to loose?" they wrote, when they clearly meant "lose."

"It's" and "Its": The dog eats its food because it's hungry. The possessive "its" has no apostrophe. Tattoo that on your brain with permanent ink.

And speaking of apostrophes, they do not belong on plural words. "Rose's roses were in full bloom." Apostrophes are for (most) possessives, not plurals.

"Your" and "You're". Your brother is mad because you're going to the amusement park without him. "Your" is possessive. "You're" is short for "You are."

"They're" and "There" and "Their". They're not going there because their bus was late. Learn the difference and practise.

And my biggest pet peeve, the unnecessary capitalization of common nouns. There is no need to put a capital letter on a word for emphasis. "I'm really Mad at Mary because she showed up late Again!" Only "Mary" needs to be capitalized in that sentence because Mary is a proper noun. Stop using caps on common nouns for emphasis.

So why is a rant about spelling making it into a column on social media? Simple. Good spelling equals more credibility. No one ever winces because you spell something correctly, but if you're trying to sell products or solutions to your followers, your ability to spell correctly can make a huge difference in how seriously they take you. Huge!

Again, if you own or manage a company who employs someone who tweets for you or who manages your Facebook fan page, make sure their spelling is decent-to-excellent. Constant spelling mistakes make you look bad. Yours is the name associated with the atrocious spelling, not theirs.

Social media tidbits: Bangladesh has unblocked Facebook after the social media giant decided to remove groups promoting drawing satirical images of the prophet Mohammed. Officials in the Muslim country considered these images blasphemous and counteracted by banning Facebook altogether. Facebook has since removed the groups.

In Southern California, several high school seniors were suspended just before graduation after organizing a so-called game via Facebook called "Beat the Jew." The group had 40 members. Apparently, the "Jew" was blindfolded and made to wander in traffic while the "Nazis" drove by and tried to tackle and snatch him. The students face being barred from graduation ceremonies. The police are also investigating.


Ray Hiltz said...

Spelling and grammar; a touchy point with me too. Although we are all human and I have let things slip by unintentionally (can't afford editor - yet), you're right in saying that this reduces a company's credo big time.

I suggest a great resource that is both hilarious and educational (imagine that).

Lynne Truss's book: Eat, Shoots and Leaves.

As always, enjoy your blog.

Brian Cormier said...

Thanks, Ray! I haven't read that book but have heard great things about it.