Social Media Terms & Definitions You Need to Know in 2021   

Social media has a language of its own and using the terminology is key to becoming an effective communicator. However, learning these new terms can be as overwhelming as learning a new language. In efforts to make this task less daunting, we have created a list of the most important words and phrases to help those who don’t speak social media become more fluent.   

 Social Media Terms  

A/B testingA/B testing, also known as split testing, measures two social media posts against each other to see which performs best.   

Ads ManagerAds Manager is Facebook’s tool for creating, running and analyzing social ads. It can manage your ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, or Audience Network. It offers a wide variety of features for ad targeting, budgeting, and optimization as well.  

AlgorithmAn algorithm is a defined set of rules used to solve a problem. In the social media world, however, people often use ‘algorithm’ as a shorthand for ‘feed algorithm’, which is the set of rules a social network uses to automatically decide which posts come first in your feed.  

AnalyticsAnalytics is the way you interpret and find patterns in data. In a social media context, analytics is the process of following metrics on your social media performance and using that data to improve your strategy.  

Application Programming Interface (API)An API is a set of building blocks that programmers can use to develop computer programs.  

AudienceYour audience on social media is the group of people you’re able to reach with your content. This includes all your followers plus anyone who sees or interacts with your posts in their feed.   

Business-to-Business (B2B)A B2B business sells products or services to other businesses, like a consulting firm or a business software company. 

Business-to-Consumer (B2C)A B2C business deals directly with consumers, like a hotel or retail store. 

BioYour social media bio is a short description in your profile that tells people who you are 

Bitmojibitmoji 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. 

BlockWhen you block someone on social media, you prevent them from seeing your posts on that social network. 

BlogOriginally 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. 

Boost, boosted postA 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.  

Brand advocateA brand advocate on social media is a customer who posts positive messages, leaves positive reviews, or otherwise supports your brand on social. Brand advocates may also encourage other users to use your products or services through word-of-mouth marketing.  

Brand AwarenessBrand awareness is the level of familiarity consumers have with your brand. 

Business ManagerFacebook Business Manager is a software that helps organizations manage their Pages, ad accounts, and team members. It serves as a hub to connect a business’s advertising, finances, users, and Pages and allow for easy administration. It also ensures that company data and account access is legally and practically under control of the company instead of an individual user.  

CaptionA caption is a description that accompanies a photo on social media. 

ChatA chat is an online conversation with one or more people. 

Check-inA 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. 

ClickbaitClickbait is content that uses manipulative copy to convince users to click on it. 

Clickthrough rate (CTR)On social media, the clickthrough rate is the percentage of people that see your post who click on it. What counts as a click and what counts as ‘seeing your post’ vary by social network.  

CommentA comment is a form of engagement in which a user replies to your social media post. 

Community managerA 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.  

Content curationContent 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. 

Content marketingContent 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. 

ConversionA conversion occurs when a social media user or visitor to your website takes a specific, desired action. 

Conversion rate (CVR)Conversion rate is the percentage of users who see your post or ad who then take a specified action. 

Cost per click (CPC)Cost per click is a social media advertising metric that tells you how much you’re paying for each click on your ad on average. 

Cost per mille (CPM)Cost per mille is another social advertising metric. It refers to how much you pay per 1,000 impressions (‘mille’ means 1,000 in Latin). 

Crisis managementSocial media crisis management is how you handle events or interactions that could potentially damage your company’s reputation. 

Cross-channelIn social media marketing, each network (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is also a marketing channel. Something that is cross-channel, then, goes across all your different social networks. 

CrowdsourcingCrowdsourcing involves tapping into your online community for new ideas, suggestions, information, or content. 

Dark postA dark post is a social media ad that doesn’t appear on the advertiser’s timeline. Unlike organic posts or boosted posts, dark posts only show up in the feeds of users they’re targeting. 

Dark socialDark social is often confused with dark posts, but the two social media terms actually have nothing in common. Dark social is web traffic coming from social media that analytics tools struggle to track. This is often due to users sharing links privately on social in chats or direct messages. 

Direct message (DM)A direct message on social media is a private message sent directly to a user’s inbox. 

Disappearing contentDisappearing content, sometimes called ephemeral content, refers to posts on social media that delete themselves automatically after a set amount of time has passed. Instagram and Snapchat Stories are notable examples, as these sets of photos and videos disappear after 24 hours. 

EbookEbook 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 ebookreader 

EmbedAn embed is a social post or other digital content displayed within another piece of content using digital embedding tools. 

EmojiEmojis are a set of tiny graphics used in digital channels from text messages to social media. 

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

Engagement rateEngagement rate is a social media metric that tells you much a post is motivating people to interact with it. It’s defined as (number of people who engaged with your post / number of people who saw your post) x 100%. 

Evergreen contentIn content marketing, evergreen content is content that ages well and maintains its value over time. 

FanA 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.  

FavoriteFavorite was the term Twitter originally used to indicate Likes. 

FeedA feed on social media is a generic term for the stream of content you see from other users. On most social networks, the feed functions as a homepage and is the most common way to see people’s posts and engage with them.  

FilterA 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. 

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

FrequencyFrequency is a Facebook/Instagram advertising term that refers to how many times your ad was shown to the average user in your target audience. 

Geotargeting: In social media marketing, geotargeting is the technique of adjusting your ad content based on the location of a user. 

GIFGIF is an acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a file format that supports both static and animated images. 

Google Ads (Google Adwords)Google Ads are a form of online advertising, previously known as GoogleAdwords. Google Ads appear at the top of the Google search listings for your target keywords. 

HandleYour 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. 

HashtagA hashtag (#) is a way of connecting your posts on social media to other posts on the same subject or trending topic. 

ImpressionsImpressions are a social media metric that measures how many times your post has been shown in users’ feeds. 

Inbound marketingInbound 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. 

InboxAn inbox is the screen on which you read, organize, and respond to messages.

InfluencerAn influencer is a social media user with a significant audience who can drive awareness about a trend, topic, company, or product. 

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

Key performance indicator (KPI)A key performance indicator, or KPI, is a metric you use to measure your progress toward business goals.  

LikeA 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. 

Live streamA live stream is a real-time video shared over the Internet.  

MemeMemes are funny pieces of text, videos, or images that go viral and let users get in on the joke by creating their own variations and sharing them.  

MentionA mention is the act of tagging a user in a social media message. 

MetricA social media metric is a statistic that measures the performance of your posts, ads, or overall account. 

Native advertisingNative advertising on social media is the method of showing paid content to users in a way that looks organic. 

News feedNews 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.  

NotificationA notification is a message or alert indicating new social media activity. 

ObjectivesIn social advertising, objectives are the results you want to achieve through your ad campaign. 

Organic reachOrganic reach is the number of unique users who view your content without paid promotion. 

Pay per click (PPC)PPC is a social media marketing term for an ad model where you pay each time a user clicks on your ad. 

Pinned postA pinned post is a social media post saved to the top of your page or profile on Facebook or Twitter. 

PlatformThe term social media platform is often used to mean the same thing as “social media network” or “social media channel”. 

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

PromotePromote 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.  

ReachReach 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. 

ReactionReactions 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. 

ReplyReply is a social media function that allows you to respond publicly to another user’s comment, creating a comment thread. 

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

RetargetingRetargeting is the technique of targeting ads at users who have interacted with your page or website before. 

SchedulingScheduling involves planning social media updates and content ahead of time using a social media management platform or other publishing tool. 

Search engine optimization (SEO)Search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the organic visibility of a web page in search results.  

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

Shareable contentShareable content on social media is content that’s likely to get users to share it with their networks. 

Social customer serviceSocial customer service (or social customer care) is customer service via social media. This may include answering customer inquiries, handling complaints, and offering support. 

Social listeningSocial listening is how social media managers track conversations around key topics, terms, brands and more, often with a specialized software tool. Social listening software gathers mentions, comments, hashtags, and relevant posts from across social media to provide insights on what users are talking about and how.  

Social media managementSocial media management involves managing social media accounts, engaging audiences, and measuring the business results of social media activities. 

Social media marketingSocial 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 monitoringSocial media monitoring is often confused with social listening, but there are some important differences between the two. Social listening involves actively setting up projects to seek out conversations on specific topics and gathering data on them. Social media monitoring, on the other hand, is the more passive technique of keeping an eye on your mentions and following what your audience is saying.  

Social media ROISocial media ROI, or return on investment, is a measurement of how much revenue your activities on social media are generating for your company versus how much you are spending on them. 

Social selling: Social selling, put simply, is using social media to make sales. 

Sponsored postsSponsored 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.  

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

TagA 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. 

TargetingTargeting is a social media advertising term that refers to how you select the potential audience for your ads. 

ThreadA thread is a string of messages that make up a conversation. 

TrafficTraffic is the number of users who visit a given website or page. 

Trending topicA trending topic is a subject or event that has a sudden surge in popularity on social media. 

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

UnfollowTo unfollow someone is to unsubscribe from their social media account.  

URLURL is short for Uniform Resource Locator. It means the address of a website page or other resource on the Internet. 

User generated content (UGC)User generated content, or UGC, is fan-created content promoting a brand. UGC can come in the form of videos, images, posts, audio, reviews, articles, and more. 

VerifiedTo 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.  

ViralViral is a term describing content that spreads exponentially on social media. This typically occurs because an increasing number of people share the content with their followers, then their followers share the same content to their followers and so on, creating a snowball effect. 

WebinarWebinar is a combination of the words “web” and “seminar.” A webinar is a digital broadcast of a presentation intended to educate or inform. 

If you have any questions about these terms or any others please let us know by contacting us at