I've (sadly?) spent tens of thousands of hours on social media over the last 10+ years and I've seen quite the array of buzzwords in user profiles, summaries, and even online resumes. Some of them are annoying, some of them pretentious, and some just make you look foolish (no adult should be referring to themselves as any sort of "ninja"). Also, let's remember the old adage "if you have to tell people you are, you aren't". At the very least, keep your profile words objective and simple. Remember, you are not Steve Jobs, Jackie Chan, Clint Eastwood, Einstein, Gandhi, or Yoda. Here are some overused business profile buzzwords that I come across daily making my eyes glaze over:
Note: A few readers have actually taken offense with this post and have hilariously engaged in abusive behavior in response. The funny thing is this post was mostly tongue in cheek and (mostly) intended for some digital marketing nerd humor. I personally could care less what annoying business buzzwords you put in your profiles and resumes. I'm not the potential recruiter, employer, or client reading it! :p
1) Thought Leader
I'll have to start with one of the most pretentious and unrealistic terms. Unless you are a real public figure with millions of real followers, you have no business claiming to be a "thought leader". I've seen it described a little more acceptably as "thought provoker" but even this is still bothersome. I'm sorry but you're not the Pope or the Dalai Lama. You're not even a Kardashian!
2) Growth Hacker
I don't have a problem with people using this as kind of a joke or exaggeration, but if the user is seriously claiming to be a Growth Hacker they better be able to back it up. Getting 3,000 low-quality Twitter followers or being the "CEO" of a business that doesn't generate revenue does not make you a "Growth Hacker". A true "Growth Hacker" would never label themselves as such because they are a bit more successful and sophisticated than that.
3) LION / Open Networker
OK so this one is mostly on LinkedIn but I've seen it mentioned on other platforms here and there. The LION label stands for "LinkedIn Open Networker" but it could also mean you'll connect with anyone on any social media platform. I understand there is certainly some use in being a LION in some capacity for recruitment purposes or sheer content marketing, but it is not worth the headaches and (potentially dangerous) spam you will receive. Using this label will usually lower your legitimacy with most people that value quality connections over quantity.
4) Angel Investor
This can be a legitimate description... if you are in fact a venture capitalist than invests 6-7+ figure amounts in legitimate companies. The problem is I've seen people that use this to make themselves look far more successful than they actually are, or in an attempt to fool naive business owners. Please don't use this term if you aren't even a position to start your own E-Trade account. Relax over there you Warren Buffet wannabe and leave the search for "unicorns" to the professionals.
5) Change Agent / Game Changer / Disrupter
Again, this label should signify that you've turned around a failing company or build a successful business from scratch. Or you're a Michael Jordan / Tom Brady. It doesn't mean you have been tweeting since 2011 and just started a (self-proclaimed) innovative new blog with 7 posts. If you don't have the abilities or track record of overcoming monumental obstacles to reach success, you might want to delete the Change Agent text on your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles. If you are truly a "disrupter", exactly what industries or technology have you significantly changed with your business prowess?
6) Ninja / Jedi / Wizard / Maverick / Maven / Master / Renegade / Whisperer, etc...
I'm not kidding, I see this a lot! Usually these are preceded with the words "social media", "marketing", or "sales". I'm not sure if the "Ninja" term came from Lean Six Sigma Black Belts but either way it's taken too far. Calling yourself a Jedi or Wizard is a hilarious way to be taken seriously by no one ever. Being a Maverick or Maven is a step in the wrong direction. Calling yourself a Master can also be up there with Thought Leader if used in the wrong context. Other titles / adjectives along these lines include Rebel, Renegade, Sorcerer, and Whisperer.
Honestly I will probably have to add to this list because these are just a few I come across daily and came to mind immediately. As Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary likes to say, "When will the madness end?!"
Hashtags can be just as significant as your profile keywords. Interested in using Hashtags in your profile or tweets?
Take a look at this case study first:
"From Hashtag to Bashtag: T-Mobile's Twitter Fail"
Also Read My Must-Read Post For Digital Marketers:
"Five Fatal Digital Marketing Management Mistakes"
As Always, Best Of Luck In Business To You All!
Michael J. Schiemer of Schiemer Consulting
Enthusiastic Entrepreneur & Bootstrapping Business Veteran
Digital Marketing, Social Media, & Entrepreneurship on a Budget
HubSpot and HootSuite Social Media Certified
Mike Schiemer Builds Better Business
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