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Social Media Marketing Glossary: 80 Essential Terms

April 11, 2023

by Sydney Wess

The world of social media grows more complex as new platforms and methods of sharing content are introduced. Get a strong understanding of how social media marketing is evolving with our updated glossary.

Whether you're using it to connect with friends and family or promote your business, social media has changed how we interact with the world. However, navigating the complex world of social media can be overwhelming, especially if you're new to the game.

To help you understand it all, we've compiled a list of 80 must-know social media terms. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, this glossary has everything you need to know.

Connect with social media agencies on Clutch.

80 Social Media Marketing Terms to Know

Social media is an increasingly important part of any business’s marketing toolkit, but understanding the different terms and concepts can be confusing.

From automation tools to influencer marketing, this glossary has everything you need to know about navigating the world of social media marketing.


  • A/B Testing: A method of comparing two versions of a marketing campaign to determine which one performs better. A control version (A) is compared against an alternate version (B).
  • Ad Creative: The visual and textual elements of a social media ad.
  • Ad Targeting: The use of data to display social media ads to specific audiences.
  • Algorithm: A set of rules social media platforms use to determine which content is shown to users.
  • Attribution: The process of attributing an action or outcome to a particular marketing campaign. It is used to measure the effectiveness and identify points of conversions within a certain campaign, informing future marketing strategies.
  • Audience: The people who follow or engage with a brand on social media.
  • Avatar: A graphic or image on social media representing a person or brand.

examples of social media avatars

Source: Bitmoji


  • Bio: A short summary of a person or brand that exists in a section of their social media profile.
  • Boosted Post: When a social media post is promoted by paying to increase its reach.
  • Brand Advocate: A person who promotes a brand and its products or services.
  • Brand Name Mentions: The number of times users mention a brand name in their posts.


  • Call-to-Action (CTA): A phrase or button on social media that encourages people to take a specific action.
  • Campaign: A coordinated effort to achieve an overall goal, such as increasing brand awareness or generating sales leads.
  • Caption: The text that accompanies an image or video on social media.
  • Carousel Ad: A type of social media ad that displays multiple images or videos in a single post.
  • Chatbot: An artificial intelligence (AI) program that can interact with users on social media to provide customer service or assistance.
  • Clickbait: a type of digital media content, typically a headline or image caption, that is designed to catch a user's attention and entice them to click through to the full story. It often uses humor, sensationalism, or shock value to make it stand out from other media content.
  • Click Fraud: The practice of artificially inflating clicks on social media ads through fraudulent means.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The percentage of users who click on a link in a social media post or ad.
  • Community Management: The practice of engaging with and moderating user-generated content on social media.
  • Content Calendar: A schedule of content created in advance and posted at scheduled intervals.
  • Content Marketing: The use of valuable and relevant content to attract and retain an audience on social media.
  • Conversion Rate: The rate of successful conversions from social media visitors to customers — a strong measure of return on investment.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC): The amount of money paid for each click on a social media ad.
  • Crowdsourcing: The practice of tapping into the collective knowledge and creativity of a group of people on social media.


  • Dark Post: A social media post not visible on a brand's profile but can be targeted to specific audiences.
  • Direct Message (DM): Privately messaging someone on social media.


  • Emoji: A small icon used to express an emotion or convey a message.
  • Engagement: The level of interaction between a brand and its audience on social media, such as likes, comments, and shares.
  • Engagement Bait: Refers to content that encourages users to engage with a post in a manipulative or misleading way.
  • Engagement Rate: The percentage of users who engage with a social media post relative to the total number of users who saw it.
  • Evergreen Content: Content that is able to remain relevant for an extended period of time.


  • Feed: The stream of content that appears on your social media homepage.
  • Follower: A user who subscribes to a brand's social media profile.


  • Geotagging: The use of location data to tag social media content with a specific place or region.
  • Gif: Stands for Graphic Interchange Format — an image file format commonly used on social media to illustrate and animate a trending topic by featuring text and short animations.


  • Hashtag: A word or phrase preceded by the pound sign (#) used to categorize content on social media.
  • Hashtag Challenge: A social media campaign in which users create and share content related to a specific hashtag.
  • Handle: The username used to identify a social media profile.


  • Impressions: The total number of times a social media post or ad has been viewed.
  • Inbound Marketing: a type of marketing strategy that focuses on targeting potential customers by engaging in marketing efforts that draw them in organically. It involves creating content tailored to the target audience's interests, needs, and challenges, as well as providing solutions to their problems.
  • Influencer: A social media user who has a large following and can influence their audience's purchasing decisions.
  • Influencer Marketing: The use of social media influencers to promote a brand or product to their audience.
  • Insights: Data and analytics provided by social media platforms to help brands understand their audience and track performance.


  • Join Conversation: The practice of participating in relevant discussions on social media to increase engagement and visibility.


  • Key Performance Indicator (KPI): A common acronym in marketing that denotes the measurable value that indicates how effectively a company is achieving its key business objectives.


  • Like: An action users can take on a social media post to indicate approval or interest.
  • Live Streaming: Broadcasting live video content to social media platforms in real-time.


  • Meme: a piece of content, typically an image or animation, that is meant to be humorous and relatable with the intent to be shared virally.
  • Mention: Tagging another user in a social media post or comment.
  • Metrics: Data and measurements used to track performance on social media, such as likes, shares, and comments.


  • Native advertising: A form of paid advertising on social media in which the promoted content mimics the platform's native content.
  • Newsjacking: the practice of creating timely content based on breaking news stories in order to capitalize on the increased interest in that topic.
  • News Feed: The section of a social media platform where users see updates from the accounts they follow.
  • Notification: An alert a social media platform sends to inform users of new activity, such as a new follower or comment.


  • Organic Reach: The number of users who see a social media post without paid promotion.


  • Paid Reach: The number of users who see a social media post promoted through paid advertising.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC): an online advertising model that charges social media management teams a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. This type of strategy is often used to target specific audiences with the goal of expanding brand awareness and increasing sales through social media accounts.
  • Platform: A specific social media website or apps like Facebook or Instagram.
  • Profile: The public-facing page of a social media user or brand that contains information about them and their activity. Components of a profile page on a social platform include a profile picture, bio, and content associated with the user.


  • Quality Score: A rating given by social media platforms to assess the relevance and quality of ads
  • quality score is composed of the relevance of the landing page, keywords, and overall ad

Source: Search Engine Journal


  • Reach: The number of unique users who see a social media post or ad.
  • Retargeting: A marketing strategy that targets users who have previously interacted with a brand on social media.


  • SEO: Stands for search engine optimization — a set of strategies used to improve the visibility of a web page on search engine results pages. It's an essential part of digital marketing, and it involves optimizing the content of a web page to rank higher on search engine results.
  • Share: a social media metric tracked based on the number of times users choose to send social content to their networks. Shares can take the form of reposts and sharable links.
  • Social Listening: Monitoring social media for brand mentions, customer feedback, and industry trends.
  • Social Media Marketing (SMM): Using social media platforms to promote a brand, product, or service.
  • Social Network: A platform where users can connect with peers and share content. Popular networks include LinkedIn, Snapchat, and TikTok.
  • Story: A type of social media content typically consists of images or videos that disappear after 24 hours — prominently used on Snapchat and Instagram.
  • Storytelling: The use of narrative and emotional elements to create compelling social media content.


  • Tag: A way to identify and mention another user or brand in a social media post.
  • Targeting: The practice of identifying and reaching specific audiences on social media through advertising.
  • Timeline: The chronological display of a user's or brand's social media activity.
  • Trending: Refers to topics or hashtags that are currently popular or widely discussed on social media.


  • User-Generated Content (UGC): Content created and shared by users on social media to promote a brand or product.


  • Vanity Metrics: Metrics that measure superficial engagement with social media content, such as likes or followers, without providing insight into the business impact.
  • Verification: Confirming the authenticity of a social media profile or account.
  • Video Marketing: Using video content on social media to promote a brand or product.
  • Viral: Social media content that spreads rapidly and widely through online sharing.
  • Voice Search: The use of spoken queries to search for content on social media platforms.

Understanding Social Media Terms Will Boost Your Digital Marketing Game

The number of people using social media as a marketing platform to reach potential customers continues to grow, and the results can be significant if done correctly.

Understanding key terms will help marketers make informed decisions during their curation process. Social media is a powerful tool that should not be overlooked or misunderstood in digital marketing.

Looking for a strong social media company to support your digital marketing efforts.

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