A-Z of Social Media: A Glossary of Key Terms - Social Media 101

With the ever-increasing use of social media, comes an ever-growing list of social media related words and phrases. In fact, the sheer volume of these use-specific words is enough to warrant the compilation of an entire dictionary dedicated to this field! Such a publication may be a bit overwhelming to us mere mortals at this point, though. So instead, as a starting point, we’ve put together a glossary of key terms related to social and digital media. To keep you in the loop, here’s our: 

A-Z of Social Media

Analytics: Social media analytics refers to data generated from social media platforms and activities. This data (including both bottom-line stats like sales, as well as elements like customer sentiment and brand affinity) can then be collected and analysed to track performance and ROI. Read more… 

Bots: A bot is a social media “robot” that generates an automated response or behaviour. For example, sending a message like “How can we help you?” when someone visits your site.

Crisis Management: This refers to a plan of action in response to a social media scandal or crisis, such as a situation that attracts bad publicity. Crisis management usually entails internal processes, as well as the involvement of third-party specialists such as social media, public relations and legal experts.

DM: DM stands for “Direct Message”, most commonly used on Twitter and Instagram, for an instant message that is sent privately to another account and is not publicly visible. On Facebook, the term “private message” is used instead.

Employee Amplification: This relates to the process of harnessing the influential power of your employees on social media as “ambassadors” for your brand. Key employees are positioned as thought leaders and trusted advisors to boost both positive sentiment and reach for your business via their personal accounts. Read more…. 

Followers: Followers are people that opt in to view content from your account in their Newsfeed. They form a page’s audience and contribute towards valuable organic (free) reach. They are also generally more engaged than other users, which is great.

GIF: GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format” and refers to short video clips, generally without sound. GIFs are often used to convey emotions and can be found on most social networking platforms including Facebook, Twitter and even Whatsapp. Here’s an example of a GIF (courtesy of giphy.com):

Me trying to meet my writing deadlines:

Handle: Your handle is your social media “ID” or username per platform and begins with “@” e.g. @Social101SA. You can have the same handle on different platforms, but no two users can have the same handle on the same platform. Its best to have a handle that describes you or your brand rather than some clever but unrelated word like @Hotstuff (unless you’re an Indian curry restaurant 😊).

Impression: Impressions are the total number of times that your post has been seen by social media users. This differs from reach, which refers to the total number of unique users that have seen a post. For example, if a 100 users have each seen your post twice, your reach would be 100 but your impressions would be 200.

Join: Joining a group on social media is another way of opting in for content. Most people join groups to engage with people with some sort of shared interest or viewpoint. Getting users to join a group is another great way for businesses to gain organic reach and grow core target groups on a platform.

Keyword: Keywords are commonly used in relation to Search Engine Optimisation, and refer to primary words that relate to a topic. On social media, keywords are often used with a hashtag (#) in front of such a word or phrase. It is used to group conversations about a certain topic e.g. #Christmas. Large scale use of the same keyword by many users at the same time leads to a trending keyword or “trending hashtag”.

Live Stories: Live stories, such as those on Instagram and Snapchat, are photos or videos posted by users that last only 24 hours. As it disappears after this time, it does not form part of profile content. It prompts immediate views of content by users that “don’t want to miss out”. It can be used for content that is only relevant at a certain point in time, or by people that have a lot to share but don’t want to “clutter” their feeds or profile.

Mentions: A mention is just that – it is a mention of you or your brand on social media. This is generally done using your handle (also referred to as “tagging”), and a message is sent to you notifying you that you have been mentioned. You can then respond to the mention if desired.

Notification: Social media notifications are messages sent directly to you by a platform, informing you of an occurrence or event (such as someone tagging you in a post). Other (highly useful) notifications include reminders of birthdays of people you are “friends” with on that platform, and upcoming events.

Organic Reach: This refers to content seen by users through free reach (i.e. not paid promotion). On Facebook, this is often restricted to views by your own audience and group members. On other platforms like Twitter, this reach can be a lot wider, especially with the use of hashtags.

Paid Reach: Paid reach relates to paid advertising on a platform. The reason for using paid promotion is so that you can reach your core audiences through targeted campaigns. It allows you to find and serve content to key segments within their newsfeed, as opposed to waiting for them to find you.

Quote Tweet: A quote tweet basically a retweet on Twitter, with the difference being that you can add your own comment before sharing. This allows you to share your views when sharing curated content. Below is an example of a quote tweet:

 

Reach: Reach is the total number of unique users that see a particular post. In other words, the number of individual people who have been exposed to your brand’s post. This is a figure that should be viewed objectively and considered in relation to your industry market size.

Share: Reposting content from another account is called sharing on social media. This includes clicking the “share” button on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn, and the “retweet” on Twitter. By sharing, content from another page is added to your timeline on a platform, allowing your own audience to view the post without going to the source page itself.

Trending: When a topic gains extensive attention and engagement on social media, it is said to be trending. It refers to widescale popularity at a given time, which can be for both positive and negative reasons (although usually when it comes to the latter, its called a crisis or scandal). The use of a hashtag associated with a topic allows for it to trend as more and more people join the conversation.

UGC: UGC or User Generated Content is content created and posted directly by users (as opposed to crafted, promoted content by businesses). For example, a user posting a photo of a new pair of designer shoes purchased and raving about how awesome they are. UGC is closely tied to customer influence the user becomes a sort of ambassador that the mentioned brand can tap into.

Vanity Metrics: Vanity Metrics are figures such as the number of page likes and followers which can be easily inflated and misleading. Although these figures make a social media page look successful, it does not necessarily equate to business value or ROI. For informed decision-making is best to look at more tangible data sets such as Engagement Metrics. Read more….

Webinar: A webinar is basically a web-based or online seminar. It refers to a live or recorded presentation, and can include video, audio or combined content. Webinars are very popular when it comes to disseminating business, educational or informative content in particular.

eXperience: Ok so maybe we cheated a bit here. But “X” stands for “experience” when used in relation to CX (customer experience) and UX (user experience). Both refer to the move towards more client-centric approaches by businesses. It’s all about creating an amazing experience for the user throughout their journey with the brand, and is becoming the primary focus of social media strategies globally.

YouTube: YouTube is a video-based social networking platform. Users can watch content on virtually any topic, as well as upload their own videos. The monetizing functionality offered by YouTube also makes it an ideal advertising platform for certain brands, and even users themselves can make money if the videos they post generate enough views.

Zealot: Social media zealots are users who are highly engaged and often emotionally invested in a brand online. They interact with the brand itself, as well as other users that engage with the business. There is a potential for such consumers to be harnessed as ambassadors for the brand, but this should be approached with caution due to their “zealous” or passionate nature.

And there you have it – our A-Z of social media! We hope that you find this guide useful and informative (you can even show off your knowledge around the coffee machine). Feel free to get in touch with us should you require more insight into these or any other social media and digital concepts.

CLICK HERE to contact Social Media 101 – we look forward to hearing from you.

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