When it comes to social media, 2013 was a pretty watershed year for brands and platforms alike.

Oreo won widespread praise for the way it took advantage of the power outage at the Super Bowl with its “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet; Google’s nascent Google+ platform broke the 500 million user barrier; and social channels continued to play key roles in political uprisings, as witnessed in Brazil this past summer.

However, with all the positive steps of a maturing social media comes an inevitable byproduct: overhyped buzzwords. From prefixing (and suffixing) the word marketing, to feel-good soundbites that had little real-business benefits behind them, 2013 will be remembered as the year that social media became home to some of the most annoying and overhyped buzzwords online.

Here are the top five as crowdsourced from across the Web.

1. ‘Lessons Learned From’ Blog Posts

Whenever there’s a crisis on social media channels—or an offline crisis that’s amplified via social media—you can pretty much guarantee that within 24 hours there will be a batch of blog posts published with titles such as, “What Crisis X Can Teach Us About Business” or “Lessons Learned from the Brand X Social Media Crisis.”

While some of these posts may offer value, many are simply jumping on the bandwagon to drive traffic to their blogs, without actually offering any deep or insightful lessons. This has led to a strong feeling of apathy and sarcasm directed toward the authors of these posts.

“Everything is not a lesson, especially natural disasters, terrorist threats, and anything that happens to a bunch of people at once. Stop exploiting tragedy for profit.” Tinu Abayomi-Paul, chief visibility officer at Leveraged Promotion

2. Everything Is Dead!

You’ve probably heard the conversations online: SEO is dead. Print is dead. Advertising is dead. PR is dead. Email is dead. And so on. It’s almost impossible to browse your Twitter feed or Google+ stream and not come across a blog post or update with one of these statements being made.

And yet, here we are. SEO is still here; print still has its audience; advertising continues to profit; PR is still a core part of any brand’s strategy; and email continues to lead the way as the preferred communication channel for business. Despite the naysayers—or perhaps, in spite of them—it would appear the demise they write of hasn’t quite happened.

“We need to stop implying that a certain practice is dead. Nothing really dies, it either adapts or recycles. The adoption curve goes from innovators to laggards and all need something at different stages.” —Ann Marie van den Hurk, principal at Mind the Gap PR

3. Go Viral

Perhaps it’s no surprise that brands want a viral hit, whether that’s a YouTube video that gets millions of views, or a piece of content that gets shared across every channel. After all, if you can come up with the next Old Spice Guy sensation, everyone can retire.

The problem is, the allure of viral—mass uptake by your target audience and those not yet aware of your brand—is the very thing that’s made viral overhyped, and hurts your chances for success.

“The allure of going viral is ultimately a distraction for brands because it focuses on marketing to the crowd. When you chase an elusive crowd you have no connection to in the hope of going viral, you’re setting your business up for failure. Viral campaigns tend to be one-offs with limited shelf life, and quickly fizzle out.” —Allyson Kapin, founding partner at RAD Campaign

4. Social Business

One of the most overhyped and overused social media buzzwords in 2013 was the term “social business.” A complete industry seemed to appear overnight, with agencies and consultants offering multiple definitions—a business that places equal value on employees as it does stakeholders; the culture, connections and participation of a brand; and being part of a “collaborative economy.”

However, this merely diluted the definition of what it means to be a true social business—one that is created and designed to address a societal problem, and is a non-dividend company where profits are reinvested in the business or used to start another one with the aim of increasing social impact. That’s a far cry from the corporate definition being touted in 2013.

“A hijacked phrase, and nobody can agree on the definition of the new version.” —Doug Haslam, senior account director at Scratch Marketing

5. Brand Storytelling

People like stories. From early cavemen sitting around a fire to the likes of Hans Christian Andersen, stories have the power to captivate audiences and keep them lost in that moment. It’s into this arena that brands have started to promote their own history and goals through the medium of storytelling. At least that’s their attempted goal.

The problem is, storytelling needs that emotional impact to truly connect. And many brands who are now telling their stories miss that key tenet, and instead of captivating an audience, drive it away through clearly forced and weak attempts to connect.

“Storytelling is a true art, an essence that’s hard to capture. You can’t expect others to see it or feel it unless you deliver it properly. When we try to market through storytelling, I don’t think many know what that really means—storytelling is not interchangeable with copywriting.” — Julie Pippert, founder and director at Artful Media Group

Saturation Before Maturation?

When polling for this article, there were many other popular phrases that people consider overhyped: Web 3.0, content marketing, influence marketing—pretty much anything marketing that wasn’t simply marketing—big data and more.

While social media matures as a business solution as well as a societal one, it continues to go through growing pains. Overcoming overhyped buzzwords is clearly going to be one of those pains.

How about you – what buzzwords got your gander in 2013? Share them below!

A version of this post originally appeared on OPENForum.

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Danny Brown
Co-author Influence Marketing: How to Create, Manage and Measure Brand Influencers in Social Media Marketing. #1 marketing blog in world as per HubSpot. Husband. Father. Optimist. Pragmatist. Never says no to a good single malt. You can find me on Twitter - Google+ - LinkedIn.

119 comments
australianlogos
australianlogos

I think the social media buzzwords is a long lasting we cannot easily say goodbye to it

abidasaalim
abidasaalim

This post is awesome. Idea for going viral is one last thing every marketers must do.

Mehrishaly
Mehrishaly

Social media is a best way to promote your business.

scarlettjack
scarlettjack

I think social media is a non stop marketing trend. It goes beyond than what we think.

scarlettjack
scarlettjack

I think social media is a non stop marketing trend. It goes beyond than what we think.

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

ldenolf Damn skippy, mate - cheers! :)

kesbutters
kesbutters

@BoKnowsMarkting Great piece and agree with it all, especially 'everything is dead!', storytelling and social business - well put! Thanks :)

kesbutters
kesbutters

BoKnowsMarkting Great piece and agree with it all, especially 'everything is dead!', storytelling and social business - well put! Thanks :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Daniel Page  Hey there Daniel, Cheers for the inclusion, and yes, the viral promise is enough to send anyone crazy, except the shills pushing it, that is. ;-)

DannyBrown
DannyBrown

maeandco Good one! :) welcometoyoke

kiwistech
kiwistech

Social media is very good when it comes to receiving news but sometimes its a marketing platform.

kiwistech
kiwistech

Social media is very good when it comes to receiving news but sometimes its a marketing platform.

JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

Danny Brown Howie Goldfarb Craig McBreen JoeCardillo  Yes I'm afraid blended kind of brought down your haiku stylings Howie...perhaps a single malt next time?

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Howie Goldfarb You were doing so well until you messed it up with that atrocious scotch... ;-) Craig McBreen JoeCardillo

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Tinu Hey there miss, thanks for contributing your smarts, and agree - we only encourage crap by giving it a reason to "live" (i.e., traffic and eyeballs). Hopefully linkbait and dramatic titles that have little to do with the actual content will become a thing of the past sooner rather than later.

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

Danny Brown Craig McBreenJoeCardillothere once was a Scotsman from Kazoo. In the wind his kilt blew. He ran quickly inside a house. And drank his Famous Grouse. And penned a Social Media Haiku. The end.

Tinu
Tinu

Hey @Danny Brown thanks for including my nitpicking in this list. I've made a vow not to read any "BS we can learn from this sad thing that happened" post until they get vetted by another trusted party. It's that or stop reading them altogether. Sometimes they are really great Most of the time they are marketing pablum. 

Tinu
Tinu

Hey Danny Brown thanks for including my nitpicking in this list. I've made a vow not to read any "BS we can learn from this sad thing that happened" post until they get vetted by another trusted party. It's that or stop reading them altogether. Sometimes they are really great Most of the time they are marketing pablum.

maeandco
maeandco

welcometoyoke DannyBrown *shudders*

maeandco
maeandco

welcometoyoke DannyBrown they forgot 'disrupt'

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Howie Goldfarb "Agency of the future" - great addition, mate. Because, yes, no-one is interested in results today... WomenWhoTech tinu dough amvandenhurk jpippert

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

remarkmarketing  You mean like the usual crappy lists on Forbes and Huffington Post? :) Yeah, good addition with the content is king example, mate - because I suppose strategy and execution are just the jesters dovetailing from the content producers, right? ;-)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Craig McBreen  Consider yourself on the sheep blacklist! ;-) The thing is, some brands can tell great stories (look at JoeCardillo 's example below). But that doesn't mean every single brand needs to tell stories to market their business - yet the advice out there is to do exactly that. Grr...

Craig McBreen
Craig McBreen

I'm as guilty as any of them with Storytelling and I also wrote a post about the death of logos (well, that was the link bait title at least) :) Hope all is well, Sir!

Craig McBreen
Craig McBreen

I'm as guilty as any of them with Storytelling and I also wrote a post about the death of logos (well, that was the link bait title at least) :) Hope all is well, Sir!

Craig McBreen
Craig McBreen

remarkmarketing  This is why @DannyBrown needs to start a new conference ... oh, I think he already did that ;) plus I'd have to hike North of the border.

remarkmarketing
remarkmarketing

If I hear one more knucklehead state "Content is King" I will go insane.  Also, the me-too blogjacks ranking the "most influential marketers" when the list is full of trade show speakers and not people who actually do anything.  

Whew. I feel better now.

Cheers,

BH

remarkmarketing
remarkmarketing

If I hear one more knucklehead state "Content is King" I will go insane.  Also, the me-too blogjacks ranking the "most influential marketers" when the list is full of trade show speakers and not people who actually do anything.   Whew. I feel better now. Cheers, BH

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

danielghebert Newsjacking is more often than not the herpes of the Internet. ;-) tamcdonald

amvandenhurk
amvandenhurk

howiegoldfarb I'm feeling wicked smart to be included w/ them! jpippert DougH Tinu WomenWhoTech DannyBrown

danielghebert
danielghebert

Danny Brown tamcdonald  That's a good point! I've written "lessons" posts before, one recently about what a garage sale taught me about marketing. There are valuable lessons (which I think is the consensus of most people here), but I'm with you - tragedies, deaths, disasters, etc., shouldn't be used for marketing lessons. It's a cheap attempt at newsjacking (ahem, buzzword...), and should be put to rest (but wouldn't that mean "newsjacking is dead?") :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

mdyoder HA! Perfect analogy. :) kamichat

Tinu
Tinu

Howie Goldfarb THEY SUSPECT PLENTY DAMMIT. lol WomenWhoTech tinu dough amvandenhurk jpippert  Get a load of THIS guy. ;)

mdyoder
mdyoder

kamichat  @DannyBrown "Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it..." Dan Ariely, Duke University. I think it pretty much says it all. :)

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@Tinu Hey there miss, thanks for contributing your smarts, and agree - we only encourage crap by giving it a reason to "live" (i.e., traffic and eyeballs). Hopefully linkbait and dramatic titles that have little to do with the actual content will become a thing of the past sooner rather than later.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@Craig McBreen  Consider yourself on the sheep blacklist! ;-)

The thing is, some brands can tell great stories (look at @JoeCardillo 's example below). But that doesn't mean every single brand needs to tell stories to market their business - yet the advice out there is to do exactly that. Grr...

Danny Brown
Danny Brown moderator

@remarkmarketing  You mean like the usual crappy lists on Forbes and Huffington Post? :)

Yeah, good addition with the content is king example, mate - because I suppose strategy and execution are just the jesters dovetailing from the content producers, right? ;-)

Craig McBreen
Craig McBreen

@remarkmarketing  This is why @DannyBrown needs to start a new conference ... oh, I think he already did that ;) plus I'd have to hike North of the border.

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