Social Media Glossary – The must know A-Z of Social Media Marketing


  • AdWords is a popular advertising service created by Google. The service works by allowing you to pay to place search results for your website on a search engine results page.
  • Algorithm is a set of formulas developed for a computer to perform a certain function. Algorithms are found everywhere in computer science. In social media they are crucial in determining which content we see. For example, in our Facebook newsfeed, Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t show us every update from our friends and the pages we like, rather it displays content in our Facebook news feeds that it thinks is most worth seeing to us.
  • Analytics are simply data that tells you what has happened in a particular area. This data is then taken and analysed and examined to look for patterns in behaviour. For example, Google analytics is a key tool for marketers to analyse as it shows you crucial information about your website from your bounce rate, number of visitors and much more. Similarly many social media platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter offer you the ability to look at your analytics for your profile. They show you important information such as your engagement and interaction levels, which are crucial for helping you form an effective marketing strategy.
  • API short for Application Programming Interface, is a programming format that a website or piece of software uses to allow other websites to interact with it.
  • App – is a software application designed to run on smartphones, tablet computers and other mobile devices.
  • Augmented Reality is a live view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
  • Authenticity is having and portraying the quality of being open and authentic. Being authentic on social media is a vital aspect of presenting yourself to your audience online and is achieved by having a personality, providing value and developing your own voice.
  • Avatar is an image or username that represents a person online within forums and social networks.



  • Big data at is most basic definition is a large and complex set of unstructured data. The scale and complexity of the data means it is difficult to process using traditional data processing applications.
  • Bio is the small portion of your online profile that briefly explains to a potential fan/follower who you are and what you do. Creating a good Bio is important to attract the right type of fans/followers and to help improve how often you show up in relevant keyword searches.
  • generates shorter URLs that can be used for posting links where users are limited to specific character lengths. Users paste the long URL into a text box and the site generates one that is shorter.
  • Block – on Twitter there is a feature that enables you to ‘block’ another user effectively stopping them from following you, adding you to their Twitter lists, having their mentions and replies appear in your notifications/mentions tab and tagging you in a photo.
  • Blog – Shorthand for ‘Weblog’ a blog offers an easy way to present brief entries of discussion or informational content.
  • Blogger is a free blog publishing tool from Google, for sharing text, photos and video.
  • Blogosphere is the sum of all blogs on the Internet and the conversations taking place within those blogs, including posts and comments.
  • Brand advocate is a customer that is happy enough with you or your product to the extent that they go out of their way to help you market it.



  • Call to Action (CTA) – can be a banner, button, or some type of graphic or text on a website meant to prompt a user to click it and continue onto a next step.
  • Campaign – an online set of coordinated marketing messages delivered in a way that aims to a achieve a specific goal, such as raising brand awareness or increasing sales.
  • Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the internet but traditionally refers to one-to-one communication through a text-based chat application commonly referred to as instant messaging applications, such as Skype.
  • Circles is the name given to a group of people on Google+ that the user has characterised by social context, location, shared interest, or any other criteria.
  • Clickbait is the process of creating a sensationalist headline that entices readers to click through to a certain piece of web content, usually with the goal of generating page views and advertising revenue.
  • Clickthrough rate (CTR) is a common metric that reports on the number of people who viewed a piece of content then actually performed the action required such as clicking on the ad or link. As a general rule, the higher your CTR, the more effective your marketing is.
  • Cloud Computing – allows users to access their data from anywhere rather than being tied to a particular machine.
  • Comment – a response that is often provided as an answer or reaction to a post or message on a social network.
  • Community Management is the practice of building, growing and maintaining an online community, often around a brand or cause.
  • Connect – On Linkedin this is the act of requesting admittance into an individual’s social network.
  • Connection – a user who is accepted into an individual’s social network on Linkedin.
  • Content Curation is the process of finding good quality, valuable and relevant content for an audience and then presenting it to them. Unlike content marketing, content curation doesn’t involve publishing new content, rather is it about saving your audience time and effort by finding the best and most relevant content and sharing it with them, ultimately showing yourself to be a trusted and valuable source of industry information.
  • Content management system (CMS) is an online application that allows you to publish, edit, organise, modify and delete content, as well as general maintenance, from a central interface.
  • Content marketing is the process of creating and distributing valuable, informative and entertaining content, such as videos, white papers, guides, and infographics, with the aim of attracting, influencing and retaining customers.
  • Conversions – is the proportion of people viewing an ad or piece of content and then going on to click on a link, sign up to a newsletter or any other important outcome that ultimately lead to a sale.
  • Cover photo– The large, horizontal image at the top of your Facebook page. A cover photo is public and so is a great tool for brands to utilise to show an eye-catching, branded image that represents who they are, what they care about, a latest promotion, an important event or any other information/event they want to share.
  • Crisis management is the process of creating and applying strategies designed to help a business deal with a sudden and significant negative event on social media.
  • Crowdsourcing is the process of leveraging your online community and other individuals online to assist in opinions, services, content, suggestions, or submissions for your business.


  • Digg is a popular social news site that lets people discover and share content from anywhere on the Web.
  • Direct Message – A direct message (DM) on Twitter is a private message sent to one of your followers. Direct messages can only be sent to a Twitter user who is following you and similarly, you can only receive direct messages from users you follow.
  • Discover is a feature on Twitter designed to make it easy to discover information that may be interesting to you. It surfaces the best content from around Twitter and is personalised for you, showing you 5 areas: Tweets, Activity, Who to Follow, Find Friends and Popular accounts.
  • Display Ads are typically referred to as banners and are a type of advertising shown on websites. These ads can come in formats including text, images, flash, video, and audio.




  • Ebook is an electronic version of a traditional printed book that can be downloaded from the Internet and read on a computer or handheld device.
  • E-commerce is the buying and selling of products or services through electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks.
  • Embedding is the act of adding code to a website so that a video or photo can be displayed on that site while being hosted by another.
  • EdgeRank is the Facebook algorithm that decides which stories appear in a user’s News Feed.
  • Embedded media is digital media such as a video or image, that is displayed within another piece of content, outside of its native setting.
  • Endorsements are a LinkedIn feature that allows you to verify the skills and expertise of your connections.
  • Engagement is core to social media efforts as is the act of talking to, responding and interacting with other people on social network.
  • Engagement rate is a valuable metric that shows the percentage of people who saw your social media post and actively engaged with it. This engagement can be a click of the link, a like, retweet, favourite or share for example and is a valuable metric to help determine the success of your social media messaging, as it provides an indicator as to how interesting the message was to your audience.
  • Extended circles – On Google+, your extended circles include all the people you have in your circles as well as all the people in their circles.


  • Facebook is a social networking site that connects people with friends and others who work, study, and live around them. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with more than 1.2 billion users.
  • Facebook Group is an area on Facebook where you can join, communicate and share content within a select group of people.
  • Facebook Reach is the number of unique people who saw your content from your Facebook page. There are different kinds of reach: total, post, organic and paid. Total reach is the number of unique people in the past 7 days who have seen any content associated with your Page. Post reach is the number of unique people who have seen a specific Facebook Page post in their News Feed. Organic reach is essentially free reach and refers to the number of unique people who saw your content without you having had to pay for it. Organic reach mostly occurs through Facebook’s algorithm placing your posts in the News Feeds of your fans. Paid reach refers to the number of unique people who saw your content because you paid for ads or promoted posts.
  • Facebook Fans are the people who like your Facebook Page.
  • Favourite – On Twitter a favourite is made by another user by clicking a star icon on your Tweet. It is an indication that the user likes your Tweet
  • Firefox is free web browser from Mozilla.
  • Flickr is a social network based around online picture sharing.
  • Follower – A Twitter user who has elected to see your Tweets in their Twitter home feed.
  • Follow Friday (#ff) is a trend via the hashtag #ff every Friday on Twitter. Users select other usernames and tweet them with #ff in their post, showing they recommend following those Twitter users.
  • Followers are the number of Twitter accounts that are following a Twitter user.
  • Following – The number of accounts that a Twitter user is following.
  • Forums also known as a message board are simply online discussion sites.
  • Foursquare is a location-based discovery social network where people ‘check in’ and share their locations and connect with others. It also helps people find local places and experiences that are relevant to their interests and tastes.


  • Geotagging is the practice of tagging a photo, video, or message with a specific location.
  • Geotargetting is a feature on many social media platforms that allows users to share their content with geographically defined audiences in order to better connect with people in specific cities, countries, and regions.
  • GIF is a file format that supports both static and animated images. Gifs are very popular as they allow you to essentially present a short video clip in a condensed image format.
  • Google Chrome is a web browser produced by Google that fully integrates into its online search system as well as other applications.
  • Google+ is a social network created by Google.



  • Handle – The username that you use for your Twitter account. It is important to your discoverability that you apply a consistent handle/username across all your social media platforms.
  • Hashtags ‘‘#’’ are used on several social media networks as a simple way to categorise the topic(s) of social media messages and make them discoverable to people with shared interests. Clicking a hashtag will, on most social networks, reveal all the public and recently published messages that also contain that hashtag.
  • Header image – The banner image at the top of a user’s Twitter profile.
  • HootSuite a social media management system that helps brands streamline campaigns across social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Pages.
  • HTML Hypertext Mark-up Language (HTML) is a programing language for web pages.


  • Impressions are the number of times an ad, sponsored update, or promoted post is seen.
  • Inbound Marketing a style of marketing that essentially focuses permission-based marketing techniques, leveraging tactics such as SEO, blogging, social media, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing, and analytics.
  • Influencer – a person or business considered to be a thought leader or expert that can reach a significant audience and drive awareness about a trend, topic, business or product.
  • Instagram a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks.
  • Instant Messaging (IM) is a form of real-time, direct text-based communication between two or more people.



  • Keyword – The descriptive term that identifies the topic of a document. They are widely used to index documents for retrieval by search engines or other categorisation and are the basis for pay-per-click advertising. A keyword can appear in the body of the text, subject heading, meta-data, etc.
  • Klout Score is a measure of social influence that is scored out of 100. The higher the score, the more influence you have on the social world. This service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook and Twitter and then provides every user with their Klout score.



  • Like is an action that can be made by a Facebook user as a quick way to show approval and share a message.
  • Like-baiting is the practice of explicitly requesting likes to increase engagement on Facebook. It is a practise best avoided as Facebook has adjusted its algorithm to reduce the visibility of like-baiting posts in users’ news feeds.
  • Link Building is an aspect of SEO in which website owners develop strategies to generate links to their site from other websites with the hopes of improving their search engine ranking.
  • LinkedIn is a professional, business-oriented social networking site.
  • LinkedIn endorsement is recognition by a member of Linkedin of another person’s skill, such as Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, etc. Getting endorsed helps boost your credibility as it shows that you actually have the skills you say you have.
  • LinkedIn Influencer is a high profile professional such as a top industry leader who has been invited to publish and share updates on LinkedIn. The LinkedIn Influencer program is invitation-only.
  • LinkedIn recommendation is essentially a written compliment displayed on your Linkedin profile that one of your connections has written about you. They are often seen as more credible and more impressive to a profile than Linkedin endorsements as they are more in-depth and personal.
  • List – On Twitter you can organise and group together a set of Twitter accounts by putting them into a list. Viewing a list timeline will show the tweets only from the users on that list and you can create your own list or subscribe to lists created by others.
  • Lurker-  someone on social networks who simply listens and watches, but doesn’t participate in conversations or the activity on the site.



  • Marketing Automation refers to software platforms and technologies designed to help businesses automate repetitive marketing tasks to help them more effectively and consistently market on multiple channels online.
  • Meme – a meme on the internet is used to describe a thought, idea, joke, or concept to be shared online. It is typically an image with text above and below it, but can also come in video and link form.
  • Mention is the act of tagging another user’s handle or account name in a social media message.
  • Metadata refers to information — including titles, descriptions, tags and captions — that describes a media item such as a video, photo or blog post.



  • News Feed – a news feed is literally a feed full of news that provides users with frequently updated content.


  • Outbound Marketing utilises traditional interruptive marketing tactics such as direct mail, trade shows, print and TV advertising, and cold calling.



  • Paid Search allows you to pay to place a website on a search engine results page (SERP) when someone types in a particular keyword or keywords into the search engine. The SERP will display your ad to encourage viewers to your site and you will pay when someone usually either clicks on or views your site.
  • Paid Social Media refers to paying for ads on social media. Paid social media comes in many types with the most common being Facebook Ads, Twitter Promoted Tweets and Accounts, YouTube sponsored videos and LinkedIn Sponsored Updates.
  • Pay-per-click is a popular internet advertising model whereby a business that has placed an advertisement on a website pays a fee to the host website when a user clicks on to the ad.
  • Permalink is URL address of a particular piece of content.
  • Pinboard is the term given to a collection Pins that a user has created and categorised on Pinterest. A Pinboard can be organised by any theme you choose and can be either made public or kept private to you.
  • Pinned Tweet is a tweet that has been pinned the top a Twitter profile page. It is a great way to feature and highlight a particularly important pin as everyone who views your profile page will see the pinned Tweet.
  • Pins – is the term given to the images and links that a user has visually stored on Pinterest. Each Pin is comprised of a picture and a description given by the user and when clicked will direct viewers to the original source where the image has been taken from. Pins can be organised by any given theme into visual collections called Pinboards. Pins can also be liked or repinned by other users.
  • Pinterest is a social network that essentially acts as an online pinboard allowing users to ‘pin’ images or products, services, places etc. that they like or want.
  • Podcast is a series of digital media files, either audio or video, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.
  • Post is the term given to the online posting of a piece of content online.
  • Promoted Accounts are a Twitter Ads that invite targeted users to follow a Twitter account and are used to grow a Twitter handle’s following.
  • Promoted Trends are a Twitter Ads feature that allows an advertiser to promote a given trend to the top of the ‘Trends’ list on Twitter. These tweets are clearly marked as “Promoted.”
  • Promoted Tweets are a Twitter ad service allowing advertisers to pay to place targeted ads to a specific audience. A promoted tweet includes a small marker saying “Promoted”.
  • Protected account is an account on Twitter that the user has chosen to keep private. Only followers that have been approved by the user can access the full profile and view Tweets and photos from the protected account. Tweets from protected accounts cannot be retweeted, not even by approved followers.



  • QR Code is a code consisting of black and white squares, that provides encoded information, typically a URL, that can be read by a QR scanner or smart phone.



  • Reach is a data metric that tells you the amount of people that your message/post could potentially reach.
  • Reddit is a social news site that is built upon a community of users who share and comment on stories.
  • Retargeting is an online advertising technique that involves placing a small tracking tag on your website and targeting users who have visited your website as they visit other websites including social media site, news sites or any other online media.
  • Repin – if you find a Pin on another Pinterest user’s Pinboard that you like, you can add it to one of your own boards (or create a new board for it) by repinning it. You also have the option to use the existing description for the Pin or to create another and use your own instead.
  • Reply – a public response to someone’s Tweet that begins with their @username.
  • Response rate is a Twitter engagement metric used to assess how much you are interacting with your social media audience. A response rate is calculated by taking the number of mentions that you have replied to in a given time period and dividing it by the total number of mentions (not including retweets) that you have received.
  • Return on relationship (ROR) is a the value accrued by a person or brand from developing a relationship.
  • Retweet is a Tweet that is re-shared by another Twitter account to their own followers.
  • ROI (Return on Investment) is the concept of an investment of some resource yielding a benefit to the investor. As a performance measure, it is used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment.
  • RSS Feed (Really Simple Syndication) allows the content from regularly updated websites such as blogs or podcasts to be aggregated and posted to one website (often called a “reader”) or mobile device.
  • RSS Reader allows users to aggregate articles from multiple websites into one place using RSS feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient consumption of information.



  • Scheduling is the planning of social media updates and content ahead of time on a publishing tool.
  • Scribd turns document formats such as PDF, Word, and PowerPoint into a web document for viewing and sharing online.
  • SEM (Search Engine Marketing) is a marketing tactic that involves the promotion of websites by increasing their visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs) through advertising and optimisation.
  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via unpaid or organic search traffic.
  • Sentiment Analysis aims to determine the attitude and feelings of an audience about a brand, company, or product based on data collected from social media.
  • Skype is a free program that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users.
  • SlideShare is an online social network for sharing presentations and documents.
  • Social Customer Service is the practice of monitoring social media to identify and resolve customer service issues that arise on social media.
  • Social Media Management is the act of managing social media platforms and actively engaging with and responding to audiences in order to capture leads and sales from those relationships.
  • Social Media Marketing is the process of using social media to gain website traffic, increase brand awareness, generate leads and build meaningful relationships with customers.
  • Social Media Monitoring is the process of monitoring, listening and responding to brand and keyword mentions related to a business that occurs in social media.
  • Social media ROI is the measurement of the effectiveness of a business’s investment in social media.
  • Social Relationship Platform  is a tool that gathers everything you need for social media into one place, making it easier to manage. They are commonly used for monitoring, posting, tracking and general management of social media activities. Hootsuite is an example of a social relationship platform.
  • Social Selling is the aim of using social media to grow the brand, improve sales, generate revenue and discover new sales opportunities and ways to reach prospects.
  • Status Update is a brief update posted to a social media network by a user.



  • Tagging is a relevant keyword or term assigned to a piece of information such as a blog post, photo or video that describes the item.
  • Thread – A strand of related or themed messages running throughout a conversation. This could be during a discussion forum, a series of e-mails that use the same subject line or a blog post for example.
  • Throwback Thursday (#tbt) is a popular weekly social media tradition in which users on social media post an old photograph of themselves. For example it could be a picture of themselves as a child, in high school, etc.
  • Top Tweets – When a user searches for a term, they are presented with the most popular and engaging Tweets (as determined by Twitter’s algorithm) which are called ‘Top Tweets.’
  • Trackback a method for website authors to request notification when somebody links to one of their documents. This enables authors to keep track of who is linking to their articles.
  • Trend/Trending signifies a topic or event which is currently popular and discussed a lot online at a given moment.
  • Tweet – A 140 character update shared by a user on Twitter.
  • Tweetup is an organised gathering created by people who use Twitter. Users often include a hashtag such as  #tweetup when publicising a tweetup.
  • Twitter is a popular micro blogging social media platform that enables users to publish 140-character real-time messages with photos, videos, and other content.
  • Twitter Card – A Twitter Card allows you to make your tweets stand out by going beyond basic text and creating media-rich interest through images, videos or photo galleries for example.



  • Unfollow – The action of unsubscribing from another Twitter user’s account.
  • URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the technical term for a web address.
  • URL shortener is a tool that substantially shortens the length of a URL whilst still directing the viewer to the original URL. Popular URL shorteners include and Hootsuite’s
  • User-generated content (UGC) is the term used to describe any form of content or media such as blogs, videos, discussion form posts and digital images media that has been created and published online by the users of a social or collaboration platform.


  • Vanity URL is a web address that is customised for branding/marketing purposes.
  • Viral – when a piece of content on the Internet gets shared multiple times on social networks organically, without encouragement from the business or person who created it, it is said to have ‘gone viral.’



  • Webinar (short for web-based seminar) is a live or pre-recorded presentation/seminar that is aired via the Internet.
  • Web Analytics are simply data that are taken from websites etc. to be measured and analysed to find trends, data and patterns in behaviour.
  • WhatsApp a cross-platform mobile messaging app that allows users to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS.
  • Widgets are simple software applications that can be downloaded to a desktop or embedded in a website. They can take the form of anything from a ‘latest tweets’ box, to on-screen tools such as clocks and daily weather updates etc.
  • WordPress a web software that allows you to create and update a blog or a website.



  • Yelp ia a social networking, user review, and local search website that allow users to find places to eat, shop and drink based on other user reviews.
  • YouTube is a social network based around video sharing.

11 thoughts on “Social Media Glossary – The must know A-Z of Social Media Marketing

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