20 Social Media Marketing terms everyone should know

Maybe you’re new to Social Media Marketing, or perhaps you just need to brush up on your terminology a bit.

There are new phrases and acronyms that continue to be added to the lexicon of Social Media Marketing, and for those that work in career fields that are directly or indirectly related to digital marketing, it’s a good idea to make sure you know your stuff.

Here are twenty terms that you need to know:

A/B Test – An A/B test is a method of comparing two variations of an ad, piece of content, or other material so you can see which version performs better. Also known as split testing, A/B testing involves changing one small element at a time (like a headline or graphic) to refine your results. During A/B testing, only a portion of your audience sees each test. This allows you to create the most effective content before you release it to your entire following. (Hootsuite)

Brand Advocate – A person who loves your brand and continues to support your company and promote your services or products to new customers organically. (Everyone Social)

Clickbait – The practice of writing sensationalized or misleading headlines in order to attract clicks on a piece of content. It often relies on exaggerating claims or leaving out key information in order to encourage traffic. The term is generally used in a dismissive sense. (CoSchedule)

Clickthrough Rate – A metric that measures the number of clicks advertisers receive on their ads per number of impressions. (Wordstream)

Conversion Rate – Refers to the number of conversions divided by the total number of visitors. For example, if an e-commerce site receives 200 visitors in a month and has 50 sales, the conversion rate would be 50 divided by 200, or 25%. A conversion can refer to any desired action that you want the user to take. This can include anything from a click on a button to making a purchase and becoming a customer. (Optimizely)

Creative Commons – Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof. (Creative Commons)

Employee Advocacy – Refers to the act of employees using their own social presence to increase the reach of the company and its content. (Link Humans)

Engagement Rate – A popular social media metric used to describe the amount of interaction — likes, shares, comments — a piece of content receives. (Track Maven)

Geotag – The directional coordinates that can be attached to a piece of content online. For example, Instagram users often use geotagging to highlight the location in which their photo was taken. (Wikipedia)

Impressions – Impressions help measure the number of people who have seen a post, even if they didn’t click, comment, or otherwise engage with that post. They are a particularly important metric on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. (CoSchedule)

Klout – A measure of social influence. The service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., and then provides every user with his or her Klout score. The score is out of 100 — the higher the score, the more influence it estimates you have in the social world. (Klout)

Live streaming – The act of delivering content over the internet in real-time. This term was popularized in social media by apps such as Meerkat and Periscope. (Wikipedia)

Mention – A Twitter mention is a way to get another user’s attention, likely to try and start a direct conversation with them on the platform. In a nutshell, a Twitter mention is any Tweet that contains the @ symbol followed by another person’s username. (Hootsuite)

Newsjacking – The practice of capitalizing on the popularity of a news story to amplify your sales and marketing success. (HubSpot)

Real-Time Marketing – Reacting in real, or near, real-time. It’s about creating relevant messaging, and it’s achieved on social channels by listening to and anticipating customer needs. Essentially, real-time marketing focuses on current events, trends, or feedback. (HubSpot)

Social Proof – Social proof takes the form of reviews, existing customers, media coverage, and more. Social Proof covers a similar idea – when people shop, they look for reviews, recommendations, and ways that others have used a product before making their decision. (Sprout Social)

Social Media Monitoring – The practice of putting in place protocols to monitor incoming mentions of a given topic or brand. Often this will be done with automated social media analytics and monitoring tools. Most crucially, it is designed to alert and enable quick responses from brands, so that negative mentions that may harm the public’s perception of the brand don’t linger. (Talk Walker)

Story – A Snapchat, Facebook, or Instagram story is a string of videos or images that lasts for 24 hours. Users can create stories to be shared publicly or just a customized group of recipients. (Snapchat)

User-Generated Content (or UGC) Blogs, videos, photos, quotes, etc. — that is created by consumers. Marketers typically tap into their audience in an online setting to collect this type of content to support a campaign or initiative. (Wikipedia)

Vlogging – A piece of content that employs video to tell a story or report on information. Vlogs are common on video-sharing networks like YouTube. (Wikipedia)


Mike Nicholson

I've spent my career working in a variety of Strategic Communications, Public Relations, Public Affairs, Information Operations, and Executive Outreach positions. With a history of planning, preparing, executing, and assessing communication strategies in the U.S. and abroad, I use this site to write, think and share lessons learned on organizational communications.

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