In today’s digital world, social media is a powerful tool for marketing your business. However, getting the most of your social media marketing can be difficult if you don’t understand the terminology involved. This glossary will help you to familiarize yourself with the jargon of the following social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter.
Common Social Media Terminology
While each platform is different, there are several terms that are common across platforms. In fact, in breaking down the different social media platforms, you realize how similar they really are!
Below are some common terms that are relevant to all social media platforms in this post unless stated otherwise.
- Bio: Short description of who you are. Not used on Snapchat, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
- Business Page: A free feature for companies who wish to be recognized as a business on Instagram. This feature provides a contact button that allows the company to decide how their audience can get in touch with them, as well as get directions to the brick and mortar location.
- Comment: A reaction or response to a user’s post that shows up beneath the post.
- Follow: The act of subscribing to another user’s updates or adding another user as a friend or connection on the platform. When you follow a user, everything they post will show up on your feed.
- Follower: Users who subscribe to your posts on social media platforms. Synonymous with Facebook friends, Snapchat friends, and LinkedIn connections.
- Handle: Your username on a platform, often preceded by “@”. Handles are not used on Snapchat or LinkedIn.
- Hashtag (#): A word or phrase (without spaces) preceded by a hash or pound sign to identify a keyword or topic and make it easy to track and locate. Hashtags are most commonly used on Instagram and Twitter; sometimes used on Facebook; not used on Snapchat or LinkedIn.
- Giveaway/Contest: A way for users to engage with your business through methods such as repost and tag a photo, tag a friend in the comments, or like a post. Giveaways are not common on Snapchat.
- Like: A virtual thumbs up to show a user you liked their post. Not used on Snapchat.
- Location: The place where you are posting from, or where a photo was taken. Locations are not tagged on Snapchat (unless using a geofilter). Locations on LinkedIn are mostly used for business profiles or not used at all because the platform doesn’t support GPS locations.
- Mention (@): The act of tagging another user by placing the @ sign before their username. Mentions are not used on Snapchat.
- Newsfeed: The “homepage” of the social media platform you’re looking at, and typically the first page you’re directed to immediately after logging in. Newsfeeds show a stream of information on social media that your friends or people you follow have posted including links to websites, news, pictures, and videos. There is no newsfeed on Snapchat.
- Post: Content consisting of links, text, photos, or videos that users put on their profile or news feed (depending on the platform) as a way of providing updates in real time.
- Profile: Personal information on a social media channel. Other users can view your content and personal information to get a better idea of who you are and what you do.
- Reply: Similar to a mention, the act of responding to another user’s comment or mention by preceding their username with the @ symbol. This directly notifies them that you are responding to one of their comments. Replies are not used on Snapchat.
- Tag: Links another user to a post or tweet by using the @ sign before their username. Learn how to tag someone on Twitter and Facebook. Users can’t tag on Snapchat.
- Trend: Popular topic based on how many users have posted a topic with a specific hashtag. Snapchat does not post trends.
- Username: Your handle on social media accounts such as Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. How other users can search for you, mention you, or reply to you.
Facebook is the most widely used social media platform. In order to get the most out of marketing your business on Facebook, here’s the terminology that you need to know.
- Business Page: A page where businesses can post updates using text, photos, and videos to keep their customers engaged and aware of what’s new. A great place to promote Facebook events, new product launches, or to promote blog posts.
- Chat: Communication between users.
- Facebook Event: Gives the time, location, date, and details of an event a business is holding or participating in. Companies can invite their fans to the event and encourage them to share the event on their personal pages to increase visibility.
- Facebook Ads Manager: An application that allows business owners to track ad performance; edit published ads, ad budgets, and schedules; receive notifications; and create new ads.
- Facebook Live: Allows users to post live videos of whatever they’re doing at any given moment. Facebook lives provides an interactive way for businesses to give their audience real time updates of what their company is up to.
- Fans: Facebook users who have “liked” your Facebook page.
- Share: Taking content from another user and posting it to your news feed for all of your followers to see.
- Status Update: Any content that you post, and can include text and media. Snapchat and Instagram users don’t post status updates.
- Timeline: A user’s feed of their posts that is found on their profile.
Instagram is the most visual platform available to social media users. Its users can post photos and short videos to their followers. It’s especially effective for small businesses to show what their products look like, or show photos of customers with their products.
- Caption: Short description of a photo or video.
- Direct Message/DM: One-to-one messaging between users within the app. Users don’t need to follow each other to use this feature.
- Filter: A way for you to personalize your photos and enhance their look..
- Insta/IG: Slang used when referring to the Instagram app.
- Post: A picture or video uploaded by an Instagram user.
- Private Profile: Profile with settings such that you can approve or reject other users’ requests to follow you and see your content.
- Public Profile: Profile with settings such that any user can find your profile, follow you, and see your content.
Related: Getting Started with Instagram
LinkedIn is the social media network for professionals, giving users a profile that serves as an online resume. On LinkedIn, users can connect with work colleagues or other users interested in the same industry.
- Company Page: Where your business can post an overview of its business and engage in discussions on group pages. Users can follow your company to receive updates on their news feeds. You can also post links to the pages of affiliated businesses.
- Connection: A user to whom you are connected on LinkedIn.
- Degrees: Shows how you are connected to another user. Think of it like “x degrees of separation.”
- Groups: Groups can be created by one person or a company, and allow users to interact with each other about a specific topic or industry.
- Invitation: Invite to ask someone to join your network or have you join theirs
- Network: Includes your connections, as well as the connections of your connections
Snapchat is the newest social media platform, but one that is rapidly growing in popularity, especially among business owners. If you’re looking to use Snapchat for your business, it’s a great way to post behind from the scenes of your business and connect with your audience.
- Chat: A way for two users to talk to interact within the app through text.
- Friend: A connection on the app. You can see each other’s stories, and send chats, cash, and snaps to each other.
- Geofilter: A word, doodle, or phrase that appears on the snap when the user swipes over a picture they’ve taken. Business owners can use geofilters to promote their companies in certain geographical areas.
- Snap: A picture or video lasting up to 10 seconds before disappearing. Users can include a short caption by tapping the screen, prompting a keyboard to pop up.
- Story: Where users can post a snap for their all of their friends to view for 24 hours before it disappears.
Users typically use Twitter to post links, media or short messages that are up to 140 characters in length.
- Direct Message/DM: One-to-one messaging between users within the app. Users must be following each other to use this feature.
- Retweet (RT): When a user re-shares your message with their followers on Twitter.
- Tweet: A message consisting of up to 140 characters and can include other visual media
Having a vocabulary of of social media lingo will enable you to better communicate with other users and followers, which in turn can boost audience engagement and increase online visibility. A social media vocabulary will also allow you to stay tuned in to what people are talking about when discussing trends in your industry, or even just the platforms in general. This, in turn, will show your audience that you are up-to-date with social technology and new marketing methods, which can increase your credibility.