Top 60 Social Media Buzzwords and What They Mean


Social Media has been around for two decades now and at this point, we all cannot imagine life without it. We use it so much that we can’t account for how much time it takes away from our days.

Courtesy, marketers have ventured into social media marketing to bring their services and products to our attention. I guess you might be one of them. Am I right?

You probably came across a social media term and had no idea what it meant. That’s how you stumbled here.

Scroll down and learn the vocabulary among other terms

Social Media Terms

A/B Testing: It’s when the performances of two social media posts are compared to see which one’s better. A/B testing, also known as split testing essentially involves two identical posts but on the second post, a single variable is altered while everything else remains the same. For instance, to split test a social post for your latest article, you could use the same featured image, link preview and text but test different headlines. The headline that performs better should then be replicated in future.

Algorithm: A defined set of rules that determines which posts people see every time they check their social media feeds. It sorts posts based on relevance and prioritizes content based on a user’s online activities, therefore, predicting what they’ll want to see. Feed algorithm uses machine learning to improve the users’ experience and encourages longer time spent online.

Analytics: It’s the gathering of data from the internet for analysis. Social media analytics tools such as Facebook Analytics, Instagram Analytics and Twitter Analytics, use intermediary software to collect quantitative data such as user engagement metrics like comments, likes, retweets etc. from social networks. A marketer then analyzes this data to identify which type of content is most effective in helping them achieve social networking goals.

API: Application Programming Interface is software provided by social media platforms to allow other applications and websites to communicate, share data and integrate with their network. For instance, Tumblr API allows you to get Tumblr images, their description and other information and embed it on a website. Likewise, Social plugins use the Twitter API to embed tweets on a website.

Avatar: This is the tiny picture that represents a person or company on a social media platform. It can be a real photo of you, a company logo or anything. People identify you through your avatar and hence it should give the best impression of who you are.

B2B: Business to Business is simply a transaction between two businesses. B2B is used to identify companies whose business model thrives on selling products or services to other businesses. On social media, B2B businesses provide professional advice to enable other businesses to achieve their goals. For instance, Hubspot provides high-quality training and publishes research to offer other businesses insights on digital marketing.

B2C: Business to Customer involves transactions between a business and a customer. Companies that sell services and products directly to customers are B2C businesses. Take note that a business can be both a B2C and B2B business. For instance, Ampfluence is an Instagram growth agency that helps people grow their influence on Instagram yet its services can also cater for companies wishing to up their Instagram marketing campaigns.

Big Data: Big data is large amounts of data that are hard to manage. I’m talking terabytes! It can be structured or unstructured and is too complex to be managed by normal computer hardware and software. Big data in social media involves analysis of non-liner-related data to understand what customers like and design highly effective campaigns. For instance, it can enable the personalization of ads by targeting customers based on their common social media posts offering a non-obtrusive experience.

Bio: A bio is a short form of biography is a brief description of your profile of who a social media user is. You have the freedom to write anything on the bio section but its purpose is to introduce you to the world. A good bio is an opportunity for you to connect with people that share interests with you and also for companies to sell their brand.

Boosted Post: This is a post on your timeline that has money invested in to increase its reach. Every social platform allows users to invest in promoting content and mark this content as a promoted or sponsored post. Promoting posts allows targeting of audiences based on geographical location, age, demographics among other factors and thus improve the impact of campaigns.

Brand Advocate: As the name suggests, a brand advocate is a customer who shares content online that promotes a brand. These include; positive product reviews, testimonials, regular shares, etc. Brand advocates voluntarily encourage other people to use products or services and thus might not be compensated as influencers.

Brand Awareness: This is the extent to which people can recognize a brand under different conditions. Social media marketing’s main goal is to increase brand awareness. That’s why people struggle to grow their followings which indicates how many people are willing to associate with a brand. It’s a high level of brand recognition as it involves emotions courtesy of interaction with the brand.

Business Intelligence: It’s the strategies and technology-driven processes used by enterprises to analyze data and deliver actionable information used in decision making. Business intelligence in social media is used to provide a framework for effective analysis of data such as customer demographics, search habits, social behaviours among others and implementation to increase revenue opportunities, brand awareness, acquire more customers and achieve other business goals.

Chatbots: These are software applications used to provide online text communication to customers. Social media has become central for business operations today and one of the most important functions is to provide customer care services. People expect businesses to respond instantly when they inquire about services and products. Chatbots simulate human-like conversation to provide answers to customers especially on general issues that don’t require specialized attendance.

Clickbait: Any content that uses manipulative copy to convince people to click on it. It involves using devious language that taps into human psychology influencing their decision-making process through exaggerations or withholding of information. In most cases, these promises are not substantiated after the user clicks. Clickbait is often spammy and social media networks actively fight such content.

Competitive Benchmarking: The process of using a collection of metrics to measure the performance of a company’s social media campaigns and compare against the performance of a competitor’s performance. It helps you determine the best strategies and techniques to achieve your business goals. For instance, you can pin your daily posts against audience growth and compare them with that of a competitor to identify which types of posts give them an edge over you. A good tool to use for this is SproutSocial.

Content Marketing: This is a strategic process of distributing valuable content to attract and retain a well-defined audience and drive profitable action. Content Marketing is a whole discipline by itself but you’ll hear the term used by social media marketers. In this context, it involves sharing content such as articles, images, eBooks, videos and podcasts on social media platforms which drive customers from social media to a business’s website.

Conversions: When a social media user finds your posts interesting, click it makes a purchase, that process is referred to as a conversion. But, it’s not only a transaction that counts as a conversion. If they sign up for a free trial or a newsletter, that also counts, although it’s more of a lead generation. Other forms of conversions include; downloading an app, visiting your website, using your online chat, contacting customer care or filling out a form.

CPC: Cost per Click is the amount of money you’re paying for each click. When promoting a post on social media to drive traffic to a site, an advertiser will measure the CPC of the Ad by dividing the number of clicks by the total amount invested in the campaign. A low CPC means you’re using less money to drive traffic to the site hence profitable, unlike a high CPC.

CPM: Cost per Mille is the amount you pay per 1000 impressions. CPM is calculated by dividing the advertising cost by the number of thousand impressions. It focuses on impressions rather than click and is thus more effective as a brand awareness metric than a lead generation or customer acquisition metric. CPM model is often used in advertising bidding systems for digital marketing.

Cross-channel Marketing: A strategic customer-centric digital marketing process that aligns brand awareness objectives and efforts across different platforms including social media sites. Cross-channel marketing aim at providing prospects and customers with a consistent experience when interacting with a brand across multiple platforms.

Crowdsourcing: This is the process of collecting ideas or content with the help of contributions from a large number of people on social media. For instance, a SaaS company can engage its followers in a poll to suggest the features to be included in the next update of the mobile application. Crowdsourcing enables people to engage with a brand while generating content ideas.

CTR: Click Through Rate is the number of clicks on an ad divided by the number of impressions it gets. As a social media metric, it measures the effectiveness of an Ad campaign. For instance; a well-performing Facebook social ad can get 1000 views and get 500 clicks (a CTR of 50%) while a non-effective ad could get 500 clicks from 100,000 impressions (a CTR of 0.5%).

CVR: Conversion rate is the percentage of people who see an Ad, click it and take the action the advertiser intended. For instance, the CVR of an Ad to sign up subscribers to a newsletter will be measured by the number of new emails acquired over the total number of impressions.

Dark Social: It’s the invisible shares that happen through channels like social media inboxes, messengers, texts and emails. For instance, if you read an interesting article like the Secrets to Neil Patel’s half a million monthly visits to one article, you could choose to share it through email, text or messenger. When they access the article, marketers won’t know the origin of the reader. Over 80% of social shares on the internet happen on dark social.

DM: Direct message is a private message sent to your inbox. DMs enable private conversations between individuals, away from public scrutiny that comments, likes and shares get on social media. Online businesses offering customer services through social media use DM to interact with customers and help solve their problems.

Employee Advocacy: Similar to brand advocacy, this form of brand promotion is conducted by individuals, only that they are employees of the brand. Employees can share content, either branded or unbranded, to promote a company’s message in form of comments, post shares and frequent reactions to the company’s posts. Employee advocacy steers achievement of corporate goals.

Engagement: Any identifiable and quantifiable interactions with a social media post or profile is referred to as engagement. On Facebook, it includes; likes, comments, and shares. Similarly, on Twitter. On Instagram, it’s likes and comments since you cannot share content by default. Businesses that focus on building their social media engagements witness growth in brand awareness and ease of attracting new customers. Meanwhile, the quality of engagement also matters, i.e. cute cat videos get lots of interaction but have little monetary value.

Ephemeral Data: This is any content that disappears after a short time. Today, every social media platform implements ephemeral data; Facebook stories, Insta-stories, Twitter Fleets (shutting down), WhatsApp statuses and YouTube Stories. Disappearing content is effective because it capitalizes on our fear of missing out and our desire to relate with others.

Evergreen Content: Well-optimized content that stays relevant for long is described as evergreen. For instance, a Facebook post outlining the most important saving habits for longtime financial prosperity is relevant now and will still be relevant years to come. On the other hand, a Twitter update on a new Covid 19 vaccine loses relevance as time goes by.

Feed: This is the stream of content from your network that’s displayed on your social media wall. Your feed is often generated as your homepage. It lets you see the latest posts published by people and brands you follow and engage through liking, commenting or sharing.

Followers: A follower is a social media user who has signed up to see your posts. One goal of marketing in social media is gaining more followers who give you influence. Brands strive to grow their fan base to make their marketing campaigns cheaper while individuals aim for influence so that they can monetize their platforms through the promotion of products and services.

FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out is a psychological event where you feel that other people are having fun or experiencing better things than you are because of a product, item, fashion trend etc. and makes you want to indulge in it before time run out. FOMO is the reason why visual-centric social platforms like Instagram are very popular. Also, marketers make exclusive and limited-time offers that make people jump in for fear of missing out.

Geotargeting: Geographical targeting, also known as location-based marketing is an option available on social media platforms allowing marketers to target social media content to people in a specific locality. Geotargeting enables a marketer to deliver content that is more relevant to the target audience. For instance, when advertising an upcoming event, you’ll get better ROI by targeting users close to the event location, rather than advertising to users across a whole country.

Hashtags: These are metadata tags using the hashtag symbol (#) which enable cross-referencing of content under a common topic or theme. Hashtags are Twitter’s domain but they have been implemented in Facebook, Instagram and other platforms to improve user experience. People use hashtags to easily find the content they want.

Impressions: These are the total number of times content has been displayed to users. Ideally, it’s when content has been delivered to someone’s feed. The user doesn’t have to engage with it to count as an impression. Impressions don’t tell you the number of people that have seen the content. Reach does!

Influencer Marketing: Refers to the use of influencers who have purported expert knowledge or social influence to endorse products or services and thus drive fans into actions profitable to companies. Social media influencers with large audiences are paid to enhance brand awareness, offer more personalized marketing and influence profitable actions. That’s why Nike signed a $1billion lifetime contract with Ronaldo.

Influencer: This is a person who has accumulated a huge following on social media either through fame or by building a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. Influencers have the power to affect the buying habits of other people by uploading promotional content on social media. Examples of top influencers include Cristiano Ronaldo (football star) and Neil Patel (digital marketing guru)

KPI: Key Performance Indicator is a type of performance measurement that evaluates the success of an organization or particular activity. Social media KPIs help marketers determine if their social media marketing strategies and campaigns are effective. Data is tracked across social networks and monitored along with implementation for marketing campaigns. Examples include; reach, engagement, leads, and customers.

Listicle: An informal term for an article made up of a list of items organized around a particular topic. Listicles can be published on social media sites that support long-form text posts e.g. Facebook and LinkedIn. Lists break down information into small bits that are easily digestible by uses. Here’s a good listicle sample.

Meme: This is a funny piece of text, image or short video (based on an idea that shared by many) that spreads fast letting other people get in on the joke by creating their variations of the original idea. Memes are popular among young people in a culture of wild information sharing enabled by social media platforms.

Mention: When a social media user or business is tagged using the (@) symbol, that’s a mention. A mention expresses the direct referring of another user on the platforms. Mentions you to engage with other users because they’re easily notified whenever.

Native Ads: These are advertisements that match the appearance and function of content on the platform on which it is displayed. In social media, native ads come in form of sponsored posts that look similar to normal posts but have been promoted to reach a wide or specific audience.

Newsjacking: The practice of aligning a brand with a current event to generate media attention and build brand awareness. Newsjacking became a trend after Oreo’s simple tweet in 2013 after a 30 minutes’ power outage during the Super Bowl event. The tweet generated a ton of interactions and made Oreo the talk of the internet for weeks. When done right, newsjacking can drive in new customers through the spike of traffic.

Organic Content: This is any social media content without a paid promotion. It’s when you naturally create content and share it on social media freely with your online followers. No spending is attached and the content reaches people that are already part of your audience. They can also share the content and reach more people naturally.

Reach: This is the number of people who have seen a post or Ad. Reach is different from impressions in that, a user has to see it to count while the latter doesn’t necessarily require viewership. Reach also only accounts for the unique individuals who have viewed the post. So, if a user accesses the same post five times in a day, it only counts as one reach.

Relevance Score: A Facebook metric that tells you how well your target audience is responding to your Ad. It’s calculated based on the positive and negative feedback the ad receives. The more positive interactions it gets, the higher its relevance and the more value you get out of an investment in a campaign.

Response Rate: It’s the rate of response a company achieves to messages sent to their inbox within a 24-hour timeframe. Customers reach out to brands daily with questions. How successful you are with social customer service depends on your percentage of response. If you get 100 messages and only respond to 26 by the end of the day, the response rate is a meagre 26%. Customers spend up to 40% on companies with high response rates.

Response Time: Quite self-explanatory; it’s the amount of time it takes a company to respond to a customer inquiry on social media inbox. Customers expect a fast response from companies. Hence, implementing fast response using Chatbots can improve customer acquisition and retention. Customers are 3 times more likely to recommend a brand after a positive social experience.

Retargeting/Remarketing: This starts with the collection of data on the behaviours of internet users and offering more ads in a different context. Marketers often target users whose previous behaviours were profitable and show them related and relevant ads to persuade them to take further action. Retargeting reminds users of your products and services after visiting your website without buying.

ROI– Return On Investment is the result of time and resources invested in social media activities or the measure of all actions that create value divided by the investment made. Social media sites have inbuilt analytics tools for tracking engagement provides a good representation of marketing performance to determine ROI. For instance, a campaign costing $100 that generates 200 new leads and 10 paying customers resulting in $100 in revenue is a good ROI.

Sentiment Analysis: Evaluation of user interactions to tell how people feel about your brand online. It considers emotions and opinions when digging words and contexts of social posts. A high number of mentions and shares might seem awesome but if a majority of the comments are negative, it results in more damage to a brand. Sentiment analysis can help identify changes in customer preferences and let you prepare accordingly.

Sharable Content: This is content with a high probability of being shared widely among social media users. Sharable content is entertaining, useful or thought-provoking; it elicits emotions especially by being highly relatable. Numerous factors determine how likely a post will be shared hence consistent content publishing is needed to strike virality gold once in a while.

Social Listening: This is the process of monitoring social platforms for mentions of a brand, its product, competitors and much more. Social listening enables businesses and individuals to track, analyzes and get involved in conversations that matter to them or their customers. It requires special tools such as Awario to aggregate internet data and presents it in a meaningful format for marketers.

Social Media Monitoring: Not to be confused with social listening, monitoring is more passive. It involves searching and collecting data to measure reputation from a higher-level perspective. Monitoring focuses especially on what customers are saying online by discovering messages directly related to your brand and responding to those messages.

Social Media Scheduling: It involves planning posts days, weeks or months before publishing. Since it’s necessary to consistently publish content on social media to be successful, individuals and businesses use social media management tools such as Buffer, and Hootsuite plan posts and let them run automatically. These tools can also manage multiple social media accounts from one dashboard allowing content customization and personalization based on each platform.

Social Selling: Hootsuite defines Social selling as the process of using a brand’s social media channels to connects with prospects, develop a relationship with them and engage with potential leads. Brands build connections by answering questions, sharing content or commenting on user’s posts in a friendly personified manner.

SOV: Share of Voice is the number of mentions a grand gets over the total mention for competing brands in a given analysis. SOV is a great way of measuring the effectiveness of campaigns, evaluating brand awareness and understanding market share.

UGC: User Generated Content refers to any form of content that has been published by a follower or website visitor. Product reviews on e-commerce sites, comments on posts and memes shared are examples of UGC. Brands often

Webinar: A blend of website and seminar; a webinar is a live-streamed or pre-recorded online presentation held by an individual or company to educate the audience about a particular topic. Unlike video, a webinar allows the host to interact with the audience in real-time. Online seminars are used to build authority and relationships with customers and for team meetings for remote workers.

Wrapping Up

Learning new terms is a fun and essential activity for any marketer. The social media vocabulary above is just the tip of the iceberg. I will be updating the list often as I discover more terms every day.

BTW, what is your favourite term?

About El Gwaro

El Gwaro is a content writer and HubSpot Certified Content Marketer. He blogs about meaningful content creation that adds value to people. When he's not writing, he enjoys watching combat sports and fantasizing.

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