Vulgarity: Not a Key to Success

Do you use curse words in your business?  Click to Tweet

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How far are you willing to go with that language?  Do you stop at the “F” bombs or do you have a different limit?

64% of employers said that they’d think less of an employee who repeatedly uses curse words, and 57% would be less likely to promote that person.         Career Builder     Click to Tweet

As a Christian, using foul, dirty, or potty language is not even an option to me.  Lately however, I am seeing more and more of it!  I did not check my email for 48 hours this week-end to just enjoy time with my husband and to relax.  What amazed me with my 278 emails waiting was that I had 10% of that email about language.  I got “excuse my potty mouth but”, “this makes me so #$%* angry”, “want to be part of the bad #%* challenge”, “does this kind of language offend you….opt out” and more.  As I pondered this growing trend, I struggled to find the reasoning behind it.

Be Authentic

We are told we need to be authentic on Social Media.                 Click to Tweet

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I have seen hashtags stating #BeYou and similar.  I recently read Kim Garst’s best seller Will the Real You Please Stand Up.

In it, Kim does a wonderful job explaining how being authentic will help you stand out.  Click to Tweet

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Each niche that marketers choose has thousands of potential customers/clients.  What is going to make those people choose you over your competitor?

She (Kim) believes it is how authentic you are compared to someone else.  Click to Tweet

 Figure out who you are and then do it on purpose.                           Dolly Parton     Click to Tweet

 

So the question comes in about the foul language.  “Is it really keeping it real?” or is it crass, rude and offensive?

Uttering a taboo word in public is a great hierarchy-buster            Lee Siegel                 Click to Tweet

Saying a taboo word gives you an extra boost in society that is becoming ever more competitive   Lee Siegel.  Click to Tweet

There is a social media expert that purposely drops that “F” bomb in seminars, claiming he does it to check out the people themselves and gauge reactions.  Is that really OK since he “does it” or not? (Should we follow by example?) He says it is part of his personal style and helps to set him apart from others. To be honest, the quality of information this expert gives is so high that I “wade through it” to hear the good stuff.  I have even shared some of his content, but always with a link and a warning.

Courtesy of Roys Rage

Courtesy of Roy’s Rage

I believe that using harsh language should only occur if the brand itself is labeled that way.  Click to Tweet

There are some brands that are labeled as brutally, harshly honest.

But in the majority of cases, using the foul language is just plain bad manners.   Click to Tweet

One brand meltdown took place on Facebook and was reported by BuzzFeed.  The owners of Amy’s Baking Company were on Kitchen Nightmares.  Ramsey dumped them for being too difficult to work with. The owners went on Facebook to defend themselves and you can read for yourself how things went.  I have not included the last two comments as they were not acceptable.

 

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If we want to look like we are serious about our business, we have to act that way.  Click to Tweet

Some may say “But that is just the way that I am” with of course a “take it or leave it I do not care” added at the end.  The real question then becomes: “How is your business doing?”  If you feel that type of language is attracting customers and you are not hesitant in the least about just “putting it out there” for all of eternity for the world to see, then by all means “That is your business and I am not here to judge you” but if you feel that you might not be getting all of the customers possible, then consider changing your tactics.

Recent Google Plus post

Recent Google Plus post asking if “bullshit” was unprofessional.

A majority of hiring managers said they believe that the use of curse words brings the employee’s professionalism into question.  Other employers were concerned with the lack of control and lack of maturity demonstrated by swearing at work. Recent poll by Harris Interactive  Click to Tweet

The survey went on to say that using dirty words at work makes an employee appear less intelligent.  Click to Tweet

Now, I know that this is about managers and employers, but does it not stand to reason that those in a position to purchase would feel the same?

Present Case

The majority of the people in our world curse at one time or another.  But the real question for today is “Are you attracting or repelling clients/customers?” Click to Tweet

Are you leaving money on the table because of those intentional words?”  Click to Tweet

Another question might be “Do you believe you will lose some of your customers because you have stopped cursing?” Are you sure that the profanity is not generating discomfort for your fans or customers?

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We all have cranky days.  We all have times where we go off on a rant.  Being honest, this is the second time I have gone off on a rant about this subject.  I believe this is an area that we ourselves need to be careful and we need to ensure that we are conveying that message to young ones around us.  We have all heard the stories of young people being accepted into a college only to later be denied because the school saw something on social media that was posted by the youngster.  Another fantastic story is the young person that was due to start work at a pizza place.  She tweeted about needing to go to work and had some pretty strong words to say about the employer.  The employer “tweeted” back to say she was essentially fired before she even started.

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Sports recruiters say that rough language can cost college students recruitment possibilities. Click to Tweet

The things we can do today with the internet and even our mobile phones are absolutely amazing.  It is easy to forget in the middle of our rants that whatever we post, tweet, Instagram about on the internet is available to the world….forever.  With our new smart phones, we can be on-line virtually instantly and post, tweet or comment in seconds.  We need to think first and act second.

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The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.  Click to Tweet2015-04-13_1332.png__5

Your Brand

Be sure before you take off being “authentic” that it is something that you will not regret in the future.  Remember that everything that you say and do is going to be a reflection on your brand.    You might think that it is permitted to rage on your personal profile page.  IF you are being authentic, that profile page is public as well, which means you will affect your brand.  Remember, if your brand is all about strong opinions and complaining, no one will be surprised at your wording.  However, if cursing is not a part of your brand, then taking off on that rant, especially if you choose “strong language” will only confuse your customer.

 

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We want to be sure to not create a level of discomfort on social media that is actually going to attack the core values of our potential customers.  It is easy to block, unlike or unfollow someone on social media today.  This is going to be especially true for followers that see themselves as religious.

As our society becomes more secular, we’ve let go of the reins on blasphemy, but the truth is that a huge segment of the population finds this more offensive than just about anything.  Michael Hyatt

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Your Search Engine Results

Many Google services include minor bits of censorship here and there.  Google Search intentionally limits pornographic results, even with the safe search features turned off.  Google Maps include a number of name-based censors in the China and Tibet areas.

There are a few places that Google does wag its finger at the users of profanity.  Safe Search rules for example, limit the visibility of particularly profane posts.  Likewise, some related services-AdSense for example discourage excessive profanity.  Google may not want to censor third-party content, but it will not promote vulgarity.  In fact, many advertising groups particularly those not geared around adult content-have clauses about the content on the sites that they deal with.  Google does not intentionally censor profanity in search results on the basis that they feel their audience knows who the writing is being done for.  (IE, your ideal customer would be prone to use and appreciate the profanity).  There is actually no line that has been drawn to dictate what people can and cannot say on their blogs.

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That does not mean however that your site is free to swear as much as possible.  Click to Tweet

There ARE social consequences however.  Among those consequences is offending sensitive users.   Click to Tweet

Adults who are offended will most likely take action.  Sometimes it means leaving a site and avoiding it in the future.  Or in the case of a blog, a comment will be left. On a social media site, the response will usually get a pretty strongly worded reply.

On LinkedIn recently, someone responded with the “F” bomb.  The matter being discussed turned into a “shame on you” series of replies to that person.  I myself responded with “This is supposed to be a social media site for professionals, if it is no longer for professionals, I need to leave the group”.  Some responses were much stronger than that and within 2 hours the gentleman had an apology.

If you are disrespectful of your audience, the impact of your message is going to be diminished.  Joel Comm

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Commitment

Because everything that you say and do is available on-line for your clients, make a commitment to make sure your brand reflection is something worthwhile.    Yes, we are in a “fish bowl” of sorts, but is that really so bad? It is going to be bad if you are not being yourself.  Am I contradicting myself?

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Maybe to some degree, but I encourage you to make a seamless integration from your personal side to your business side.  Always remember that good manners NEVER go out of style.  In fact, they are so rare today that people respond very positively to those  “Please and thank you’s”.

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If people like you, they will listen to you.  But if people trust you, they will do business with you.     Zig Ziglar  Click to Tweet

 

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Conclusion

There are definitely alternative ways to get your point across and even ways to get it across strongly besides profanity.   If your ideal customers appreciate the breaking of social taboos, and appreciate your unique way of presenting things, then by all means, that is your choice. If your blog is centered on the crass personality, it may be difficult to change how you word things.    The creativity in the words you choose represents the personality you portray.  Keep in mind that profanity only works because we have certain words that we have in a folder in our minds as being taboo.  By overusing them, people actually make them less potent.  It is similar to using quotes and italics often, they no longer stick out, they are just one more piece of “NOISE”  Make sure that the words you are using are no longer getting in the way of your real purpose in business which is to have your customers know, like and trust you and therefore BUY from you.

If you can’t be interesting without profanity, then let’s face it: you’re not that interesting         Michael Hyatt  Click to Tweet

Most importantly, although Google is not going to necessarily bat an eye at your cursing, you will not be free of social consequences.  It may be worth it to phrase your thoughts differently to gain more customers or clients.

 

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What is your take on cursing within the business?  Are you offended when it happens or do you enjoy it?  Please comment below