4 Phrases to Avoid in Social Media

Posted by Nancy Van Patten on December 10, 2015

This post (which previously appeared in August, 2014) bears repeating. These 4 phrases are still rearing their ugly head in all sorts of social media. Don’t be THAT social media Ninja…


As a social media specialist, I write a lot of content. I’m also tasked to read social media posts and blogs created by brands and businesses other than our clients, and I like that aspect of my job. I’ve spent the past seven years inured in social language-speak, and there are four clichés that appear again, and again, and–again. Let’s review these four phrases, dissect why they’re worn-out and not worthy of your stellar Facebook page or e-mail newsletter, and come up with verbiage that’s fresh and appealing.



Rock Star, Guru, Jedi or Ninja

While these descriptive phrases have a contemporary, hip ring to them, they aren’t a fit for everyone. In this funny and insightful blog post, Marc Ensign explains that “Claiming to be an expert…is telling the world there is nothing for you left to learn.” Do you want your clients or Twitter followers to think you’ve stopped learning—especially when you’re trying to sell them on your stellar content? Didn’t think so. Leave the job titles above to Adam Levine, the Dalai Lama, Luke Skywalker and Bruce Lee. Use sincere appreciation instead. For example, if you want to write a post about the great work your staff is doing at a sales booth at an industry conference, try “Mr. X, Miss Y and Mr. Z are meeting and greeting over 300 visitors at the ABC Conference. Meet them and learn more about [your business] at Booth #123!”


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It’s That Time of Year!

Agony. That’s what I feel when I’m asked to read a paragraph or post that begins with that sentence. There’s nothing original about reminding your readers what month it is or how quickly the holidays are approaching. If you want to create a sense of urgency for your fans or clients, give them an example of inaction and its consequences. For example, termite swarm season rolls around every spring, especially in the Southeastern US. The post above from the Sentricon® System utilizes day/date trivia, illustrates consequences and then creates urgency, all without reminding you that it is that time of year.


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Going Viral

If you have to ask for a post or tweet to go viral, it almost certainly won’t. The viral nature of social media is dependent upon timing, wit and audience. Instead of asking for likes or re-tweets, listen to your followers and strike when the iron is hot. The best example is the Oreo tweet from the Super Bowl blackout in 2013.




Many experts say…

Whenever I read this phrase, I’m on the edge of my seat with questions. Who are the ‘experts?’ What exactly did they say? Is it one, two, or 20 experts? This phrase conjures up images of faceless beings, and that’s not the point of social media. In all your posts, but especially in blog posts, back up your facts with a link or a graphic. A link out to another post validates your point and establishes your credibility. And as this post from Social Media Examiner teaches us,  links improve your blog’s SEO. For example, let’s say you’ve written a stellar blog about your bakery’s latest cupcake flavor, and you want to tell your customers how popular cupcakes are. Do research online to find an article to back up your claim and then use that link in your blog post.



So, Jedi writer, it’s that time of year to go viral, as many experts will tell you. KIDDING! If you have any questions about creating content, we would be happy to help. Leave a comment here, or contact us via Facebook or Twitter.


Photo credit: Nametag goo.gl/EeIiM5