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 qualified lead is a person who has opted in to receive communication from a company, has gained awareness about their product or service, and is interested in learning more. These leads are considered to have a higher likelihood of turning into customers.
A way to retweet where a user can include their own comments along with the tweet.
The position a web page has in a search engine’s results.
Reach refers to the total number of people exposed to a particular marketing campaign, regardless of whether they interacted with it or not. Reach is determined by a fairly complex calculation, that includes # of followers, shares and impressions as well as net follower increase over time. Reach should not be confused with Impressions or Engagement.
See: Impressions, Engagement
The practice of connecting with an online community around current events, trends, and customer feedback.
A recommendation on LinkedIn is a term used to describe a written note from another LinkedIn member that aims to reinforce the user’s professional credibility or expertise.
A popular website and social networking site on which content submitted or shared by users is then voted on by other visitors. Each piece of content, from videos to text posts, can be either upvoted (positive) or downvoted (negative) by users. The most upvoted and commented on posts appear higher up on the website’s main page, as well as on its many topic-focused sections called subreddits.
A referral is when an existing customer draws in new customers by inviting their friends and family to try a particular product or service. A business that applies referral marketing often offers rewards or perks for every new customer brought in by referrers.
Referral traffic consists of site visitors that come from direct links on other websites. One example is when other websites post a link recommending your content, product, or service.
The act of reposting another Instagram users image or video.
Response rate is the ratio of people who responded to a piece of content divided by the total number of people who received the material. For example, if your email offer was sent to 100 people and 25 responded, then your response rate is 25%.
Responsive design is an approach to web design technology that encourages a website to adapt to the device used by viewers. So, instead of building a separate website for each device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) that could display the website, a responsive design will make the content of the site adapt automatically to the space available.
Remarketing / Retargeting
Remarketing, also known as retargeting, is a form of online advertising that enables sites to show targeted ads to repeat visitors of their website or mobile app. You might have noticed that, when you visit a website of a particular product or service, you see this website’s ad when you browse other websites—that’s remarketing at work.
A reply is a Twitter action that allows a user to respond to a tweet through a separate tweet that begins with the other user’s @username. This differs from a mention, because tweets that start with an @username only appears in the timelines of users who follow both parties.
On Pinterest, if you find a Pin on another user’s Pinboard that you like, you can save it to your board by Repinning it.
A response to someone’s Tweet that begins with their @username. Unlike Direct Messages, replies are public. When you click the reply button next to a Tweet, your ensuing conversation will be viewable in the public area of your profile.
A engagement metric to assess how much you are interacting with your social audience. To calculate your response rate, take the number of mentions that you have replied to in a given time period and divide it by the total number of mentions you have received (excluding retweets).
You can also try out our helpful tool, Grade Your Social, to find out what your response rate is on Twitter.
Return On Investment (ROI)
See: Social Media Return
Return On Relationship (ROR)
A measurement of the value gained by a person or business from developing a relationship.
A Tweet that is re-shared to the followers of another user’s Twitter account. Retweeting helps to share news and build relationships with others on Twitter.
More advanced online ads that have animation or interactivity, such as video or audio.
A Pinterest Pin (or post) that contains more information than a regular Pin. The six categories of Rich Pins include app, movie, recipe, article, product, and place. For example, a Product Rich Pin would include information about where to buy the product, pricing, and store availability.
Return on Investment (ROI) measures the amount of return on an investment relative to the cost of the investment, and is usually shown as a percentage. In marketing, ROI usually refers to Return on Ad Spend (ROAS).
In PPC (Pay Per Click), ROI/ROAS is computed as:
PPC revenue less PPC cost, divided by PPC cost [PPC revenue – PPC cost ÷ PPC cost]
For example, if you paid $500 for ads and your sales revenue from those ads amounts to $1,000, your ROI/ROAS would be 100%.
RSS (Rich Site Summary) is a format for syndicating web content. Bloggers, news publishers, and other content creators use RSS feeds to effectively broadcast content (or content summaries) to audiences. Readers can subscribe to RSS feeds without providing personal information, and then automatically receive updates through a news reader or aggregator.
A screencast is a video that captures what takes place on a computer screen, usually accompanied by audio narration. A screencast is often created to explain how a website or piece of software works, but it can be any piece of explanatory video that strings together images or visual elements.
Stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and refers to the process of optimizing web content so it can be indexed and found in popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
A screenshot, also called a “screen capture”, is an image or snapshot of the computer or mobile device screen.
A self-portrait photograph, usually taken with a smartphone and shared on social media sites.
How people feel about a brand, business or post.
The main focus of all social media platforms is to share your content, thoughts and company voice with others. Sharing options can also be added to your site using to allow people to like, +1, email, tweet or many other methods of endorsing or forwarding your content to others.
A popular social platform for sharing presentations and other business-oriented content. SlideShare makes it easy to embed content on websites and share it to other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which has owned the platform since 2012.
A smart phone (or “smartphone”) is a handheld device capable of advanced tasks beyond those of a standard mobile phone. Capabilities might include email, chat, taking photos or video or hundreds of other tasks.
Media that is consumed in bite-sized pieces to allow for short attention spans.
A photo or video sent on Snapchat. You can add filters, text, emojis and drawings before sending to your recipient. Individual messages only last up to 10 seconds then they are completely erased (although Snapchat have introduced a replay feature that allows you to have one more view).
Snapcash, created in partnership with Square, is a fast and easy way for Snapchatters to exchange money within the Chat feature. Once Snapchat users have linked their debit card in the app, they can send Snapcash to anyone in their contact list who is eligible to receive Snapcash.
One of the distinguishing features is that the individual messages only last up to 10 seconds before they disappear forever and are erased from the company’s servers. In 2013, the Story feature was added, which allows users to post a replayable Snap for up to 24 hours in the “Our Story” section.
Introduced in September 2015, Lenses allow users to add animated masks to their Snapchat selfies.
The “My Story” section allows users to post a replayable Snap for up to 24 hours to their friends and followers.
Introduced in September 2015, a feature that rewards users with emoji trophies after completing Snapchat challenges and activities.
A unique scannable QR code provided to each Snapchat user. Users can point their phone’s camera at a friend’s Snapcode, whether on a phone or a vector version of the code, to automatically add the other person as a Snapchat contact.
Stories string Snaps together to create a narrative that lasts for 24 hours. To create a Story, a user chooses to add their Snaps to their Story. Depending on their privacy settings, the photos and videos added to a Story can be viewed by either all Snapchatters, just the user’s friends, or a customized group.
An aesthetic overlay that can be applied to a photo or video Snap. Filters include those that indicate the time, temperature, speed, and location of a given Snap.
Geofilters are another type of Snapchat Filter specific to a certain location, and are often also associated with special occasions like an event.
Snapchat Memories allow you to save Snaps and Stories for later viewing and sharing. You can find old Snaps by searching keywords and Snapchat will source them for you.
Snapchat Stickers are icons and images that you can add to a Snap. To add a Sticker to your Snap, simply tap the page icon in the top right corner of the Snap.
A method for Internet users to organize, store, manage and search for bookmarks of resources online. A form of content curation. Delicious is one of the best-known social bookmark sites.
An area of electronic commerce where the buying process is assisted by social media and online networks.
Social customer service
The practice of identifying and resolving customer service issues on social media.
Social media are works of user-created video, audio, text or multimedia that are published and shared in a social environment, such as a blog, podcast, forum, wiki or video hosting site. More broadly, social media refers to any online technology that lets people publish, converse and share content online.
Social Media Listening
The process of finding and assessing what is being said about a company, topic, brand, or person on social media channels.
Social Media Management
Technology and business processes for securely managing social media accounts, engaging audiences, and measuring the business results of social media activities.
Social Media Marketing
The use of social media by marketers to increase brand awareness, identify key audiences, generate leads, and build meaningful relationships with customers.
Social Media Monitoring
Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to mentions related to a business that occur in social media.
Social Media ROI
A measurement of the effectiveness of an organization’s investment in social media. Like any metric for “return on investment”, social media ROI is calculated by dividing the total benefits of an investment by the sum of its costs.
A social networking search engine that allows you to search the internet for social content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos.
Social networking is the act of socializing in an online community. A typical social network such as Facebook or Twitter allows you to create a profile, add friends, communicate with other members and add your own media.
Social proof refers to the way people’s perception of a product or service is influenced by the size and quality of its following. For example, when you are looking for a place to have dinner, you see a crowded restaurant and assume that it’s really good because a lot of people eat in there.
In social media, social proof can be identified by the number of interactions a piece of content receives or the number of followers you have. The thought is that if others are sharing something or following someone, it must be good.
The use of social media by sales professionals to increase productivity and generate revenue. Sellers can effectively leverage social media to enhance their reputations, expand their interpersonal networks, and attract new prospects. They can also identify buyers by listening and engaging in the online spaces where potentials customers are conducting research and asking for advice.
Social traffic is the amount of website traffic received from various social media channels such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest and Instagram. For instance, when someone clicks on a link you shared on a Facebook post, or finds your Twitter profile and clicks the link leading to your website, this will be counted as social traffic.
Spam is any message that the recipient did not want or ask for. Some examples of these are inappropriate emails offering unsolicited products or services, false messages claiming that you have won the lottery, and other messages from strangers.
Any content that you post, and can include text and media. Snapchat and Instagram users don’t post status updates.
Unlike downloadable podcasts or video, streaming media refers to video or audio that can be watched or listened to online but not stored permanently.
Photos that are licensed for specific purposes and that can be used by people who purchase them.
A subreddit is a smaller forum within the social website Reddit that is dedicated to a specific topic or theme. These are defined by the symbol “/r/” which precedes the unique reddit url of that particular subreddit, e.g. www.reddit.com/r/gifs/
The action required to receive a particular user’s status updates on a personal Facebook profile. Also used to describe the act of following specific RSS feeds and YouTube channels.
A key word added to a social media post, blog post, photo or video to help users find related topics or media, either through browsing on the site or as a term to make your entry more relevant to search engines.
A tag can also refer to the act of tagging someone in a post, which creates a link to their social media profile and associates them with the content.
A visual depiction of the word content of a Web site or user-generated tags attached to online content. Typically displayed with more commonly used words appearing larger and less common words shown smaller.
Creating marketing campaigns to appeal to certain specified audiences.
Terms of Service
Terms of service (TOS) are the legal basis upon which you agree to use a website, video hosting site or other place for creating or sharing content.
A strand of messages which represent a conversation or part of a conversation. Threads are essential to most forms of online communication, including social media, web forums, and email. Without them, it is incredibly difficult to put messages into context or keep track of ongoing conversations.
Throwback Thursday (#tbt)
Although Throwback Thursday wasn’t invented on Instagram, the term has been widely popularized by the platform. Essentially, every Thursday users post either a really old photograph of themselves (as a child, in high school, etc) or a saved photo they took more recently but want to share.
The date and time that a message is posted to a social network, usually visible below the headline or username. Clicking on a timestamp will usually bring you to the content’s permalink.
The most popular and engaging Tweets for a given search query, as determined by a Twitter algorithm. Searches on Twitter.com return Top Tweets by default, but you can toggle to “All” results to see the full list of Tweets that mach your search.
Tracking code (UTM code)
Code placed at the end of the URL for a web page so Google Analytics can track where visitors to that page are coming from.
A tiny image embedded in an ad that allows for tracking various metrics.
In Internet marketing, traffic refers to the number of visits received by a web page or website.
A topic or hashtag that is popular on social media at a given moment. Trends are highlighted by social networks such as Twitter and Facebook to encourage discussion and engagement among their users. The trends that you see on Twitter and Facebook are personalized for you, based on your location as well as who you follow or what pages you like.
When a brand or individual tries to benefit from a social media trend by injecting their own irrelevant content into the conversation.
A troll or internet troll refers to a person who is known for creating controversy in an online setting. They typically hang out in forums, comment sections, and chat rooms with the intent of disrupting the conversation on a piece of content by providing commentary that aims to evoke a reaction.
Tumblr is a microblogging platform that allows users to post text, images, video, audio, links, and quotes to their blog. Users can also follow other blogs and repost other users’ content to their own blog.
A post on Twitter, a real-time social messaging system. Tweets are micro blog messages that can be a maximum of 140 characters in length.
An organized or impromptu gathering of people who use Twitter. Users often include a hashtag, such as #tweetup or #sftweetup, when publicizing a local tweetup.
A social network and media platform that enables users to publish 140-character messages along with photos, videos, and other content. Twitter is famous for its real-time and emergent discussions on breaking news stories and trends.
Keen and frequent users of Twitter who have high numbers of followers and actively participate on daily basis.
A media-rich Tweet that includes an embedded video, photo gallery, page summary, or other interactive element beyond the text of the message. They are automatically attached to a Tweet whenever you (or any other user) tweets a link to a webpage that is marked up with some simple HTML code.
To find out how to enable Twitter Cards, check out Twitter’s guide for developers.
A Twitter conversation that has picked up too many usernames for an actual conversation to take place. The thread might begin as a dialogue between two people before spiraling out of control as more and more Twitter users insinuate themselves into the conversation with “Reply all” messages. Like an overloaded canoe, the thread sinks once too many people have hopped in.
According to Twitter, Moments are “the best of what’s happening on Twitter in an instant.” By tapping on the lightning bolt symbol, you can see a list of events, news stories, and announcements that are updated throughout the day.
Akin to blogs and the blogosphere, the Twitterverse is simply the universe of people who use Twitter and the conversations taking place within that sphere.
The act of unsubscribing from any further social media updates or posts from a specific user.
Removing someone from a list of social media contacts.
To unsubscribe means to cancel a service or to remove oneself from a mailing list.
In email marketing, the unsubscribe rate refers to the percentage of email subscribers who have chosen to click the unsubscribe link, in relation to the total number of subscribers who received the email. A high unsubscribe rate can be interpreted as an indication of email spam.
Upsell is a sales strategy wherein you try to upsell or influence the customer into buying something with a higher price, to add on to their purchase, or upgrade their item. This has the objective of increasing the value per purchase.
The location of a page or other resource on the World Wide Web. The acronym stands for Uniform Resource Locator. An example of a URL is http://www.simplysocialyou.com/blog.
A tool that condenses a URL into a shorter (and more social media friendly) format, known as a short link. Users who click on a short link are redirected to the original URL. URL shorteners can also provide link tracking capabilities, which allow businesses to measure click-throughs from social media and attribute website conversions to individual social messages. Popular URL shorteners include bit.ly and Hootsuite’s ow.ly.
The term refers to any person who uses a computer, mobile device, or network service. If you have a computer or smartphone, then you are considered a user.
User Generated Content (UGC)
User Generated Content (UGC) refers to any content created by users on a website by submitting a comment, creating a forum topic, uploading a video, submitting a blog post, etc. For example, if you have a blog that allows users to comment on your blog, then UGC will be created whenever a comment is added to that web page.
A web address that is branded for marketing purposes. They are a custom branded URL that replaces common URL shortener formats with something that has your branding or is related to the content. Instead of showing up as ow.ly or a bit.ly, it could show up looking like Time Inc.’s vanity URL “ti.me”.
A social media account is verified authentic at the discretion of the social media provider (Facebook, Twitter, etc). This is usually reserved for brands and public figures as a way of preventing fraud and protecting the integrity of the person or company behind the account.
A videoblog, or vlog, is simply a blog that contains video entries. Some people call it vlogging.
How many users have looked at a particular post.
Similar to YouTube, Vimeo is a platform for storing, sharing and uploading video content.
Used to describe photos, videos or any other form of content that is circulated rapidly on the Internet.
A marketing technique where information is passed electronically from one internet user to another leading to wide coverage and high interest levels.
A visit, also known as a session, refers to any activity of a site visitor on a website, from the time they land on a page until they leave: download a file, click on a link, or access other pages on the same website.
A visitor is an individual who visits a website. This term can sometimes be used interchangeably with Unique Visitor.
The idea that video, images and other visual content dominates social media over text-based content. Hence the popularity of Snapchat and the introduction of Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and Facebook also trying to improve their visual functionality.
A blog post in video form. Made popular by YouTube.
Someone who creates and broadcasts video blogs.
Web analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of Internet data for the purpose of understanding who your visitors are and optimizing your website.
Short for Web-based seminar, a webinar is a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Web.
In general, participants register in advance and access the presentation in real time over the Internet and listen to the presenter either through computer speakers or a telephone connection. Webinars are generally one-way and can involve chat or polls.
Who to Follow
Who to Follow is a feature in the left hand sidebar of your Twitter homepage that helps users find relevant accounts to follow. The accounts that populate in the Who to Follow section are suggested because they have similar interests, professions or geographic proximity to you. You can click follow them immediately or view their profile for more information.
Small applications that perform one specific task or set of tasks such as providing weather forecasts or news, that is constantly updating itself (typically via RSS).
Wi-Fi (or wifi) stands for wireless fidelity, a simple system allowing enabled devices to connect to the Internet within short range of any access point without cables or adaptors.
Sometimes called grassroots marketing or conversational marketing. An umbrella term for dozens of techniques that can be used to engage and energize customers. By building relationships with influencers through WOM, marketers can get people to become so enthusiastic about a cause, product or service that they drive sales through conversations. (See Wikipedia entry.)
Google owned YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips.
This symbol is called an octothorpe, but most of us think of it as a “hash” mark!
B2B – Business to business
B2C – Business to consumer
BTW – By the way
DM – Direct Message
#FF – Follow Friday (on Twitter)
IDK – I don’t know
IM – Instant message
IMMO (or IMHO) – “In my honest opinion” or “In my humble opinion”
IRL – In real life
ISO – In search of
OP – Original poster
OT – Off topic
PM – Private message
PPC – Pay per click
SEM – Search engine marketing
SEO – Search engine optimization
SM – Social media
SMM – Social media marketing
TMI – Too much information
TTYL – Talk to you later
What Would YOU Add To The Social Media Dictionary?
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!