4 Ways to End Your Small Business’s Communication Self-Sabotage
There are times when you’ve got to recognize that you’re hurting yourself and your small business. YOU have done the damage. No one else, just you.
So, here’s my story.
I recently created a LinkedIn company page for my social media consulting business. As part of the strategy to increase my exposure and following, I reached out to a few of my connections via LinkedIn Messaging in hopes they would click the link, like the page, and in the future, engage with me and my fabulous content.
Two days later, I hadn’t received any new page traffic, let alone likes. What happened? Why didn’t they click the link? Did they even see the message?
Of course, I went back to review the message and confirmed that quite a few of my connections saw it. So, what was the problem?
*Scanned message, scanned message, sca…GASP!!!*
A BIG OLE, FAT, FUNKY TYPO!
A few colorful words flew out of my mouth — words that I won’t type here. I sat there for a few moments with my head in my hand thinking, “Really, Monica…really?!” It wasn’t the typo itself that upset me, more than the immediate awareness that I hadn’t taken the time to review and edit the message before sending. I had to be honest with myself. This wasn’t the first time I’d communicated with someone on LinkedIn without first reviewing the message.
My next thought — “I have GOT to do better”.
It’s so easy to get caught up, distracted, or just way too busy to review the communications we send out to the world. But, here’s the reality — passing up the 5-minute review on a piece of content that’s supposed to represent you and your small business can have serious consequences. It can mean the difference between a potential customer clicking a link to review your story, or deciding to move on. I mean hey, if you can’t be bothered to double check your own stuff well… you know the rest.
So, I’m being transparent in hopes that we can do better together! Take a look at four ways to help you purposely slow down, review what we’ve written, and make better impressions to your digital network.
Don’t Use Your Smartphone to Produce Important External Communications
Listen, I get it. It’s 2017 and technology’s convenient. Why wait to get to a desktop, laptop, or even your tablet when you can just whip out your phone, download an app, and thumb that note or response from wherever you are?
The problem with using our phones is that they provide a huge opportunity for mistakes. Small screens, smaller keyboards, and fat fingers can be a recipe for disaster! Okay, your fingers don’t even have to be fat! How many times have you sent a note from your phone and it went to the wrong recipient, you forwarded the wrong document, or auto correct just went completely off the rails?
I know these things could also happen on your computer, but my experience has been that smaller devices increase the error probability. And while I haven’t found any science to back this up, handling business on my phone seems to project a false sense of urgency — a need to type faster and get the task done with super-shero speed. My advice would be to just wait until you can get to a device with a larger screen so errors are easier to spot.
Use a Word Processor to Create and Review the Content
And this leads to my next suggestion. Whether you’re responding to a social media comment, completing an online job application, or sending a note to potential customers, typing your masterpiece into a word processing application first can be a simple, yet extremely useful step in making the best impressions possible. We all know Microsoft Word, but the online version, along with other free options such as Google Docs and Zoho Writer, is just as effective in correcting spelling and grammatical errors.
Now, I know some of you are already saying, “Just download a grammar checking app like Grammarly or Ginger to give it a once over”. True, but for me and my GenX brain, there’s nothing like reviewing my email or message right there in all of its full screen, black and white glory before sending it into “can never take back” oblivion.
Feel like it’s old school or that you’re moving backward waiting to use your computer? No problem. While I still think the small screen is not your friend for important communications, all of the above-mentioned programs have mobile apps for iPhone and Android devices. Download and use them regularly.
Use a Talk — To — Text App
Talk-to-text apps are not a new thing but can be really helpful in making sure you communicate your best…to a point. I love my Google Text-to-Talk app, but, do I trust it completely? Absolutely not!
You’ve still got to take time and review what you’ve created before sending anything of importance to anyone. I typically use the app to create a short message, then make manual adjustments and corrections.
Have Someone You Trust Review for Errors and Flow
It’s a simple and old school concept with no fancy-schmancy technology needed.
Ask someone you trust to review your content for accuracy, grammar, spelling, and flow. Is everything spelled right? Should it be “access” or “assess”? Does your message make sense, or are you rambling a bit? A second set of eyes can be a lifesaver from the pain and embarrassment of an unnecessary typo or misguided thought forwarded to the masses.
Don’t have any wordsmiths in your life that you trust with your business communications? Hire someone. You can hire a freelancer from Upwork, Freelancer, or Guru for a few bucks to review and edit your work. Rates can vary depending on the work and freelancer experience, so buyers beware, but it’s definitely a viable option.
Now, say it with me, “We’ve GOT to do better!” Building a small business is a huge, complicated, and game-changing experience. However, we can alleviate a bit of the challenge by simply committing to better communication.
How do you keep your small business communications errors to a minimum?
Originally published at www.monicaannette.com on August 29, 2017. Monica Howard is MonicaAnnette, a social media marketing and management company working to help small businesses navigate and thrive in the social media-sphere.