The easiest way to say something is not always the best way to create a unique brand identity, and many marketers are making this mistake.

There are certain words marketers like to be associated with – Success, results, creativity – but these terms might be hurting their efforts to stand out, according to LinkedIn’s year-end profile round-up. When using these words in social media marketing, individuals and companies actually put themselves right in line with the mass majority.

LinkedIn’s Christine Choi challenged marketing professionals to relinquish these buzzwords and replace them with terms that more accurately (and originally) describe what they do. It’s equally important to apply this approach to overall branding efforts to set companies apart from the competition – Not mirror it.

 Specifically, the LinkedIn study revealed professionals overuse these words in their social media profiles:

  •  Responsible
  •  Strategic
  •  Creative
  •  Effective
  • Patient 

Marketers should do a to quick check to see if “responsible” is one of the adjectives they use to describe themselves, because it’s used twice as much as any other popular term on the list, and it’s unlikely to give their personal brands an edge. Reliability is of the utmost importance to both employers and customers, but they should look for a synonym that demonstrates the trait more accurately. Perhaps it speaks to responsiveness, providing measurable results or being extremely dependable.

Likewise, marketers must be careful about leaning on buzzwords to describe their brands, online and off, in order to establish a distinct identity. Improving awareness is one of the top three marketing goals B2Bs have set for 2014, according to Web Marketing 123’s State of Digital Marketing report, and it’s an even higher priority for B2Cs. Companies might find they aren’t becoming recognizable industry leaders if customers and prospects associate them with the same value props as competitors.

With the New Year approaching, it’s the perfect time to sit down and evaluate how brands represent themselves across social networks and online in general. If they find their messages are not far from competitors, marketers must get creative and find better ways to discuss their companies.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.