In order to use social media effectively for your business, it’s important to understand what they mean.  Here are social media terms to help guide you:

Blog: A website with regular entries, generally consisting of news, commentary, graphics and video focused on a particular subject area. Blogs typically enable readers to post responses. Of the many blog platforms available, Blogger, Squarespace, Tumblr, TypePad and WordPress are some of the more popular sites.

Check in: How users indicate their location, such as a coffee shop or yoga studio, on location-based social networks like Facebook and Foursquare. If your business has walk-in customers, this feature lets you see who is checking in to your business; you can then build repeat business and word of mouth by rewarding your best customers through a loyalty program.

Crowdsourcing: Soliciting contributions, such as ideas, advice, feedback or content, through an open call to a large group of people, typically online and without compensation.

Dashboard: A tool that allows users to monitor their social media activity and post content to various sites. Examples include Buffer, Hootsuite, Oktopost, SproutSocial and TweetDeck.

Engagement: A measure of interaction with a company’s social network content. Depending on the social media you use, you might measure engagement via the number of fans and followers and the number of their comments, likes, retweets and shares.

Facebook: The world’s largest social media site, which is so popular it has become a verb. Users can create profiles; post comments, images and video; send messages; and keep in contact with family, friends and associates.

Facebook Ad: A way for businesses to reach users on Facebook; users can be targeted by their location, age, gender, interests, type of device and more.

Facebook Friend: A connection between two people on Facebook. One party invites the other to be friends, and the second must accept the invitation in order to be friends. Facebook friends can view each other’s profiles, follow each other’s postings and send messages to each other.

Facebook Group: A forum for people to share common interests and express opinions. These groups can be used for causes, issues or activities; access can be open, administrator-led or closed.

Facebook Like: A like on Facebook indicates your support or approval of comments, pages, posts, statuses, images or videos. A notification of your like goes immediately into your timeline and the newsfeeds of all your connections; your image may be displayed on the page you liked, in ads about that page or social plugins next to the content you liked. You may also get updates from the page that you liked.

Facebook Page: A public profile where companies can share business and product news with Facebook users. Users can like your company page to show support and follow your postings in their newsfeeds.

Facebook Timeline: A feature of Facebook, in its most recent redesign, which combines a user’s wall and profile into one page.

Favorite: A Twitter feature that indicates a user’s interest in or approval of a tweet, similar to liking an item on Facebook. Items that you mark as favorites can be found easily later.

Flickr: An image- and video-hosting social media site billed as “the most popular place to upload photos and images.” Photos are uploaded into a “photostream” which can be grouped into sets and given “tags” for easy searching. Businesses can upload pictures of their storefront/venue, staff, offerings, completed projects, etc. for free, and the pictures can be seen by anyone on the Internet.

Foursquare: A location-based social media network designed for users of mobile devices which allows them to “check in” to a location. Fans of a particular location can compete to become the “Mayor” of that location by having the most check-ins.

Google+: A social network from Google that enables users to share text and images with friends, family and associates. Its goal is to enable users to replicate real-world interactions as closely as possible.

Google+ Circles: A Google+ feature that allows users to put individuals together into specified groups such as friends, family, acquaintances or clients. This feature lets Google+ users share updates only with specific groups of people, as opposed to everyone in their network.

Google+ Hangout: A Google+ feature that lets up to 10 individuals video chat at one time.

Hashtag: A feature on Twitter that makes words or contiguous phrases into searchable terms. By using a hashtag, your tweet enters the stream that other users get by searching for that term. Hashtags are also supported on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr.

Handle: The name a Twitter user has selected, such as @CharterBusiness. Placing a handle in a tweet refers to a person or sends them a public message.

Influencer: An individual who can sway the opinions of others or motivate them to take an action, such as making a purchase, because of their fame, expertise or position. Businesses sometimes try to sway influencers by giving them advance notice or early releases of new products or services, providing them special access or treatment at events, or asking them to create original content.

Instagram: A photo- and short video-sharing social network owned by Facebook that lets users modify photos by applying filters. Images can be shared on Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr and Twitter.

Instagram Direct: A feature of Instagram that lets users send photos and videos to individuals or small groups. For businesses, this feature lets you send images to select groups of customers or prospects, giving you the opportunity to strengthen your relationships with each group.

LinkedIn: A social network for business professionals. Members create a profile where they list their skills, work history, education and endorsements. Members can also connect with other members; unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn requires connections to identify how they know each other.

LinkedIn Group: LinkedIn members can create or join groups where members with common interests can ask questions and share advice. Business owners can participate in a group to learn and demonstrate expertise or start a group to develop a community of customers or prospects.

MeetUp: A social network that makes it easy for members to find or organize real-world meetings on a huge range of topics such as books, movies, hiking, dancing, Frisbee, soccer, technology, volunteering and much more. Businesses can start MeetUp groups to foster a community of customers or advocates.

Pin: An image or other content element posted by a Pinterest user.

Pinterest: A social media tool that lets users post and explore visual content for projects and interests such as cooking, fashion or trip planning. Users post images called pins into collections called pinboards. Businesses can create boards, or virtual storefronts, to display merchandise, completed projects, etc.

Reddit: A social networking site where users submit news items, photos, videos and other items. Other members can vote items up or down to determine their listing order.

Retweet: To repeat someone else’s tweet and give them credit for it. This is generally a vote of confidence for the original author. Retweets can help improve a Twitter account’s ranking.

Rich Pin: Pinterest pins that include additional information. For example, place pins include a map, address and phone number; product pins include dynamic pricing, availability and where to buy. Businesses can use rich pins to create online catalogs and foster customer engagement.

Snapchat: A “short-term” photo messaging application that lets users send photos and videos to their contacts. These “snaps” are automatically deleted shortly after viewing. Businesses use Snapchat to send photos and coupons to users as a way to drive engagement among a mostly young demographic.

Snapchat Story: A feature on Snapchat that lets users post photos and videos for a 24-hour period.

Trending Topic: A topic of high current interest on a social network, one that is the subject of many tweets, comments, posts or news items.

Tumblr: A Yahoo-owned microblogging and social networking site featuring almost 200 million blogs.

Tweets: Short messages of up to 140 characters that are sent over the Twitter network.

Twitter: A social networking and microblogging site that lets users send and read “tweets” of up to 140 characters.

Twitter Cards: A Twitter feature that allows users to add images, pricing, reviews and a longer description to items.

Twitter Direct Message (DM):A private tweet between two users. A DM does not appear on your timeline or the recipient’s.

Twitter Follower: A Twitter user who subscribes to, or chooses to receive, the tweets of another Twitter user.

Twitter List: Each Twitter user can create up to 20 lists of up to 500 Twitter users each. This feature lets you organize the tweets you receive into different categories such as friends, co-workers and experts or commentators on different topics.

URL Shortener: A tool, such as,, and TinyURL, which allows users to convert long URLs into short ones for sharing on social networks, especially those with character limits like Twitter.

Vine: A Twitter-owned mobile app that lets users post short looping video clips on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Vine videos can also be sent privately as vine messages.

Viral: Shared by many social media users, for example a picture or video. Because sharing happens organically, and for free, many businesses seek to develop content that will go viral.

WhatsApp: A Facebook-owned instant messaging service that enables users to send text (or SMS) messages as well as photos, videos and audio messages. It is a low-cost alternative to cellphone carriers’ text messaging plans (which can be especially expensive outside of the United States); competitors include Telegram, Line and Threema.

YouTube: A Google-owned property, the largest video-sharing site on the Internet. Businesses can post videos to YouTube to build awareness of their companies and offerings.


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