Social media terms and definitions

Sprinklr Team

August 23, 20236 min read

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In the ever-evolving social media landscape, brands are constantly looking for ways to bring their A-game to social media platforms. But here’s the catch. How can you win at a game if you don’t know its rules and elements down to the last detail? So, it goes without saying that social media terminology is a crucial piece of this puzzle.  

To connect with your audience, create compelling content and stay on top of your social media game, you need to stay up to date with the latest social media jargon. And trust us when we say that this doesn’t only influence your branding strategies but also how social media users perceive your brand. 

So, in this article, we’ll be digging into the roots of must-know social media terms and terminologies that are related to the metrics of social media engagement. And we won’t only be talking about the latest social media jargon, but we’ll also be covering what it means for brands exactly. So, let’s jump right in. 

Table of Contents

What are social media terms?  

Social media terms refer to the vocabulary and language that are specific to social media platforms. These terms encompass everything from acronyms and slang to technical jargon. 

By familiarizing yourself with these terms, you can effectively navigate and engage with social media. Using the terms correctly can help you build a strong online presence that resonates with your audience. 

Importance of algorithms on social media 

On social media, an algorithm is a complex set of rules and calculations that determine the order and visibility of content on social media platforms. These algorithms are constantly evolving to provide users with the most relevant and engaging content based on their behaviors, preferences and interests. 

How do algorithms determine content visibility?  

 Algorithms consider factors such as engagement, relevance and recency to determine the visibility of content. Posts with higher engagement, such as likes, comments and shares, are more likely to be visible to a wider audience. Understanding the working of algorithms enables you to optimize your content for maximum visibility and organic reach. 

How to optimize content for social media algorithms? 

Follow these tips to optimize content for algorithms: 

  • Create high-quality, valuable content that your target audience can relate to 

  • Encourage engagement by posing questions, posting polls and quizzes, encouraging comments and initiating conversations 

  • Post consistently to maintain a steady presence and increase your chances of appearing on users' timelines 

Basic social media terms that everyone should know (A-Z) 

A-F 

  • A/B test: Experimenting with different versions of something to determine the one that resonates best with your audience 

  • Alt text (alternative text): A written description of an image used for accessibility and search engine indexing 

  • AMA (Ask me anything): An interactive post where people can ask questions and receive real-time answers 

  • Analytics: Data that helps track the performance of social media content, including metrics like page views, engagement rate and clickthrough rate 

  • Algorithm: A set of formulae used by social media platforms to develop content promotion strategies 

  • API (Application programming interface): A documented interface that allows software applications to interact with each other 

  • Artificial intelligence: Machines with cognitive capabilities that mimic human abilities 

  • Audience: Your social media followers and the people you hope to reach 

  • Augmented reality (AR): Layering virtual elements onto real-world scenes to enhance experiences 

  • Avatar: An image or username that represents a person online that’s often used in forums and social networks 

  • BeReal: A dual-camera app that encourages users to capture and share authentic, unaltered moments 

  • Bitly: A URL-shortening service that condenses long URLs for easier sharing on social networks 

  • Bitmoji: Personalized avatars that represent individuals and are often used in messaging and social media 

  • Boosted post: Turning a regular social media post into an ad to reach new audiences 

  • Brand awareness: Creating recognition and recall of a brand among the target audience 

  • Bio: A section on social media profiles where users provide details about themselves 

  • Clickbait: A social media post or ad that uses ambiguous titles, and, at times, misleading info to spark curiosity in readers  

  • Carousel: A format option for advertising on social media that includes multiple cards with images and text 

  • Chat: An online conversation between users on social media platforms 

  • Chatbot: A program that uses machine learning and natural language processing to have human-like conversations 

  • CMS (content management system): The tool used for editing, scheduling and publishing written content for the Web 

  • CPC (cost per click): The amount paid for each click on an advertisement 

  • CPM (cost per mile): A metric used to measure the cost for 1000 ad impressions. 

  • CR (conversion rate): A measurement of the percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase or filling out a form 

  • Dark post: Unpublished posts that are targeted to specific audiences and do not appear on your social media profile 

  • DM (direct message): Private messages sent between users on social media platforms 

  • Engagement: Interactions and actions taken by users on social media, such as likes, comments and shares 

  • Emoji: Small digital icons used to express emotions or convey messages in social media posts and messages 

  • Engagement rate: A metric that measures the level of engagement that a social media post or account receives 

  • Follower: A user who subscribes or follows a social media account to receive updates from that account 

  • Feed: The stream of content displayed on a social media platform, which is often personalized for each user based on their preferences and activity 

  • Filter: A digital effect applied to images or videos on social media platforms to alter their appearance 

  • Friend: A connection or contact on social media platforms that indicates a mutual relationship 

G-K 

  • Hashtag: A word or phrase preceded by the "#" symbol that’s used to categorize and discover content on social media platforms 

  • Handle: The unique username or identifier of a user on social media platforms, which is typically preceded by the "@" symbol 

L-T

  • Like: A form of engagement where users express their appreciation or approval of a social media post 

  • Link shortening: The process of reducing the length of a URL to make it more concise and manageable for sharing on social media 

  • Mention: Referring to or tagging another user in a social media post or comment by using their username 

  • Microblogging: Posting and sharing short-form content, such as brief text updates or images, on social media platforms 

  • Profile: The public-facing page or account on a social media platform that represents an individual or business 

  • Post: A piece of content shared on a social media platform, including text, images, videos or links 

  • Privacy settings: Controls and options that allow users to manage the visibility and accessibility of their social media content 

  • Share: The action of reposting or forwarding someone else's social media content to your network 

  • Social listening: Monitoring and analyzing social media platforms to gather insights and feedback about brands, products or topics 

  • Story: Temporary content that disappears after a specified time, which is often used to share moments or updates on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat 

  • Tag: Labeling or identifying individuals, brands or locations in a social media post 

  • Trending: Topics, hashtags or content that is currently popular or widely discussed on social media platforms 

  • Timeline: A chronological display of a user's social media posts and activity that’s visible to their followers. 

U-Z 

  • UGC (user-generated content): Content created and shared by users on social media platforms, which is often related to a brand or product 

Also Read: How Top Brands Harness UGC Marketing | Sprinklr 

  • Viral: Refers to content that spreads rapidly and widely across social media platforms, often through sharing and engagement 

  • Views: The number of times a video or piece of content has been seen by users on a social media platform 

  • Webinar: An online seminar or presentation conducted through a web-conferencing platform and often shared on social media 

  • Zoom: Refers to the act of zooming in or focusing on a particular aspect of a social media post, image or video 

Also Read: Social media reporting: An essential guide 

Important social media metric terminologies 

Understanding various social media metrics and analytics is essential for measuring audience interaction and the success of your content. Let's delve into some key terms and their significance in the realm of social media analytics. 

Engagement rate: Measuring audience interaction  

Engagement rate is used to gauge the level of active interaction between your audience and the social media content you share. It encompasses actions such as likes, comments, shares and clicks – representing how interested your audience is in your content. 

A high engagement rate shows a strong connection with your audience, indicating their keen interest and investment in your brand. 

With this metric, you can gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of your content strategy and the extent of your social media customer engagement efforts. 

Reach and impressions: Understanding the reach of your content  

Reach refers to the total number of unique users who have come across your social media content. It represents the potential audience size that your posts have reached. 

Impressions, on the other hand, represent the overall number of times your content has been displayed, including any repeated views. This metric can help you determine the visibility and exposure your posts receive. 

Analyzing both reach and impressions can help you comprehend the scope and impact of your content in reaching a wider audience. 

Click-through rate (CTR): Measuring audience interest and engagement 

Click-through rate measures the percentage of users who click on a specific link or call-to-action within your social media content. It serves as a direct indicator of audience interest and engagement. 

A high CTR indicates that your content is not only compelling but also relevant to your audience's interests. It points to your brand's ability to capture the attention of your audience. 

By monitoring this metric, you can learn whether your content drives desired reactions from your audience. 

Conversion rate: Tracking audience actions 

Conversion rate is a metric that measures the percentage of users who complete a desired action. The action may be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter or filling out a form.  

It provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of your social media campaigns. 

Interesting Read: 7 Social media campaign examples to inspire your social media strategy 

Influencer marketing and collaboration  

Influencer marketing is a collaboration between a brand and influencers who have a significant online presence and influence over a target audience. It’s a form of marketing where brands partner with influencers to promote their products or services through the influencer's followers. Influencers can be social media personalities, bloggers, vloggers or industry experts with a considerable amount of loyal and engaged followers.  

Influencer marketing is relevant because it uses the credibility and reach of influencers to enhance a brand's visibility. It helps in establishing trust with consumers and tapping into new markets. 

Influencers often have a deep connection with their audience. They can authentically communicate a brand's message in a relatable way. Such collaboration enables brands to access influencers’ followers and benefit from the trust and influence they have built. 

Also Read: The Right Way to Find Influencers 

How to leverage influencer marketing to enhance your brand?  

Here are a few strategies to leverage influencer marketing effectively: 

  • Define clear objectives and expectations: Communicate your goals, desired outcomes and key performance indicators (KPIs) to influencers. Establish a mutual understanding of the campaign's purpose and the specific actions or deliverables expected from them. 

  • Provide influencers with creative freedom: Allow influencers to maintain their authentic voice and creative style when promoting your brand.  

  • Encourage transparent and genuine endorsements: Authenticity is key in influencer marketing. Emphasize the importance of transparent endorsements, where influencers clearly disclose their partnership with your brand. Genuine recommendations have a stronger impact on followers. 

  • Track and measure campaign results: Implement tracking mechanisms to measure the performance of influencer campaigns. Track metrics such as reach, engagement, conversions and sales that are attributed to the influencer partnership. Analyze the data to optimize future collaborations and make data-driven decisions.  

Must Read: Top social media KPIs for every business 

User-generated content (UGC) and how to make the most of it 

UGC refers to any type of content that is created and shared by users rather than by brands or organizations. It includes social media posts, reviews, testimonials, videos, images and blog articles that have been composed by consumers.  

The #AsSeenOnMe campaign from ASOS, a fashion and cosmetics brand based in the UK, is one of the earlier and most popular examples of UGC. Buyers were asked to post images featuring their purchase from ASOS under the hashtag #AsSeenOnMe. Originally launched in 2014, the hashtag was used over a million times by 2021. 

UGC offers numerous benefits, including: 

  • Enhanced authenticity: UGC is perceived as more authentic and trustworthy compared to branded content because it’s created by real customers. It provides a genuine representation of how customers perceive and interact with a brand. 

  • Increased engagement: UGC encourages the audience to engage and participate. When customers contribute their content, they become more invested in the brand and its community. This leads to higher engagement rates and fosters a sense of belonging. 

  • Improved creativity: Brands can tap into the creativity and diverse perspectives of their customers. Customers get a platform to share their unique experiences that are related to the brand. 

  • Stronger brand loyalty: By involving customers in content creation, brands foster a sense of advocacy. Customers who see their content featured by a brand are more likely to develop a deeper connection and become loyal brand advocates.  

Also Read: 8 Tips For Building an Effective User-Generated Content (UGC) Strategy 

How to leverage UGC for increased brand trust and visibility?  

Here’s how you can set up your UGC for success: 

  • Feature UGC prominently: Featuring customer-generated content demonstrates that real people enjoy and engage with your brand, increasing trust and authenticity. 

  • Repurpose UGC: Use customer testimonials, reviews or images across different marketing channels to amplify the brand's reach and impact. Modify them to suit email campaigns, advertisements and product descriptions.  

  • Encourage sharing and tagging: Encourage customers to share their UGC and tag your brand or use hashtags. This increases brand visibility and expands your reach as their followers discover your brand through their content. 

By leveraging UGC, brands can tap into the creativity and advocacy of their customers, building trust, authenticity and a vibrant online community. 

Deep Dive: How to leverage user-generated content to drive engagements & conversions on social media  

To sum it up 
Understanding social media terms and definitions is bare-basic to successfully navigate the ever-changing realm of social media.  

By familiarizing yourself with the lingo, leveraging algorithms, monitoring key metrics, utilizing influencer marketing and harnessing the power of user-generated content, you can position your brand for success in the social media realm. 

And if you’re still wondering or curious about how you can make the most of social media, get in touch with us for all the help you need to ace your social media strategy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The optimal posting time varies with the platform and your target audience. Use analytics tools to determine when your audience is most active and engaged. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are usually the days with the highest engagement. 

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