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Not only have many businesses moved from brick and mortar storefronts to online shops ala Amazon.com, but the way that all businesses promote themselves has been steadily moving toward completely digital forms and forums. If you’re new to social media, it can be a daunting concept to tackle especially if you’re unfamiliar with the terminology. So, we’ve compiled a list of important terms and their definitions to prepare you for your first steps into this complicated world.

The beauty of social media is that it changes daily, and new terms may be created and adopted quickly. That said, this is in no way an exhaustive list of definitions and is primarily comprised of some of the most popular terms. It is solely meant to help you get started.

Avatar – An avatar is an image or username that represents a person online.

Bitly – Bitly is a free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share online on social networks such as Twitter.

Blog – Blog is a word that was created from two words: “web log.” Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or a business with regular entries of content on a specific topic, descriptions of events, or other resources such as graphics or video.

Clickbait – Clickbait is a term to describe marketing or advertising material that employs a sensationalized headline to attract clicks, which is frowned upon by consumers.

Clickthrough Rate – Clickthrough rate is a metric used to represent the number of times a visitor clicks through divided by the total number of impressions a piece of content receives.

Conversion Rate – Conversion rate is the percentage of people who completed an intended action (i.e. filling out a form, following a social account, etc.).

Crowdsourcing – Crowdsourcing refers to the act of soliciting ideas or content from a group of people, typically in an online setting.

Direct Message – Direct messages are private conversations on Twitter.

Ebook – An electronic version of a book that is typically published in PDF form that commonly serves as lead generating content. Talk to us about how to incorporate ebooks into your marketing campaigns.

Engagement Rate – Engagement rate is used to describe the amount of interaction — likes, shares, comments — a piece of content receives.

Facebook – Social media platform that connects people with friends, family, acquaintances, and businesses from all over the world and enables them to post, share, and engage with a variety of content such as photos and status updates. “A study conducted in 2015 indicated that 77% of Facebook users were highly educated females, with a majority of them over the age of 30. 58% of adults use Facebook.”

[1]Favorite – Favoriting a tweet by clicking the star button at the bottom of the post tells the creator that you liked their content or post.

Forums – An online discussion site.

Friends – A Facebook term that indicates the connections you make and the people you follow.

Geotag – A geotag highlights the location where a photo was taken.

Handle – Handle is the term used to describe someone’s @username on Twitter.

Hashtag – A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#” (i.e. #ProFitMarketing). Social networks use hashtags to categorize information and make it easily searchable for users.

Impressions – Indicates how often and how ads are viewed.

Instagram – Instagram is 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 like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. “Instagram has overtaken Facebook and Twitter as the network with the largest population of younger users with over 50% of people aged 18-29 using this medium.”1

Like – Facebook or Instagram users show approval of a post by clicking “like”.

Link Building – Type of search engine optimization in which website owners earn links to their site from other websites to improve their search engine ranking.

LinkedIn – Professional social networking site with over 347 million members in over 200 countries and territories.  “According to LinkedIn, the fastest growing demographics in its network are students and recent college graduates, making up over 39 million users. 23% of adults use LinkedIn.”1

Live streaming – Live streaming is the act of delivering content over the internet in real-time.

Pinterest – “A photo sharing social network that provides users with a platform for uploading, saving, and categorizing ‘pins’ through collections called ‘boards.’ Boards are typically organized by theme, such as: Food & Drink, Women’s Fashion, Gardening, etc.”² “Pinterest Users skew heavily toward educated females with disposable income. If your product is more of a leisure good, this is a good medium to conquer.”

Podcast – A podcast is a series of digital media files, usually audio, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.

PPC – Pay per click is an online advertising model in which advertisers display ads on various websites or search engines and pay when a visitor clicks through.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – SEO is the process of improving the volume or quality of unpaid traffic to a website from search engines.

Snapchat – A social app that allows users to send and receive time-sensitive photos and videos known as “snaps,” which are hidden from the recipients once the time limit expires (images and videos still remain on the Snapchat server). Users can add text and drawings to their snaps and control the list of recipients in which they send them to.  “Over 60% of Americans between the ages of 13 and 38 are on Snapchat.”

Tag – Tagging is a social media functionality commonly used on Facebook and Instagram that allows users to create a link back to the profile of the person shown in the picture or targeted by the update.

Troll – A person who is known for creating controversy in an online setting. They typically hang out in forums, comment sections, and chat rooms with the intent of disrupting the conversation on a piece of content by providing commentary that aims to evoke a reaction.

Twitter – “Twitter is a real-time social network that allows users to share 140-character updates with their following. Users can favorite and retweet the posts of other users, as well as engage in conversations using @ mentions, replies, and hashtags for categorizing their content.”³ “Surprisingly, Twitter skews slightly more toward younger male users.”1

Viral – “Viral is a term used to describe an instance in which a piece of content — YouTube video, blog article, photo, etc. — achieves noteworthy awareness. Viral distribution relies heavily on word of mouth and the frequent sharing of one particular piece of content all over the internet.”

Vlogging – Vlogging or a vlog is a piece of content that employs video to tell a story or report on information. Vlogs are common on video sharing networks like YouTube.

Webinar – An online seminar or presentation that is hosted by an individual or a company.[2]

YouTube – A video-sharing website used by individuals and corporations alike that allows users to upload, view, rate, share, and comment on videos. Available content includes video clips, TV show clips, music videos, audio recordings, movie trailers, and other content such as video blogging, short original videos, and educational videos.

Now that you have a basis for understanding the social media world, keep an eye out for future blogs that discuss what to do with that information. Contact ProFit Marketing Solutions today for help kick-starting your social media presence.

  1. 1. Patterson, Michael. “Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy”. Sprout Blog Analytics. SproutSocial. Web. 4 May 2015.
  2. Stec, Carly. “Social Media Definitions: The Ultimate Glossary of Terms You Should Know”. HubSpot. Web. 28 Aug 15.

  3. “How Snapchat Demographics are Surprisingly Changing in 2016”. MediaKix. 2016.