Social Media Glossary

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Person browsing phone

We put together a social media glossary to help you understand the important terms in the ever-changing social media game! This glossary contains both terms and concepts we’ve created and defined and the most commonly used terms in the industry. This social media glossary will be helpful if you’re a newcomer, a seasoned SMM, or just looking for clarification.

This list is in alphabetical order

Select a letter to jump to that section

C

Community management

(see also: engagement (inbound)): refers to responding to comments and messages in your own inbox and on your own social feeds.

Content Generated

Generally used to measure engagement, influencer, and user-generated content campaigns, content generated refers to the quantity of content generated from members of your audience. These pieces of content can include photos, Instagram stories, blog posts, graphics, Reels, videos, and more.

Conversion

Refers to your desired result from your call-to-action. For example, if you publish a piece of content instructing your audience to sign up for your mailing list, the total conversions would be the number of email signups received. Conversions can be sales, event registrations, and more.

Cost per click

Is calculated by dividing the ad spend by the number of clicks to the website or landing page, to determine on average how much each individual click costs.

CTR (click through rate)

Measures the rate at which people have clicked through a piece of content to a website or landing page. The averages for CTRs differ depending on type of industry or content, but the higher the better! CTR shows that people are interested in your brand and want to learn more.

Consumer Journey

The consumer journey is the process through which consumers move through a relationship with a brand. The journey consists of top of funnel (initial awareness), middle of funnel (nurturing), and bottom of funnel (conversion).

Content (Ongoing)

Ongoing social content is planned social media content that has been created, approved, and scheduled prior to publishing. We typically create and plan content a month in advance for our clients (i.e., in March, we create and schedule ongoing content for the entire month of April).

Content (On-The-Fly)

On-the-fly (OTF) content is content that is not planned in advance, but rather created, reviewed, and published on relatively short notice. OTF content is often used to make timely announcements about organization updates, or tie into relevant trends.

Content (Campaign)

Campaign social content is content created and published with a very specific goal in mind, such as driving registrations to an event or promoting a product launch. Campaign content may be interspersed with ongoing content, and can even be included within a retainer content delivery, but should have a distinct look and feel that differentiates it from ongoing content.

Campaign Content

Campaign social content is content created and published with a very specific goal in mind, such as driving registrations to an event or promoting a product launch. Campaign content may be interspersed with ongoing content, and can even be included within a retainer content delivery, but should have a distinct look and feel that differentiates it from ongoing content.

Campaign

A campaign is an effort - or more often, combination of efforts - on social media and other marketing platforms to meet a specific goal or support a specific promotion. Strong campaigns have branded content that differentiates campaign content from other day-to-day content.

Carousel Post

A carousel post is a type of social content, primarily published on Instagram or Facebook, that includes several images (photos, graphics, videos, or combination thereof) in one single post. According to a report by Later in April 2022, carousel posts perform better than single images on Instagram.

E

Engagement

Adding together the number of likes + comments + shares for each tracked time period.

Engagement (inbound)

(see also: community management): refers to responding to comments and messages in your own inbox and on your own social feeds.

Engagement (influencer)

Refers to connecting with influencers and content creators online who are relevant to your brand, and their communities.

Engagement (outbound)

Refers to growing your community and connecting with folks who are new to your brand through hashtags, locations, and accounts that attract people with similar interests and values.

Engagement Per Follower

The average number in which each individual follower engages with your posts. (Ideally 1.5-2 times per week) This stat is almost impossible to track manually – we recommend using Sprout Social to track this.

Engagement Per Post

Adding together likes + comments and shares per post. Calculate separately for each individual platform to see which one is receiving the most engagement for your brand.

Engagement Rate

Measures the rate at which your followers, fans or people scrolling your social page engage with your content. This shows that they are consuming the content you’ve posted, not just scrolling by. The average engagement rate differs per industry, but the higher the better!

Event Attendees

Refers to the total number of attendees at a particular event (note that this differs from ticket purchases or registrations, as sometimes those who register in advance are no-shows, and sometimes attendees buy tickets or register for events onsite).

F

Follower

An account (which may be an individual or a brand) that is actively following another account, allowing them to see that account’s new posts and updates in their newsfeed.

Follower Growth

Refers to the number of new followers gained on a given platform as a result of a particular campaign or ongoing social media efforts.

Foot Traffic

Refers to onsite foot traffic to a particular shop, event, popup, or other physical location, generated as a result of a particular campaign or ongoing social media efforts.

I

Impressions

Impressions measure the number of times that individuals (both followers and non-followers) saw your page or post for a tracked time period - i.e., impressions conveys the number of times your content was displayed. Note that the same user could have seen your post, page, or ad multiple times, so impressions are always higher than reach.

Influencer

An individual content creator who partners with brands and organizations to advertise products or services on their own platform. Influencer relationships can be paid or in-kind, and often involve not only reaching the influencer’s audience, but also utilizing the influencer’s creativity for engaging content the brand can repurpose.

Influencer Engagement

Refers to the total number of influencers who participated in a particular social media campaign. Influencers are individual content creators who partner with brands and organizations to advertise products or services on their own platform. Influencer relationships can be paid or in-kind, and often involve not only reaching the influencer’s audience, but also utilizing the influencer’s creativity for engaging content the brand can repurpose.

P

Post

An individual piece of content published on social media. This can be a photo, graphic, copy, video, link, or some combination thereof, culminating in one single published piece.

Published Media

The number of “posts” you have published that time period.

Promotion

A promotion, also often referred to as a heavy promotional period, is a period of increased activity on an account. A promotion can include, but is not necessarily limited to, a giveaway, sale, a new product launch, or campaign of some kind.

Q

Quality Connections

Refers to genuine connections built and relationships generated between a brand and customers, other brand partners, industry experts, and more through social media.

R

Reach

The individual number of people (followers or non-followers) who saw your page or post for the tracked time period. Reach differs from impressions because while one person may have viewed your post 3 times, they could only ever have been “reached” once. (This is why your impressions should always be higher than your reach.) These fans may or may not have engaged (like, comment or share) with your media but were served your content.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Refers to the ultimate payoff you receive after investing resources (which can be time, energy, money, or all of the above) into a particular campaign or effort.

T

Time, money, and energy

Time, money, and energy all resources that can be used to grow a brand’s presence and strategy on social media. Although many tend to think of social media as a free marketing tactic, strategic and effective social media efforts do take some investment of resources! By streamlining and effectively using time, money, and energy, McLernon & Co. helps our clients use their resources in a smart, effective way.

Top of Funnel

Top of funnel refers to the point in the consumer journey at whic individuals are initially exposed to a brand, and encouraged to continue in a consumer journey with the brand. Key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure top-of-funnel success include reach and impressions.

W

Web traffic

Web traffic shows the number of sessions consumers had on your website during a tracked period of time. Web traffic can be measured separately on different website pages (for example, traffic on the homepage may be higher than traffic on a product page), and can be tracked through Google Analytics and attributed to different sources (e.g., organic search, social advertising, email, etc.).