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The Ultimate List of Social Media Terms You Need to Know

By
May 18, 2020
The Ultimate List of Social Media Terms You Need to Know

A/B Testing

A method of comparing two versions of an ad or piece of content in an effort to see which version performs better.  A/B testing typically involves changing one small element (i.e. headline, image, CTA, caption, etc.) in an effort to refine your results and decipher what affected the performance of each.


Algorithm

A set of rules/steps a computer or software uses to accomplish a task.  In regards to social media, an algorithm is how a social platform determines what content to display to a user and when.


Analytics

The way you define and interpret patterns in data.  Social media analytics are used to help users understand how well their content is performing.  Analytics include metrics such as reach, engagement, impressions, and more!


Application Programming Interface (API)

A communication system that allows two applications or platforms to communicate with each other.  Social media APIs allow integrations with other platforms and apps.


Archiving

A means of recording all of your brand/organization’s social media posts and associated data.


In regards to Instagram, archiving a post hides your content from your profile without deleting them entirely, allowing you to recover your archived posts at any time.


Audience

The group of people you reach with your content - including followers and any other user(s) who see and interact with your posts.


Avatar

A visual representation of a person. Avatars can refer to your profile picture (the image that represents you on a specific platform) or a computer-generated image like a bitmoji.


Bio

A short description featured in your profile that tells users who you are. Bios can also include links, contact information, and call to actions (CTAs).


Block

An action that prevents users from seeing your profile and posts  Blocked users are unable to follow, message, or tag you.


Boosted Post

A form of social media advertising in which a brand pays to show a post to users who are not already following the brand’s social accounts.


Brand Advocate

A customer who promotes your brand, product(s), or services without being asked.


Brand Awareness

A social media metric that captures how likely people are to know about your brand.  To measure brand awareness, track the amount of attention your brand gets by observing your mentions and overall audience engagement.


Business-to-Business (B2B)

A business that sells products or services to other businesses.


Business-to-Consumer (B2C)

A business that deals directly with consumers


Caption

A description that accompanies a post on social media.  Captions can include hashtags, mentions, and emojis.


Chat

An online conversation between two or more people - typically private and text-based.


Check-In

A way of location tagging on Facebook to share with friends and followers where you have been (location or event).


Clickbait

Web content with a misleading headline designed to entice readers to read the full story.


Click-through Rate (CTR)

Of the people who view your post, the CTR is the percentage of those who actually click on it.


Close Friends

On Instagram, your close friends list is a group of people who you wish to share more personal content with.  The feature allows you to add posts to a private story only accessible to those on your close friends list.


”Clout”

One’s level of online influence.


Comment

A form of engagement in which a user replies to a social media post.


Community Manager

A social media professional who fosters relationships amongst a social media audience.  A community manager acts on behalf of the brand and monitors and engages with followers.


Connection

On LinkedIn, a connection is the term used to describe the professional relationship made between two users online.


Content Curation

The process of collecting and gathering content to post and share on social platforms. Content curators filter through visual content, articles, videos, etc. to then plan and share with their audience across social networks.


Content Marketing

The practice of planning, curating, and creating engaging content in an effort to attract and retain customers. Content marketers aim to provide valuable and engaging content in order to establish a brand and entice their customers.


Conversion

Occurs when a user takes action on your content or website - typically lead generation actions - such as subscribing, downloading, registering, following, purchasing, and more!


Conversion rate (CVR)

The number of conversions divided by the number of visitors.  This metric helps measure how well your social media efforts are doing in order to achieve specific goals.


Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

A metric for how much each click costs in terms of pay-per-click advertising.


Cross-channel Strategy

A marketing strategy that aligns your company’s business goals to campaigns and marketing efforts across all social networks your brand is active on.


Crowdsourcing

The act of using a large group of people to generate ideas, suggestions, information, or content. Methods of crowdsourcing may include prompting questions, inviting followers to vote on a topic and/or give their input, asking users to share their content via hashtags, and more!


Dark Post

Unpublished social posts promoted as ads to a specific audience. Dark posts cannot be found organically as they are not posted on a brand’s timeline - they are run as paid ads, but appear as a typical feed post.


Direct Message (DM)

A private message sent through a social platform.


Disappearing Content (AKA Ephemeral Content)

Social posts that vanish after a set amount of time. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram stories typically disappear after 24 hours.  Whereas individually shared content between users (i.e. personal Snapchats, photos sent via Instagram DM, etc.) usually disappear after the receiver opens it.


Embed

The action of displaying content within another piece of content.  For example, on a blog post, a blogger may choose to embed a YouTube video, a social post, or other type of digital content in order to make it more easily accessible for their audience.


Emoji

Tiny graphic images used across various digital channels.


Endorsement

On LinkedIn, ‘endorsement’ is a form of recommendation where a user can endorse another for specific skills shared on their profile. Endorsements are aimed at demonstrating the credibility of a user in various areas of expertise.


Engagement

Any form of interaction with your account on social media.  Engagement includes likes, comments, shares, reactions, and more.


Engagement Rate

The percentage of people that interact with your social media content in relation to the number of people who actually saw it. Formula: the number of people who engage with your post divided by the number of people who saw your post multiplied by 100.


Evergreen Content

Content designed to last and stay relevant in the long term.


Fan

Someone who likes your Facebook page (typically used for businesses, brands, or personalities).


Feed

An updated list of all new content posted by accounts that a user follows on social media.  Most social media feeds are controlled by an algorithm, so instead of viewing all posts chronologically, most users’ feeds showcase content based on who they interact with most and what content the algorithm deems most relevant to a user.


Filter

A photo effect that can be applied to content prior to publishing.  Filters can range from preset filters (i.e. black & white, sepia, etc.), screen filters (i.e. overlays & camera filters), all the way to face filters (i.e. puppy ears, bug eyes, or even full faces of makeup)!


Followers

People who choose to follow your account in an effort stay up to date with you and your content.


Friend

A person you connect with on Facebook. Unlike followers, a friend is a two-way connection, verified and approved by each party.


Geotag

A specific location added to a social media post.  Geotags help make your posts more discoverable, since tagged content is then made searchable by location.


Geotargeting

A social media marketing technique of adjusting of your ad content based on the locations of users, followers, and/or target demographics.


GIF

The acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a file format that supports both still and animated images.  Gifs are often short, 3 second, animated images that play on repeat.


Group

An private or public online community within a social network.


Handle

Your username on social media usually noted with an “@” - @username.


Hashtag

A word or phrase preceded by the “#” symbol.  Hashtags are used to tag posts with keywords and topics to increase discoverability and ‘categorize’ posts.


Header Image

AKA cover image or cover photo; The picture that appears at the top of a social media profile.


Impressions

A metric that measures how many times your post has been shown on users’ feeds.  It does not measure how many people have seen a post, it measures the number of appearances a post has. If a single user views your post 4 times, that would count as 4 different impressions (even though only one person has viewed it).


Inbound Marketing

A marketing strategy that involves creating content and resources to attract potential clients and followers. It is called ‘inbound’ due to the fact that you, yourself are creating opportunities for people to discover and learn more about you, your brand, or your company, themselves.


Inbox

The space in which you receive, read, and respond to messages.


Influencer

A social media user with a substantial enough following to drive awareness to a brand, product, trend, topic, or service.  Influencers can range from micro-level (10k-50k) influencers to macro (500k-1M) and mega-level influencers (1M+).


Influencer Marketing

A marketing strategy involving the collaboration of a brand/business with an influential social media user in an effort to promote a product, service, or marketing campaign.


Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A metric tracked over time that determines the progress towards an overall business goal.  Social media KPIs may include audience/follower growth rate, engagement rate, impressions, and sentiment score.


Lens

Term used on Snapchat to describe the augmented reality face filters.


Like

A form of engagement on social media that showcases that a user likes the content shared.  On Facebook, the Like button is a thumbs-up, on Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, a like is indicated by a heart.


List

Curated groups of Twitter accounts where users can subscribe and follow a stream of tweets from accounts only on that list.


Live Stream

A real-time video shared online via social media platforms.  Live streams offer interactive features that allow viewers to interact with those streaming via comments, questions, likes, and more!


Meme

A visual or graphic with text either above the image or superimposed that represents a joke, trend, or relevant comment.


Mention

The act of tagging a user in a social media message, comment, or post which allows your audience to view the mentioned user’s profile.


Messenger

Facebook’s instant messaging app that allows users to send direct messages to each other on a mobile device.


Metric

A quantitative measure of social media activity. Metrics are figures that can be tracked over time to determine social media success.  Metrics include comments, likes, shares, impressions, engagement, saves, and more!


Microblogging

The practice of sharing short copy and/or content to platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.


Mute

A feature that allows users to remove another user from appearing on their feed without unfollowing or unfriending them.  Muted users can still see your content, and you can see theirs, but their posts will never appear on your timeline (unless un-muted).


Native Advertising

An ad run on social media that is designed and formatted to appear like an organic feed posts.  Native Ads are often shown with a label that says “sponsored,” “promoted,” or “in partnership with” but rarely show any other signs of being an ad.


News Feed

A Facebook term for the screen that showcases a user’s latest updates posted by their followers.


Notification

A message or alert indicating new social media activity. Notifications may include new followers, new likes on a post, live stream announcements, or messages/DMs.


Organic Reach

The number of unique users who view your content without any paid promotions.  This includes users who come across your content organically on their feeds, via discover pages, search results, or shares sent by their friends.  


Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

A type of advertising where the advertiser pays each time someone clicks on their advertisement.


Pin

A post on Pinterest.  Pins are made up of pictures, descriptions, and links to the source of the image.


Pinned Post

Facebook and Twitter posts that are saved to the top of your page or profile in an effort to highlight or share specific pieces of content.


Platform

A social network.


Post

Any social media post or update or, and item shared on a blog or forum site.


Private

An account or group that is hidden from public view.  Private accounts typically showcase the user’s main profile/bio but hide all content to unapproved users.


Promote

Term used to indicate that some sort of payment was made in order to gain access to a wider audience than a post typically posted to a user’s feed


Reach

The total number of people who have been exposed to a social post.  Reach does not count the number of people who have seen your post, but instead, indicates how many feeds a single piece of content has appeared on.  Unlike impressions which counts how many times your post has been shown on users’ feeds (which can be multiple), reach measures the number of individual feeds a post has appeared on.


Reaction

A form of engagement on Facebook that allows users to react to a post with an emoji indicating “Love,” “Haha,” “Wow,” “Sad,” and “Angry.


Real-Time Marketing

The practice of using a current event, holiday, or trend to connect with an audience online.


Recommendation

A LinkedIn feature that allows you and your connections to provide recommendations to/for each other.  Recommendations appear publicly on a user’s profile.


Re-Gram

The act of reposting another Instagram user’s post.


Re-Pin

The act of saving another user’s pin to your own Pinterest board.


Repost

The act of sharing another user’s content on your own social media feed.


Retweet

The act of sharing another user’s Tweet with your followers on your feed.


Rich Pin

A Pinterest post that includes additional content from the original linked website (i.e. recipes, articles, or products)


Scheduling

The act of planning social media content and updates ahead of time using a social media management or publishing tool.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The practice of increasing organic visibility of a web page in search results.


Sentiment

A way of describing people’s attitudes and feelings about your brand on social media.


Share of Voice

A measure of how many social media mentions a brand receives in relation to its competition.


Social Listening

The act of finding and assessing what is being said about your company or brand through the monitoring of relevant topics, keywords, and competitors.


Social Media Management

The practice of managing social media accounts, engaging audiences, and measuring the results of campaigns and activities on social media.


Social Media Marketing

The use of social media to increase brand awareness, target key audiences, generate leads, and build relationships with customers.


Social Media Monitoring

The tracking, gathering, and reporting of what is being said about a brand on social media.


Snap

A ‘snap’ is the term used for Snapchats that are sent and recieved.  Snap is also the parent company that owns Snapchat.


Spam

Unnecessary, unwanted, or repetitive content that clutters inboxes and feeds.


Sponsored Posts

Posts in which an influencer or celebrity plugs/features a brand or product that they have been paid to promote.  Sponsored posts must be identified as an ad by using the hashtag #ad or #sponsored in the caption.


Sticker

Story features that allow users to add additional information to a post (i.e. location, hashtag, date, questions, polls, etc.).


Stories

A form of ephemeral content that disappears after 24 hours and is visible to your audience on social media.


Tag

A keyword added to a social media post in an effort to categorize content.  You can also tag another user in a post, which provides your audience with a direct link to the tagged user’s social media profile.


Targeting

The practice of selecting a specific audience to view ads in an effort to maximize conversions.  Targeting option may be specified by demographics (age, gender, etc.), location, or interests.


Thread

A string of messages that make up a conversation on Twitter.  Threads begin with a single message and then continue to grow with the addition of comments and replies.


Trending

A topic or hashtag that is popular on social media.


Troll

A social media user who deliberately makes offensive, annoying, or derogatory comments with the sole purpose of provoking others.


Tweet

A post on Twitter, limited to 280 characters.  Tweets may include images, videos, gifs, and links.


Unfollow

To unfollow is to unsubscribe from their social media account.


URL

Short for Uniform Resource Locator, a URL is the address of a website page or other resource on the internet.


URL Shortener

A tool that condenses a long URL into a shorter format (i.e. bitly.com)


User-Generated Content

Content created by regular people on social media (rather than brands). UGC is incredibly effective in increasing brand awareness and loyalty given the authenticity of UGC posts.


Verified

To be verified on social media means that you have proven your identity to the social media platform provider and thus gained a verification symbol.  Verification is typically reserved for brands, celebrities, public figures, and influencers in an effort to protect the integrity of the person/organization behind the account/


Viral

A viral post is a post that brings in a large number of engagements in a relatively short amount of time.


Vlogging

To create and post video blog content.


Webinar

A digital broadcast of a presentation intended to educate or inform.



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