When you’re staring at slide 58 of an 80-slide presentation with yet another acronym that you don’t understand, it feels like you could give up on social media altogether.
Don’t worry, that’s pretty much how every marketer feels. Social media acronyms are no different than any other kind of jargon: they are vaguely understood by the group to which they belong (and rarely anybody else).
Like overly academic or pontificating language, acronyms can be annoying and should be used with caution. However, they hold the keys to better understanding your customers and fellow marketers—so it’s important that you stay on top of them.
We’ve divided our list of social media acronyms and abbreviations into three categories:
- Network-specific acronyms
- Popular acronyms on social
- Acronyms used by social media marketers
Our comprehensive list of the latest social media acronyms will help you survive your next meeting. Terms are organized alphabetically under each category.
Bonus: Download a free guide that reveals how to increase social media engagement with better audience research, sharper customer targeting, and Hootsuite’s easy-to-use social media software.
- FB: Facebook
- IG: Instagram
- LI: LinkedIn
- TW: Twitter
- YT: YouTube
Popular acronyms used on social media
AMA: Ask me anything
Most notably used on Reddit, “ask me anything,” refers to crowdsourced Q&A sessions. Anyone can start an AMA session (and big names have, like President Obama). Redditors then ask whatever they want and questions are voted up or down. The most popular ones get answered.
BAE: Before anyone else
A term of endearment for your loved one. Careful though, this acronym has found its way into our list of words and phrases to ban from your social media vocabulary.
DM: Direct message
A DM is a messaging function on Twitter that allows you to send a private message to another user. You can only send a direct message to a Twitter user who is already following you, and you can only receive messages from people you follow. (You can change your account settings so that you can receive a DM from anyone).
ELI5: Explain like I’m five
Popular on Reddit, this acronym is used when someone is asking for a simple explanation of a complex topic, e.g. “Gravitational waves detected? ELI5.”
FOMO: Fear of missing out
The fear that if you miss a party or event, that you’ll miss out on some amazing or memorable experience. (Everybody wants to be part of that memory on Instagram, right?)
FTW: For the win
Used to add excitement or emphasis at the end of a social post, but more often used sarcastically, e.g. “He missed his deadline again, FTW!”
ICYMI: In case you missed it
Catching you up on the latest information and news.
IMO/IMHO: In my opinion, In my humble opinion
Make it known or emphasize that something you say is an opinion, not fact.
IRL: In real life
To let people know you are talking about something in the real world and not in the internet world.
IKR: I know, right?
Affirmation or agreement with someone’s statement.
JIC: Just in case
In the event that you might need something, e.g. “Bring your sunscreen JIC.”
LMK: Let me know
If someone writes this in a message to you, they’re expecting a response.
MCM: Man Crush Monday
A trend on social where you reveal who your ‘man crush’ is on social. And it must be done on a Monday (#ManCrushMonday, #MCM).
MT: Modified Tweet
If a manual Retweet is edited for length, use MT to signify that you’ve changed the original author’s words.
NSFW: Not safe for work
This means that your discussion or content isn’t suitable for work, i.e. your boss would find it inappropriate.
OOTD: Outfit of the day
A popular Instagram hashtag, #OOTD means you’re showcasing an outfit you’ve worn that day or an outfit that is suited for that day.
A Retweet is a Tweet that is re-shared to the followers of another user’s Twitter account. You can click the official Retweet button or type “RT” before the @username and content of the tweet you’re re-sharing.
SMH: Shaking my head
If you find something really stupid and you don’t have the words to respond.
TL;DR: Too long; didn’t read
When someone hasn’t read what you’ve written but wants to reply anyways. Also used to give a brief synopsis of a post or article.
TBH: To be honest
When someone wants to emphasize that they are giving their honest opinion, often used for negative feedback, e.g. “Tbh I don’t like those sunglasses.”
TBT: Throwback Thursday
A trend on social media where people post old photos of themselves or others on Thursdays (#ThrowbackThursday, #TBT).
YOLO: You only live once
Often said before (or after) you take a risk in life. Also, if you did something stupid and jokingly want to justify it, e.g. “I shouldn’t have eaten that poison ivy as a dare, but YOLO.”
YSK: You should know
When you should already know what someone is talking about.
WCW: Woman Crush Wednesday
A trend on social where people reveal who their female crushes are on Wednesday (#WomanCrushWednesday, #WCW).
Acronyms used by social media marketers
AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action
AIDA is a marketing model that has been around for years. MarketingProfs outlines the ways it should be applied to social media marketing:
- Attention through building awareness.
- Interest by encouraging users to join your community.
- Desire through regular communication and engagement.
- Action by creating relevant content and calls-to-action.
API: Application Programming Interface
An API is the mechanism that allows one backend system to be connected to another. For example, if you’re using Google Maps to search for a transit or walking directions in San Francisco, Uber will appear as an option if you have the Uber app installed on your device. Google Maps and Uber are able to talk to each other in this way because Uber has an open API and Google chose to integrate it with their map service.
CMGR: Community manager
A community manager builds relationships on social media. They engage with, and nurture, customers and key members of your community. If you’re wondering how this differs from a social media manager, we’ve got a blog post to help you out.
CMS: Content Management System
A content management system allows you to create and modify your content. If you’re running a blog, website, or social channels, a CMS is the backbone that holds it all together. Popular content management systems include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
CPC, PPC: Cost per click, Pay per click
Cost per click (or pay per click) is an internet advertising model that is used to direct traffic to websites. It basically means you pay for each click on your ads.
CR: Conversion rate
Conversion rate is the number of people who take action through things like views, engagement, or purchase. Tracking conversions from social is an important part of attributing revenue to social media.
CRO: Conversion rate optimization
Conversion rate optimization is the strategy employed to increase conversions.
CTA: Call to action
A call-to-action is verbal, written, or visual instruction intended to prompt a response from your customer. On social media, a call-to-action can be anything from getting your audience to read content, engage with campaigns and contests, or try out a new product offering.
CTR: Click-through rate
Click-through rate measures the number of people that click on a link. When you’re running a social media campaign, you’ll probably set benchmarks and goals for the number of click-throughs.
CX: Customer experience
Customer experience is the relationship that a customer (or potential customer) has with your company. It covers every aspect of your business from sales, to customer service, to social media and marketing efforts, to product.
ESP: Email service provider
An email service provider hosts email marketing services on their servers. Popular email service providers include MailChimp, Mad Mimi, and Vertical Response.
KPI: Key performance indicator
Key performance indicator is a broad business metric used to determine success. KPIs will vary according to each organization and department.
Check out: 26 Social Media KPIs That You Can’t Ignore
PV: Page views
A pageview is the number of views that your website or other online content has accumulated.
GA: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is Google’s web analytics service that tracks and reports website traffic. It can show you important social metrics like referral traffic from social media.
ROI: Return on investment
Return on investment is a way to measure the efficiency or effectiveness of your investment. It’s the benefit of the investment divided by the cost of the investment.
To get buy-in on your social media strategy, it’s important to demonstrate how social media contributes to overall business goals. You can learn how to measure and demonstrate social media ROI in our comprehensive guide.
RSS: Rich site summary (Also known as: really simple syndication)
RSS is a format for syndicating web content. Blogs, news publishers, and other publications use RSS feeds to broadcast content to their audiences.
Check out: Hootsuite Syndicator
RTD: Real-time data
Real-time data is presented as it is received (i.e. in “real time”). It gives you the convenience of accessing the latest information whenever you need it.
SaaS: Software as a service
Software as a service (sometimes referred to as web-based or hosted software) allows you to run an application on your web browser. For example, Hootsuite is software as a service—we build the software and you can log in and use it from your own device.
SEM: Search engine marketing
Search engine marketing is a form of internet marketing that typically refers to buying traffic through paid search listings which will appear on search engines like Google.
SEO: Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization focuses on growing organic search engine results. As Moz’s comprehensive guide to SEO points out, “SEO encompasses both the technical and creative elements required to improve rankings, drive traffic, and increase awareness in search engines.”
SERP: Search engine results page
A search engine results page shows the pages displayed in response to the search query. Results listings are useful to identify customer and search intent of a particular keyword phrase.
SM: Social media
Something you’re probably already familiar with, social media includes websites or applications that allow you to create and share content and engage in social networking.
SMB: Small and midsize businesses
SMP: Social media platform
Refers to the platform of a particular social network. For example, when you log into Facebook’s application, you’re using their platform.
SMM: Social media marketing
The use of social media by marketers to increase brand awareness, identify target audiences, find and nurture sales leads, and build relationships.
SMO: Social media optimization
Similar to social media marketing, social media optimization refers to improving existing marketing strategies on social media.
SOV: Share of voice
On social media, SOV measures what percentage of mentions within your industry are about your brand, and what percentage are about your competitors.
SoLoMo: Social, local, mobile
SoLoMo refers to the converging trends of social media, location-based searches (and online services), and mobile devices. Its emergence has a lot to with geo-location technology.
SRP: Social relationship platform
Social relationship platforms are secure and scalable technologies that allow businesses to manage social media communications across departments and devices. Social relationship platforms are used for monitoring, posting and tracking social media, and help manage everything from customer service to lead generation. Hootsuite is a social relationship platform.
TOS: Terms of service
Terms of services are the rules that you have to abide by in order to use a specific service.
UGC: User generated content
User generated content refers to any content or media created by the users of an online system. For example, UGC would include all the videos on YouTube created by its users.
UI: User interface
A user interface maps the user’s intention to the application program. An effective UI allows the user to easily perform the actions provided by the site or program.
URL: Uniform resource locator
A URL is the web address of a specific page or site.
UV: Unique views
Unique views refers to the number of distinct, individual views your website or content receives, regardless of how many times that person views your content. (Unlike views, which looks at the total number of views, including multiple views by the same user.)
UX: User experience
User experience refers to a person’s entire experience using a product or service. A great UX is often dependent on an effective UI.
WOM: Word of mouth
Word of mouth is basically the passing of information from one person to another, including on social media.
Bookmark this list for your next meeting
Refer to this list the next time you’re lost navigating the world of social media and the marketing language that surrounds it. We also have a glossary for common terms and phrases on social media to help you along.