Marketing effectively on social media can be challenging, especially if you’re new to all of its terms and acronyms. Before you begin crafting a campaign for your organization, you should take some time to get acquainted with every social marketing expression that gets thrown around online.
Knowing these terms will ultimately help you understand the key features and metrics found on each platform and empower you to be confident in reporting on your successes.
And once you’re ready to go, don’t forget to consider working with an agency like ours—we’ve got people here who make successful and creative social media campaigns every day so our clients can focus on what they do best.
(Side note—we won’t be covering slang terms that aren’t related to marketing in this blog, so if you want to learn about those, ask your nephew or one of our resident Gen Z’ers.
Another side note—most of these abbreviations aren’t actually acronyms. Acronyms TECHNICALLY have to be pronounceable as their own word, and initialisms are just any abbreviations that use the first letter of each word in a phrase. We’re Crazy Obsessed about details like this.)
Commonly Used Social Media Platforms and Their Acronyms
- FB — Facebook
- IG — Instagram
- TW — Twitter
- YT — YouTube
- GMB/GBP — Google My Business/Google Business Profile. (while not strictly a social platform, many of its features can help with your Social SEO.)
Other popular platforms that don’t have widely used acronyms include:
- Meta — Used to refer to the parent company which runs Facebook and Instagram.
Social Media Marketing Terms and Acronyms
- Organic Content — Social posts created and placed by a marketer for basic distribution on timelines and feeds.
- Paid Content — Organic posts that are pushed out to targeted audiences through paid placements (e.g. boosted posts and spark ads).
- Lookalike Audiences — Ad targeting groups created on social platforms by targeting individuals who are similar to your existing audiences.
- Custom Audiences — Ad targeting groups created through first-party data sources and on-platform tools. These segments can be created by selecting specific audience interests, demographics, behaviors and locations.
- Impressions — The total number of times your post/ad was seen.
- Reach — The total number of unique users that saw your post/ad.
- Engagements — Audience interactions on a post or ad (e.g. likes, reactions, comments and shares).
- Clicks — The total number of interactions on any part of your post/ad. (Often includes link clicks, profile visits, image views, likes, etc.)
- CTR — Click-Through Rate, which is the ratio of clicks compared to the total number of times an ad was shown. (For example, 331 clicks across 10,000 impressions equals a click-through rate of 3.31%.)
- Engagement Rate — A similar metric to CTR that can be quantified in multiple ways to show how often users interacted with a post when they saw it.
- Frequency — The average number of times an individual user within a campaign’s audience saw the ad.
- CPC — Cost-Per-Click, which is the average cost to the advertiser for each individual click on an ad.
- CPM — Cost-Per-Mille (or Cost-Per-Thousand), which is the average cost to the advertiser to reach one thousand unique users with an ad.
- ROI — Return On Investment for the overall marketing efforts of an organization/agency or for a selected campaign, calculated as a percentage.
- ROAS — Return On Ad Spend for an individual marketing campaign or tactic, typically calculated as a ratio, dollar amount or percentage.
- Pixel — A piece of code that detects and tracks ad/website interactions of an individual user.
- API — Application Programming Interface. This is an alternative to a pixel and tracks interactions between two programs.
- UGC — User-Generated Content, which is content about a product/organization created by unpaid users/fans instead of the organization itself.
- Clickbait — A deceptive or misleading piece of content that tries to entice users to interact with its host website or profile.
- DM — Direct Message.
- Trendjacking — Content that is posted to capitalize on a trend it has nothing to do with.
- BTS — Behind-The-Scenes, which refers to a type of content that is typically casual and shows the inner workings of an organization.
- Social Search — Looking for products, demonstrations, or information by searching for it on social media platforms.
- Social SEO — Social Media Search Engine Optimization, which involves following best practices when it comes to social media in order to increase your rank on social searches.
Platform-Specific Terms and Acronyms
- Boosted Posts — Ads created using organic content to reach more users in your target audience.
- Reels — Short-form vertical videos similar to TikToks.
- Groups — Pages dedicated to public discussion about a specific topic, brand or event.
- FYP — For You Page, which is the primary feed that users interact with to browse content.
- blanktok — Adding “Tok” to the end of a term is a way to identify a niche community on TikTok that likes a certain subject or type of content (e.g. BeautyTok, BookTok, DIYTok, GardenTok).
- Spark Ads — Ads created using organic content to reach more users in your target audience.
X (formerly Twitter)
- RP (formerly RT, or Retweet) — Repost (i.e. sharing a piece of content to your own social profile).
- Shorts — Short-form vertical videos similar to TikToks.
Social Terminology is Endless and Always Changing
If you think it’s hard to keep up with this stuff, don’t worry—our social media addicts (er, experts) stay up-to-date on the latest trends and platforms so you can focus more on the ins-and-outs of running your organization.