The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Terms
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When it comes to your personal social media accounts, posting or sharing content often happens on a whim. You see an interesting article and you want to share it with your Facebook friends. You take a cute selfie or a jaw-dropping landscape photo and decide it’s Instagram-worthy. But social media for business is anything but spontaneous.
First, a brief explanation of what social media is from a marketing perspective.
Social media marketing encompasses all tools and techniques focused on spreading brand awareness and website traffic through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
What started as a way of helping people exchange content and ideas has now become one of the most effective channels for businesses to get in front of their customers. In fact, according to recent reports, social media advertising will account for 20% of all internet advertising in 2019, up from 16% in 2016.
Whether you’re a startup looking to stretch a buck or big enterprise with a generous budget, investing in your social media strategy is one of the fastest ways to scale up.
3.78 billion people from all over the word are are active social media users in 2022, up from 2.46 billion in 2017. Social platforms are where your customers spend most of their time. And a whopping 90% of them expect you to be there as well, tending to their needs.
Marketing on social media is fairly inexpensive when compared to traditional marketing techniques, but it requires knowledge and time, which is exactly why almost 80% of companies have a dedicated team. Before taking the plunge and hiring help, it’s mandatory that you yourself know the ins and outs of this marketing gold mine.
The internet is the best place to educate yourself for free. But time and bandwidth are finite resources.
That’s why we’ve created the only social media glossary you need to read to get a solid understanding of how to use these platforms for business growth.
We cover everything from popular terms to the more obscure terminology you may have never heard before. As you make your way through this list, you might be tempted to whiz past the basics. But doing so could put you at risk for committing some major social media faux pas.
“Tags” and “hashtags” mean different things and have different uses. So do “fans” and “followers.” And just because both “blogs” and “vlogs” start with a consonant doesn’t mean they’re one and the same.
This glossary might throw some curveballs at you.
“Dark social,” you’ll discover, is not all that bad for business and could be harnessed to boost your website traffic.
Maybe you think that using “emojis” and “GIFs” in your posts will make you look silly. In reality, knowing that there’s a team of real people behind that logo will make customers more inclined to support your cause or make a purchase.
We’ll also take a look at more elaborate terms such as “multi-channel attribution,” “lookalike audiences,” and “employee amplification,” which play an instrumental role in helping you achieve your ultimate goal as a business owner: generating sales.
Social media marketing is a deceptively hard job.
However, this list should make testing new strategies and brainstorming creative ways to engage with customers on social platforms easier.
A monitoring tool that sends email updates whenever a brand gets relevant mentions across social media platforms. Some free social media alert services like Social Mention or Talkwalker allow marketers to set up specific keywords to track on various platforms. Customizing these alerts makes it easier to identify influencers and enhance your content marketing strategy.
"Ask me anything” (AMA)
A question-and-answer interactive interview between a brand and social media users. As the name says, users get the chance to ask any questions they have about a particular topic. AMA sessions can be done on Twitter and Instagram, but the most popular ones are on Facebook and Reddit. AMAs have proven to be a powerful way to engage audiences, promote products, and attract new followers.
Application programming interface (API)
A set of commands and protocols that programmers use to perform common operations when creating a software. While APIs are integrated in SDKs, they don’t provide a fully integrated experience; they can be used to create one or two specific functions, so programmers don’t have to write the code from scratch. An API provides developers with user interface elements, such as windows, scroll bars, search bars, etc.
A Facebook tool that allows marketers to choose the audience who can see their posts. Fine-tuning post sharing allows brands to better target their ads. The “website visitors” list, for instance, could contain people who spend the most time on a business’ website page. Therefore, they will be the ideal target group for product launches.
A small image displayed on a user’s (or brand’s) social media profile. The avatar often creates a first impression of a brand. While company logos can be used as avatars, industry experts recommend opting for quality images with clear details or photos of real-life objects.
Average handling time
The average time it takes for a brand to reply to customers’ inquiries, whether it’s positive feedback or complaints. In social media, the average handling time is especially important. Recent studies show that more than 50% of customers expect brands to reply within an hour, when in reality, most companies respond within 24 hours. Good social media customer service builds loyal audiences and a positive brand reputation.
A short description about a company displayed on its social media profile. This type of bio should link to other social media channels and contain notable achievements such as a recent product or website launch. Targeted keywords can make bios a magnet for search engine results.
A web page where companies publish informal online articles. Blogs are a content marketing tool used to promote products, educate audiences, and build brand awareness. Sharing blog posts on a brand's social channels is an effective way to drive website traffic and generate new leads by adding a call-to-action to every blog post.
The act of partnering with bloggers to create unique content that will help promote a product or service. Most social media influencers are also bloggers and their posts often impact their audience’s purchasing decisions; more than half of online consumers said they made purchases based on recommendations from bloggers.
The act of placing an online bookmark on a web page for later viewing and sharing. Bookmarking helps user organize and store web pages they like and want to share. Companies listed on a bookmarking sites experience increased quality traffic and online exposure.
Buzz monitoring services
Tracking services used to identify what consumers are saying about a company or its products on the web and social media platforms. These tactics allow marketers to monitor brand reputation and see if their advertising campaigns are effective. Some examples include Google Alerts, HowSociable, MonitorThis, and Technorati.
Informal and trendy words or short phrases that marketers tend to overuse to either impress clients or intimidate their competitors. Because they are repetitive and meaningless, audiences stop responding to them. Some example of buzzwords include: ‘“guru,” “innovative,” “game changer,” and “millennial.”
A brief description that accompanies a photo. On social media platforms, engaging captions are key to driving website traffic. Open-ended questions that encourage users to reply make for a good caption, but so do call-to-action phrases such as “Claim Your Free Trial.” On Instagram, captions that tell a story an audience can relate to, tend to drive the most engagement.
One-on-one communication feature via an instant messaging (IM) application. On social media, companies use chat functions to communicate with clients faster than over email or phone, which in turn helps them cut costs and increase customer satisfaction.
A term used by social media users to announce they visited a place or event. On platforms like Foursquare and Facebook, check-ins bring exposure for businesses. Posting reminders on social media and within blog posts, or offering incentives are a couple of ways to encourage users to check-in when they visit.
Click-through rate (CTR)
A way of measuring the success of an online advertising campaign. A CTR shows companies the percentage of people who click on their ad after seeing it. It’s calculated by dividing the number of users who clicked on an ad on a web page by the number of times the ad was delivered (impressions).
An organizing tool to help marketers stay on top of their social media presence. Among other things, it lets companies plan, write, and organize all of its social media messages, keep track of its posting frequency, understand when its audience is most active, and strategically reuse content.
A horizontal image at the top of a Facebook profile, above the profile picture. Cover photos are public and give companies a chance to introduce themselves in a unique, memorable way. Some brands use call-to-actions, impactful one-liners, or photos of its products in cover photos. One way to drive up social media engagement is by featuring fans on a cover photo or promoting other social networks.
Content that comes from online contributors versus a company’s employees or suppliers. Examples include blog posts or videos generated by members of your community, using the results of an online customer survey as the foundation of a brand new piece of content, or repurposing comments as testimonials.
A term used to describe website traffic that is difficult to track by companies. For example, dark social is when people share links on private channels such as Facebook Messenger, text, or email. Some tracking tools include Dark Social Calculators, like the one offered by Google Analytics. Companies can encourage dark social sharing is by shortening URLs and strategically placing sharing buttons on their website.
Direct message (DM)
A private message sent by a brand to a follower or a group of followers. DMs are a marketing tool to increase brand loyalty and sales. Companies can DM pictures and videos to their followers, respond to product questions, or send “Thank You” notes and virtual birthday cards. On Instagram, marketers can DM any user, and chat with up to 50 people at the same time.
A Twitter service that helps users discover relevant topics. If someone is interested in a brand, Discover shows them exactly what other users are tweeting about it. Companies use Discover as a tool to monitor the conversations surrounding a brand and track mentions such as product queries and complaints.
Adding code to a website in order to display a video or photo hosed by another site. Thanks to social media aggregators like EmbedFeed for example, brands can generate an entire social media wall on their website. This encourages users to spend more time on a website and boost search engine rankings. An Instagram feed on a website will pique visitors’ interest about the products displayed more than a sales pitch.
A small icon used to convey emotions, often in texts or on social media. For brands, emojis can double as a marketing tool to help connect with audiences and grow online visibility. Studies found that social media posts with emojis saw up to 60% more likes, shares, and comments, depending on the platform. The reason is because emojis humanize a brand. The laughing and crying faces, as well as the heart emoji are the most used by brands.
A marketing tool that relies on a company’s own employees for promotion. Employees’ social posts, studies show, generate eight times more engagement than posts from their CEO. Since employees have their own group of friends and followers, employee advocacy is an effective tool for all businesses, regardless of their size.
A form of advertising in which celebrities or social media influencers are lending their name to promote a product or service. Endorsements help build brand recognition and can lead to record sales. Thanks to Dwayne Johnson’s endorsement of Under Armour, for example, the brands’ shoe line sold out in 30 minutes.
A metric that measures the level of engagement your content received from an audience by the number of comments, shares, or likes. The greater the quality of your content, the higher your consumer engagement will be
A term used to describe people who like a company’s social media pages. With almost 80% of adults buying goods or services online, producing and sharing valuable content is considered the number one strategy to attract more fans.
Photo effects designed to enhance images on social media. Platforms like Instagram offer users dozens of filters that companies can use to generate engagement and create a cohesive visual branding across all channels, while saving money on editing software.
A person who subscribes to a brand’s social media account. Unlike fans who can “Like” a page, followers will click the “Follow” button in order to get constant updates. A brand’s goal is to convert fans into followers, because they are more likely to promote it. If users are liking your page, but then unfollowing it, that’s a red flag that your content is not engaging enough.
A term that refers to the accounts a user is following on social media, but it’s often used to describe a brand’s social media popularity. A couple of tried-and-true methods for building a following: teaming up with influencers, incentivizing followers with contests, promotions, and giveaways, as well as producing viral, quality content.
Platforms like Snapchat allow brands to create temporary Geofilters. A good marketing strategy is getting customers to take snaps with your filter in exchange for a discount.
Attaching the geographic coordinates of a location to online content such as a photo. Geotags are often used by brick-and-mortar businesses to start a conversation with local followers and find local influencers to partner with. It can be considered a form of free advertising whenever users tag a company’s location in their posts.
An acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, a GIF is a file that supports both static and animated images. In short, GIFs are short animations in an image format. GIFs can be part of a social media campaign. For example, a GIF can give customers a glimpse into new products or show them how to use it.
A label used on social media channels that makes it easier for your targeted audience to find your content. Creating an industry-related hashtag for your business drives customer engagement, generates leads, and increases traffic.
A large photo displayed at the top of a Twitter profile. Similar to a cover image on Facebook, the header image is the first thing users see when they visit a business profile. It’s generally a good idea to use your header image as a call to action or include the names of your other social media accounts.
A form of marketing focused on identifying and partnering with individuals who can leverage their strong social media presence to influence customers and increase sales. Convincing industry leaders and celebrities to promote your brand takes time and involves building long-term relationships.
A measure of a user’s social influence. Klout is a service that draws data from the most popular social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. The score is a number between 1 and 100 and most influencers such as celebrities have an average Klout Score of above 50.
Delivering video content on social media, in real-time. Live streaming an event or an interview, for instance, can help marketers expand their social media reach because live stream video is more appealing to users then a written post from a brand. On the other hand, users can leave comments during a live stream, providing valuable insight for brands.
A Facebook segmentation tool that finds audiences similar to your existing customers and would most likely be interested in your business. To create a lookalike audience, Facebook asks marketers to provide a user list called ‘seed’ group of 100 customers or more.
A person who regularly logs onto social media or an online community but rarely posts or takes part in conversations. For businesses, lurkers are an untapped source of website traffic. Lurkers can be persuaded to engage through call-to-actions, discounts, and contests.
An image or a video accompanied by a funny caption that gets widely shared online. Easy to digest and fun, memes can be an online marketing asset similar to GIFs. A creative meme can grab your audience’s attention and encourage click-throughs.
A term used on Twitter or Facebook, whenever a user includes another person or brand’s username in their tweet. Just like with hashtags, brands can use mentions to initiate conversations with influencers or followers, but also to attribute content.
Writing short blog posts, usually from a mobile phone. Twitter and Tumblr, for instance, are considered microblogging sites. Marketers use these platforms to keep their audiences engaged and up to speed with new services.
Multi channel attribution
The process of discovering which marketing channels are generating sales and attributing each channel credit based on its role in the sales cycle. Brands often use Google Analytics and Salesforce to measure multiple channels and gain insight that could help companies maximize their budgets and redesign their strategies.
Net promoter score (NPS)
A Facebook feature that displays content based on a user’s friends, groups, subscribed pages, and activity. News Feed was designed to help users find relevant content. Hosting a Facebook Live video or creating a group are two foolproof ways to get noticed.
Creating unique content as a reaction to breaking news stories in order to get media coverage and drive social media engagement. This type of content can be anything from blog posts to tweets and Instagram posts.
Paid social media
Paid media is advertisement that companies pay for such as sponsored ads, Google Ads, and social media ads. Paid media can reach highly targeted audiences and significantly boost sales.
People talking about this (PTAT)
A Facebook metric that counts direct interactions with your page over a seven-day range. Interactions measured include likes, shares, comments, check-ins, responding to your event, mentioning, or tagging your page. The higher your PTAT, the wider your audience reach.
A Pinterest feature that allows users to visually bookmark an image, website, or piece of content on their Pinterest Boards. Each pin, be it the photo of a product or the entry of a blog post, contains a link to a brand’s website. Great pins usually include eye-catching images and inspirational content.
A website, application or software designed for real-time content sharing. The main social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and WhatsApp.
It’s imperative that brands choose wisely what platform to focus on and create content that resonates best with each of those audiences. LinkedIn for example is a great platform for establishing yourself as an industry leader through blog articles and white papers. Facebook’s broad-based demographic of users makes it ideal for a combination of blog pieces and video content.
A marketing tool used to increase conversions and build brand awareness via interactive audio content. Podcasts are usually released on a consistent schedule and can be downloaded through an RSS feed. Social media can be a great promotion channel for podcasts when they are converted into videos or memes.
Any type of content published on social media platforms from images and blurbs to memes and videos. The more engaging the post, the more users will want to share it on social media and spread the word about a company. Creative posts focus on quality content accompanied by high-resolution photos, infographics, or videos.
Your digital business card. A profile frequently includes a company bio, its username, profile picture, cover image, and links to its website and content. A company’s profile page is its most fertile social media ground for promotions, so make yours as compelling as possible.
A Twitter feature that helps brands grow their audience by suggesting accounts to people most likely to resonate with certain products and services. These types of accounts are flagged as “promoted” and often show up in users’ search results, timeline, as well as in the Who to Follow section.
A response to a social media post. Replies help brands build credibility with existing customers and gain new ones. Effective replies are quick and short, address users by name, and contain fun visual elements such as emojis and GIFs, which help humanize the brand.
Reposting another user’s tweet by including their @username. Unlike a Twitter mention, a retweet allow users to share a brand’s original tweets with their friends. The more retweets a company gets, the broader their reach. Small companies can grow their presence by getting retweeted by influencers with a big following.
A self-portrait taken with a smartphone and often shared on social media. Companies can use selfie marketing to reach customers and drive sales. A good strategy is to offer rewards to users who take selfies with your products or at your events.
The process of understanding social sentiment of a brand by monitoring online conversations using various analytical tools and machine learning. A sentiment analysis, also known as “opinion mining,” focuses on social media posts and reviews, giving companies an idea of a customer’s overall perception about a specific brand.
Share of eye
A metric that uses image recognition technology to determine a brand’s value with regard to images and help measure the ROI of a campaign. Share of eye is another tool for companies to track and analyze how people are talking about them on social media. For instance, this technology can detect images of users wearing a brand’s products.
Share of voice
An analysis metric used to identify the total digital exposure your brand gets compared to the total digital exposure of your competitors based on search traffic and clicks.
A diagram illustrating how people, groups, and organizations are connected within a social network. Social graphs can help marketers get a deeper understanding of their buyer demographics in order to maximize their social media ads. Facebook Graph Search allows brands to deliver customized content to their ideal customers, based on a user’s location, likes, and their connections’ likes.
A prominent figure on social media such as a celebrity or someone who has established credibility in their industry and has accumulated a large following. They have the power to influence purchase decision, so partnering with an influencer will help you expand your social reach when trying to promote an idea or sell a product.
Social lead generation
A tactic that employs social media tools to generate leads. A couple of ways to do this is by teaming up with influencers, posting targeted content, starting a conversation around timely topics, or creating groups.
Social media audit
The process of evaluating and optimizing a business's social media profiles to achieve maximum ROI. It involves defining your objectives, understanding your audience’s online behavior, assessing user engagement, as well as looking at what your competitors are doing.
Social media engagement rate metrics
Metrics used to determine how well a piece of content performed on social media platforms. Here are the three most important metrics:
- Likes represent the number of users who like your profile page or your post. It’s important to post entertaining content. Many social platforms reward posts that receive engagement by notifying your fans’ friends about your post.
- Comments are users’ replies to your posts. Positive comments should get prompt and short replies, but the most negative ones are sometimes better left unanswered. The comment section often provides an opportunity to respond to complaints about products or offer advice and guidance.
- Shares represent the number of times users have distributed your content. Educational content, videos, and GIFs are among the most shared type of content.
Social media marketing
Social media monitoring
The process of monitoring the conversation about a brand or its offerings on social media channels, and responding to mentions. Social media monitoring tools such as Sprout Social and Tweetdeck help companies grow their social following by identifying how people land on their page, what type of content performs well, or what is the best time to post.
Leveraging social media to develop connections with both old and new customers via blog posts, images, videos, or comments and ultimately build a following, thus increasing brand recognition
Using social media as a sales tool. Social selling is when sales representatives interact with prospects on social media channels either to answer questions or offer personalized recommendations. The goal is to persuade users to make a purchase. Some social selling techniques include endorsing a customer on LinkedIn, liking their Facebook post, or retweeting their content.
Unsolicited messages sent to internet users. Unlike social selling, social spamming is all about automated sales pitches and damage a brand’s reputation. Spamming can come in many forms. A company who posts too frequently and always about its products can come across as a spammer and risks losing a considerable amount of followers.
People who subscribe to a brand’s social media page in order to receive personalized email updates about new content. Email subscribers are considered more valuable than social media followers because they represent qualified leads. On the other hand, followers can be persuaded to become subscribers with the right social media strategy.
Adding a user’s social media handle to your post, photo, or status update. By tagging, you’re notifying a friend or business that you’ve mentioned them. Different from hashtags that come with the # symbol, tags are preceded by @, and they are essentially a “heads up.” Social media monitoring tools alert marketers whenever users tag their brand to praise them or to complain.
A series of responses within an ongoing online conversation, be it on social media or a web forum. Threads help keep track of discussions on different topics or parts of a conversation. Businesses can increase their social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by starting threads on various subjects.
The date and time a message is posted to a social media. Timestamps are key when it comes to business analysis. They help marketers identify trends like spikes in like monthly web traffic or number of engagements which makes it easier to create valuable content. Timestamping social media makes sharing content easier for users.
The number of website visitors. Social media platforms can be an incredible source of website traffic. Promoting blog content, embedding social buttons on your website, focusing on visual content such as infographics, GIFs, videos, and animations, or adding call-to-actions at the end of your posts are tried-and-true ways to boost website traffic via social media.
The most discussed or popular topics on a social media platform. One way to capitalize on trending topics is by paying attention to what hashtags are growing in popularity and creating content around them. The key is to make a connection between that topic and your business.
An internet user who is actively trying to stir up controversy in an online setting from forums to the comment sections of social media platforms. From a marketing perspective, trolls can wreak havoc on a brand’s reputation. A troll could be a dissatisfied customer that posts a negative review on social media, but it could also be someone hired by your competition.
URL shortening services
Platforms used by brands to shorten long URLs, before sharing them on social media. Bit.ly is one of the most popular URL shortening services.
User generated content (UGC)
Content created and posted by a brand’s fans such as pictures, videos, testimonials, tweets, and blog posts. UGC’s is a powerful marketing tool; people are more likely to trust a recommendation from another person over branded content. Companies gain more exposure every time a person posts about their positive experience with the brand’s products.
The name by which a person chooses to identify on online platforms. Having a consistent username across all social networks helps brands consolidate their identity. Industry experts recommend keeping the username 15 characters or less.
Engaging content that spreads rapidly on social networks such as spectacular Youtube videos. The greatest benefit of viral content is that current customers do the work of getting a company's marketing messages in front of potential customers.
A marketing tactic designed to drive revenue using creative copy that engages users on an emotional level. An example could be a post about how the product can change people’s lives or an inspiring personal story of the company’s founder.
Video-based content or blogs in video form. Vlogging allows brands to connect with their audience on a deeper level and show them what happens behind the scenes. Something as simple as filming a tour of the office or having the CEO share a personal story and sharing those vlogs on your social media platforms can help establish a more personal connection with customers.
An online workshop used by marketers to educate audiences and establish themselves as authoritative figures through the use of audio files and slides. Webinars are a powerful tool to attract new leads and nurture existing ones. The best way to promote your webinar is by creating a social media hashtag.
There’s a reason why industry experts have started referring to social media as a customer service channel. Unlike traditional channels, a user’s response on social media is often instant and public, which adds an extra layer of complexity.
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A handful of trolls can leave a mile-long trace of negative reviews and damage your brand’s reputation in a matter of hours. On the flip side, a GIF of your product can go viral overnight and lead to more sales than your team can handle.
There’s a fair amount of trial and error in social media marketing. However, once you figure out the combination of tools and techniques that suit your business and your audience, you increase your chances of becoming THAT brand. The one people can’t stop liking, sharing, posting about, and buying from.
With Social Media marketing terms under your belt, we think you’re more than ready to step it up a notch and learn about search engine optimization (SEO).
You’ll be learning key notions about scaling your business using SEO tools.
Did you know that 88 percent of consumers research products online and 75 percent never scroll past the first page of search results? SEO is your golden ticket to that first page. If you’re not there, you’re not achieving your true business potential.
Stay tuned; we’ll help you do just that in the next article.
For a limited time, Digital Authority Partners is offering a FREE content & SEO audit to companies and marketers interested in assessing their current brand in order to build a robust content marketing plan for 2022. Interested? Drop us a note at [email protected] or call us at 312-820-9893 for details.