Words and Phrases to Ban from Your Social Media Vocabulary

By Dara Fontein

Social

Have you ever cringed at something a brand or business said on social media? Often, small words can make a big difference in how brands are perceived.

Language is powerful and has a huge impact on the sentiment your content expresses. Nobody—not even a social media marketer—is perfect, so it’s understandable that a company’s social media feed may have the occasional language choice misstep.

Here’s a collection of wince-worthy words—broken down into four categories—to ban from your social media vocabulary.

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence with Hootsuite.

4 types of language to ban from your social media posts

“Hip” lingo

You know that feeling when your dad asks about the “hippity hop” you’re listening to? That’s the same feeling audiences get from brands who try to be cool. Unless it fits your brand voice, using overly trendy lingo is a risky move for most professional organizations.

Brands don’t decide what’s cool—audiences do. When businesses try too hard to seem cool, they risk alienating their audience.

Some examples of words and phrases that you might want to swipe left on if hoping to avoid making your audience cringe in embarrassment for you:

Meaningless jargon

As a marketer, your job is to make sure your brand’s message is clear. Unfortunately, the use of marketing jargon, buzzwords, or ambiguous terms by businesses on social media is all too common. This practice alienates audience members who don’t immediately understand what the content means.

“Jargon masks real meaning,” Jennifer Chatman, management professor at the University of California-Berkeley’s Haas School of Business tells Forbes. “People use it as a substitute for thinking hard and clearly about their goals and the direction that they want to give others.”

Some common examples of marketing jargon to avoid—in your social media content or when discussing your strategy—include:

Clickbait

Clickbait refers to sensational headlines that don’t deliver on their promise. As The Guardian’s Charlie Brooker explains, “We’re trying to fit in because exaggeration is the official language of the Internet, a talking shop so hopelessly overcrowded that only the most strident statements have any impact.”

If you want your brand’s authority and clout to remain intact, avoid using hyperboles in your social media posts.

A helpful tip for avoiding clickbait is to ask yourself whether the claim you’re making is really true. Some common terms to stay away from include:

Cringe-worthy job titles

The final group of terms to consider cutting from your social media vocabulary has to do with marketing job descriptions. Some of these that I have come across include:

These kinds of nicknames, while seemingly innocent and fun, can actually have detrimental effects on your professional persona. When Jeff Barrett asked his Twitter community what they thought of these self-made job titles, he found that 9 out of 10 people felt that they devalue the person and cause others to take them less seriously.

“When someone works to showcase themselves as an expert, and then resorts to a self-declared tacky title, there’s something weird,”  Christa Freeland, marketing specialist for Powershift Group in Austin, Texas, explains, “A lot of the time I see the marketing and social media types using this terminology, and it doesn’t help their case.”

The immense power of language means that careful consideration of the words and phrases you’re using in your social media and content strategies is key. Stay woke, fam. 

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