How to Speak Your Client’s Language: Three Simple Ways

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If you’re a social media manager, it’s critical that you speak your client’s language. If you’ve ever seen someone who doesn’t speak their client’s language, then you know how jarring it can be to their audience. It’s confusing, to say the least. Speaking your client’s language also helps so they really feel like you hear what they say. That might include slowing down or speeding up the rate at which you speak.

By the way, you might like this article about social media platforms and language (from the Wayback Machine!): Different Platform, Different Language.

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One: Listen Carefully

What words does your client use? What words and phrases do they avoid? You probably want to mirror what you’re hearing. They might use a lot of small words, or maybe they pepper their language with the occasional indubitably or obviously. If you’re in doubt, ask, suggests C.J. Hayden in her newsletter about Speaking Your Clients’ Language. Another thing to listen to is your client’s body language. Do they slouch or fold their arms? What are they telling you with their expressions? Do they look worried or happy? The little expressions you see every day can mean a lot.

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Two: Use the Lingo

Say your client sells cars. You need to be using the same language they use. There could be some three-letter acronyms (TLAs) that are frequently used in the business, too. You might want to use the same acronyms (but explain them occasionally for your audience). Even though your client uses the lingo, that doesn’t mean that everyone in their audience knows all of it. You can always link back to a Wikipedia article explaining any complex lingo, or to your client’s website for that matter. In marketing, there are tons of acronyms, too, such as SMM (social media marketing) and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Jeff Bullas has an article about all the marketing lingo you need to know. There will probably be many other acronyms in your line of work.

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Three: Be a Conduit

If you’re posting on behalf of a client, make sure you have their best interests in mind. For instance, when I’m out and about on social media, I have to stifle my own political leanings. Since I’m a Democrat, I can’t talk about that on social media. Not only would it possibly conflict with my clients’ interests, but it could ostracize their audience. (Although if you’re working on a political campaign, that’s a whole different story!) And, as mentioned above, if you’re using acronyms make sure to spell them for your readers. Although you’re speaking your client’s language, you also need to ensure that your audience can understand what your client says! If you missed it, here’s one you might enjoy: Target Audience and Social Media.


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What Other Ways Do You Speak Your Client’s Language?

I’m all ears (it’s an ugly sight!). Let me know in the comments. And thank you.


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