As the world has become digital, acronyms and abbreviation has become a staple in texting, social media and more, even appearing on phone cases, necklaces and other statement pieces.
While reducing the number of words you type can save time, it can also leave your work illegible and complicated. There is a big difference in texting a friend and creating strategically crafted content for your marketing strategy.
Knowing the rules of abbreviations and acronyms can help you save time and space while keeping your message clear and professional.
4 Do’s and Don’ts of Abbreviation for Marketing
1. Do: Shorten Names of Reoccurring Titles
Writing out the name of a business or title becomes redundant and takes up unnecessary space on the real estate of the page, especially if you need to type it over and over. Even in your marketing content, it’s fine to go with abbreviations and/or acronyms that make sense – as long as it’s easy for readers to follow.
For example, if you are writing about the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s okay to refer to it as the CDC after mentioning it in full written form. For formal documents, just remember to make a notation that it will be abbreviated from there on out, for example: Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
2. Don’t: Tweet Like a Teen
You want your brand’s voice to be consistent across your social media platforms. Unless it’s part of a very specific marketing strategy that is only targeting a younger demographic, don’t let your updates on Twitter (or any other platform) read like a teenager’s posts.
If you are like me, one commercial that stuck with me now, even years later, was the Cingular ad about a texting girl. Her response of “IDK my BFF Jill” is not only a classic in my book, but has no place in a brand’s marketing messages. In fact, the ad itself even used subtitles, knowing its target audience would have no idea what the girl was saying through acronyms.
When every phrase is reduced down to 4 or more letters, it’s not only hard to read, but also can cause frustration to those who may not be up-to-speed on the new lingo.
3. Do: Use Numbers Instead of Writing Them Out
Using numbers instead of their written long form can save space on a post, plus it can be beneficial to your marketing. To a reader on their screen, the number 23 looks more appealing than twenty-three. This tactic is particularly useful if you are looking for ways to increase user engagement on social media or attract attention through blog titles and e-newsletter subject lines.
4. Don’t: Abbreviate or Use Acronyms in Longer Content
With the exception of my first tip above, acronyms and abbreviations should not be included in any of your business’ longer content (e.g. website copy, blog posts, e-newsletters, etc).
Suppose you are reading a blog post, and all of the sudden you read “YKWIMR” with no context related to the clump of letters. While this could stand for, “You know what I mean, right?” it is an ugly, confusing gathering of letters that your reader won’t be able to follow.
Don’t give potential or current clients a reason think you are unqualified or hard to communicate with because you were too lazy to write out a full word or phrase, and don’t assume that your readers will know the same acronyms you know. Some take great interest in knowing digital slang, while others may not even know understand basic internet short-hand like TY (Thank You), BTW (By The Way) or CUL8R (See You Later) mean.
Next time you are writing posts for your business’ marketing content, think about what you should and shouldn’t abbreviate. Readers may feel alienated or annoyed if they struggle to figure out what all your acronyms mean. If you need something to remember all of this by, the classic KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) reasoning could help you along the way.
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