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The Ultimate List of Social Media Definitions You Need to Know

Because the space is always changing, it can be difficult to keep up with all the new social media definitions that seem to emerge every month. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive glossary of social media terms.

Bookmark this page! This glossary is a living document that will evolve as we add and subtract entries, expand our definitions, and provide more context for the most important social media terms.

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M|N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

—A—

A/B test

An A/B test is a method of comparing two variations of an ad, piece of content, or other material so you can see which version performs better. Also known as split testing, A/B testing involves changing one small element at a time (like a headline or graphic) to refine your results. During A/B testing, only a portion of your audience sees each test. This allows you to create the most effective content before you release it to your entire following.

Learn more: A/B Testing on Social Media: How to Do it with Tools You Already Have

AMA (Ask Me Anything)

An AMA, short for “ask me anything,” is a type of interactive post in which someone answers questions, usually in real time. The AMA concept began on Reddit, but AMAs are now popping up in other social settings, like webinars, Facebook Live, or Instagram Stories. AMAs were originally text-based, but it can also be effective to answer questions using live social video or interactive stickers.

For an example, check out Ask me Anything: The Talkwalker Edition.

Learn more: 7 Great Ways Brands Are Using Instagram’s “Questions” Sticker

Algorithm

An algorithm is basically a set of steps a computer uses to accomplish a task. In the context of social media, an algorithm is how a social platform determines which content to display at any given time to a particular user. Social networks are notoriously secretive about how their algorithms work, but in general, they use clues based on a user’s social relationships and interactions to determine which content that user will find most appealing.

Learn more:

Analytics

Analytics is an umbrella term used to describe both social analysis tools and the information those tools provide. Most social networks include their own analytics tools to help businesses analyze how well their posts are doing for metrics such as reach, engagement, and follower growth. Specialized analytics programs like Hootsuite Analytics can provide more in-depth information and reports that include metrics such as team performance and social ROI.

Learn more:

Application programming interface (API)

An application programming interface (API) is a communication system that allows two applications or platforms to “talk” to each other. Social network APIs allow these platforms to integrate with other software providers and apps. For example, Hootsuite uses Twitter’s API to publish tweets, and Instagram’s API to schedule posts.

When Instagram wanted to shut down the shady “growth-hacking” apps people were using to grow their audience artificially, they shut down their old API and launched a new one with much tougher privacy controls.

Archiving

In the context of social media, archiving means creating an archive of your organization’s social media posts, messages, and associated metadata. Basically, it means keeping a record of absolutely everything. This is often required for regulatory compliance in industries like health care and finance.

An organization’s social media archive includes what was said, when, and in what context. It also shows how quickly customer messages are addressed. This data can be referenced during legal discovery, if necessary, or requested by regulatory bodies.

Learn more: Social Media in Government: Benefits, Challenges, and How it’s Used

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence is the ability for computers, programs, or machines to learn and adapt in ways that resemble human thinking. For example, chatbots use artificial intelligence to communicate and answer questions, while home assistants like Alexa use AI to learn to better respond to your requests over time. The more you interact with an AI program, the more “intelligent” it becomes, since it has more data to work with.

See Chatbot

Augmented reality (AR)

Augmented reality (AR) uses computer-generated effects to augment the reality we perceive with our own eyes and ears. Face filters on social apps like Snapchat and Instagram Stories are the most common examples. Your real face is augmented with graphics (and sometimes sounds) created by the social platform.

When used creatively, augmented reality provides new ways for potential customers to interact with your brand, such as seeing what your products would look like in their home or which glasses look the best on their face.

See Lens

Learn more: How to Make Your Own Instagram AR Filters: A Step-by-Step Guide

Avatar

An avatar is a visual representation of a person for use in digital contexts. It’s usually a computer-generated image, such as a bitmoji. On social media, the term “avatar” also refers to your profile picture—the image that represents you on the platform. Most individual users choose a photo as their social media avatar, sometimes supplemented by a digital frame or filter. For brands, the company logo is usually the best avatar choice.

Learn more: Social Media Image Sizes: A Quick Reference Guide for Each Network

—B—

Bio

Your bio, short for biographaphy, is the section of any digital profile that tells new or prospective followers who you are. All social platforms offer space to write a bio. It’s the first thing users see when they discover your profile, and a good one can greatly improve how often you show up in keyword searches.

Learn more: How to Write Every Kind of Social Media Bio (+25 Free Templates)

Bitmoji

A bitmoji is a customized avatar that can be added to Gmail, Messenger, Slack, and social media networks. The bitmoji app allows you to create this cartoon representation of yourself, then create different versions of the avatar in different situations. In addition to using your bitmoji as a profile picture, you can use it to create custom messages to share in messaging and social apps. Bitmoji is owned by Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, and is well integrated with the Snapchat app.

Learn more: How to Use Snapchat: A Guide for Beginners

Block

When you block someone on social media, you prevent them from seeing your posts on that social network. Blocked users will also be unable to follow you, message you, or tag you in photos. Blocked Twitter users won’t be able to add you to lists. Blocked users can still @ mention you in a post, but this won’t count toward your engagement metrics.

However, keep in mind that it’s pretty easy even for blocked users to see content you’ve posted publicly. Use the privacy setting on each social network for better control over who sees each of your posts.

Related: Mute, Troll

Learn more: Social Media Trolls: A Practical Guide for Dealing With Impossible People

Blog

Originally a contraction of the phrase “web log,” a blog is a type of digital publication in which one or more authors regularly post content, generally on a specific topic. Many brands use a blog as a way to share engaging content with their audience and establish their industry expertise. The Hootsuite blog, for example, shares up-to-date content about social media marketing and how to use social tools.

“Blog” can also be a verb: When you write for a blog, you’re blogging.

Blogger

Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google. Blogs using this platform are usually hosted on a blogspot.com subdomain, but the platform can also be used with a purchased domain name. Blogger supports single or multi-user blogs.

The word “blogger” can also simply mean a person who writes and publishes a blog. Many high-profile bloggers are categorized as influencers, since their content reaches a large number of people.

Boost, boosted post

A boosted post is a form of social media advertising in which a brand pays to show a social post to people who do not already follow the brand’s social accounts.

Learn more: The Facebook Boost Post Button: How to Use it and Get Results

Brand advocate

A brand advocate is a customer who loves your brand so much that they promote your products or services without being asked. However, brand advocates can become even more valuable if you connect with them directly to engage and empower them.

Learn more: Social Media Advocacy: How to Build a Brand Advocate Program

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is a social media metric that captures how likely people are to be aware of your brand. You can measure brand awareness for any given period by tracking the amount of attention your brand gets online in the form of mentions and engagement. The more people are talking about you online, the greater your brand awareness.

Learn more: 19 Social Media Metrics That Really Matter—And How to Track Them

—C—

Caption

A caption is a description that accompanies a photo on social media. Captions can include text, hashtags, @ mentions, and emojis. Captions are an important part of telling your photo’s story on social media and a key driver of engagement.

Learn more: How to Write Good Instagram Captions: Tips, Ideas, and Tools

Chat

A chat is an online conversation with one or more people. Whether one-on-one or in a group, chats are usually private and text-based, although they may incorporate GIFS, photos, and even audio recordings. Common chat platforms include WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

“Chat” can also be used to mean a moderated public conversation on social media, organized around a hashtag. Twitter chats, like the monthly #HootChat, are a prime example.

See Direct message

Learn more:

Chatbot

A chatbot is a type of bot that uses artificial intelligence to answer questions and perform simple tasks in messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger. A chatbot can be used for customer service, data and lead collection, shopping recommendations, and more.

Learn more: The Complete Guide to Using Facebook Messenger Bots for Business

Check-in

A check-in is a way of location tagging a social media post to indicate where the user is, or where the content in the post was created. It’s a way of showing followers that you have physically visited a geographical location or event. It can be particularly useful to check in at large, high-profile events, since it can help people connect in the real world while also providing credibility and demonstrating that you’re an insider in your industry.

Clickbait

Clickbait is web content with a misleading or sensationalist headline designed to get readers to click through to the full story, which is generally a disappointment. Clickbait’s goal is usually to generate pageviews and advertising revenue. All social networks have taken a stance against clickbait, and algorithms are designed not to surface clickbait posts. In other words, it’s a practice to avoid.

Learn more: How to Get Clicks Without Resorting to Clickbait: 5 Easy Tactics

Click-through rate (CTR)

Click-through rate, abbreviated CTR, is a measure of how many people who view a social post, ad, or other piece of content click through to read more, buy, or take some other action. It’s a useful metric because it measures how effectively your social content drives people to your owned web properties. The formula to calculate CTR is number of clicks divided by total impressions. CTR is usually expressed as a percentage.

Learn more: 18 Social Media KPIs You Need to Track to Measure Success

Comment

A comment is a form of engagement in which a user replies to your social media post. Comments can offer praise, ask a question, express disagreement, and otherwise contribute to the online conversation about your social content. Comments can include text, hashtags, @ mentions, and emojis. A large number of comments shows that your post is engaging and may boost its position in the newsfeed based on a social network’s algorithm.

Community manager

A community manager is a social media professional who nurtures relationships among a group of social media users so that the community acts on behalf of the common interest. Community managers help develop professional and brand-focused social relationships by monitoring and engaging with fans and followers.

Learn more: 11 Important Skills for Social Media Managers

Compliance

Compliance is the practice of understanding and following the rules, regulations, and law. Social media compliance is particularly relevant to organizations in regulated industries like healthcare and finance. These businesses face strict rules governing how they can use social media and how their social content must be archived.

Learn more: Social Media Compliance: Everything You Need to Know to Stay Compliant

Connection

A connection is someone you or your brand is connected with on social media. LinkedIn specifically uses the term “connections” to refer to professional social relationships—LinkedIn connections are the equivalent of Facebook friends.

Learn more: LinkedIn for Business: The Ultimate Marketing Guide

Content curation

Content curation involves collecting relevant content from credible sources and then sharing it with your social followers by linking to the original post. It’s a way to create value for your audience beyond sharing your own original content. Sharing resources can also be a good way to build relationships with thought leaders in your field.

Learn more: The Complete Guide to Content Curation: Tools, Tips, Ideas

Content marketing

Content marketing is the practice of attracting and retaining customers through the creation and distribution of original, valuable content such as videos, whitepapers, guides, and infographics. Consistently providing valuable content gives followers a reason to stay tuned to your social channels while building rapport and establishing your industry expertise.

Learn more: How to Create a Social Media Content Calendar: Tips and Templates

See Social media marketing

Conversion

A conversion occurs when a social media user or visitor to your website takes a specific, desired action. Making a purchase is often the desired conversion, but it is not the only one. Other conversion examples include lead-generation actions like opting into a newsletter, registering for a webinar, or downloading a whitepaper.

See Conversion rate

Learn more: 7 Smart Ways to Drive Conversions on Social Media

Conversion rate

Conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the number of visitors. It’s a social media metric that allows you to measure how well your social media efforts are working to achieve specific business goals.

Learn more: 11 Tips to Improve Your Facebook Ad Conversion Rate

Cost per click (CPC)

Cost per click (CPC) is a metric for how much each click costs in a pay-per-click advertising campaign. Cost-per-click and pay-per-click are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re actually two sides of the same coin. Pay-per-click is the type of ad model, and cost-per-click is the fee per click.

See Pay per click

Learn more:Understanding Facebook Ads Cost

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a non-profit organization that provides licenses and other legal tools to allow photographers and other content creators to share their work. There are more than 1.6 billion works in the Commons, which can be shared in various ways. The six levels of Creative Commons licenses restrict how an image or other content can be used, and whether attribution is required.

Learn more: Can I Use This Photo on Social Media? Understanding Image Copyright

Creep

To “creep” is essentially to stalk a person or a brand on social media, especially without engaging with any of their posts. Despite the negative word, it’s not always a negative thing. Creeping can also be a form of online research, for instance, when screening potential new employees.

Crisis management

Crisis management is the art of addressing a crisis to minimize the amount of damage caused and get things back on track as quickly as possible. Every organization should have a social media crisis management in place to manage social media risk and be prepared to respond quickly if crisis strikes.

Learn more: How to Manage a Social Media Crisis: A Practical Guide for Brands

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing involves tapping into your online community for new ideas, suggestions, information, or content. User-generated content is a prime example of crowdsourcing. Asking for ideas through interactive features like polls is another.

See User-generated content

—D—

Dark post

A dark post is an unpublished social post promoted as an ad to a specific audience. It’s a post that cannot be found organically and does not appear on your brand’s timeline. Dark posts can help with split testing, and help prevent your timeline from becoming flooded with promotional posts.

While the term “dark post” may make this content seem secretive, remember that any user can now look up all of your Facebook ads through the Page Transparency feature.

Learn more: 8 Facebook Targeting Tips for Cheaper Ads and More Conversions

Dark social

Dark social is social sharing that cannot be traced back to the original source. This means the content has been passed on through private channels like email or messaging apps, rather than public channels like timelines and newsfeeds. Dark social shows up in analytics programs as “direct traffic.”

Learn more: Why Your Business Can’t Ignore Dark Social

Dashboard

A social media dashboard is a tool that allows marketers and social media managers to manage all of their social platforms from one screen. A dashboard allows its users to schedule, post, view, and respond to both organic and paid social posts, and to create analytics reports. A dashboard is also an important tool for social listening.

Learn more: Hootsuite Dashboard Overview

Direct message

A direct message (DM) is a private message sent through a social platform. By default, DMs from non-followers are blocked or filtered into a secondary inbox. However, brands who wish to use DMs to interact with customers can change their settings to receive DMs from anyone.

See Chat

Learn more: How to Master the Art of the Professional DM

Disappearing content

Disappearing content, also known as ephemeral content, refers to a social post that vanishes after a set amount of time, usually 24 hours. Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and Snaps are all examples of disappearing content.

See Stories

Learn more: Snapchat, Instagram Stories, or Facebook Stories—Which is Right For You?

Doxing

Doxing is the (very frowned-upon) practice of searching for and publishing the personal information of a private individual. Doxers use these attacks as a means to threaten or intimidate their targets.

—E—

Ebook

Ebook is short for “electronic book.” This is a digital file, such as a PDF or EPUB, for reading on a computer, mobile device, or dedicated ebook reader.

Learn more: How to Repurpose Content for Maximum Social Reach

Embed

An embed is a social post or other digital content displayed within another piece of content using digital embedding tools. Most social networks offer native tools to embed their content in blog posts or webpages using a piece of code. Properly embedded content retains the original content of the post, as well as links to the original post and the creator’s profile.

Emoji

Emojis are a set of tiny graphics used in digital channels from text messages to social media. They evolved from emoticons (such as the smiley face) made using characters on the standard keyboard. Emojis first appeared in the late 1990s. In 2010, the Unicode Consortium approved Google’s proposal to standardize emoji characters. iOS and Android both have built-in emoji keyboards.

Learn more: The Definitive Emoji Guide for Social Media Marketers

Employee advocacy

Employee advocacy is what happens when employees share their passion for their workplace on social media. This can take several forms. Employees might share specific details about a new product launch, or they might give a behind-the-scenes look at company culture. An organized employee advocacy program can help employees to promote your brand effectively while maintaining company guidelines.

Learn more: Employee Advocacy on Social Media: What is it and How to Do it Right

Endorsement

An endorsement is a form of recommendation on LinkedIn. A fellow LinkedIn user can endorse you for specific skills simply by clicking an endorse button. These endorsements then appear on your profile and help demonstrate credibility in your areas of expertise.

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!

Learn more: LinkedIn for Business: The Ultimate Marketing Guide

Engagement

Engagement is any form of interaction with your brand on social media. Likes, comments, and shares are all forms of engagement.

See Engagement rate

Learn more: How to Increase Social Media Engagement: A Guide for Marketers

Engagement rate

Engagement rate is a measure of how many people interact with your social media content. There are several ways to calculate engagement rate, but all aim to calculate what percentage of people who were exposed to a post chose to engage with it in some way.

Learn more: All the Different Ways to Calculate Engagement Rate

Ephemeral content

See Disappearing content

Evergreen content

Evergreen content is content designed to last for the long term. It’s not tied to any specific event or promotion, and can bring traffic to your website for years to come.

—F—

Fan

A fan is someone who likes your Facebook Page. “Fan” is sometimes used more generally to refer to someone who follows you on any social channel, but only Facebook officially uses this term.

Favorite

Favorite was the term Twitter originally used to indicate Likes. Favorites were indicated with a star icon. However, Twitter now uses a heart icon and and uses the term likes, in line with other social networks.

See Like

Feed

A feed is an updated list of all the new content posted by the accounts a user follows on social media. Rather than being purely chronological, most social media feeds are controlled by an algorithm.

See News feed

Filter

A filter is a photo effect that can be applied to images before publishing them, from simple black-and-white or sepia to flower crowns and puppy ears. Filters are available on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, and many other apps with camera integrations.

Learn more: How to Edit Instagram Photos Like a Pro

Followers

Followers are people who have liked (or “followed”) your accounts on social media.

Learn more: How to Get Free Instagram Followers: 27 Tips that Actually Work

Follow friday (#FF)

Follow Friday is a hashtag used to highlight some of your favorite Twitter accounts. Including someone in a #FF post is a way of recommending their account to your followers.

Learn more: 40 Daily Hashtags Explained: What They Mean and How to Use Them

Friend

A friend is a person that you connect with on Facebook. Unlike a fan or follower, a friend is a two-way connection—both you and your friend have to endorse the relationship. Facebook business pages cannot have “friends,” only fans or followers.

—G—

Geotag

A geotag is a specific location added to a photo, video, or other social media post. Geotags can expose your posts to more people, since content is often searchable by location.

GIF

GIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a file format that supports both static and animated images. GIFs rose to popularity as a way to react on social media without words. Facebook and Twitter both support animated GIFs.

Learn more: How to Make a GIF: 4 Tried-and-True Methods

Google Ads (Google Adwords)

Google Ads are a form of online advertising, previously known as Google Adwords. Google Ads appear at the top of the Google search listings for your target keywords. They can also appear on other websites through the Google Display Network.

Learn more: A Beginner’s Guide to Using Google Ads (Previously Google Adwords)

Group

A group is an online community within a social network. Groups can be public or private. Within a group, community members with a common interest can share information and discuss relevant topics. Both Facebook and LinkedIn offer groups on their platforms.

Learn more:

—H—

Handle

Your handle is your username on social media. It is usually noted as @username. It can also be used in your personalized URL for each social network. For example, Hootsuite’s handle is @Hootsuite, and the Twitter URL is twitter.com/hootsuite. It’s a good idea to use the same handle across social networks to make it easier for potential followers to find your accounts.

Learn more: 10 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Profiles in One Hour or Less

Hangout

A Hangout is a video or voice call with one or more people using the Google Hangouts service. In 2019, Google Hangouts was divided into two products: Google Hangouts Chat and Google Hangouts Meet. Google Hangouts Meet is designed for video conferencing and includes features such as screen sharing, enabling video presentations to groups of up to 30 people.

Learn more: 25 of the Best Google Docs Hacks Marketers Need to Know

Hashtag

A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by the “#” sign. Hashtags are used on social media to tag posts as part of a larger conversation (such as #HootChat) or topic (such as #Superbowl). Clicking a hashtag reveals the latest posts that include the tag. Hashtags are searchable, and serve a similar role to keywords.

Learn more: How to Use Hashtags: A Quick and Simple Guide for Every Network

Header image

A header image is the picture that appears at the top of a social media profile. Also known as a cover image or cover photo, it provides a chance to showcase your products, your team, or any other aspect of your business that will make people want to explore your profile.

Learn more: How to Create Great Facebook Cover Photos (Free Templates)

—I—

Impressions

Impressions is a metric that counts how many times an ad or promoted posts is fetched from the server and displayed on a social network. It is not a measure of how many people have seen the ad. For example, one social media user might have the same ad appear in their newsfeed multiple times over a certain period. Each of these instances is counted as one impression.

Learn more: Reach vs. Impressions: What’s the Difference (And What Should You Track)?

Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is a strategy that involves creating valuable content and resources that attract potential clients to your business. It is called “inbound” because the resources you create help people to discover and learn about your company themselves, rather than reaching out to them with a sales pitch. Your team can then nurture these new contacts until they are ready to become customers.

Related: Content marketing

Learn more: How to Build a Social Media Sales Funnel That Sells

Inbox

An inbox is the screen on which you read, organize, and respond to messages. Email inboxes are a common example. Social messaging services also use inboxes. The Hootsuite Inbox is a tool for managing public and private conversations from multiple social platforms on one screen.

Learn more: Facebook Messenger: The Complete Guide for Business

Influencer

An influencer is a social media user with a significant audience who can drive awareness about a trend, topic, company, or product. From a marketer’s perspective, the ideal influencer is also a passionate brand advocate.

See Influencer marketing

Learn more: How to Work With an Instagram Influencer According to an Influencer

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a strategy involving collaboration with an influential person on social media (an “influencer”) to promote a product, service, or campaign.

See Influencer

Learn more: Influencer Marketing: How to Work With Social Media Influencers

Instant message

An instant message (IM) is a real-time text message sent using an online platform.

See Direct message

—J—

 

—K—

Key performance indicator (KPI)

A key performance indicator (KPI) is a metric tracked over time to determine progress towards a valuable business goal. Social media KPIs might include audience growth rate, amplification rate, and customer satisfaction score.

See Metric

Learn more: 18 Social Media KPIs You Need to Track to Measure Success

 

Klout

Klout was a social tool that gave social media users a “klout score” out of 100 to define their level of online influence (or clout). Klout shut down in 2018, but other services have emerged to fill this data gap, including Hootsuite Insights and Followerwonk.

Learn more: 40 Twitter Tools You Can Use in Your Marketing Strategy

—L—

Lens

Lens is the term used on Snapchat to identify augmented reality face filters. Anyone can create a custom lens through the Snapchat Lens Studio.

Learn more: How to Create a Custom Geofilter or Lens on Snapchat

Like

A Like is a form of engagement on social media. It’s a quick way of showing that you—literally—like the content posted by simply clicking a button. On Facebook, the Like button is a thumbs-up, while on Instagram and Twitter, a Like is indicated by a heart. Liking content also works like bookmarking, since you can go back later to view the content you have Liked.

Learn more:

Link building

Link building is a marketing strategy to boost traffic and search engine rankings by getting other websites to link to yours. Common techniques for acquiring links as part of a link-building campaign include guest blogging and offering valuable content to repost.

Listed

If you are listed, that means you have been added to a Twitter list. Twitter lists are a way of organizing content to make it easier to keep up with a large number of Twitter connections. Being added to a Twitter list may increase your chances of being followed by the list creator’s followers.

Learn more: How to Set Up and Use Twitter Lists: 9 Great Ideas

Listening

See Social listening

Live stream

A live stream is a real-time video shared over the Internet. Most social networks now offer live streaming options that include the possibility to interact with viewers, who can submit written comments and questions throughout the broadcast.

Learn more:

Lurker

A lurker is someone who watches a social media feed or belongs to a social media group but does not engage with the content with a like or reply.

—M—

Meme

An online meme is a joke or comment made for sharing on social networks. It usually appears in the form of a graphic or GIF with text above the image or superimposed.

Learn more: 10 Things Meme Accounts Get Right About Instagram Marketing

Mention

A mention is the act of tagging a user in a social media message. Sometimes called @ mentions, these usually trigger a notification for that user and allow your audience to click through to their bio or profile.

Learn more: What are Social Mentions and How to Track Them

Messenger

Messenger is Facebook’s instant messaging app. Originally called Facebook Messenger, the app allows Facebook users to send direct messages to each other through a mobile device. Users can also use Messenger through a desktop web browser.

Learn more: Facebook Messenger: The Complete Guide for Business

Metric

A metric is a quantitative measure of social media success. Put simply, it is a figure based on real numbers and can be tracked and measured over time. Vanity metrics include ego-boosting engagement statistics like comments, shares, and likes. Other metrics, like conversion rate, can help prove social return on investment.

See Vanity metric

Learn more: 19 Social Media Metrics That Really Matter—And How to Track Them

Microblogging

Microblogging is the practice of publishing short content updates to platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr.

Learn more: 10 Types of Social Media and How Each Can Benefit Your Business

Monitoring

See Social media monitoring

Mute

Mute is a social media feature that allows you to edit users out of your feed without unfollowing or unfriending them. They still see that you are connected, and you can still interact, but you don’t see any of their activity in your timeline.

Related: Block

Learn more: How to Use Instagram Mute (And How Not to Get Muted)

—N—

Native advertising

Native advertising is a type of social media ad that matches the style and format of an organic post. A boosted post is an example of native advertising. Ads are always identifiable by a label that says “sponsored” or “promoted,” but other than this native ads look just like organic social content.

News feed

News feed is the Facebook term for the screen that shows all the latest updates posted by people the user follows. On other social networks, this is simply called the feed.

See Feed

Newsjacking

Also known as trendjacking, newsjacking is the act of referencing a news story or trending topic in order to connect with the audience following that story. Hashtags are a common way to attach content to breaking news. Newsjacking only works if there is a close tie to the story in question.

Notification

A notification is a message or alert indicating new social media activity. For example, if somebody Likes one of your Instagram photos, you can receive a notification on your phone that lets you know.

Learn more: Instagram Hacks: 68 Tricks and Features You Probably Didn’t Know About

—O—

Objectives

Objectives are the goals of an advertising campaign on social media. Each social network has its own set of objectives that ads can target. For example, Facebook advertising objectives are divided into three broad categories of awareness, consideration, and conversions. The objective you select determines which ad formats and payment structures are available for your campaign.

Learn more: How to Advertise on Facebook in 2020: The Definitive Facebook Ads Guide

Organic reach

Organic reach is the number of unique users who view your content without paid promotion. People find social content organically through their own feeds—either from companies whose accounts they’ve liked themselves, or through content shared by friends or connections. If someone visits your social profile based on a search or any other non-paid referral, this is also organic reach.

Learn more: Organic Reach is in Decline—Here’s What You Can Do About It

—P—

Pay per click (PPC)

Pay per click is a type of advertising where an organization pays each time a user clicks on an advertisement. The costs incurred during a PPC campaign vary based on the competitiveness of the target keyword. The amount that you pay for each click in a pay-per-click campaign is your cost per click (CPC)

See Cost per click

Learn more: Social Media Advertising 101: How to Get the Most Out of Your Ad Budget

Pin

A Pin is the name of a post on Pinterest. Every Pin is made up of a picture and a description. When clicked, a Pin directs users to the source URL of the image. Other users can like or Repin your Pins. Users can also organize Pins by theme or event into collections.

Learn more: How to Use Pinterest for Business: 8 Strategies You Need to Know

Pinned post

A pinned post is a social media post saved to the top of your page or profile on Facebook or Twitter. Pinning a post is a great way to feature an important announcement or highlight some of your best content.

Platform

A platform is a social network or a component of a social network. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are all social platforms. However, some marketers may consider Facebook news feed and Facebook stories to be different platforms, since they may have different audiences and use different marketing strategies.

Platform can also refer to a social media relationship management tool. In this case it is called a social media management platform.

See Social media management platform

Post

A post refers to any social media status update, photo, or video, or an item shared on a blog or forum.

Learn more: The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn

Private

Bonus: Get the step-by-step social media strategy guide with pro tips on how to grow your social media presence.

A private social account or group is one that is shielded from public view. While the basics of the account or group, like profile picture and name, are visible to anyone, the content shared is accessible only for approved followers. On Twitter, a private account is referred to as “protected.”

Learn more: 5 Reasons Why Brands are Using Private Instagram Accounts

Promote

Promote is a term used in different contexts by the various social networks, but it always indicates some form of payment to gain access to a wider audience than could be achieved through organic content.

Facebook uses the term “boost” for promoting a specific post, but “promote” to describe promoting a Page. Twitter offers promoted Tweets, promoted accounts, and promoted trends. There’s also Promote Mode, an automated ad program on Twitter.

See Boost

Learn more: How to Use Twitter Ads Like a Pro and Get the Most Out of Your Budget

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Reach

Reach refers to the total number of people who have been exposed to a social post or ad. This metric does not necessarily indicate that all of these people have actually seen your content. They could have scrolled right past it, for instance. Reach simply indicates that the content appeared in the user’s social feed at least once.

Social media analytics tools usually report organic reach and paid reach as two separate metrics.

Related: Impressions, Engagement

Learn more: Reach vs. Impressions: What’s the Difference (And What Should You Track)?

Reaction

Reactions are a form of engagement on Facebook. In addition to Likes, reactions include Love, Haha, Wow, Sad, and Angry. Each of these reactions is indicated by an emoji. Facebook users can access the reaction option by hovering over or holding the Like button.

Learn more: Facebook Reactions: What They Are and How They Impact the Feed

Real-time marketing

Real-time marketing is the practice of using a current event or popular trend to connect with an online community. It can be tricky to strike the right balance between jumping on a trend, maintaining your brand voice, and speaking to your target audience. A “right-time” strategy of focusing on your audience’s current needs and wants may be more effective.

Learn more: Why “Real-Time” Isn’t Always the Right Time in Social Media Marketing

Recommendation

A recommendation is a testimonial provided on LinkedIn. You can provide recommendations for your connections, or ask them to provide a recommendation for you. Recommendations appear on your public profile.

Learn more: LinkedIn Etiquette Fails: 7 Mistakes That Will Make You Look Unprofessional

Regram

To regram is to repost another Instagram user’s image or video. Make sure you have permission to do so, either through a branded hashtag or by asking the user directly.

See User-generated content

Learn more: How to Regram: Best Practices for Reposting Instagram Content

Repin

To repin is to save another user’s Pin to one of your own Pinterest boards.

Reply

Reply is a social media function that allows you to respond publicly to another user’s comment, creating a comment thread. On Twitter, you reply by clicking the comment icon under a particular Tweet. On other social networks, you’ll find a button or link marked Reply.

Learn more: 10 Brands that Excel at the Art of the Comeback on Social Media

Repost

To repost is to share another user’s content on social media. This can include regramming, repinning, or retweeting. It also includes sharing another user’s Instagram post in your Instagram Stories.

See Regram, Repin, Repost

Retargeting

Retargeting is an online advertising strategy that aims to re-engage website visitors who left a site without converting. Retargeting starts with a small tracking tag embedded in your website’s code. You can then target these prospects on other websites, including social networks.

Learn more: The Facebook Pixel: What It Is and How to Use It

Return on investment (ROI)

See Social media roi

Retweet

To retweet is to share someone else’s Tweet with your followers. When you click the retweet button on the Twitter website or app, you can opt to republish the tweet as is, or add a comment to explain why you’re sharing it.

Rich pin

A Rich pin is a Pinterest post that contains additional content from the original website. There are three categories: article, recipe, or product. For example, product Rich pins include real-time information about where to buy the product, pricing, and availability.

Learn more: Pinterest SEO: What Are Your Customers Searching For?

RSS feed

An RSS feed is a format for syndicating web content. It may be short for Rich Site Summary or Really Simple Syndication, depending on who you ask, but neither is an official acronym. RSS feeds are created in a standard XML format that makes them compatible with a variety of readers and aggregators that readers can subscribe to.

Learn more: The Ultimate List of Social Media Acronyms and Abbreviations

RSS reader

An RSS reader is a tool that allows you to collect articles from multiple RSS feeds in one place for easy reading.

Learn more: How to use Hootsuite RSS Syndicator Pro

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Scheduling

Scheduling involves planning social media updates and content ahead of time using a social media management platform or other publishing tool. Scheduling saves time by allowing users to draft several messages at once, often as part of a publishing approval process or larger marketing campaign. It also enables posts to be timed for audiences in various time zones.

Learn more:

Search engine optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the organic visibility of a web page in search results. Although businesses can pay for ads on search engine results page, SEO refers to “free” tactics that enhance the search ranking of a page.

Learn more: Does Social Media Impact SEO? We Ran an Experiment to Find Out

Selfie

A selfie is a self-portrait photograph, usually taken with the front camera on a smartphone and shared on social media sites.

Sentiment

Sentiment is a way of describing the way people feel about your brand on social media. Rather than just measuring the number of posts or engagements related to your brand, it captures the feelings and attitude contained in those posts.

Learn more: A Guide to Social Media Sentiment (Includes 5 Sentiment Analysis Tools)

Sentiment analysis

Sentiment analysis is an examination of how an audience feels about a brand, company, or product based on social data. Sentiment analysis typically involves natural language processing or other computational methods to identify the attitude contained in a social media message. Analytics platforms—such as Hootsuite Insights—classify sentiment in a variety of ways. For example, some use “polar” classification (positive or negative sentiment), while others sort messages by emotion or tone (contentment/gratitude, fear/uneasiness, etc.).

Share of voice

Share of voice is a measure of how many social media mentions a particular brand is receiving in relation to its competition. It is usually measured as a percentage of total mentions within an industry or among a defined group of competitors.

Learn more: Social Share of Voice: What it Means and How to Get More of It

Social customer service

Social customer service is when a company uses social channels to provide service and support to customers. Larger companies often have a separate social handle for customer support issues, such as @Hootsuite_Help.

Learn more: Social Media Customer Service: Everything You Need to Do it Well

Social inbox

A social inbox is the screen for reading and responding to direct messages on a social platform.

See Inbox

Social listening

Social listening begins with finding and assessing what is being said about a company, topic, brand, or person on social media channels. Then, the social team takes action based on what the analysis reveals. Taking action could be as simple as responding to a happy customer or as major as revising the brand strategy.

Learn more: What is Social Listening, Why it Matters, and 10 Tools to Make it Easier

Social media management

Social media management involves managing social media accounts, engaging audiences, and measuring the business results of social media activities. Effective social media management practices implemented at scale across departments and regions allow everyone within the organization to collaborate and achieve measurable outcomes on social media.

Learn more: 13 of the Best Social Media Management Tools

Social media management platform

A social media management platform is a secure, scalable tool that allows businesses to manage multiple social media accounts 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 media management platform.

Learn more: Core features of the Hootsuite platform

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is the use of social media to increase brand awareness, identify key audiences, generate leads, and build meaningful relationships with customers. Social media marketing should be part of a larger social strategy that also includes social customer service, community management, and social selling activities.

Learn more: How to Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy in 8 Easy Steps

Social media monitoring

Social media monitoring is similar to social listening in that it involves tracking what is being said about a brand on social media. However, while social listening involves analysis and action, social media monitoring is primarily concerned with finding and gathering data.

See Social listening

Learn more: 16 of the Best Social Media Monitoring Tools

Social media ROI

Social media ROI (return on investment) is a measure of how much you get out of the time, money, and effort you put into your social media strategy. It’s a way of evaluating which strategies provide the most value, and which areas of your strategy may not be delivering enough return.

Learn more: How to Prove and Improve Social Media ROI (Includes a Free Calculator)

Social selling

Social selling is the practice of using social tools to find leads, connect with prospects, and nurture business relationships.

Learn more: Social Selling: What it is, Why You Should Care, and How to Do It Right

Snap

Snap is the company that owns Snapchat, the photo- and video-messaging app launched in 2011. Each post on Snapchat is also called a Snap. Users can add filters, text, drawings, or emoji to their content before sending it. Direct messages last only up to 10 seconds before they disappear forever and are erased from the company’s servers. Snap Stories allow users to share replayable Snaps for up to 24 hours.

Learn more: How to Use Snapchat: A Guide for Beginners

Spam

Spam is unnecessary, unwanted, or repetitive content that clogs inboxes and clutters social media feeds. The term “spam” has been used to refer to junk messages since the earliest days of the Internet.

Learn more: Twitter Makes Changes to Combat Spam: Here’s What You Need to Know

Sponsored posts

Sponsored posts are social media posts in which an influencer or celebrity highlights a brand or product that they have been paid to promote. These posts must be identified as ads using a hashtag like #ad or #sponsored.

Learn more: Influencer Marketing in 2019: How to Work With Social Media Influencers

Sticker

Stickers are a feature of stories formats like Snapchat and Instagram Stories. They allow users to add extra information to a post, like a hashtag or location. Some stickers offer interactive features such as questions and polls.

Learn more: 7 Great Ways Brands Are Using Instagram’s “Questions” Sticker

Stories

Stories are a form of ephemeral content on Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat that disappears after 24 hours.

See Disappearing content

Learn more: Snapchat, Instagram Stories, or Facebook Stories—Which is Right For You?

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Tag

A tag is a keyword added to a social media post to categorize content. You can also tag someone in a post or photo, which creates a link to their social media profile and associates them with the content. Users have the option to remove unwanted tags from their profile.

Targeting

Targeting is the practice of selecting a specific audience for social ads to maximize conversions. Social networks offer many targeting options based on factors like demographics, location, and interests.

Learn more: Social Ad Targeting: How to Reach an Audience that Converts

Thread

A thread is a string of messages that make up a conversation. Threads begin with an initial message and then continue as a series of replies or comments. Threads are essential to keeping track of conversations in most forms of online communication, including social media and email.

Throwback Thursday (#TBT)

Throwback Thursday (#TBT) is a hashtag used to share old photos on social media.

Learn more: TBT Meaning, and How to Use “Throwback Thursday” on Social Media

Trending

A trending topic or hashtag is one 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 “trending” concept was first popularized by Twitter and has since been adopted by other networks. The trends that you see on Twitter and Facebook are based on your location, who you follow, and the content you like.

Troll

A troll is a social media user who makes deliberately offensive or annoying postings with the sole aim of provoking other users.

Related Block

Tweet

A Tweet is a Twitter post. Tweets are limited to 280 characters and can include photos, videos, and links. They are public by default.

Learn more: Twitter Marketing: The Complete Guide for Business

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Unfollow

To unfollow someone is to unsubscribe from their social media account. If you would prefer to maintain the social connection but don’t want to see their posts, you can mute them instead.

See Mute

URL

URL is short for Uniform Resource Locator. It means the address of a website page or other resource on the Internet. URLs can contain codes called UTMs that help with tracking and analytics.

Learn more: URL Shorteners: The Unsung Hero Of Social Media Marketing

URL shortener

A URL shortener is a tool that condenses a long URL into a shorter (and more social media friendly) format. URL shorteners such as ow.ly can also provide link tracking capabilities, which allow businesses to measure click-throughs from social media and attribute website conversions to individual social messages.

See Vanity URL

Learn more: 10 of the Best Link Shorteners That Aren’t the Google URL Shortener

User-generated content (UGC)

User-generated content is content created by the regular people on social media, rather than brands. Brands collect that content through contests, branded hashtags, or simply reaching out to ask permission. When brands reshare that content with their own followers, they’re implementing a UGC campaign.

User-generated content can help increase brand awareness and customer loyalty by allowing businesses to tap into the excitement and creative energies of their customers.

Learn more: A Marketer’s Guide to Using User-Generated Content on Social Media

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Vanity metric

A vanity metric is an analytics item that can be measured but is not a signifier of real return on investment. Examples include the number of followers, likes, or comments. These metrics are best contextualized by more concrete numbers such as click-through rate or visitor-to-lead conversions.

See Metric

Learn more: Do Vanity Metrics Matter on Social Media? Yes (And No)

Vanity URL

A vanity URL is a web address branded for marketing purposes. Vanity URLs replace common URL shortener formats with something related to an organization’s branding. For example, Time Inc.’s vanity URL is ti.me. The New York Times uses nyti.ms.

See URL shortener

Verified

To be verified on social media means that you have proven your identity to the social media platform provider and gained a verified label in return, usually in the form of a checkmark. This is usually reserved for brands, journalists, and other public figures as a way of preventing fraud and protecting the integrity of the person or organization behind the account.

Learn more:

Viral

To go viral on social media is to have a particular post bring in an unusually large number of engagements. An exceptional number of shares is the clearest sign of going viral, as your post spreads across the internet like a virus.

Learn more: 6 Things You Should Never Say to a Social Media Manager (including, “Can you make this go viral?”)

Virtual reality (VR)

Virtual reality immerses the user in an experience so that what they are doing looks or feels real. VR headsets are a common way of engaging with virtual reality.

Learn more: 5 Ways to Use Virtual Reality in Your Marketing Strategy

Vlogging

Vlogging is a combination of the words “video” and “blogging.” It means to create and post video blog content. Someone who vlogs is known as a vlogger.

Learn more: 23 Smart Ways to Promote Your YouTube Channel

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Webinar

Webinar is a combination of the words “web” and “seminar.” A webinar is a digital broadcast of a presentation intended to educate or inform. Webinars allow users to watch a presentation from their computer or other device, and often interact directly with the presenter or fellow attendees through chat or video.

Learn more: Hootsuite’s social media webinars

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