Understanding the dynamic nature of social media and it’s communication patterns using social media abbreviations

Social Media has now become the norm when it comes to social interaction. Along with this notion to interact via a social channel came the shift in shortening words in the form of social media abbreviations and creating trending topics. Social Media Marketing as a professional discipline has had to embrace this change and get the previous generations of business owners to understand and get behind digital strategies that embrace not only the platforms and the people that use them but also their communication patterns.

In an attempt to help put some of the social media terms and abbreviations into perspective we have put together our own list of what we have come across to help you better understand the dynamic nature of social media. If you feel we have left out any important social media terms or abbreviations then please let us know and we will gladly add them to our growing list.

Social Media Terms and Abbreviations

Automation – Automation is not unique to social media marketing, but rather just a technology that is used to streamline the customer experience and provide a platform for social media marketing managers to manage and optimise campaigns. A warning needs to be given here that your social media platforms are just that – SOCIAL. Make sure you provide an authentic brand experience by humans.


Avatar – A picture or graphic used to as the face of someone’s social media page(s). 


Bio – A short introduction/summary of the social media user and/or business profile. These need to be as descriptive as possible to create an immediate perspective.


Blog – This is one of the most common digital platform that is derived from 2 words web and log to form blog. The intended use of blogs includes building a website and dissemination of information (reporting, events, etc.). The biggest blog platform globally is WordPress – a powerful and very user-friendly platform.  


Boosted Post – Specific to Facebook and Instagram, boosted content is where you pay to target your content to a predefined target audience. You pay per click and interaction on the content.


Brand Ambassador – A person or customer who is hired or paid to endorse a product/services and provides positive feedback about his/her experiences with the brand.


Circles – Google+ has a unique grouping structure that allows you to combine your connections into different groups. Once you have set up your different groups you can decide which content you want what groups to see.


Clickthrough Rate – The social media abbreviation most commonly shown is CTR which is the measurement of the number of times your content or ads have been clicked on and then divided by the amount of impressions that specific piece of content received. 


Connections – This social media term is unique to LinkedIn and is this platforms version of a “Friend” on Facebook or “Follower” on Instagram. Considered a ‘professional’ platform, a LinkedIn connection may not always be a friend, but rather a business colleague, customer or acquaintance. 


Conversion Rate – A term not unique to Social Media Marketing, conversion rates are one of the most popular metrics used to determine the success of a digital marketing campaign. This is done by people completing a predefined action. The conversation rate is determined by taking impressions or visits and dividing that number by the number of successful conversions completed.


Crowdsourcing – Using some of the latest technologies such as social media and web 2.0, crowdsourcing is a powerful collaborative innovation that allows users to engage with other users in search of a common goal.  


Direct Messages – As simple as the name says, this is a means of making direct contact with people and companies over a social media channel. The social media abbreviation most used is known as sending someone a DM. 


Emoji – This one speaks for itself and should not require an explanation, but none-the-less they are animated figures used for expression. Here is a full list from Emojipedia.


Endorsement – Another feature unique to Linkedin, endorsements are when one user validates the work skill of another. A user can outline a key set of skills as part of their profile, but the real value is when 1st-degree connections endorse those.


Engagement Rate – The amount of interaction that a piece of content gets in the form of likes, comments and shares. The rate is worked out as a percentage taking into account impressions and engagement on those impressions. 


Facebook Live – A very powerful platform if used correctly. Facebook Live gives your followers a live experience wherever they are. It also allows them to interact with your page and followers live as the event unfolds.


Facebook Messenger – A social media instant messaging service (IM) that is integrated into your profile and/or page. Facebook Messenger is a powerful business tool as anyone who has a question can privately send a request instead of calling a call centre or completing a website contact form.


Fans – people who like your Facebook business page.


Favourite – Shows that you like a piece on content that is shared on Twitter. Represented by a small star icon.


Filter – Mostly used by Instagrammers, a filter is a photographic effect that is used to alter the original image to black & white, sepia, vintage and many other unique filters such as Clarendon, Gingham & Juno. SnapChat is also very common when looking for animated or more playful filters.


FOMO – A very well known social media abbreviation that stands for the Fear Of Missing Out.

Follower –Someone who follows a specific page or person for updates. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are all well knows for their references to followers which is also used by many other social media platforms.


Friends – a term that indicates the number of people that you follow and connections that you have made on Facebook.  They are able to see your Facebook profile and engage with you.


Geotag – location or geographical coordinates that gets attached to a piece of content. For example, you can check in to certain locations on Facebook and Instagram.


GIF – stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Small little animations or clips


Handle – A term used to describe someone’s online name on Twitter. For example, Bill Gates ‘s handle is @BillGates


Header Image – Large cover photo at the top of your profile on Twitter. On Facebook, it is known as a cover image and on Linkedin, it is known as the banner image.


Hashtag – Used on a variety of social networks as a way to annotate messages and categorise posts  so that people can easily access them. The word is pre-described by a “#” symbol.


Social Media Influencer – A persona, person, brand or icon that has the ability to reach a very wide and/or specific audience to create awareness about a brand, product, service, topic of trend.


Impressions – Each time an advert is fetched from its source and countable.


Instant Messaging – Text-based conversation that is conducted in real-time, directly between two or more people. More advanced messaging applications include video and live voice calling.


Like – An action on Facebook and Twitter that shows approval. Instead of commenting on a post, people can choose to “like” posts instead by clicking the button.


Linkedin Publishing – a platform on Linkedin that enables you to publish articles  to your personal profile that relate to your expertise and interests.


Linkedin Slideshare – a social network platform on Linkedin that allows users to share presentations. People can favourite and embed presentations, as well as share them on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.


Listed – It involves curating a list of profiles that you want to follow so that you can see their tweets easily.


Live-streaming – Sharing video content in real-time.


Meme – a joke, image, GIF, thought or concept that has gained popularity and is shared all over social media.

Mention – used in Twitter, when someone includes someone else’s @username in their tweet. Generally used to attribute content to, or start a conversation.


Native advertising – Ad copy and Image adheres to the social network’s regular post layout, so that the advert doesn’t come across as obvious. It’s intention is to make adverts feel less like ads.


Podcast – series of digital media files (usually audio files), that are released intermittently.


Recommendation – A written note from another Linkedin member that has reinforced your credibility or expertise.


Reply – A separate tweet that is in response to a someone’s tweet on Twitter.


Retweet – When someone shares your exact tweet to their followers.


Social Selling – a concept that sales people can leverage off of comments, likes and the engagement from posts in answering people’s questions, providing further information and providing further content.


Sponsored Content – a term more often used in LinkedIn, this is similar to boosted content in that you pay to target your content to a specific target audience and pay for each click and interaction made.


Tag – Used in Facebook and LinkedIn. The user is able to link back to other users or products in the photo.


Thread – These are comments in response to published content with replies involving various levels of interaction.


Trending – Trends are compiled through the use of hashtags. The more a # is used the more it trends. To become a trending topic you need hundreds of thousands of interactions with a specific hashtag.


Troll – A person that loves to create controversy in an online setting by either commenting on posts or engaging in forum discussions. Their aim is to stimulate a reaction by providing commentary.


User-generated content – Content created by consumers. Could be in the form of blogs, tweets, images and reviews. Marketers can tap into this content, and use it to support campaigns.


Viral – A term that describes when a piece of content achieves a huge amount of awareness and engagement.


Vlogging – Content in the form of a video that tells a story.


Webinar – Online seminar or presentation, whereby people are given a URL link to join the presentation room. Used to present a particular topic or educate users.

What are the most popular social media channels available?

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Some of the other social media channels that are available to users:

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Some of the other social media channels that are available to users:

Social Media Terms and Abbreviations

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