The 140 Character Social Media Dictionary

Once upon a time, a Tweet had a maximum of 140 characters, as do all of our definitions in this social media dictionary, or glossary if you prefer. 

Just like that very short introduction I wrote. 

So, let’s jump right into this totally non-exhaustive list of terms and concepts which you’re likely to come across as you work on your social media  marketing strategy. 

If you’re more interested in all things SEO, check out this dictionary.  

Social media dictionary
Even the most avid social media buffs occasionally need a refresher course to keep up.
Social media dictionary
Even social media buffs occasionally need a refresher course.

The Social Media Dictionary

A/B Testing: Can also be called split testing, measures two social posts against one another to see which one performs better, commonly used when only one element has been changed between the two. 

Ads Manager: Facebook’s tool for ads – creating, running and reporting & analysis across Instagram, Facebook and Audience Network, gives options for ad targeting and budgeting. 

Analytics: How data is interpreted and used to improve social media strategy. 

Ask Me Anything (AMA): An acronym which originated in a subreddit where users prompt questions from others. 

Audience: The group of people who you are able to reach on social media, not only followers but anyway who sees your posts. 

Avatar: Usually your profile picture, what is used to represent you graphically across social media.  

Average response time: How long it takes a brand to respond to customers on social media, either complaints or queries, customers demand very quick response times now.

Bio: Short description of who you, either personally or the company, are, a good place to link to your other social media or websites.  

Bitmoji: Avatar or emoji created by users to look like them. 

Boosted post: A Facebook post that you pay for to improve its reach, different from an ad because they start as an organic post.

Brand advocate: Customers that support your brand across social media by leaving positive reviews, posting pictures, images and posts of your products/services. 

Brand awareness: How well known your brand is, often the reason businesses launch social media campaigns, and measured through impressions, reach and ad recall.

Business Manager: Facebook’s software to help businesses manage pages, ad accounts and team members.

See more about what we do here at Ambire for Facebook Ads. 

Chatbot: AI which can provide customer service, answer questions, set up appointments, used across Facebook Messenger, Slack and others.

Clickbait: Content which relies on exaggerated headlines and shock statements to entice users to click on it, considered as spam by Facebook.

Clickthrough rate (CTR): The percentage of people who see your social media post and click on it, how it is calculated varies slightly across social media platforms. 

Connections: Linkedin’s equivalent of friends. 

Conversion rate (CVR): The percentage of people who see your social media post and take the desired action, whether it’s a sign-up, sale or download. 

Cost per click (CPC): A social media metric telling you how much you pay per each click on your ad (on average). 

See more about this in our Google Ads guide. 

Cost per mille (CPM): A social media metric telling you how much you’re paying per 1000 impressions. 

Crisis management: How to handle events or interactions on social media which could damage your company reputation like inappropriate posts from employees. 

Cross-channel: Referring to a strategy or campaign which operates across all social media networks (Facebook, Instagram etc.)

Crowdsourcing: Using followers to generate ideas or content via social media, lets your audience actively engage with the brand. 

Dark post: Informal term for social media ads that don’t show on the company’s own timeline, only in targeted users’ feeds. 

Dark social: Web traffic coming from social media that analytics cannot track, usually because links are being shared in chats. 

Direct message (DM): Message sent directly to a user’s inbox. 

Disappearing content: Posts on social media that delete themselves after a set period of time, examples include Snapchat stories, encourage followers to engage quickly with content. 

Employee advocacy: Similar to brand advocates but these are people who work at the company they are promoting, they will share company content or comment on posts. 

Engagement rate: A social media metric to describe how many people interacted with your post, calculated by dividing engagement / number of people who saw the post. 

Feed: Commonly functions as a social media homepage, where you see and engage with other users’ posts. 

Follower: Someone who has subscribed to see your posts, an important metric to measure how your audience is growing over time. 

FOMO: Acronym for fear of missing out, often used by marketers when sharing limited time offers to encourage followers to act quickly. 

Frequency: Facebook advertising term referring to how many times your ad is shown to a user in your target audience, higher than 1 means some users are seeing your ad more than once. 

Geotag: Directional coordinates that can be attached to online content to show where the photo was taken. 

Hashtag: Used to link posts about the same subject shared by all users across social media, can also be used to see what is trending, #socialmediamarketing #right?

Header image: Also called a cover photo, a larger image placed at the top of a social media profile, can be used to promote a product.

Impressions: Metric measuring how many times a post is shown in users’ feeds, you count multiple impressions per user if they’ve seen it more than once. 

Insights: Offered by social media networks like Facebook and Instagram, allows users to see analytics about their page and how it’s performing. 

Meme: These funny images or pieces of text can be used somewhat successfully by brands to engage with audiences. 

Native advertising: A way of showing paid content to users in a way that seems like it is organic, promoted posts are an example of this. 

Newsjacking: Posting content that relates to current events by using trending hashtags and jumping into conversations happening about an election or sports game, for example.

Objectives: The results you want to achieve through an ad campaign – traffic, engagement, conversions, brand awareness etc. 

Platform: Used interchangeably with the term social media network but it actually means the software behind each network. 

Reach: A social media metric measuring the size of your audience, differs from impressions as a user can only ever be counted once, no matter how many times they view the post.

Relevance score: A Facebook Ads metric that tells you how well your audience is responding to your ad on a scale of 1 to 10, based on likes, feedback and engagement.

Retargeting: Targeting ads at users who’ve previously interacted with your page or website, an example is ads sent to users who got to the checkout but decided not to make the sale. 

Sentiment analysis: How software analyses text to see whether feedback is positive or negative.

Shareable content: Usually bits of content that evoke strong emotions or reactions that brands are encouraging customers to share. 

Social listening: Actively using software to track conversations including mentions, hashtags, comments etc. around your brand or key terms, so you can tap into what is popular. 

Social media monitoring: Very similar to listening, but a more passive form of keeping an eye on what your audience is saying.

Trending topic: Subject or event that suddenly becomes popular on social media networks. 

See our take on last week’s hottest stories in the world of digital marketing. 

User generated content (UGC): Follower-created content that promotes a brand, encourages users to engage with social media campaigns and build brand trust. 

Vanity metric: A social media statistic that seems positive but doesn’t provide actual insights into engagement, impressions are a classic example. 

Viral: A term denoting content that spreads exponentially across social media through shares and re-shares, gets a huge audience for very little initial expenditure. 

With all of the changes and updates to social media, it’s fair to say that even the most avid social media user can sometimes find themselves stumped by one term or another. 

Hopefully, armed with this dictionary, you’ll be more prepared and able to simplify some of the more complex terms and concepts out there. 

You can also see what we do here at Ambire that can help make social media and paid media work for you and your business goals.

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