As social media constantly changes, it can be difficult to keep up with the ins and outs of the terminology. To help you stay with the times, we’ve created a basic social media glossary. From engagement to viral, we present terms and their definitions in the context of social media. Some you’ve likely heard, and others may be completely new. While we can’t help you discern how to correctly pronounce “GIF”, this guide will prove a helpful tool when deciphering social media lingo.
Engagement n. – any interaction with other social media users. Each platform will offer different ways to engage. Examples include: messages, likes, comments, retweets, shares, follows, etc.
Geofilter n. – a location-specific graphic overlay that is only available when a user is physically in that geographic region. Geofilters are most common on Snapchat, but are starting to appear on other platforms as well.
GIF n. – whether you pronounce it with a hard G or like the peanut butter brand, GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format. These are moving images (like the one below) often used to communicate on Twitter.
Handle n. – an account name on social media. On Twitter and Instagram, these are preceded by an “@” symbol, and on Facebook and LinkedIn, follow the last forward slash. It’s best to keep handles as consistent as possible across social media channels, so others can easily find you.
Hashtag n. – a word or phrase (with no spaces) preceded by a “#” symbol. These are used to identify topics across the majority of social media platforms. When creating a post, try to think of relevant keywords others might use to search for the information you’re posting, and include them as hashtags in your post.
Impressions n. – the number of times a post is displayed. It’s possible for a single person to receive multiple impressions of one post. For example, you may see a post in your feed once from the company who posted it, and again if a friend shares it. This would equal two impressions since you saw the content displayed twice.
Influencer n. – a user on social media with established credibility, often with access to a large audience. Influencers typically have a large following as others look to them to see what’s trending in an industry. Influencers are important in marketing, as they are often excellent for brand advocacy.
Reach n. – the number of unique people who receive impressions of a post. This metric accounts for each individual who sees a post, regardless of how many times they saw it (impressions). Both reach and impressions can be calculated in terms of actual or potential.
Thread n. – a strand of messages resembling a conversation. Whether it’s a private direct message conversation, or one that occurs through comments on a public post, the chain of back-and-forth messages is called a thread.
Viral adj. – similar to its definition in the medical field, viral content is content that is spread rapidly from one user to another. This term is often used to describe posts that have received thousands or even millions of impressions, likes, shares or retweets. There is no set number that deems what has “gone viral” as it’s typically relative to the average engagement a user normally gets.
While we could deep dive into HTML, geotagging and more, understanding the above ten terms are necessary for social media strategy and application. As social media evolves, these terms will still prove valuable. Check out our blog for more on social media and best practices in marketing.
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