The Importance of Language in Social Media Marketing

BY Peg McDermott on Sep 11, 2012 / IN marketing strategy, Social Media

Social networks, especially ones like Twitter where update lengths are limited, have frequently been blamed for a decrease in the quality of our communication. Often when chatting with friends online, we tend to abbreviate words and take a looser approach to things like grammar and punctuation. While this may not make much of a difference when using social media on a personal level, when you are using social networks for the purpose of business marketing you may want to keep a few things in mind.


Do keep the tone of your overall company communications in mind. Consistency of tone is important, and doesn’t have to be compromised just because of length restrictions. In other words, if the tone of your website is serious and formal, it doesn’t make sense for your company’s social media updates to be fun and playful, and it can confuse your audience. Remember that this is your business account, not your personal one, and stick to the company tone accordingly.


Don’t abbreviate unless absolutely necessary. While it may seem easier and more space efficient to use “u” instead of “you” or “2b” instead of “to be,” it’s best not to resort to these kinds of non-word abbreviations unless your goal is to come across like a teenager texting a friend. Use actual words, and rephrase your update with fewer words if necessary to accommodate length restrictions.


Do proofread your updates. It’s surprising how many business owners will diligently proofread their blog posts with a fine-toothed comb, but then send out company-branded social media updates that are rife with spelling and grammar mistakes, or completely devoid of punctuation. Reduced length gives you an opportunity to say more with fewer words; it is not a license to stop caring about how your written communications come across.


Don’t forget that your company’s reputation is at stake. The quick-fire nature of social media discussion often means that debates and discussions can get heated, and responses can fly back and forth at lightning speed. Once something is said, that genie can’t be put back in the bottle, so when you’re representing your business online, pause for a moment and reread what you’ve written before hitting that return key. You don’t want to misrepresent your company simply because your emotions got away from you for one misguided moment. It may be better to back down and reconsider before you say something your business may regret.

What are some of the tactics you’ve found helpful when crafting your social marketing messages?