Social Media Glossary – The A-to-Z of Social Media Marketing
Social media and social media marketing are fast changing fields, and the terms used can be strange to the uninitiated. Never fear, though – I’m here to help with this guide to some of the terms you may encounter as you work to improve your marketing techniques!
PLEASE – Leave a comment at the bottom of this page with any other terms you’d like to see included here, and I’ll get them added!
A/B Testing (Split Testing)
Testing two versions of the same ad or directing a single ad to two different audiences to see which performs better.
This is the area of the web page that people readily see when the page loads in the browser window, without them having to scroll down.
This advertising system run by Google is available to anyone who owns a website, and who would like to monetize it by allowing Google to post advertisements on designated parts of their website. These ads are called “AdSense slots,” and can be composed of text, images, or videos.
An affiliate is someone who has a website, email list, or social media property/account and earns money from helping advertisers promote their products or services.
The way people typically make money with affiliate marketing is by writing or posting about the product or service that they are promoting, and linking this information to the advertiser’s page. When visitors view the content, and then click on the affiliate link to make a purchase, the affiliate gets a commission from that sale.
Abandonment rate may refer to two things:
(1) The percentage of people who leave a web page without visiting another page on the same site, also called the ‘bounce rate’.
(2) The ratio of people who have added items to their shopping cart but opted not to complete the checkout process, over the total number of people who have picked items and completed their purchase, including those who didn’t complete the purchase.
An algorithm is a rules-based procedure for making calculations or solving problems. For example, Google uses a “search algorithm” to decide which websites should be included in search results and how to rank them in order to guarantee the most consistent and relevant results for online queries.
In social media, algorithms determine which content we see. These algorithms can have a huge effect on your brand’s online visibility.
For example, your Facebook News Feed doesn’t show every status update and every photo from every one of your friends. Instead, it displays an algorithmically curated set of content that Facebook thinks is most worth seeing. Similarly, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus use algorithms to define which topics and hashtags are currently trending.
AMA is an acronym for “ask me anything,” which originated in a popular subreddit where users use the term to prompt questions from other users. Since its inception, the term has gone on to be used in other social media platforms.
Analytics is the process of collecting and analyzing data about web traffic. This is mostly information regarding the number of site visitors and the pages that were visited.
There are many applications for web analytics that can help you determine which parts of a website or social media account are effective in drawing in readers and customers, and which ones need to be improved. One example of web analytics software is Google Analytics, but most social media platforms also have their own analytics components.
Social media fans and followers who can see what you post.
A tool that allows you to choose which audience you want to share something with on Facebook. (To learn more about Facebook’s privacy settings for sharing content, see this Facebook Help article.)
An autoresponder is an email message that has been set to send automatically to its recipients. When you sign up for an email newsletter and receive a welcome email in your inbox within seconds after you clicked “join”, that’s an autoresponder.
A picture or photo that represents you in an online environment such as forums or social networks. Social media profile pics are an example of an avatar.
A ‘Bio’, short for biography, is the small portion of your online profile that explains to new or potential followers who you are. All social platforms have some version of a Bio as they are valuable in attracting new followers with similar interests.
Bitly is a free URL shortening service frequently used in blog and social media posts. Bitly is popularly used to condense long URLs to make them easier to share on social networks. Additionally, users who create a Bitly account can see statistics on each Bitly link they have created and shared.
A customized emoji or avatar that can be added to Gmail, Messenger, Slack, and virtually any online network. With Bitmoji, you can create your personal avatar and access a sticker library featuring the avatar in various scenes.
A Twitter feature that enables you to prevent another user from:
- following you
- adding you to their Twitter lists
- having their mentions and replies appear in your notifications or mentions tab
- tagging you in a photo
Blocking is a useful way to keep a troublesome user out of your mentions and sends them an explicit signal that you want nothing to do with them. However, Twitter cannot prevent anybody from seeing your public Tweets. If you want to keep your Tweets private, then use a protected account.
Blog is a word that was created from two words: “web log.” Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or a business with regular entries of content on a specific topic, descriptions of events, or other resources such as graphics or video.
“Blog” can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.
Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog on a subdomain. (Ex: yourblogname.blogspot.com)
Turning a Facebook post into an ad that’s seen on the right-hand side of people’s newsfeed and as a sponsored story in their newsfeed.
The bounce rate refers to the percentage of people who leave a web page without visiting another page on the same site. In most circumstances, it can be used to determine the relevance of the information on the page to the people who visit it.
In the marketing world, a brand advocate is a customer that is so satisfied with a product that they go out of their way to help market it. More and more often brand advocates are being paid to share information about products on their social media accounts.
The act of establishing a significant or differentiated presence in the market.
A page where businesses can post updates using text, photos, and videos to keep their customers engaged and aware of what’s new. A great place to promote Facebook events, new product launches, or to promote blog posts.
An online campaign is a set of coordinated marketing messages, delivered at specific intervals, with a specific goal. These goals include increasing sales of a product or raising awareness of a particular brand.
Canva is an easy-to-use design tool for non-designers and designers alike. The tool offers several templates that adhere to the required dimensions for sharable social images on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
A brief description that appears underneath an Instagram photo.
For more on mastering the Instagram caption, see here.
Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the internet but traditionally refers to one-to-one communication through a text-based chat application, commonly referred to as instant messaging (IM) applications.
Chatbots are a type of bot that live in messaging apps (like Facebook Messenger) and use artificial intelligence to perform tasks via simulated conversation. They can be used for customer service, data collection, and more.
Facebook is one of the leaders in chatbot integration. (Learn more: Messenger Bots Are Your New Best Friends on Facebook)
A term used on such social media sites as Foursquare and Facebook to declare when a user has physically visited a geographical location or event.
“Circles”, clusters of a user’s friends, colleagues, family, or connections, are a feature of Google+.
Clickbait is any content written in a way that will entice people to click it, usually with the goal of generating page views and advertising revenue. Most often this content includes the use of an inaccurate headline or image
A few clickbait techniques include stating unbelievable results (“Drink This Supplement and See Amazing Results in Just 7 Days”), simple tricks (“The Only 3 Exercises You Need for an Amazing Body”), and mysterious stories (“Man Divorced His Wife After Seeing This Photo”).
Clickbait has infested social media so thoroughly that Facebook has actually taken steps to exterminate it.
Clickthrough Rate (CTR)
“Clickthrough rate” (CTR) is a common social media metric generally used to determine whether or not an online advertising campaign has been a success. Mathematically, the clickthrough rate is the number of clicks divided by the total number of impressions.
For example, if 100 people saw your Facebook ad and one person clicked on the ad, you would have a click-through-rate of 1.0%.
Generally speaking, the higher your CTR, the more effective your marketing is.
A response that is often provided as an answer or reaction to a blog post or message on a social network.
Connections are people you connect with on LinkedIn. Connections are similar to Facebook Friends but are more likely to be made with people you have worked with, or would like to do business with, rather than friends or family members.
The process of finding, collecting and organizing the best and most relevant content on a particular subject, and then presenting that content in a meaningful way for your audience – usually on social networks. It’s about creating value for your audience by saving them time and effort.
Learn more: A Beginner’s Guide to Content Curation
A process used by marketers to uncover valuable content and trends relevant to their audience.
A marketing strategy based on generating brand awareness, engagement, and conversions by creating and presenting valuable content, such as posts, videos, guides, and infographics. Content marketers look to earn customer loyalty and influence decisions by providing useful, entertaining, or educational media.
Related: Social Media Marketing
A content upgrade, also known as a ‘lead magnet’, is bonus content given to people, typically in exchange for their email address. This could be in the form of a free downloadable e-book or access to a special video.
When search engines place your ads next to related news articles and websites.
Conversion is a marketing term that describes when a site visitor completes a desired action or marketing goal, like signing up for an email newsletter, registration for a free webinar, content downloads, or making an online purchase.
The percentage of people who are converting, or responding to your call to action (CTA), such as signing up for a newsletter, filling out a survey, downloading content, and making a purchase.
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA)
The amount paid for online advertising per a specified thing, such as number of leads, registrations, or sales.
Cost Per Click (CPC)
The predetermined amount you pay a search engine each time someone clicks on your ad or goes to your site.
Cost Per Impression (CPM)
The set amount you pay for every 1,000 impressions your ad receives.
The large, horizontal image at the top of your Facebook profile or page. Similar to a profile photo, a cover photo is public and can be seen by anyone. This is a great place for individuals, brands and organizations to use an unique image to represent who they are, what their business is or what they care about.
Creative Commons is a public copyright license that gives you the ability to use and share otherwise copyrighted material. For social media users, Creative Commons often comes into play when we are looking for images and photos to accompany a social media message or blog post.
To creep is to spend an extended period of time looking through someone’s profiles, photos, and videos on social media. The term is generally used in the context of dating, where social networks such as Facebook give users the ability to check out potential dates or ex-partners.
Crowdsourcing refers to the act of soliciting content, ideas or skills from online users outside your organization who collectively help you solve a problem. (See Wikipedia entry.)
Direct messages — also referred to as “DMs” — are private conversations that occur on social media platforms. Both parties must be following one another to send a message.
Direct traffic is one of the most common sources of visits to a website, consisting of visitors who manually type a website’s URL into their browser or click on a bookmark.
Content such as Snaps and Instagram Stories that vanish after a set amount of time.
A feature on the Twitter platform that has 5 functions: Tweets, Activity, Who to Follow, Find Friends and Popular accounts.
- The Tweets option shows the most popular Tweets across Twitter; some are tailored to you individually and some are globally trending.
- The Activity tab shows notable engagements of the people you follow, including the latest Retweets, replies and favorites of your friends.
- Who to Follow helps you find new and interesting accounts.
- Find Friends allows you to import contacts from your contact book and find them on Twitter.
- Popular Accounts provides a list of some engaging and well-liked accounts on Twitter and is delivered to you based on your interests.
A feature on Snapchat that consists of a collection of hand-picked videos provided by partners and regions.
Display ads are typically small visual banners that are shown on websites. Common formats include images, flash, video, and audio. They can also be text-based (for example, Google AdWords lets you build text-based display ads).
An algorithm that Facebook uses to determine what posts should be displayed in a user’s News Feed.
A schedule for publishing content
Email traffic refers to the number of visits made to your website from people who have received an email from your business, and who have clicked the link leading to your web page.
An easy way to put public posts from social networks into the content of your web site or web page.
The act of adding code to a website so that a media – videos, photos, slideshow presentations, media players and more – can be displayed while it’s being hosed at another site. For example, many users watch embedded YouTube videos or see Flickr photos on blogs rather than on the original site.
An emoji is a small image used to express an emotion, such as a smiley or a heart. These images are usually added as enhancement or a substitute for body language in text messages, personal emails, online forums, and social media posts.
An endorsement on LinkedIn refers to an instance in which one LinkedIn user recognizes another for one of the skills listed on their profile.
Engagement refers to ways people react or interact with a piece of content, and can be measured in the form of clicks, likes, shares, or opens. Social media engagement is a core part of every social media strategy.
Engagement rate is a valuable metric to help determine the quality and success of your social media messaging, as it provides an indicator as to how interesting or useful the message was to your audience.
For example, if you have a Facebook page and post a message which was liked and shared by 25 people and seen by 100 people, then it has an engagement rate of 25%.
Evergreen content is timeless and valuable to the readers long after its publication.
F4F (Follow for Follow)
Meaning “Follow for follow”, this is an invitation to follow a user on a social media platform (especially Twitter and Instagram) with the assurance that they will follow back.
Facebook users can add photos, post status updates, create event pages and much more. Businesses are also able to advertise on Facebook by creating a free page and sharing updates, or through paid advertising.
Facebook Ads Manager
An application that allows business owners to track ad performance; edit published ads, ad budgets, and schedules; receive notifications; and create new ads.
Gives the time, location, date, and details of an event a business is holding or participating in. Companies can invite their fans to the event and encourage them to share the event on their personal pages to increase visibility.
The people who like your Facebook Page.
A space on Facebook where you can communicate and share content within a select group of people. There are three types of groups: public, closed, and secret. Make sure you understand the privacy settings of any group that you’re a member of (here’s a useful table for reference). You can join a maximum of 6000 Facebook groups. If that ever becomes a problem for you, we’d love to hear your story.
A Facebook feature that allows you to stream live video to your family, friends, and followers. You can interact with viewers in real-time, and get live reactions to your broadcast.
A Facebook feature that enables users to publish longer content in a blog format. A 2015 update brought Notes back into the social media lexicon, and allows users to add a large header image, resize pictures, and add links and hashtags within a post.
Reach is the number of unique people who have seen content from your Facebook Page. Reach is NOT the same as impressions, which is the total number of times your content is viewed (including multiple views from the same user).
Facebook provides two different reach metrics: total reach and post reach.
- Total reach is the number of unique people who have seen any content associated with your Page during the last 7 days. This includes people who view your Page posts, people who visit your Page after searching for it, and people who see ads that are associated with your Page.
- Post reach is the number of unique people who have seen a particular Facebook Page post in their News Feed.
The two primary categories of Facebook reach can be broken down further into organic and paid reach.
- Organic reach is free reach. It refers to the number of unique people who saw your content without your having to pay for it. The vast majority of organic reach occurs when Facebook’s algorithm places your posts in the News Feeds of your fans.
- Paid reach is not free reach. It refers to the number of unique people who saw your content because you paid for promoted posts or display ads.
Introduced in February 2015, “reactions” allow Facebook users to react to posts beyond a simple “Like.” Reactions currently include: “love,” “haha,” “wow,” “sad,” and “angry.”
An indication that someone likes your Tweet, given by clicking the star icon.
A photographic effect that can be applied to enhance images on social media. The most popular use is on Instagram, where users can currently choose from over 20 different filters such as offering a vintage look, black and white, sepia, altering saturation levels, and more. Snapchat users can also apply filters to their Snaps, to add colored effects, the current time, weather, speed, or Geofilters, when available.
The popularity of filters has resulted in the hashtag #nofilter being applied to photos where no photographic affect has been applied.
An image and video hosting website and web services suite. Its members have uploaded more than 3 billion photos. (See Wikipedia entry.)
Follow Friday (#ff)
Follow Friday is a tradition in which people send tweets recommending Twitter users they think other people may be interested in following. The tweets are sent on Fridays and contain the hashtag #ff or #FollowFriday.
Learn more: #FF on Twitter – A Guide to Follow Friday
On blogs and social media sites, a follower is someone who chooses to receive your updates.
Followers To Following Ratio
The ratio of your social media followers to those you are following. In an ideal world, you have more followers than users you are following.
An online site, also known as a message board, where people can hold discussions
A location-based discovery service that helps people find local places and experiences that are relevant to their interests and tastes. Foursquare pioneered the “check-in” back in 2009, putting the idea of real-time location sharing on the map.
A person that you connect with on Facebook or another social network. Unlike a fan or follower, a friend is a two-way connection; both you and your friend have to endorse the relationship.
On Snapchat, the “Friend Emojis” reflect a user’s relationship with another user. For example, the sunglass-wearing cool guy emoji means that the Snapchatters share a best friend on the app.
A funnel refers to the different stages of a website visitor’s journey before they make a decision to buy a product or service. This journey is referred to as a funnel because, similar to the shape of a funnel, many people are seen at the start of the journey. As they move through the next stages, some of them drop out; only a few are left when the last stage (making a purchase) is reached.
For an online store, the main stages of a funnel can look like this: a person visits the website, views a product, adds the product to the cart, then pays for the product.
Snapchat overlays or stickers that you can add to your images to communicate where you are.
The practice of tagging a photo, video, or message with a specific location. The ubiquity of GPS-enabled smartphones has made geotagging a core aspect of social media.
Geostickers are location-specific Snapchat Stickers. You will need to have location services enabled to take advantage of this feature.
A feature on many social media platforms that allows users to share their content with geographically defined audiences. Instead of sending a generic message for the whole world to see, you can refine the messaging and language of your content to better connect with people in specific cities, countries, and regions. You can also filter your audience by language.
GIF is the acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, which refers to a file format that supports both static and animated images.
For all your GIF needs, try giphy.com.
Google+ is Google’s social network. Google uses the “+1” to serve as the equivalent to a Like on Facebook or Instagram.
It’s important that you try and maintain consistent handles on all of your social network profiles, since people who follow you on Twitter might want to find you on Instagram or Pinterest. A consistent handle helps with discoverability.
In social media, a handle is another term for username. Unlike other usernames, though, a handle is usually preceded by an “@” sign. For example, Simply Social You’s Twitter handle is @SimplySocialYou.
A simple way to track topics and keywords used on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. Any word that has the “#” symbol at the beginning of it will be turned into clickable hyperlink that shows all other recent posts with that same term.
Hashtags are a simple way to mark the topic (or topics) of social media messages and make them discoverable to people with shared interests. On most social networks, clicking a hashtag will reveal all the public and recently published messages that also contain that hashtag. Hashtags first emerged on Twitter as a user-created phenomenon and are now used on almost every other social media platform, including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Vine and Pinterest.
Learn more: The Do’s and Don’ts of How to Use Hashtags
A Hangout is a video service on Google+ that allows you to video chat with up to 10 Google+ users are a time.
Header images are the primary, full-width image viewed at the top of a web page, social media account, or email message.
A feature of the Periscope app that measure popularity and act as virtual thumbs up and appreciation of the broadcaster.
Often the first page you see when you sign into your social media account, it contains a constantly updating timeline or feed of the user activity and news stories in your network.
A dashboard that allows you to manage all of your social media marketing accounts from a single location, so you can find and schedule effective social content.
A hyperlink, or simply ‘link’, connects an element in a page (like a text, button, or image) to another part of the page or another web page. When the link is within the same website, this is called an internal link. On the other hand, when the link directs the user to a page on a different website, this is called an external link.
More Definitions: I – P Q – Z + Symbols + Abbreviations
What Would YOU Add To The Social Media Glossary
Obviously, this list could easily be WAAAAAAY longer but I thought it would be easier to release it and then ask you what YOU think should be included. Let me know in the comments below the additional terms you would like added to this social media dictionary. This will be a constant work-in-progress so I would love to have you be a part of it!