The advent of social media and digital marketing gave rise to a new language.
If you are not proficient in social media and digital marketing use, you may find some terms confusing. Even frequent social media users may not recognize all the terms.
In this article and accompanying infographic, I demystify some of the most common social media and digital marketing terms and acronyms.
The Digital Marketing and Social Media Dictionary
Algorithm – What is an algorithm?
A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
API – What is an API?
Stands for “Application Programming Interface.” Acts as a medium for different software applications to communicate with one another.
Avatar – What is an avatar?
A picture that represents you in an online environment such as forums or social networks.
B2B – What is B2B?
Business to business (businesses that sell to other businesses).
B2C – What is B2C?
Business to consumer (businesses that sell to consumers).
Blog – What is a blog?
A type of website where the posts (web pages) are arranged in chronological order with the most recent at the top. Topics and content vary greatly, depending on the industry and goals of the blog, e.g., educational, inspirational or personal.
Bookmarking – What is bookmarking?
A way of marking a website or webpage you want to come back to.
Chat – What is chat online?
One-to-one communication through a text-based chat application, commonly referred to as instant messaging (IM), e.g., Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, iMessage, etc.
Clickthrough rate – What does clickthrough rate mean?
A common social media metric used to gauge visitors’ immediate interest in a piece of content, often advertising. Calculated as the number of clicks it receives divided by the total number of impressions it receives.
Content curation – What is content curation?
The process of finding and sharing content created by industry influencers or peers on social networks, accompanied by the curator’s opinion or point of view.
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) – What does conversion rate optimization mean?
A system for increasing the percentage of website visitors who take a desired action, e.g., fill out a form, watch a video or make a purchase.
Crowd funding – What is crowd funding?
Sourcing capital for an idea, movement, project or business through a large group of people, generally an online community, rather than a few specific investors. Made popular by services such as Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.
Crowd sourcing – What is crowd sourcing?
The act of outsourcing tasks to a large group of people, usually an online community, rather than traditional employees or suppliers.
Customer avatar – What is a customer avatar?
A fictional character representing a brand’s ideal client. Helps marketers better understand the motivating beliefs, fears and desires influencing their customers’ buying decisions.
Customer mapping – What does customer mapping mean?
A visual representation of every experience a customer has with a brand from the original engagement to a possibly long-term relationship.
Digital marketing – What is included in digital marketing?
Advertising and marketing delivered through digital channels such as search engines, websites, social media, email and mobile apps.
Digital sales – What does digital sales mean?
Selling through social media without ever seeing the customer directly.
Digital selling – What is digital selling?
The integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how it operates and delivers value to customers.
Direct messages (DM) – What is a DM?
Private conversations that occur on social platforms.
Embedded posts – What are embedded posts?
A post from a social network added to the content of your webpage and updated in real time.
Embedding – What does embedding mean?
The ability to add different forms of media to a webpage or blog. Commonly done with videos, slideshow presentations, media players, etc.
Engagement rate – What does engagement rate mean?
A popular social media metric used to describe the amount of interaction a piece of content receives, often expressed in likes, shares and comments.
Followers – What does it mean to follow someone online?
People who have chosen to receive another user’s social media posts.
Friends – What are friends on social media?
People connected to a user on a social media platform, usually on Facebook.
Geotagging – What is geotagging?
Attaching location-based data to social media posts, such as photos, videos and text posts.
Handle – What is a handle on social media?
The term used to describe one’s user name on social media networks, expressed with an “@” symbol: @username.
Hashtag – What is a hashtag?
A hyperlink enabling one to call up other instances of the same topic to track its use on social networks. Expressed by a word or phrase with a preceding “#” (hashtag) symbol, e.g., #SocialMedia or #DigitalMarketing.
Impressions – What makes up impressions online?
A way for advertisers to keep track of the number of times an ad is shown.
Inbound marketing – What is inbound marketing?
A style of marketing that uses permission-based marketing techniques to reach prospects and convert them into customers. Leverages tactics and tools such as SEO, blogging, social media, social selling, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing, marketing automation, personalization and CRMs.
Instant messaging (IM) – What is an IM?
Real-time, text-based direct communication between two or more people. More advanced instant messaging software also allows enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling.
Joint venture partner (JVP) – What is a JVP?
Two or more people/companies coming together to form a temporary partnership to complete a specific event or project.
LinkedIn Publisher – What is LinkedIn Publisher?
A place where members can publish articles within their LinkedIn profiles to highlight their professional interests and expertise. Sometimes incorrectly referred to as LinkedIn Pulse.
LinkedIn SlideShare – What is LinkedIn SlideShare?
An online social network for sharing presentations and documents.
Link preview – What is a link preview?
An automatic feature that displays how links will appear once pasted into a post on social networks.
Live streaming – What is live streaming?
The act of delivering video content on social media in real time.
Meme – What is a meme?
Rapidly shared photos or videos reflecting a relevant cultural symbol or social idea, generally meant to mimic or mock.
Mention – What is a mention on social media?
Any social media post that mentions a person by their user name.
Modern buyer – What is a modern buyer?
A digitally-savvy buyer who expects personalization of their shopping experience. Prefers consultative sellers who educate, build relationships and connect with them digitally.
Modern seller – What is a modern seller?
A seller whose selling process is based on forming and nurturing strong relationships online. Provides buyers with a personalized and meaningful online engagement, supplying value in advance.
Native advertising – What is native advertising?
Online advertising in which the ad copy and format adhere to the format of a regular post of the platform it’s being published on. Gives an ad an appearance of a regular post or article, promoting engagement.
Newsfeed – What is a newsfeed?
The post-login homepage for social networks that displays posts and status updates from people and pages a user is connected to.
Permalink – What is a permalink?
A permalink is the URL of a particular post within a blog or website that remains unchanged.
Podcast – What is a podcast?
PPC – What does PPC mean?
Pay-per-click: a type of Internet advertising in which the advertiser pays the ad publisher when the ad is clicked. Used to drive traffic to websites.
Recommendations – What are recommendations on social media?
A testimonial on LinkedIn provided by one member to another member that aims to reinforce the user’s professional credibility or expertise.
Retargeting – What is retargeting?
An online marketing technique allowing marketers to display ads to people who have visited their websites or are part of their contact databases.
Sales cadence – What does sales cadence mean?
A system sellers follow that dictates the frequency with which they reach out to prospective clients and the methods they use to contact them.
Sales enablement - What does sales enablement mean?
The process of providing the sales organization with the information, content and tools to help them sell more effectively.
Coordination of the activities of sales and marketing teams to achieve a common goal. Improves the buyer’s journey, financial performance and customer buying experience.
Search engine optimization (SEO) – What is SEO?
The process of optimizing web content so it can be indexed and found in popular search engines, such as Google, Bing and Yahoo.
Selfie – Why do people take selfies? 😉 Okay, what is a selfie?
A self-portrait typically taken using the front-facing camera of a digital photographing device, such as a smart phone, and usually shared on social media.
Social media monitoring – What is social media monitoring?
A routine observation of specific topics, conversations and social media posts relevant to a business, person or organization’s interests.
A modern version of word of mouth advertising. Includes reviews, testimonials and endorsements of products or services people rely on to make their own purchasing decisions.
The usage of social media platforms and other digital tools to find and connect with potential leads, thereby increasing sales. Depends on building relationships with prospects on platforms such as LinkedIn.
Subscribe – What does it mean when you subscribe to someone?
The action required to receive a particular user’s posts and other types of content on social media or websites.
Tagging – What is tagging?
A special type of link connected directly to the tagged person’s profile, commonly used to identify social media users in photos.
The cloud – What does “the cloud” mean?
An online data center, where users store and access information over the Internet.
Troll – What is a troll online?
Somebody who instigates negative activity on social media through their comments with the specific intention of provoking a reaction. (Trolls should not be fed!)
Unfollow - What does it mean to unfollow someone online?
The act of ceasing to receive any further social media posts from a specific user.
User-generated content – What is user-generated content?
Content, such as photos, videos, blog posts, etc., created by users of digital media and shared on online platforms. Can include relevant hashtags.
Viral – What does viral mean?
Term used to describe photos, videos or any other form of content circulated rapidly on the Internet.
Vlog – What is a vlog?
A blog post in video form. Made popular by YouTube.
Webinar – What is a webinar?
An interactive web-based video and audio presentation, in which the host broadcasts the presentation to a group of people over the Internet.
Commonly abbreviated terms
BTW By the way
DM Direct message
#FF Follow Friday (on Twitter)
FOMO Fear of missing out
IDK I don’t know
IMO or IMHO In my opinion or In my humble opinion
IRL In real life
ISO In search of
OP Original poster
OT Off topic
PM Private message
TMI Too much information
TTYL Talk to you later
SEM Search engine marketing
SM Social Media
SMM Social media marketing
What social media and digital marketing terms would you add to the social media dictionary?
While this list could easily be 10 times longer, I wanted to include only the most relevant terms for businesses and sales professionals.
Let me know any additional terms you’d like to be explained in the comments below.