Social Media Marketing Glossary for Beginners!

Social Media Marketing Glossary for Beginners!

Social Networking and Social Media Basic Terminology for Local Organizations - 2013 Edition by

Use this glossary as a guide to learn the basics of Social Media Terminology!

Admin - Short for ‘Administrator’. Facebook Admins are people who create and manage activity for Facebook groups and pages. These Admins are chosen by the Facebook Page owner to disperse information and respond to Like, Comments, Photos, etc.

Alert - A service offered by Google that allows users to save specific searches and receive an update whenever a new result appears on the Internet for that particular search, typically delivered by email or RSS. This is particularly useful for businesses or organizations that wish to monitor mentions of their brands on blogs and websites. Similar services exist such as This practice is often referred to as “Listening”.

Analytics - The numbers and metrics used to measure the amount and frequency of visitors to your website, blog, or Fan Page. Many social networks utilize their own system of analytics, and Google Analytics is often used to analyze web pages and blogs.

App - Short for ‘Application’. Apps can either be a program that is run on the mobile device, or a program that is run with a web browser. Often times an App is used on a mobile device for easier and quicker functionality. For example Facebook and Foursquare both have a mobile App (Application) that will allow you to access functionality of the or website. Some Social Networks run only as an App (and not via the web browser). Instagram originally started as an iPhone only App.

Audience - This is the group of specific users that you may want to interact with via your Fan Page or Twitter Profile. It is generally recommended to develop a specific audience or local audience depending on the goals of your organization. Knowing and tailoring your key audience is critical in determining which social network may benefit your organization’s goals.

Avatar - An avatar is a graphic representation of you on the web or a social network that oftentimes you design. Sometimes an actual photo is referred to as an Avatar, such as your profile photo on Google+ and Facebook. However, typically an Avatar is merely a representation. Social Networks usually call your personal photo or avatar a Profile Photo.

Banner - Banner Ad - Digital Banner Ad - A Text or Graphic Advertisement that is often inserted into the news feed or stream. Advertisements appear in different forms, positions, and placements on different Social Networks. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tumblr have banner advertising options. - (or is a service that helps create Short-URLs by shortening the length of the URL. Having a shorter URL is easier to post on Twitter, as well as providing a method for tracking and statistics. Bitly also allows for free QR code generation on any shortened URL.

Blog - There are a lot of different definitions for a blog. Put simply, a blog (short for "web log") is a website or part of a website where you can post regular entries of opinion pieces, news, case studies, your email newsletter archive, or anything else you want to share with your customers or prospects. One of the most popular blogging platforms is WordPress.

Board - Pin Board - A Board is a collection of interesting images on the Pinterest social network. When you upload a new image or want to save an image you may choose to place it into a Board. Boards are often publically visible by default, but can also be created for private use.

Channel - Channel Page - A Channel is a Brand or User page on the Social Network, YouTube. You can customize the Channel Page in a similar fashion to a Profile page. Users can subscribe to a Channel if they enjoy viewing the videos on a Channel Page.

Check-in - Some social networks, such as Foursquare, allow users to ‘Check-in’ to a physical establishment, which may notify their connections of their whereabouts. Businesses can offer incentives for visiting their location by providing coupons or discounts for each Check-in.

Circles (Circle) - On the Social Network, Google+, you may choose to place groups of users into your own defined “Circle”. These are people or organizations you may choose to receive updates from or connect with on Google+. As a user, you may then choose to only send an update to a specific “Circle” or group of individuals or organizations.

Comment - Users may choose to leave a comment on a blog post or social network update / post. Comments are often a reply that is added in response to the content of a posting or blog update. Sometimes others users can choose to reply to comments as well and have a discussion about the original post or article. A Social Media Manager or Page Admin will want to encourage and respond to comments. This is often called “increasing engagement”.

Connect - The term connect is used to mean “reaching out and starting a discussion” with a brand or individual. Sometimes ‘to connect’ means to “follow or subscribe to updates” from a brand or page.

Connections - LinkedIn calls the links between individuals a ‘Connection’. Similar to how Facebook calls such a link a ‘Friend’.

Content - Content includes updates, posts, articles, and images (media) that is posted onto a website, page, blog, or social network. Social Media Managers and Page Admins are asked to post relevant content, and Content Writers are hired to come up with new content (articles, posts, etc) for a blog or Fan Page. Another Job Title for Content Writers may be the Director of Content.

Cover Photo - For Facebook, this is also called a Timeline Cover Photo and it is the large picture at the top of your Facebook Fan Page or Profile. Other Social Networks also use the term Cover Photo in a similar fashion.

Direct Message - DM - A way to privately message someone you follow on Twitter. Simply called “Message” on Facebook. Direct Messages are private conversations between users on Social Networks.

DIY - Short for “Do It Yourself”, DIY is a term often associated with arts, crafts, and home-improvement projects. Many Social Networks have dedicated Boards, Groups, and Interests for DIY projects. Pinterest has an entire section of their platform that features DIY Pins, Boards, and projects.

Engage - ‘Engagement’ or ‘Engaging’ is the act of sparking up a new conversation with an individual or group on a Social Network, blog post, or comment stream. One of the primary functions of Social Media Managers and Page Admins is the task of increasing ‘Engagement’ by posting new and interesting articles or images that encourage Fans to interact or comment on them.

Fan - Fans - Users who are on the Facebook Social Network that have “Liked” a Page or subscribed to updates from a Page (Brand or Organization Fan Page). Fans are users who have expressed an interest in a Page, typically by clicking a like button or subscribing to page updates.

Fan Page - Fan Pages are a timeline-like page that admins can setup for organizations, brands, artists, or causes on Facebook with the goal of obtaining “Fans” and growing an audience of the Fan Page. This is generally NOT an official brand page and is more of a page run by devoted fans of brands, celebrities, and organizations. Fan Pages generally do not have the same administrative features or capabilities as Brand Pages.

Feed - Feeds - The word ‘Feed’ is used to describe a stream of information. A News Feed might be a list of recent posts or articles. A Twitter Feed might be a recent list of Tweets and, especially in the case of Twitter, is a real-time feed that constantly updates to up-to-the-second posts.

Follow - Followers - In Twitter and many other Social Networks, to “Follow” a user is to subscribe in some way to their updates. In Twitter, when you Follow a user, their Tweets will appear in your Twitter Feed. The amount of users who have subscribed to your Tweets are called your “Followers”.

Friend - Friends are the personal connections on your Facebook profile page.

Group - A Group is a page on a Social Network allowing users to discuss relevant topics based on the interest of the group. Examples of this can be found with LinkedIn Groups, Facebook Groups, and SoundCloud Groups.

Hashtag - The "#" sign is used to group and track tweets or Facebook posts by topic and make it easier to search for particular topics or related discussions. This is very similar to ‘tagging’ a post with descriptive words. One of the important functions of a Hashtag is to allow a hyperlink to the search results of the specific hashtag. Many TV shows use hashtags to encourage discussion on Twitter about a specific topic or show.

Hyperlink - Link - Hyperlinks, also called Links, are a way to access additional information related to a word, phrase, or web page. These links can also connect to images, videos, blogs, and other content. Hyperlinks are the backbone of the internet as they connect resources to one another in quick and efficient ways.

In-stream - Many Social Networks have something called a ‘Stream’ or a ‘Feed’ which is a list of recent updates. Occasionally a social network may offer a form of advertising called in-stream advertisments. This is where a banner or digital advertisement may appear in-stream (or within the stream or feed). For example, in 2013, Facebook and Twitter introduced in-stream advertisements in users’ news feeds. In-stream advertisements can be custom-tailored in their delivery based on the Likes and Interests that users have indicated within their profiles.

Insights - Facebook Insights provides Facebook Page owners with metrics around their content. This is the Analytic interface for Facebook Fan Pages and Brand Pages.

Like - Pressing the “Like” button on Facebook is a way to give positive feedback and a virtual “thumbs up” for something you’ve read and liked.

Liker - Likers are the connections made in affiliation with your Facebook Fan Page. "Likers" are exclusive to Facebook Fan Pages only, often called Fans.

Listening / Monitoring - A process of obtaining alerts or notifications when a brand, page, organization, or tag is “mentioned” on a social network. By listening or monitoring, this allows Social Media Managers and Page Admins an opportunity to engage and interact with anyone mentioning the specific word.

Login - Many web services and social networks require you to ‘login’ before interacting with the website or service. This is like unlocking the door to use the service and typically requires authentication via a username or password. Sometimes a username may be an email or callsign and the password would be one that you choose when you first ‘register’ for the social network or website service. Registering is typically the process of obtaining a username and password for future authentication so that you may login.

Message - Private Message - Direct Message - DM - many social networks all you to send a short text message or form of messages to another user in a private manner. Often times you must first be connected / or follow that user before sending them a message privately.

Microblog - Microblogging - A term used to describe short versions of blog posts. These posts may also include images or photos, and links to videos. Tumblr is an example of a microblogging Social Network.

Monitoring - Listening - a social media manager may be tasked with monitoring the updates on a variety of social networks, often using third-party tools that allow the manager to be notified upon a new mention (post, update, or tweet) pertaining to the brand or organization. Users may mention other users or brands by saying their name or even linking to their Page. On some networks you may mention another user by placing the @ symbol in front of their username.

Page - Fan Page - Business Page - Brand Page - This is a page that can be set up on the Facebook Social Network that allows an organization to post updates and build an interested community around the organization, brand, interest, or topic. Celebrities can create a Fan Page, as well as Products or Interests. Every page has an Admin or Manager that manages posts and communicates with ‘Fans’ who interact with the Page.

Pinning - A Pinterest term that describes sharing images to your own account for your followers to see and share. “Pins” are images added to Pinterest not unlike pinning something on a bulletin board. Pinterest users create “Boards” to file, save, and categorize Pins they like.

Post - Updates, message, articles, and images that are added to a Social Networking Profile, Website, Page or Blog is often called a “Post”. Occasionally comments can be referred to as Posts as well. A Post can also be referred to as a “Status update”, “Tweet”, or when you “Post” a new article.

Profile - Every Social Network has its own User Profile. When you create an account on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn (etc) you will be asked to create your “profile”. Consider this your virtual resume and a way to share information about yourself and your business. Profiles are usually set to Public when you initially create them, meaning that everyone can see any and all information you provide in your Profile, such as your Avatar, address, phone number, email, etc. However, you do not need to include your personal information for public display, and you can change the default settings to Private in many instances. Profiles allow connections to contact you or connect with you on Social Network platforms.

Profile Photo - This is the photo that you can upload to represent yourself on your Social Profile. It is also referred to as an Avatar. For a brand on a Fan Page it might be a logo or a graphic that represents the brand.

QR - QR Codes - These are small barcodes that are usually in a square shape with lots of square dots. This stands for ‘Quick Response’ and it is an easy way for mobile devices to connect to a website or other information. Each QR code can be ‘encoded’ with specific instructions that when scanned with a device (usually a smartphone), the device will activate to follow the encoded instructions, such as directing to a website, or to view a video link. In Social Media, QR codes are often used to take ‘users’ who scan the code to a Social Profile.

Reach - On many social networks, Reach is a measurement of users who view or interact with your postings, including clicks, comments, page views, etc. Reach means different things on each Social Network and it is difficult to provide a unique definition of Reach that applies to every network. On Facebook you can ‘increase your reach’ by promoting a post (paying to allow more Fans to see that specific post). Often a measure of reach is how viral a post was (how quickly or for how long a post was shared over and over again).

Real-time - This is something that is happening ‘right now’ as opposed to once an hour or when the post is published at a later date. Twitter and other Social Networks are considered real-time in that the user is notified of new tweets or posts the moment that they are added to the feed.

Recommend - Facebook has a feature that allows its users to recommend a Page, organization, individual or place of business. These recommendations appear on a Fan Page and include the individual’s Profile information. Recommendations are referred to as “Social-Proof”, meaning that recommendations function as evidence that people have had positive experiences with the organization.

Relevancy - Relevant Content - On Social Networks and web sites, it is often encouraged to post ‘Relevant’ content to the desired or target audience. This is content or media (posts, updates, images, articles, etc.) that applies to the field or topic of discussion or interest as opposed to irrelevant content that might not apply at all. For example a funny image post about a popular comedian might not be Relevant on a Page about personal investing or gardening.

Share - To post or re-post content on a social media site is to share it. Facebook specifically has a Share option, which allows you to post someone else's content on your page. This is called a “retweet” on Twitter and on Tumblr this is called a “reblog”. Sharing also includes sending or forwarding content via email, blog post, and comments.

Social Proof - In Social Media Management, Social Proof is when customers or fans of a brand post positive and supportive recommendations, photos or other encouraging news about an organization or brand. Social Proof is highly encouraged because it is a critical part of Word of Mouth, and is considered a very important part of Social Media Awareness for a brand or organization. Social Media Managers and Page Admins may use Monitoring or Listening tools to find and encourage positive recommendations and responses of Social Proof, while responding in a professional manner to any negative experiences of Social Proof.

Short-URL - This is a simplified version of an URL that is shorter and less detailed. On Social Networks, a shorter URL is typically used for Usernames. Ex:

Social Media Management - This is a process of monitoring, listening, and posting updates to social profiles. Social Media Management can occur in-house and is usually connected with a Marketing, Advertising, or Public Relations Department. However, many companies are realizing that Social Media Management is quickly becoming its own major department.

Social Media Manager - An individual, people, or a team that is tasked to do work involving Social Media Management. Social Media Management Teams are tasked with monitoring and listening to all of a company’s Social Networks, and creating, posting, and managing new content and social interactions.

Tab - On Facebook, a Tab is a small square space that appears at the top of a Fan Page below the Cover Photo area and above the Timeline area. Facebook default tabs include Photos, Map, and Fan Count. Tabs allow for extra interaction such as viewing recent photos or visiting custom pages. It is often recommended that organizations create custom content in these Tabs, such as an incentive to “Become a Fan” or “Join an email newsletter”. There are many third-party tools that allow easier creation of custom Tabs for Facebook.

Tags - Some networks utilize Tags in a similar function to Hashtags, whereby you add short words to describe the content that is posted. Tags, like Hashtags, categorize and help your content appear in search results when other people search for those words. For example, a post on Tumblr about a famous singer might be ‘tagged’ with the words or phrases: “music”, “singer songwriter”, or “famous singer”. Tags also function as hyperlinks to search listings of related posts that have also been tagged with those words.

Timeline - On Facebook, the Timeline is a history of posts and updates either for an Individual or Brand Page / Organization Fan Page. Users can scroll down to see a chronological listing of previously posted articles and events, photos or other updates.

Track - Tracks - Audio Track - On the SoundCloud network, uploaded content in the form of audio clips are called “Tracks”.

Traffic / Visitors - The number of visitors to your social media profiles, website or blog.

Tweet - A way to disperse and share information, thoughts, ideas, and links on Twitter in 140 characters or less. Tweets are typically short text updates but may contain hashtags and links to images, videos, or other websites.

URL - A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a web address that points to a unique page on the internet. Some Social Network Pages allow you to set up a Short-URL that has a username.

Username - Most websites use Usernames to register and login using your username and password. A username is like a nickname or callsign that can be anything you like. With many Social Networks a Username is also a quick and easy way to find a Profile or Page. Facebook allows Admins to set up a Fan Page Username, which is simply a Short version of the URL used to find the Fan Page. Twitters usernames appear with an @ symbol before the name. Many of the Social Networks are now using the term Username as a quick way to find a Profile or Page.

Viral - Occasionally a post or update on a Social Network may go ‘Viral’. This is when the post or update is “Shared” or distributed amongst members of a Social Network over and over again in an exponential fashion due to the nature of connections within social networks. Since many Social Networks are interconnected and users can post updates in multiple networks, ‘Viral Content’ can spread very rapidly. What makes something go Viral is widely debated, as it is based on individual preferences.

Wall - Wall Post - On Facebook each user has a page that has a history of their updates. This is now officially called a Timeline, but many people still refer to it as their Wall or a Wall Post.

Are we missing anything? Let us know in the comments on this blog post! Find this useful? Please share!