The quick guide to proofreading your social media posts

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Your social media team has been hard at work compiling strong content to publish on your social feeds. You have conversion tweets lined up, content call-outs, image-heavy posts for Facebook, a few fun items for Google+, and a video with descriptions for your YouTube page.

But before you give everyone the green-light to publish, follow our tips below to learn why proofreading your copy is essential before your audience can read your tweets and posts. There’s a lot more to proofreading than clicking “Spellcheck.”

1. Decide on your “style guide” and stick to it

Depending where you live, your team must decide on what grammar and spelling style to follow. If you live in Canada, you likely will follow the CP Style Book often used by  journalists. If you live in the U.S., the AP Style Guide or The Chicago Manual of Style are most commonly consulted for tricky phrases or spelling differences. These guides should be in every office of everyone on your social media team and, better yet, you should update your staff with the most recent version every year.

2. Fact-check, mate!

Did you write about your recent sales figures on Black Friday? Are you 100 percent sure you have the numbers right? If you’re basing a tweet on conversation or anecdotal figures, you’ll want to fact-check that stat ASAP. You don’t want to issue a correction notice once you later find out a tweet posted the wrong data. Laziness is the death of social media management, so ensure every social media post containing verifiable facts is correct.

3. Read every post aloud

It’s one of the best tips I ever learned in journalism school: Read every word in your article out loud to catch any awkward phrasings, missing words or unclear terms. You should follow the same practice in your social media proofreading. By saying aloud your tweets, you can catch mistakes your eyes may have glazed over at 4:55 p.m. You can also apply this technique to any copy in your B2B marketing efforts, from newsletters to website content to YouTube descriptions.

4. Link lovin

We’ve all been frustrated by broken links when we’ve clicked on an attractive tweet. Few things are as annoying as wasting your time on a 404 message. You need to make sure all your scheduled links go where they’re supposed to go. Your link-checks also apply to any embedded URLs you may have seeded in YouTube video descriptions or photo captions.

5. Don’t set up auto-retweets

Who would’ve thought a B2B social media lesson could be learned from the New England Patriots? Recently, the NFL team’s Twitter feed sent out automated tweets that showed each fan’s Twitter handle on a digital Patriots jersey if they retweeted a message celebrating reaching one million Twitter followers. Thing is, one of those fans’ handles was promoting a racial slur and all of the Patriots’ 1 million followers saw that unfortunate retweet. Don’t follow the Pats’ example and instead manually thank fans individually, and look over everyone’s handles so you aren’t tweeting any disgraceful language.

6. Ideally, don’t proof your own content

You may have worked for hours on a dozens of tweets and Facebook posts and now your eyes are drooping fast. You could edit your own content, but it’s advisable to have another pair of eyes look over your work. That proofer would bring a fresh perspective (and hopefully, an alert mind) to your tweets and posts, pointing out things you may have overlooked. If you don’t have an editor at your firm, consider springing for a part-timer at the very least, who can edit your scheduled posts for the day.

7. One last read never hurts…

You’ve scheduled five Facebook posts and 20 tweets. You used Hootsuite to schedule two LinkedIn posts. You just pinned four items on Pinterest. Your work is done, right? Wrong! You need to proof your scheduled content one last time to ensure you didn’t miss a wandering comma or mistake “they’re” for “their.” I’ve often found errors in scheduled Facebook posts and proofing that final round saved my tucchus more than once. Taking the extra effort for a thorough edit will keep your copy polished and professional.

Did we miss any proofreading tips? Let us know in the Comments below or via @b2bnewsnetwork 

Flickr photo via ianmunroe

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David Silverberg
David Silverberg is the former editor-in-chief of Digital Journal Inc. He helped pioneer Digital Journal's proprietary technology to leverage content from writers from across the world. He was the host of Digital Journal's annual Future of Media event. David has been published in various publications, writing on everything from technology trends to celebrity profiles.
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