The Language of Social Media
We all know that the world of social media has its own unique jargon—words like “unlike” and “defriend” have entered our vocabulary as legitimate verbs, for instance. Those in the know speak this language fluently, which can be frustrating for those trying to break into the social media scene. While it’s tempting to focus on learning the lingo, another aspect of language is more important: the language of your online community.
An Evolving Lexicon
Social media author Shel Israel recalls the era of emerging social media, when language was casual, personal, and sometimes off-color. Since then, social media has “gone corporate.” The ribbing and spirited banter have largely fallen by the wayside, says Israel. Instead, he notes increased use of the royal “we,” appropriated by companies to refer to the corporate collective.
That’s not entirely a bad thing; corporate use of social media offers countless benefits for companies and consumers alike. But it is possible to adapt the corporate voice for your online community.
- Skip the marketing copy. Your social networks are a marketing tool, but they’re not the place to regurgitate marketing collateral. Save the brochure-speak for…brochures.
- Give a few individual employees ownership of social media. Each of them will bring a different tone and perspective, and they can initial their posts so that followers get to know each of them.
- Keep it short and sweet. The beauty of social media is that it’s instant and quick. Content is king, but brevity rules!
- Since concision is so important, choose those words well. Focus on strong verbs, and stay away from tired words and phrases.
- Be playful! Don’t be afraid to be corny—and don’t take it too seriously. A terrible pun can go a long way. So can a bit of gentle self-mockery.
Ultimately the language you choose should resonate with your current and intended followers. For the best results, keep it honest and authentic.
The Changing Language of Social Media (Global Neighborhoods)
Understanding Digital Body Language (Social Media Today)