Social media terms – a comprehensive guide

Like most industries, the marketing world has its own language, and it’s a language with an ever-growing list of new words. 

As marketers, we pride ourselves on communicating clearly and effectively to any audience. However, sometimes when it comes to internal communication, even we don’t know WTF we’re saying! 

With a list of acronyms longer than the alphabet and terms that don’t always sound like their meaning, we decided to create a comprehensive guide of commonly used social media terms. 

This glossary is for anyone looking to familiarize themselves with social media jargon, buzzword encounters on the web or, dare we say it, real life! And no, WTF is not one of them. But if your boss catches you saying “WTF,” just tell them it stands for “Welcome to Facebook” and move on. 

Sorted alphabetically, jump down to the term you’re looking for below! 


A/B Testing – Testing two versions of the same ad, webpage, etc. to see which one the audience responds to best. 

Affiliate Marketing – The process of earning a commission from the company of the product or service an affiliate promotes on their social channels. Individuals or agencies promoting the products for a commission are referred to as affiliates. 

Algorithm (Algo) – Used to determine how content is shown to users. Social networks share very little information about how their algorithms work but consider users’ social interactions such as likes, dislikes, relationships, etc. to create unique algorithms unique to each user. 


Bio – The space below a user’s social media profile picture that tells followers about the user. Sometimes users incorporate links in their bio to direct followers to important information. 

Boosted Post – A type of social media advertising where a brand pays to show people not already following the brand a social post in hopes of discoverability and consumer purchase. 

Brand Advocate – A person who organically posts and promotes a product or service without being paid or asked.

Business to Business “B2B” – Commercial transactions from one business to another. 

Business to Consumer “B2C” – Selling products or services directly between businesses and consumers. 

Campaign Budget Optimization “CBO” – Available on Facebook as an opt-in feature, CBO optimizes the distribution of a campaign budget across ad sets to get the best conversion results for your target audience. 

Call To Action “CTA” – The next step a marketer wants a follower or customer to take. CTA’s can link out to anything like a purchase window, company website, newsletter subscription, etc. 

Click-through rate “CTR” – The percentage of recipients who click through a hyperlink out of everyone who viewed it.

Conversion Rate “CVR” – Measures the percentage of people who took a particular action from an ad, such as making a purchase and clicking a link. 

Cost Per Action “CPA” – Used to measure and price the cost of a specific action like click, sale, or sign up. 

Cost Per Click “CPC” – A metric used to measure the cost of each click in a pay-per-click ad campaign. 

Cross-channel – A marketing strategy that provides consumers with the same digital ad or content experience across various social media platforms. 

Crowdsourcing – Asking your followers or online community for new ideas, information, etc. User-generated content or utilizing polls features are types of crowdsourcing.


Direct Message “DM” – A way to privately communicate on a social platform. Brands can message customers directly and vice versa.


Engagement – Interaction from followers on social media such as likes, comments, and shares. 

Engagement Rate – A metric to measure the percentage of people engaging with your content. 

Evergreen Content – Content that stays relevant and “fresh” for readers no matter the date posted. 

Frequency – The number of times a customer is exposed to a piece of content.

GIF – Short for Graphics Interchange Format. They can be both static or animated images and are a way for users to react on social media.

Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) – A type of advertising from Google. Google Ads are the first Google search result and can appear on other websites.


Hashtag – A word or phrase using the “#” and is used on social media to create broader conversations within communities. Searching or clicking the hashtag will show you the latest posts using that particular hashtag. 


IG – Shorthand for Instagram.

Impressions – A metric to measure the number of times an advertisement or digital media appears on a social network. Note: Not the number of times a user sees it, just the amount of times the content is displayed. 

Influencer Marketing – A type of marketing using someone on social media with a dedicated following to promote a brand’s product or service. 

Instagram TV – Referred to as IGTV, Instagram TV is a way for users to record and upload longer-form video content. IGTV allows users to record and upload 60 minutes of video content that users can then share to their Feed. IGTV Feed posts previews then links followers to the full-length video on the user’s IGTV channel. Before IGTV, Instagram limited users to 60 seconds for Feed videos. 


Link Building – A marketing strategy that gets other websites to link out to a brand’s website in order to increase website traffic and SEO. 

Link in Bio – A URL in a person’s social media bio that redirects followers or users to a website or landing page. 


Macro Influencer – 100,000 to 1,000,000 followers – gained a following from the internet itself like vlogging, YouTube, or video creation.

Mega Influencer – more than 1,000,000 followers – they are more famous than influential. Their follower base interest varies. They aren’t subject experts,  but they can get brands a lot of reach.

Meme – An image or GIF consisting of text above or on top. Users are always creating and sharing memes on social media as a way to joke or comment. 

Micro Influencer – 1,000 to 100,000 followers – substantial influence focused on niche topics and are considered specialists. 


Nano Influencer – Less than 1,000 followers – small number of followers but influencers boast concentrated leverage in small communities. 


Organic Reach – People who see your content or advertising without paid distribution.


Pay Per Click “PPC” – A form of advertising where a company or organization pays each time the ad or content is clicked on by a consumer. 

Pin – A post on Pinterest. All pins include a picture, caption, and link out to the image’s original source. Users can like, Repin, and save Pins to boards.  


Reach – The number of people exposed to an advertisement or any type of digital media.

Reels – Instagram’s newest video recording feature. Reels is available on mobile and allows users to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos to make a “Reels.” Users can share Reels to their Feed or the new Reels dedicated space on the navigation bar. Instagram Reels compares to TikTok’s short-form videos. 

Retargeting – An advertising tactic that aims to convert website visitors that didn’t complete the conversion the first time they visited a brand’s website. Retargeting can appear on social networks by using a tracking tag in a website’s code.


Search Engine Marketing “SEM” – Increases a website’s visibility in search engine results pages through paid advertising. 

Search Engine Optimization “SEO” – Free tactics that increase website visibility to increase website traffic. 

Share of Voice “SOV” – A measurement used to measure the number of social media mentions a brand is receiving compared to competitor brands. 

Social Media ROI (Return on Investment) – Measures social media marketing’s success by calculating the time, money, and effort it took to create the ad, campaign, or digital content and comparing it to its performance. 

Social Selling – A sales practice that uses social media to connect brands to potential customers. Essentially “cold calling” for the digital era. 

Sponsored Post – Social media posts from influencers or content creators who were paid to promote a brand or product. The posts should include #ad or #sponsored in the caption. 


Tag – Tags can mean two things: 

  • A keyword for categorizing content.
  • Using a tag to tag an account in a social media post and clicking the tag links users back to the tagged account’s social media profile. Users and accounts can remove tags.

Traffic – Number of people visiting your website otherwise known as visitors. 

Trending – A topic or hashtag that becomes very popular on social media. A trending topic or hashtag exists to create conversation and engagement online.


User-Generated Content “UGC” – Branded content created by a brand’s followers or customers; when brands share their followers’ content on social media, it becomes a UGC campaign. 

URL-Shortener – A tool to shorten a URL and make it more digital-friendly. URL-shorteners also have tracking capabilities so brands or companies can track click-throughs.


Vanity Metric – Analytics including likes, comments, and followers. These analytics items are measured but don’t illustrate an actual return on investment. 

Vanity URL – A web address used for marketing purposes.

Viral – A post, Tweet, video, etc that receives record-high engagement. A larger number of shares is the first sign of a post or video going viral online or on social media. 

Video Completion Rate “VCR” – Used to measure the number of times a video advertisement or video content is played and watched all the way through.


Widget – Part of a system’s interface that allows users to access and perform functions or services on their device.

We will be adding and updating the list to account for new and evolving social media marketing strategies and terms! Don’t forget to bookmark this blog for future reference; it’s perfect as a quick refresher. 

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