The Only Glossary You Need for Social Media Marketing


Marketing Insights for ProfessionalsThe latest thought leadership for Marketing pros

Monday, September 25, 2017

Social media marketing is a growing industry and, as such, there are a lot of phrases and technologies to work out. Here are some of the most common phrases you're likely to encounter.

Article 8 Minutes
The Only Glossary You Need for Social Media Market

What does social media marketing involve?

Social media marketing is the creating and sharing of content across social media platforms to help you achieve the goals set out in your marketing strategy. It should be used as part of your overall marketing plan as a way of supporting the content you produce on-site and to advertise products and services.

Marketing on social media involves the posting of text updates, links, photos, videos and a variety of other forms of content with the goal of driving engagement. You can do this organically or through paid social advertising.

Why does social media marketing work?

When social media marketing is done well and integrated into your overall strategy, it can deliver a number of benefits, including adding more authority to your brand. This increases awareness of your organization and its products or services, leading to higher conversion rates, allowing for better customer service and acting as a great way to share your content.

Beyond this, it is also an effective method of connecting with and growing your audience, as you can speak directly to them through sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. This in turn can generate leads and create brand advocates who will share your content and positively review your company.

When used as part of a broader marketing strategy, social media marketing can also help improve ROI and lead followers through the buyer cycle.

How does social media benefit marketing?

The use of social media as part of your marketing strategy ensures you have access to more audience insights. Having more in-depth insights into your audience can allow you to create a more targeted strategy overall, informing you which content types perform best and altering how information is shared.

On top of this, social media allows for improved content distribution, which means that other marketing activities are more likely to reach a larger audience. This can help with areas such as customer service, brand identity and SEO, as well as provide a greater number of conversions if it does well.


An Application Programming Interface (API) is a type of software that allows applications to communicate with each other. They are used as the basis for a huge number of modern technologies and allow companies to share and extract information in a simple way.


You can set up your social media posts in advance using automation software, which means they will go live at the times you set without you having to manually post everything. Not only does this save time, but automation ensures that you can post regularly on your platforms without needing to try and remember to do so.


Bitly is a platform that allows you to manage your links. The site shortens links and makes it easy to share them, while also providing functions to analyze their performance. You can customize and store your links so they are available at all times.


The bio on a social media account informs users who the account belongs to. In the case of a business, the bio should say who the company is, what it does, where it is based, how people can get in contact and give an idea of the identity of the brand. The bio should also be revisited as the organization changes.


The blogosphere is a phrase used to describe online blogs and everything related to them, including comments, users and posts. It derives from the idea that blogs form an interconnected community and can be a good way of identifying sentiment and behavior in order to influence marketing efforts.

Blogger Outreach

Campaigns can use blogger outreach to get greater exposure for a product or service by getting bloggers with a substantial following to post about it in exchange for a fee or free access to the product. This means that your company is put in front of a larger audience while also being endorsed by someone the audience trusts.


Promoting or boosting social posts means you pay to get them in front of more people, which you can do through targeting based on your audience demographic.


Buffer is a method of automation that posts to your social media profiles on your behalf. You simply update your buffer queue with your posts and they are published at the set time. This can allow you to set up all of your social content at the same time in one place.


Canva is a free-to-use image service that allows you to create social posts, presentations and numerous other picture assets using credit-free imagery. It is easy to use and can allow you to create custom content.

CC (Creative Commons)

CC (Creative Commons) is a type of image licensing that allows images to be freely distributed, and often this doesn’t require attribution to the source. This type of license is mainly used where photographers want to allow others to use and build upon their photography without paying.


Clickbait is the word used to describe online content that has the main purpose of attracting attention through an eye-catching headline, resulting in people clicking on a link. Articles like this are designed to drive page views but are seen as being bad practice, with many social platforms cutting down on their visibility.

Conversion Rate

A conversion is when a visitor to your site or social media profile takes an action that you want them to, such as clicking through to a piece of content or making a purchase. The conversation rate is a measure of how often this is successful – normally as a percentage.


A call to action (CTA) is a message that urges a customer, reader or user to take a specific action. When it comes to social media marketing, CTAs can be phrases like ‘Read More’, ‘Buy Now’, ‘Sign Up Now’ or ‘Find Out More’, helping to direct people to a link or to complete an action.


The click-through rate (CTR) is the number of people who have clicked on a certain link. This can lead them to a product, a piece of content or to complete an action, such as signing up for a newsletter. The CTR is used to measure how successful a marketing campaign has been.

Earned Media

Earned media is publicity gained through organic means. Also known as free media, earned media is not obtained through paid advertising.

Employee Advocacy

Employee advocacy refers to the promotion of an organization – usually through social media – by a member of staff. Employee advocacy can be a very powerful marketing tool with a number of benefits, including raising positive brand awareness and helping with recruitment efforts.

Engagement Rate

The engagement rate shows how much people interacted with your content. On social media, this can mean likes, shares and comments as well as the number of people who clicked through. It is a good measure of how successful a post or piece of content is.


A geotag is a location tag that is stored with a status or image, video or other forms of content. It stores the content in an exact location on a map using the latitude and longitude.


Handles on social media – mainly Twitter – are usernames that you can use to tag individuals or companies in posts. Tagging handles can help content become visible to a larger audience and allow you to reply directly to individuals.


Hootsuite is a social media management dashboard that allows you to manage all your social media accounts in one place. It can be used to set up post automation and assess performance.


Different to reach, impressions are when a piece of content shows up on someone's feed. It doesn't necessarily mean that they engaged with the content. They may also have viewed it more than once, which will still increase the impressions recorded.

Live Streaming

This is when you film live video or audio of an event. It can be used to demonstrate new products, show followers what your company is doing at this minute or start a discussion. Streams can then also be watched at a later time.


If you host social groups or forums, then you may come into contact with the term lurker. A lurker is a member of a group or forum who does not participate.

Messenger Bots

Messenger bots are programs that use AI to simulate a human conversation. They can be used to answer direct messages sent through social platforms in order to provide fast and informative responses to users.

Owned Media

Owned media refers to media in channels that are within your control, for example; your website, your social profiles and your email newsletter.

Paid Media

Paid media is a type of external marketing that refers to the use of paid advertising services such as PPC advertising and display ads.


Permalinks are unchanging URLs that direct users to a specific piece of content. Failing to use a permalink correctly could lead to a 404 error, or the main home page of your website.


Reach refers to when someone sees your content. So although impressions is the number of times your piece of content is displayed, reach will only count unique people that your content has managed to reach.

Viral Marketing

Viral marketing is a relatively new concept that is hard to formulate exactly. It’s a process that involves using pre-existing social networks to create a brand awareness through highly shareable content. A marketing campaign can be successfully described as being viral when it spreads through viral-like behavior to achieve its objective.

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