Do you Speak Social? 

By Darren Mansour

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1.1 Billion Facebook users speak English. But that’s not what this article is about.

This is an article about the language of business online. This is a reality-check about whether your business is successfully translating its digital ecosystem – and how to know if what you’re saying out there, is relevant. As marketers we love to do things smartly. One of those ‘smart’ things involves saving bucks, by reusing content for a variety of different media – smart not so smart.

When it comes to digital strategy, online marketers should be aware that not all social media platforms speak the same language. In fact, none of them do. What your business says on one network, may not be well “understood” on another.

Considering that Google changes its algorithms up to 600 times a year, and that Facebook is going all “meaningful” on their organic reach thumb print – this raises a red flag for all marketing aficionados.

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To succeed, we must play by the rules, and to play by the rules we must learn what to say, when to say it, how to say it and on what platform to say it, in order to stay relevant.

Hey, did you know Facebook’s ‘like’ button has been clicked 1.3 trillion times, and counting? Who cares?! It’s no longer a cool fact. Why? Because it’s no longer relevant! For platforms like Facebook, ‘loves’ supersede likes because it took the user some extra effort to click on the heart and not the thumb; it seems not even sharing your content is good enough any longer to build reach. Now, it’s about active emoji’s, authentic comments, and further engagements on your ‘shares’ that will up the ante of your digital strategy.

With Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement in 2018 about “quality time” over “length of time” and the importance of “engagement well-being”, Facebook has left the organic party on a bit of a downer. Meaning, businesses must work harder at ‘talking the talk’ and enriching their content engagement in order to speak to their audience.

And that’s just the new language of Facebook. Where do we begin with all the others?  While some of us have learnt already that producing quality content for social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, is key to reaching your market, businesses should not be fooled by the misconception that using the same content cross platform, will save on time and money, and deliver the same reach.

So long as social media is around, your digital ecosystem is at the mercy of its ‘terms and conditions’. The secret here, is to move away from “re-using” content and look towards “repurposing” content instead. Repurpose. Now there’s a word.

In fact, ‘Repurposing” is quickly becoming the secret language of content creation that deserves its weight in marketing. By repurposing, we learn to shift our same content around: making it sharper, shorter, longer, prettier, richer, more meaningful, more industrial, more hashtagged, more filtered – all according to the respective social media dictionary of rules (a reminder that each social platform has its own rule book. Get to know it).

Suffice to say, your business is not a silo. In order to survive the digital landscape, it needs to have a social media strategy and in that, it needs to communicate, to share, to engage, to love (not just ‘like’), to comment, to get real! BUT – how we do this, is essential to growth.

The time has come for brands to be conscious of content language, in order to communicate respectively on the medium they’ve chosen to play in.

Quick Pocket Guide

Social Platform Stereotypes – to help you identify the differences in content lingo.

  1. Facebook: Mister Meaningful: I’m all about the oohs, the aaahs, the happy, the wow, the angry and the sad faces too. Give me the good stuff, the quality stuff, the real stuff, stuff that’ll get people ‘loving’, engaging and commenting until the cows come home.
  2. Twitter: The News Anchor: I’m a high roller, convo starter. Keep me chatting about the trendiest topics. Stay current and connected. Tweet me, link me, @me, hashtag me and info graphic me. I want to be noticed for staying globally relevant and on trend.
  3. Instagram: The Bestie:  I’m the best friend that has good news to share. I’m full of inspiration, conversation and sharing ideas. Bring me rich content. Bring me user generated content.
  4. Instagram Stories: Ms Curious: What you’re up to? Tell me more. Take me behind the scenes. Keep me interested in your every day. Authenticity is key. You can teach me, inspire me, tutorial me and tag me. Just don’t over complicate me. A sneak peek is all I need.
  5. Linkedin: Boardroom Betty: I’m the woman in the suit. The guy with the satchel. The creative with the dream. Tell me how professional I look, that’s all I want to hear. Feed me career content, updates, and news. I’m a skills directory of domination, use me to climb the ladder.
  6. YouTube: Video Viking: You’ve landed on royal soil. I’m the Be all and See all. I’m a dynamite portal for moving footage, insights, research, music video, films, live promotions, commercials, tutorials, sound tracks. I rank higher (way higher) than photos and captions – I’m that cool. Trust me, people will share.

Now is the time to take your social media seriously.


Darren Mansour is the founder of So Interactive, celebrating over 12 years of digital. The company was recently nominated for a Craft Award at The Bookmarks 2019 and was furthermore duly recognised for Mobile Excellence 2018 by Awwwards – the first South African Agency to achieve this.


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