Social Media: Watch your language


No, this isn’t going to be a blog about not swearing online. That goes without saying and after all none of us are at school any more. Instead, I want to talk (and in the case, write) about the tone people tend to use online.

There’s a lot of fluff out there. By fluff I mean meaningless promotional writing that connects with a grand total of no one and turns people off as soon as they read it. There are tons of examples of this… Take a look on your Facebook Newsfeed (because this is far more common on Facebook than other social media platforms) and scroll down. What do you see? Companies attempting to sell products, pushing them using language that a normal human being never would and that is, for some unknown reason, acceptable only within the confines of their Facebook Page.

Compare this to how your Facebook friends talk (with the exception of the few that refuse to write in anything but text speak and emojis) and the tone is strikingly different. Statuses from personal users tend to be conversational, they ask questions, they share things that they think their friends will find interesting and attempt to actually engage with other users. Why should a company’s Facebook manner be any different?

A simple tip when managing a company Facebook Page is to treat your fans as friends. Use language to actually engage with them, rather than promotional jargon, ask them questions, rather than telling them what to think, and share things with them that you think they will find interesting, not just things that will make them buy from you. This is far better than alienating your fans by constantly bombarding them with updates proclaiming how great your company is. The most likely outcome of doing this is that they end up hiding your updates from their Newsfeed.

The problem is that fluff is easy to write. It’s lazy and quick writing. It takes no actual thought and could be generated by a robot; hence it comes across cold and unapproachable. Try and make things a little more personal. An example of this that we have used at Talk To Media was for client, Eric Stead. Rather than constantly bombarding their Facebook with nonsense, we’ve created a space where users can really engage with the staff at Eric Stead.

Posts about staff a member’s new baby, old photographs from the beginning of Eric Stead, articles that fans will find interesting and #Meettheteam posts have all helped to make the page more approachable and engaging. This has proven to be much more successful than merely posting images of cars with the price tag attached.

Of course, putting your life story on your company Facebook Page is not really a good idea. But small snippets of colour give pages a more personal feel. A familiar tone, rather than a ‘fluffy’ one is more engaging and allows you to earnestly communicate with users, rather than merely talking at them!

Adios amigos,

Charlotte Grainger

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