Words and Phrases to Eliminate from the Social Media Vocabulary


Creating original and catchy content for your social media posts is very important.

It is a never-ending battle for your readers’ attention.

Language is powerful and has a great impact on the sentiment your content expresses.

For this reason, it is important to avoid using certain words and phrases that will lead your readers to roll their eyes and ignore your latest post.

Dara Fontein, a writer at HootSuit has shortlisted the terms and phrases that one needs to avoid while crafting his/her Social Media content.

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

#1 “Hip” lingo

Audiences turn around and get from the brands who are trying to seem cool. That type of attitude might be risky for your brand.

Brands don’t decide what’s cool – audiences do!

Here are some examples of such words and phrases:

  • AF: This acronym is used to help get a point across. For example, “I am hungry AF.” The ‘A’ stands for ‘as’ and the ‘F’ stands for a certain four-letter curse word.
  • I can’t even: A term that suggests you’re so overcome with emotion that you can’t form words. It’s a piece of adolescent slang that got picked up so quickly by brands that it became rapidly uncool. While a company like Taco Bell has a brand voice that allowed for the application of “I can’t even” at its peak, they have worked hard at establishing and maintaining this very specific tone.
  • Lit/Turnt: These mean essentially the same thing: to be intoxicated and hyped up on an event or situation. Unless they fit your brand voice, it’s probably a good idea to leave out of your social media lexicon.
  • Fam: If calling your audience ‘fam’ (as in, family) fits your brand voice, don’t let us hold you back. But chances are if you’re running a business, your customers might not be ready for this informal label.
  • Pepe Meme: While not a word or phrase, the popular Pepe the Frog meme has unfortunately become associated with racist and bigoted themes. Don’t use it.

#2 Meaningless Jargon

As a marketer, your job is to make sure your brand’s message is clear.

“Jargon masks real meaning,” Jennifer Chatman, the 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.”

Here are some common examples of marketing jargon to avoid—in your social media content.

  • Viral: This refers to the phenomenon where online content receives an exceptional amount of engagement across social media networks. And social marketers sometimes use the term to describe their content goals. Instead of saying that your goal is for your post to go “viral,” it’s better (and easier) to establish measurable goals.
  • Synergy: This typically refers to the interaction between two things that creates a better result. But in the business world “synergy” is one of those terms that gets thrown around so often that it’s lost all meaning.
  • Optimize: This just means to make something as efficient as it can be. But the word ‘optimize’ has now become a catch-all for simply creating good content. You’ll often hear that “the post has been optimized,”  when usually that simply means that the post was edited or reposted at a more highly trafficked time of day. This is another case where it’s better to just say what you mean, rather than throwing in a word that makes you feel smarter.

#3 Clickbait

Clickbait refers to sensational headlines that don’t deliver on their promise.

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:

  • Top/Best: Can you really back up a claim that what you’re offering really is the “best” advice? Don’t give your audience an opportunity to doubt you or question your credibility.
  • Worst: Same tip as above. If you’re going to say something is “the worst,” make sure it’s true.
  • Only: While it’s tempting to declare your post is the “only guide to _____ you need,” the truth is that there are probably other posts of the same type and with similar information out there. When you use this kind of language, you again give your audience a chance to challenge your claims, which can cause you to lose credibility.

#4 Cringe-worthy job titles

And the 4th group of terms to consider eliminating from your Social Media vocabulary has to do with marketing job descriptions. Some of these include:

  • Social Media Ninja
  • Marketing Rock Star
  • Content Maven
  • Social Media Guru
  • Social Media Hacker

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.

As you can see there are plenty of words and phrases you should avoid when crafting your social media posts. Being creative and innovative with your wording will give you a greater chance of actually appealing to your audience and encouraging them to click through.

If you need help with your next digital marketing campaign, get in touch with Digilite, we will be so happy to listen to your story.

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