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Social Media Terms (A Comprehensive Guide)


A/B Testing - Testing two versions of the same ad, webpage, etc. to see which one the audience responds to best.

Affiliate Marketing - The process of earning a commission from the company of the product or service an affiliate promotes on their social channels. Individuals or agencies promoting the products for a commission are referred to as affiliates. Learn more here.

Algorithm (Algo) - Used to determine how content is shown to users. Social networks share very little information about how their algorithms work but consider users’ social interactions such as likes, dislikes, relationships, etc. to create unique algorithms unique to each user.


Bio - The space below a user’s social media profile picture that tells followers about the user. Sometimes users incorporate links in their bio to direct followers to important information.

Boosted Post - A type of social media advertising where a brand pays to show people not already following the brand a social post in hopes of discoverability and consumer purchase.

Brand Advocate - A person who organically posts and promotes a product or service without being paid or asked.

Business to Business “B2B” - Commercial transactions from one business to another.

Business to Consumer “B2C” - Selling products or services directly between businesses and consumers.


Campaign Budget Optimization “CBO” - Available on Facebook as an opt-in feature, CBO optimizes the distribution of a campaign budget across ad sets to get the best conversion results for your target audience.

Call To Action “CTA” - The next step a marketer wants a follower or customer to take. CTA’s can link out to anything like a purchase window, company website, newsletter subscription, etc.

Click-through rate “CTR” - The percentage of recipients who click through a hyperlink out of everyone who viewed it.

Content Decay - Content that's been declining in traffic over the past twelve months.

Conversion Rate “CVR” - Measures the percentage of people who took a particular action from an ad, such as making a purchase and clicking a link.

Cost Per Action “CPA” - Used to measure and price the cost of a specific action like click, sale, or sign up.

Cost Per Click “CPC” - A metric used to measure the cost of each click in a pay-per-click ad campaign.

Cross-channel - A marketing strategy that provides consumers with the same digital ad or content experience across various social media platforms.

Crowdsourcing - Asking your followers or online community for new ideas, information, etc. User-generated content or utilizing polls features are types of crowdsourcing.


Direct Message “DM” - A way to privately communicate on a social platform. Brands can message customers directly and vice versa.


Engagement - Interaction from followers on social media such as likes, comments, and shares.

Engagement Rate - A metric to measure the percentage of people engaging with your content.

Evergreen Content - Content that stays relevant and “fresh” for readers no matter the date posted. Check out how to make great and lasting content here.


Frequency - The number of times a customer is exposed to a piece of content.


GIF - Short for Graphics Interchange Format. They can be both static or animated images and are a way for users to react on social media.

Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords) - A type of advertising from Google. Google Ads are the first Google search result and can appear on other websites.


Hashtag - A word or phrase using the “#” and are used on social media to create broader conversations within communities. Searching or clicking the hashtag will show you the latest posts using that particular hashtag. Quickly add hashtags to any one of your posts using PLANOLY's Hashtag Manager.


IG - Shorthand for Instagram.

Impressions - A metric to measure the number of times an advertisement or digital media appears on a social network. Note: Not the number of times a user sees it, just the amount of times the content is displayed.

Influencer Marketing - A type of marketing using someone on social media with a dedicated following to promote a brand’s product or service. Learn more about influencers worth here.  

Instagram TV - Referred to as IGTV, Instagram TV is a way for users to record and upload longer-form video content. IGTV allows users to record and upload 60 minutes of video content that users can then share to their Feed. IGTV Feed posts preview then link followers to the full-length video on the user's IGTV channel. Before IGTV, Instagram limited users to 60 seconds for Feed videos.


Link Building - A marketing strategy that gets other websites to link out to a brand’s website in order to increase website traffic and SEO.

Link in Bio - A URL in a person’s social media bio that redirects followers or users to a website or landing page. Learn more about building a better link for your bio.


Macro Influencer - 100,000 to 1,000,000 followers - gained a following from the internet itself like vlogging, YouTube, or video creation.

Mega Influencer - more than 1,000,000 followers - they are more famous than influential. Their follower base interest varies. They aren’t subject experts just can get brands a lot of reach.

Meme - An image or GIF consisting of text above or on top. Users are always creating and sharing memes on social media as a way to joke or comment.

Micro Influencer - 1,000 to 100,000 followers - substantial influence focused on niche topics and are considered specialists.


Nano Influencer - Less than 1,000 followers - small number of followers but influencers boasts concentrated leverage in small communities.


Organic Reach - People who see your content or advertising without paid distribution.


Pay Per Click “PPC” - A form of advertising where a company or organization pays each time the ad or content is clicked on by a consumer.

Pin - A post on Pinterest. All pins include a picture, caption, and link out to the image's original source. Users can like, Repin, and save Pins to boards. Get started on Pinterest with our Beginner’s Guide.  


Reach - The number of people exposed to an advertisement or any type of digital media.

Reels - Instagram’s newest video recording feature. Reels is available on mobile and allows users to record and edit 15-second multi-clip videos to make a "Reels." Users can share Reels to their Feed or the new Reels dedicated space on the navigation bar. Instagram Reels compares to TikTok’s short-form videos. Learn how to incorporate Reels into your overall marketing strategy here.

Retargeting - An advertising tactic that aims to convert website visitors that didn’t complete the conversion the first time they visited a brand’s website. Retargeting can appear on social networks by using a tracking tag in a website’s code.


Search Engine Marketing “SEM” - Increases a website’s visibility in search engine results pages through paid advertising.

Search Engine Optimization “SEO” - Free tactics that increase website visibility to increase website traffic.

Shadowban - Shadowbanning takes place when a social media platform blocks a user's account in such a way that the user has no idea it’s happening. When under a shadowban, a user's visibility on a social platform is reduced drastically, which can negatively impact engagement. Learn more about the Instagram Shadowban and our tips to avoid getting shadowbanned here.

Share of Voice “SOV” - A measurement used to measure the number of social media mentions a brand is receiving compared to competitor brands.

Social Media ROI (Return on Investment) - Measures social media marketing’s success by calculating the time, money, and effort it took to create the ad, campaign, or digital content and comparing it to its performance.

Social Selling - A sales practice that uses social media to connect brands to potential customers. Essentially “cold calling” for the digital era.

Sponsored Post - Social media posts from influencers or content creators who were paid to promote a brand or product. The posts should include #ad or #sponsored in the caption.


Tag - Tags can mean two things:

1. A keyword for categorizing content.

2. Using a tag to tag an account in a social media post and clicking the tag links users back to the tagged account’s social media profile. Users and accounts can remove tags.

Traffic - Number of people visiting your website otherwise known as visitors.

Trending - A topic or hashtag that becomes very popular on social media. A trending topic or hashtag exists to create conversation and engagement online.


User-Generated Content “UGC” - Branded content created by a brand’s followers or customers; when brands share their followers’ content on social media, it becomes a UGC campaign. Learn how to post UGC here.

URL-shortener - A tool to shorten a URL and make it more digital-friendly. URL-shorteners also have tracking capabilities so brands or companies can track click-throughs.


Vanity Metric - Analytics including likes, comments, and followers. These analytics items are measured but don’t illustrate an actual return on investment.

Vanity URL - A web address used for marketing purposes.

Viral - A post, Tweet, video, etc that receives record-high engagement. A larger number of shares is the first sign of a post or video going viral online or on social media.

Video Completion Rate “VCR” - Used to measure the number of times a video advertisement or video content is played and watched all the way through.


Widget - Part of a system’s interface that allows users to access and perform functions or services on their device.

We will be adding and updating the list to account for new and evolving social media marketing strategies and terms! Don’t forget to bookmark this blog for future reference; it’s perfect as a quick brain refresher. 

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Carrie Boswell

Carrie Boswell is the Digital Marketing Content Specialist at PLANOLY. She is always finding ways to include pop culture and the Gen Z perspective into the content we create for marketers and small business owners.

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