Social Media Terms You Should Know

By Theresa Attalla / 12 Jun 2018



Okay, let’s be real. How much social media lingo is in your marketing toolbox?

I’ll be honest; I didn’t know much when I first started dabbling in the social media marketing world many moons ago. I didn’t learn it in college because social media was a very different scene a number of years ago.

I have the unique experience of knowing what our world was like before social media and growing up with it, but it’s continually evolving. Fast.

Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Reddit. The list of social media channels goes on. It may seem overwhelming to try to keep up with all of the platforms and the jargon that goes with each one. And it’s perfectly okay if you don’t know every little detail about social media.

However, learning some basic ABCs of social media will help you understand the value of your platforms to generate leads and create awareness about your company, service, and brand. It also doesn’t hurt to know what’s what so when you hire a company like us, you know how we’re trying to help you succeed.

Are you ready to dive into some ABCs? We may not have a fun song to learn along with it, but we hope these ABCs stick.

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Algorithm: Put your math cap on. An algorithm is a set of formulas developed to perform specific functions. Algorithms can be used to sort posts in users’ feeds based on relevancy. Algorithms are constantly changing with each platform. It’s worth mentioning that Facebook has been making big changes to the way users see content on its platform, causing marketers to rethink their strategies.

AMA: This acronym stands for “Ask Me Anything.” It usually occurs between the host and all the other internet users who want to ask a question. It’s most popular on Reddit, but can be used on a variety of social platforms and through different mediums.

Avatar: An avatar is an image or username that represents a person online. If you’re using a Bitmoji, you’re using an avatar. (Avatar is also the 2009 epic science fiction film by James Cameron that’s long, but pretty entertaining. Expect Avatar 2 to come out in 2020.)

Bitly: Don’t you hate long URLs? Us, too. Bitly is a free URL shortening service that makes the links easily shareable on social networks like Twitter. 

Clickbait: This is content for which the primary purpose is to encourage visitors to click on a particular web page link. There a lot of material on the internet, so it’s obvious we want to write enticing headlines. To me, clickbait is when the article you read leaves you feeling cheated.

Click-through Rate (CTR): This metric represents the number of times a visitor clicks on a link divided by the total number of impressions a piece of content receives. For example: If your Twitter posting is seen by 200 people, and three people click on the link, your click-through rate is 1.5%.

Conversion Rate: Did you sign up for an eNewsletter recently? Or sign up for that latest store coupon? Follow your favorite restaurant on social media? Conversion rates are a metric that is the percentage of people who completed actions like the ones I mentioned. It’s always a goal to get your customer to act, whether it's clicking on a blog link, following your Twitter account, or downloading the latest eBook.

Crowdsourcing: Think of this as online outsourcing. If you’re stuck and need help formulating an idea, you can solicit ideas or content from your online users.

Direct Message: Otherwise known as DMs, these are just private conversations that occur on social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Engagement Rate: This measures the number of interactions you receive on a piece of content like a like, share, or comment.

Handle: Follow us on Twitter: @BlueStar_Design or Facebook: @bluestardesign. Handles are usernames. We hear the term most often on Twitter and Instagram.

Hashtag: A hashtag is a tag or symbol on social media platforms that help categorize ideas or topics. Its “#” symbol precedes the tag followed by a keyword (you may remember this being called the “pound sign” back in the days before Twitter). You always want to make sure your hashtags make sense for your social post.

Impressions: Impressions are how marketers and advertisers keep track of every time an ad or piece of content is displayed on a reader or visitor’s device even if no action was taken on it. 

Meme: A meme is used to describe a thought, idea, joke, or concept shared online. I love Parks and Recreation memes. Who doesn't? 

Mention: Originally, this was a Twitter term used to describe when someone’s @username is displayed in someone else’s tweet. You can also “mention” on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Organic vs. Paid: Organic social media is anything that happens on platforms without paid promotion. Example: You search for creative agencies in Northeast Ohio and find us on Google. We didn’t pay for that promotion, so that would be organic traffic. Paid social media is anything where advertising dollars were spent. There is usually a “sponsored” tag next to the post, and if you “like” it, it’s a paid reaction. Paid social media includes boosted posts, ads optimized for clicks, video ads, and more. Each campaign can be targeted to reach a specific audience.

Reach: Reach is the potential audience size for your content. It can be easy to confuse this with impressions, but remember that reach is the unique number of users who see your content vs. impressions being the number of times your content is displayed.  

SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) helps improve the volume of quality, unpaid (organic) traffic to a website from search engines. Still confused? Don’t worry. This video from Search Engine Land is honestly the best explanation I’ve seen to help you out.

Traffic: Traffic refers to visits from internet users to a website. It can be organic or from paid promotions. It can lead to your social media pages, your website, or your blog.

There are a lot more social media terms you should know, but these are a great start. Having this vocabulary will help you with your users and followers. Not only will it help you boost your audience engagement, but it will also help increase your online visibility.

Digital marketing is a lot more involved than it used to be. Social media needs to be a part of your marketing strategy, and it doesn't happen overnight. We know you're swamped and we're here to help. Our social media services go beyond just a meme or simple hashtag. We're data junkies who can drive sales, and create a tailor-made strategy that fits your business goals.  

We’re ready to be your social media partner-in-crime. Give us a call today.

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