What words get shared on social media – and what doesn’t?

media strategy saturday meme

ublicity and marketing, including social media, is like the Wild West.

Just about anybody can call themselves a Social Media Ninja (although they shouldn’t) and get away with it, especially if they used the right jargon. Crazy ideas don’t sound crazy when nobody really knows anything in this new frontier.

Social media is still related to publicity and marketing, and even in that old business, the saying was, “Half of all advertising gets wasted. But nobody knows what half.”

Although there’s certainly good practice and bad ideas, there’s always been more art than science to the field. You can’t predict what will work or say, “We’re going to make this viral” and have it happen. Doesn’t work that way.

PETA does it best: they assume most things will fail, which is true. They swing for the fences and try all sorts of wild ideas and PR stunts, because 99 of them can flop if only one of them goes viral. PETA knows you can’t plan viral.

Now, I like the art AND the science, the theory and the practice. You can’t run everything by the numbers, because good numbers are hard to find, and it’s expensive, and you surely can’t run a bunch of numbers and say, “See? This thing will blow up because, you know, science.” Doesn’t work. But you can, and should, grab data where possible and use that to point in the right direction.

So it gave me great joy to see Neil the Patel come through with another great infographic about which words get shared on social media — the Book of Face, the Twitter, Goople+ and even that thing called LinkedIn — and which words get buried. Useful stuff.

The Surprising Words That Get Content Shared on Social Media

7 thoughts on “What words get shared on social media – and what doesn’t?

  1. I like the word “shite” but in the right context. Too bad Neil Patel didn’t research that! Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I will say that Patel points out the power of active verbs (researched, created, developed) versus abstract and Latinate words like “implemented” and “analytical.” People want doers not analyzers which is subtlely reinforced by Neil’s infographic on what words are more likely to be shared. So analyze that, Guy! I love PETA, not because I embrace their values, but because they ar so willing to try a million things to forward their cause.


  2. So people don’t like words like ‘responsible’ eh? Well I’d like to share the word shite. Because it’s a wonderful word.
    And although I love animals and will do all I can to protect them and I want them treated humanely, I detest PETA. Sorry if I’ve offended you.


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