Social media acronyms are the airport codes of the Internet. You need to know them to get where you’re going, and you usually have to pick them up on the fly.
We’ve all experienced that awkward moment when we have no idea what coded language people are talking. Worse is when you get it wrong. Every office employs someone who thinks WTF stands for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.
To help you crack the code, we’ve collected the top social media acronyms, initialisms, and abbreviations every marketer should know. They’re broken into four categories:
- Network specific abbreviations
- Business specific social media acronyms and abbreviations
- Technical acronyms and abbreviations used on social media
- Gen Z social media acronyms and abbreviations
So, WYD RN? It’s time to up your social vocabulary FTW.
Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.
Network specific abbreviations
G+: Google +
DM: Direct Message
On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, users can “slide into” someone’s DMs by sending a private message.
MT: Modified Tweet
Tweets that begin with MT indicate that the Tweeter has edited the content they’re retweeting for brevity or other reasons. Also called a Quote Tweet.
PM: Private Message
Private messages are the same as direct messages. If someone asks you to PM them, they’re essentially asking to move a public convo into the private realm.
Instead of hitting the retweet button, or retweeting with a comment, some Twitter users repost a tweet and use “RT” plus the user’s handle for attribution.
Popular social media acronyms and abbreviations
AMA: Ask Me Anything
AMAs are social question and answer sessions. Companies and brand representatives host often host AMAs on Twitter, Reddit, or in a live stream.
It's HAPPENING! Our AMA is starting now on Reddit! We'll start answering questions at 1 pm EST. Get your questions ready and join us here: https://t.co/Emo2GeuwTi
— Wendy's (@Wendys) December 14, 2017
BRB: Be Right Back
This relic from the chat forum era finds its way back on social when the right occasion calls for it.
brb changing my name to Netflib
— Netflix US (@netflix) June 11, 2018
BTS: Behind the Scenes
Offer your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your brand with this shorthand.
Day 2: LIVE from #LAX w/ our Panasonic Technical Services Team. #BTS #PTS #PanasonicAvionics #PanasonicJobs
BTW: By The Way
An abbreviated way to add extra info, go on a tangent, or throw some shade.
BTW, Hutchinson now requires waivers if he were to be re-assigned to Marlies. Also, Sparks not eligible to play for the Marlies in the playoffs and would require waivers to be sent down. So, it would appear, three goalies from here on in for TOR. Marlies lose their No. 1. https://t.co/Eg3uDFyYc9
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 5, 2019
DYK: Did You Know
Did you know the DYK abbreviation is a great way to offer a fun fact?
ELI5: Explain It To Me Like I’m Five
To put it simply, this popular-on-Reddit abbreviation calls for a straightforward explanation of something complex.
FBF: Flashback Friday
FBF is a way to throw it back to the past on a Friday.
View this post on Instagram
I’d love to tell you about my dear friend, the iconic photographer Herb Ritts. Herb began his career in the late 70s as an American fashion photographer and director. His work showcased the human form yet defied all the norms of gender, race, and society. It was a real privilege to work with him over the years and be captured in so many different lights Xx #FBF
FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out
If you haven’t heard of FOMO, you’ve been missing out. This social-bred phobia expresses the anxiety of absence. For homebodies there’s the antonym acronym JOMO, which means Joy of Missing Out.
Everyone is saying Fomo. What is Fomo? I need to know so I can join in. Please help me.
— Trevor Noah (@Trevornoah) November 13, 2012
FTW: For The Win
A sometimes sincere, sometimes sarcastic, acclamation used at the end of a post.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 22, 2018
FYI: For Your Information
Just FYI, this informative abbreviation is often (but not always) delivered with a hint of sass.
H/T: Hat Tip
Sometimes just HT, a hat tip is a virtual nod that credits an original source for intel or an image.
ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
A re-up of content or news that might have been missed in the everlasting blitz that is social media.
— Sephora (@Sephora) May 9, 2018
IMO/IMHO: In My Opinion / In My Humble Opinion
A disclaimer for a hot take on something. Opinions are divided on whether the H stands for humble or honest. IMHO, why would anyone be sharing their dishonest opinion?
chimps always spark joy IMHO
— Netflix US (@netflix) January 25, 2019
IRL: In Real Life
Sticklers will insist that the Internet is real life, and away from keyboard (AFK) is a better way to refer to things that happen offline. But IRL is also used occasionally to take a jab at the fronting that’s done on social media.
Are you watching the #SuperBlueBloodMoon #IRL or live online? It’s happening now, so don’t miss it! Earth will continue to block the Sun’s light, casting a reddish hue onto the Moon until around 9:07am ET/6:07am PT. Take a look: https://t.co/r6X6SoMfLn pic.twitter.com/J9UfDz2NTF
— NASA (@NASA) January 31, 2018
LMK: Let Me Know
When someone uses this, they’re usually waiting for feedback.
Please lmk what you’d most like improved/fixed about your Tesla. Thanks!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 9, 2018
NBD: No Big Deal
Often used as a humble brag for something that is actually a big deal.
— America's Got Talent (@AGT) July 9, 2015
NSFW: Not Safe For Work
This one is literally not safe for work. Think twice before using it on a corporate account. Here are a few other words to avoid, too.
WFH: Working From Home
Often used in online chats with colleagues, but useful for social media as well.
— Netflix US (@netflix) September 13, 2014
SMH: Shaking My Head
For the times when it’s necessary people know that you’re shaking your head behind that screen.
Couldn't even do it in every burger. smh
— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 29, 2018
TBH: To Be Honest
Abbreviated padding for a humble flex or a negative opinion.
— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) September 29, 2018
TBT: Throwback Thursday
Social media’s designated day of nostalgia.
TFW: That Feeling When
Precedes an often relatable experience, usually accompanied by a meme.
TFW yo beef’s still frozen pic.twitter.com/C0lgiNo9Ca
— Wendy's (@Wendys) May 8, 2018
TGIF: Thank God It’s Friday
Because everybody’s working for the weekend.
TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read
Usually used to offer a pithy summary on something too lengthy for Internet attention spans.
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) September 4, 2018
WBW: Wayback Wednesday
Wayback Wednesday takes a trip down memory lane on hump day.
Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.Get the free guide right now!
— MINI USA (@MINIUSA) September 12, 2018
Business specific social media acronyms and abbreviations
B2B: Business To Business
Shorthand for a company with business-facing priorities.
B2C: Business To Consumer
Describes a company that offers products or services directly to customers.
CMGR: Community Manager
Community managers cultivate a brand’s relationships on social media. Not to be confused with social media managers, community managers engage and nurture the company’s community.
CTA: Call To Action
A call-to-action is a verbal, written, or visual prompt. It offers people a directive on what to do next, whether that’s “Sign up,” “Subscribe,” or “Call us today.”
KPI: Key Performance Indicator
A key performance indicator is a broad measurement that tracks how effectively a company is accomplishing its goals.
These are the Social Media KPIs That You Can’t Ignore.
ROI: Return On Investment
Return on investment measures how much profit is delivered for given corporate initiatives. ROI is one of the most common ways businesses assess the success of campaigns and ventures. Learn how to track and improve your social media ROI.
SEM: Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing refers to a method of advertising on the Internet that involves purchasing ads on search engines in order to increase website traffic.
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization aims to improve organic search engine results and increase the visibility of content on the web.
SERP: Search Engine Results Page
These are the paid and organic page results that are displayed by a search engine after a user performs a search.
SMB: Small and Midsize Businesses
Small businesses are classified as businesses with less than 50 employees, while midsize (or medium-sized) businesses typically have less than 250. They also are sometimes referred to as small and midsize enterprises (SMEs).
SMP: Social Media Platform
An abbreviation that is sometimes used to refer to the site of a particular social network.
SMM: Social Media Marketing
The practice of increasing brand awareness and consideration on social media, with the objective of building relationships and generating leads.
SMO: Social Media Optimization
Similar to SMM, social media optimization involves the use of the appropriate platforms for brand marketing.
SoLoMo: Social, Local, Mobile
Social, local, mobile describes the convergence of mobile and locally targeted social media marketing that’s grown in popularity thanks to geo-location technology.
SRP: Social Relationship Platform
An SRP is a centralized platform that uses enterprise-grade technology to allow companies to publish on multiple social media sites, as well as monitor, moderate, and analyze.
Looking for an example? Look no further: Hootsuite is a social relationship platform.
TOS: Terms Of Service
The terms of service are the legal rules users agree to follow to use a social platform.
UGC: User-Generated Content
User-generated content refers to any content, such as posts, images, or videos, that is shared by the end users of a social media platform or other site.
WOM: Word Of Mouth
Word-of-mouth marketing refers to the buzz and viral passing of brand conversation online through the active encouragement of a company.
Technical acronyms and abbreviations used on social media
API: Application Programming Interface
An API is a set of tools, definitions, and protocols that allows software developers to backend one system with another. For instance, Google Maps has APIs available for web browser and app integration, so that different companies can integrate map technology.
CMS: Content Management System
A content management system is a platform that hosts the creation and management of digital content. Popular content management systems include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
CPC: Cost Per Click
Also known as pay per click (PPC), cost per click refers to the price an advertiser pays for each click earned on a campaign.
CR: Conversion Rate
The conversion rate measures the percentage of people who have taken an action on your campaign such as views, registrations, downloads, purchases. Conversions are a key metric when it comes to calculating ROI.
CRO: Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization refers to measures taken to improve conversions.
CTR: Click-Through Rate
A click-through rate represents the percentage of people who click on a link after being presented with the option.
CX: Customer Experience
Customer experience refers to the relationship a customer has with a company through various interactions and touchpoints. Mapping out the customer journey is a good way to ensure a customer will have a good experience with your company.
ESP: Email Service Provider
In simple terms, an ESP is a third-party company that offers email services, such as newsletter deployment or marketing campaigns. Popular companies include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Drip.
GA: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an analytics platform for websites. Tools allow marketers to track website visitors, referrals, bounce rates, and more. Read our guide to tracking Google Analytics.
PV: Page Views
Page views is a tally of how many visitors have landed on a given page. Overall page views stats often tracked alongside unique page views.
RSS: Rich Site Summary
Also known as: Really Simple Syndication, RSS is a format for syndicating web content. Podcasts, blogs, and publishers rely on RSS feeds to share their content with a wide audience.
Check Out The Hootsuite Syndicator.
Saas: Software As A Service
Software as a service refers to cloud-based applications that are available to customers over the Internet. It’s sometimes also known as “on-demand software” or software plus services.” Examples include email and calendar apps, and Hootsuite.
SOV: Share Of Voice
Share of voice measures the amount of exposure a company owns compared to its competitors. Social share of voice, on the other hand, measures brand exposure based on social conversation about a company.
UI: User Interface
A user interface is the visual part of a system that’s been designed for end users. It’s where humans and machines meet.
URL: Uniform Resource Locator
A URL is the global web address of website or page.
UV: Unique Views
Unique views are the number of individual viewers of a page, video, or image. For example, if a single user views something 10 times, it will register as 10 views and one unique view.
UX: User Experience
In digital design, user experience examines how effectively people interface with systems such as websites or applications. Good UX aims to understand users’ values, needs, abilities, and barriers.
Gen Z social media acronyms and abbreviations
To connect with Gen Zers on social media, you’ve sometimes go to speak their language.
If you’ve got the 411, you know what’s up.
AF: As F–––
Emphatic punctuation for an observation, i.e. I’m hungry AF.
BAE: Before Anyone Else
Affectionate term for someone’s boyfriend, girlfriend, or crush.
‘Cause BC is just easier.
FFS: For F–––‘s Sake
Just total exasperation.
FML: F––– My Life
Often used before or after an unfortunate anecdote.
FWIW: For What It’s Worth
A way to chip in one’s two cents.
HMU: Hit Me Up
Call me, get in touch, slide into my DMs, etc.
IDK: I Don’t Know
If you don’t know what this means, IDK how to help you.
ILY: I Love You
Also acceptable are hearts and blow-kiss emojis.
ISO: In Search Of
Often used in forums and groups where things are solicited, sold, or exchanged.
JK: Just Kidding
A helpful add-on for when the joke’s not obvious.
JTM: Just the Messenger
Shorthand to indicate that you’re not the source of the info you’re sharing. Often used in groups and message boards.
LMAO: Laughing My A–– Off
For when laughing normally doesn’t cut it.
LOL: Laughing Out Loud
Because we can’t hear your laughter on the Internet.
Just, forget about it.
NYT: Name Your Trade
Used in groups and forums where exchanges are made. Has misled many to assume The New York Times is in very high demand.
Obvs goes without saying.
Precedes a direct quote or paraphrase picked up from eavesdropping.
OMG: Oh My God
Or “Oh My Goodness” for the non-blasphemous folks.
OMW: On My Way
Means someone is coming IRL.
Please, sans vowels.
PSA: Public Service Announcement
A way to broadcast a message considered valuable to the general public.
RN: Right Now
A real-time mood, i.e. So hungry rn. You can also ask someone WYD RN? (What you doing right now?).
ROFL: Rolling On The Floor Laughing
A full degree above LMAO.
For serious incredulity.
TIL: Today I Learned
An opening for sharing a new bit of knowledge, derived from a Reddit forum of the same name.
TMI: Too Much Information
Either used before providing too much information (i.e. “this may be TMI, but…”), or to tell someone they have (i.e. Ew! TMI).
TY: Thank You
WTF: What The F–––
YW: You’re Welcome
Don’t mention it with more letters than necessary.
Looking to add more lingo to your social vocabulary? Check out our social media glossary.
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