Glossary of Social Media Terms Talkwalker

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Social media hit the scene at the end of the 1990s with a website called Six Degrees - users could create a profile and connect with others.

With this new means of communicating came new words, confusing acronyms, lots and lots of jargon, and emoji. I thought it was time to write a glossary - a list of social media definitions - to help newbies and oldies explore the world of social media.


There are 100+ definitions in this glossary. As more phrases, words, tools, and channels are introduced, I’ll add them. Yep, it’s gonna grow like weeds on a neglected tomb.

BREAKING NEWS!!! - Millennial language definitions update -  a language influenced by social media, technology, and trends. Take a look... 

I’ll start with social media definitions, then cover terms specific to four social channels - scoot straight down, if you like:



Social Media Terms

Artificial intelligence refers to intelligence exhibited by machines, i.e., cognitive functions that we associate with human minds. Check out this chat with Dr Benedikt Wilbertz, our head of machine learning and data science.

I’m going to use this opportunity to plug one of our tools - my post, my rules.

Talkwalker Alerts is an easy and free way to stay on top of your online reputation. You'll receive email updates of all relevant mentions online. Set up your alerts with terms relevant to your brand - product name, industry keywords, c-level team, etc.

Like Google Alerts, but better. Yep, I'm biased. What you gonna do about it...

Talkwalker Alerts

Ask Me Anything

Go on, dare you.

Average Response Time
How long it takes a brand or individual to reply to a customer’s message - either positive or negative.

C’mon people, you should be listening, helping, offering advice, and saying thanks.


Brand Advocate 
A person or customer who talks positively about your brand or product.

Could also be called a brand ambassador, or an influencer.

Command Center
Social room/war room is a data intelligence hub where teams from all over your company can visually monitor your brand, engage customers, and pull out business insights. Talkwalker’s Command Center presents social media intelligence from different sources, all over the world - take a look.

blog header commande

A positive action taken on a website by a visitor arriving from social media, demonstrating that they’re converting into a customer. Sales aren’t the only type of conversion; it could be a newsletter sign up, a downloaded report, a quiz response, or a form filled in.

Dark Social
The invisible shares that happen through channels like messengers, email, and text messages. For example, the sending of a URL to a friend via email - dark social. They won’t know where you found the article. It means that dark social is referral traffic that’s hard to track. Dark Social is hard to track, but not impossible.

I don’t believe that you don’t know what emoji are, so no definition here. Take a look at our Emoji Theme Cloud instead. I've also got an emoji glossary for you. Look and learn!

Emoji Theme Cloud

Employee Advocacy
Employees using their own social presence to increase the reach of their company and its content.

Users interacting with a brand by liking, commenting, sharing posts, images, etc.

Face to Face or P2P - Person to Person.

Fear Of Missing Out

Google Analytics
A free service from Google that monitors your website traffic. Check out our Google Analytics Integration, to see how we made GA even better.

RIP. Gone, but not quite forgotten ☹️ yet.

Your @username on Twitter, e.g. @Talkwalker

Not a CB handle - definitely not Swamp Duck or Night Spider.

A dashboard that helps you manage all of your social media marketing accounts, from a single place.

In Case You Missed It

information sommary

Hat Tip - thanks mate.

Image & video recognition 
Or visual listening is technology that can recognise logos, objects, and scenery so brands can find actionable consumer insights, anticipate a crisis, and measure brand awareness. Globally, videos will make up 80% of all online traffic by 2021. You need to be ready! Check out these video analytics tools. Pay particular attention to Talkwalker's video recognition tool. It. Will. Blow. Your. Mind. 

A social media user who has the potential to reach a relevant audience - large or small - and create awareness about a trend, topic, brand, or product.

  • Mega/celebrity/A-list - Cristiano Ronaldo. Kim Kardashian 
  • Macro-inlfuencer - follower count between 100,000 and 1M. Not movie stars. These guys made their name via the Internet, blogging, vlogging, etc. They're a brand in their own right, often sharing wisdom about various - possibly related - topics
  • Micro-influencer - between 1000 and 100,000 followers - focusing on a niche subject - considered thought leaders, industry experts - non-celebs, with dedicated and loyal fan-base
  • Nano-influencers - around 1000 followers - powerful influencers in their community - regular people recommending to friends and family - limited reach, but high authority
  • Virtual influencers - they're not real - computer-generated cyborg

Check out my Influencer Marketing Guide, for all the deets.

The practice of benefiting from the huge popularity of a current news story to amplify your sales and marketing success.

A social video app that allows users to broadcast live video from wherever they are.

Pay per click ads are for marketers and advertisers who want to show ads on various websites or search engines, and pay when a user clicks through. Bid-based PPC uses an auction where advertisers compete with other advertisers by setting a maximum bid for each click. When a user clicks the ad, the auction process pans out to choose which ad will be displayed.


  • Post reach - how many unique users who saw your post
  • Page reach - how many users saw any content you posted
  • Organic reach - how many users saw your content, of their own accord
  • Paid reach - how many users saw your promoted piece


Search Engine Marketing | SEM 
An online strategy with the intention of attracting customers, generating brand awareness, and building trust and loyalty. SEM will increase your website’s visibility primarily through pay per click ads (PPC).

Sentiment Analysis 
Application of natural language processing  (NLP), computational linguistics, and text analytics to identify and pull out subjective information from content. Its goal is to understand the attitude of a person.

Search engine optimization is how to improve the volume or quality of unpaid traffic to your website from search engines. This increases the chances of your website appearing near the top of search engine results pages (SERPs).

This is what your goal is when you’re using social media - to spread your message, products, brand awareness, thoughts, and company voice with users.

Share of Eye 
Measuring your brand presence with regard to images. To find these - no text - brand mentions, image recognition technology is used. This tech can recognise logos, objects, and scenery, enabling brands to quantify brand value and measure the ROI of campaigns.

Share of Voice | SOV
Percentage of social media posts in a given category. Brands use SOV to find out how their popularity ranks against their competitors.

A social app allowing users to send and receive time-sensitive photos. The images are hidden once the time limit ends. You can add text and drawings to your snaps and decide who you send to.

Social Media Analytics | SMA 
Scraping online conversations to find actionable insights that will give a clear picture of brand awareness, your online reputation, successes and failure of your online marketing strategies. You’ll find new opportunities and insights that can remain hidden in the noisy ad boisterous world of social media. Our Guide to Social Media Analytics, explains SMA in more details and how to find the best tool for the job.

Social Media Listening | SML
Finding and tracking online conversations, around keywords, phrases, events, about your brand, your business, your industry, your product, and your competitors. By listening to these conversations you’ll find patterns and trends that will warn of a crisis, feed your product development, improve customer service, and help you understand your audience. Our Social Listening Guide explains how it should be done.

Social Media Monitoring | SMM 
Listening and looking at your social media channels and responding to mentions related to your brand and products.

Social Media Optimization | SMO 
Building publicity through social media channels and online communities. The idea is to drive  traffic from sources other than search engines. A plus is that the social ranking of your website will also be improved.

Social Media ROI 
Defined as the calculation of how much a brand has invested - time, money, resources - in social media and how much income they’re generating from this outlay.

Social Networking 
Quite simple definition - socializing in an online community.

Tagging is a social media functionality, most often used on Facebook and Instagram. It lets users link back to the profile of the person shown in the photo or targeted by the update.

Beginning with an original post, the conversation and comments that follow.

Visitors to your website. 

Sometimes the simplest definitions are the best.

Trending Topic 
The most talked about topics and hashtags on social media.

When you leap onto a big social trend, exploiting the buzz to get users to engage with your brand.

A Twitter tool that manages your Twitter presence, by integrating with the Twitter API to allow users to both send, receive, and schedule tweets.


User-Generated Content | UGC 
Content that is shared by people online. Marketers should track, collect, and use UGC - it's excellent free marketing.

When a piece of content achieves noteworthy awareness and goes bats**t crazy all over the Internet.

Starbucks Virality

Virality Map shows how a single Instagram post from Starbucks went viral

Visual Storytelling 
This post talks about various companies and how they made their brands Instagrammable. A simple definition is that it's about feeding people’s passion for sharing cool images on social media. Brands that recognize this, are doing awesome things, take a look.


Web Analytics 
Measurement, analysis, and reporting of Internet data - vital for understanding traffic to your website.

Online seminar or presentation, hosted by an individual or a company. In marketing, webinars are used educate audiences about a particular topic. Using the webinar’s hashtag, discussion is encouraged on social media.

You Only Live Once

The biggest and most excellent video sharing website, currently used by 1,300,000,000 people.

Glossary of Facebook Terms

Connects people with friends, family, colleagues, businesses from all around the world, enabling them to post, share, engage with a variety of content such as photos and status updates.

Facebook stat - 2.4+ billion monthly active users

Create an event, party, meetup - reach out to your audience, sell tickets, and measure performance.

Facebook Ad 
Create an ad that’s displayed on the right-hand side of facebook.

Facebook Ad

Facebook sponsored ad

Facebook Insights 

Analytics hub for tracking user interactions on your Facebook Fan Page. Insights include likes, comments, shares, traffic source, age, language and gender of your audience. You can count your views and clicks, determine time of day that your fans are engaging.

But, sometimes you need more... Our Facebook Insights integration digs deeper, allows comparison with competitors, with other social channels, and measurement of website traffic, and bounce rate. 

Facebook Live 
Share live video with your followers.

Facebook Messenger 
Instant messaging to chat with friends, on mobile and website.

A user liking a business page and subscribing to the content feed.

Similar to a fan relationship or a Twitter follow, it allows followers to see posts without having the relationship approved.

Connection between two personal profiles.

A place for group chat for people who share a common interest - groups are private or public.

People click Like to show… seriously, have a guess!

News Feed 
Updates influenced by your friends, groups, subscribed pages, and activity.

Promoted/Boosted Post 
Pay to boost a post and get more eyeballs.

An extension of the Like button for expressing emotions: Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Facebook Emojis Reaction

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

Suggested Pages 
Pages you may be interested in, based on previous pageviews, check-ins, likes, and friends.

Links to Home, About, Posts, Events, Videos, Photos, etc., found under your profile photo.

Facebook Tabs

Facebook tabs

Instagram Definitions

Feeding our passion for sharing images, Instagram is hot, and getting hotter. Post photos and videos, apply filters to images, add locations through geotags, use hashtags, and share on other social networks. It’s an app that works on mobile and desktop. It's a social channel that's a charm for industries that have visually pleasing products such as cosmetics, cars, fashion, and food. We recently published a report on the auto brands on social media that explores how the industry is using Instagram to create spectacular virtual showrooms. Don't forget, to squeeze the most out of the platform, you need Instagram analytics tools.

Instagram stat - 1 billion+ monthly active users

Area for a short description about you or your brand.

Contextualize your posts by adding a caption, along with a relevant hashtag.

The clue’s in the word.

Collection of images posted to your profile.

Talkwalker Instagram Album

Yeti love!

Photo editing for Instagram. There are 20 filters, including exposure, color balance, contrast, and different frames. There is also a manual editing feature.  

A user who follows your account and sees all your published photos.

Following Activity Feed 
A feed of images that people you’re following have liked or commented on. Only shows five minutes of information.

The location attached to an image, which corresponds to a longitude and latitude on a map. This means your image can be viewed alongside other photos geotagged for this location.

# used by Instagram and Twitter, a hashtag allows users to connect with others and find images based on a common word. Using a hashtag means others will find it.

I'm not telling you again.

News Feed 
Via the Home button on the app, this feed shows images from those you follow.

Personal Activity Feed 
Shows you when a user likes or comments on one of your images, when your username is mentioned, when your image is posted to the popular page, and when you’re tagged in a photo.

Image uploaded to Instagram, can include a caption, geotag, users’ tags, and a Yeti.

LinkedIn Terms & Definitions

A social networking site with individual users and organizations. Individuals can network, build up connections, follow companies, and job hunt. You can share news, blog posts, opinion pieces, and job ads. There are specialized groups to join too.

LinkedIn stat -  575M+ members

Company Profile 
Bio that includes connections at the company, new hires, promotions, jobs, related companies, and company statistics.

Talkwalker LinkedIn Profile

People you invite or people who have invited you.

Signposts to other users showing your expertise. It’s very quick and easy to endorse, so they don’t have the value of a recommendation.

Public or private, created by an individual or a company. They allows users to gather and discuss  a specific subject.

Your connections, including the connections of your connections.

A way to recommend a friend/colleague based on their professional experience, to anyone who views their profile.

Sent by one user to another, describing a possible project or opportunity.

Definition of Twitter Terms

Twitter – real-time social network and online news channel allowing users to share content with their followers - 140 characters, to be precise. Users can favorite and retweet the posts of other users, as well as engage in conversations using @mentions, replies, and hashtags for categorizing their content.

Twitter stat - 330 million monthly users

Hashtags are used in front of words or short phrases to provide context, for example when we attend events, we use #YetiOnTheRoad. Using hashtags to categorize information, makes it easier for users to find.

When you’re looking to tag someone or a brand in a tweet. Include @username - @Talkwalker - and they’ll receive a notification. It’s used to initiate conversations with other users, or attribute content. Note that if you start a tweet with @username, only your mutual followers will see the tweet. To make it visible to others, use a period before - .@username.

A direct message is so you can talk privately to another Twitter user.

A list of tweets that constantly updates, when new tweets that fit a specified criteria are tweeted.

Someone who follows you on Twitter and sees all your tweets in their home feed.

Home Feed 
Updates every time someone you follow posts a tweet.

Used to be a star, now represented by a heart symbol.

Modified Tweet - when a user is trying to retweet but the tweet's too long and they have to alter the original tweet.

Pinned Tweet 
You can pin a tweet to the top of your home page, to gain more coverage.

Pinned Tweet

Pinned tweet of recently published Automotive Industry Report

Is responding to a tweet someone has tagged you in with a @mention. A reply is visible to anyone and everyone - even if they don’t follow you.

Meaning retweet, RT is used in tweets to indicate a user found content useful enough to share. It can also be used by tweeters to encourage others to share their tweets. Via is a term that sometimes replaces RT, letting uses know where the original content came from.

Twitter + people = Tweeple.

Everything you post on Twitter is a tweet. That’s 140 characters - plus image or GIF -  that are public and searchable by anyone on Twitter, even if they don’t follow you.


A-list Twitter users with hundreds and thousands of followers - @elonmusk would be an example of an influential users, famous for stuff other than being popular on Twitter.

Also Twittersphere. It’s where all the Tweeps hangout.

The Language of Millennials

This is a new section esepcially for you.

I recently published a post - Marketing to Millennials | In their own words - discussing this social media-led generation and debunking all the nonsense that's written about Gen Y. The post includes a glossary of the top 49 Millennial words. Here's a taster...

You’re such a grown up, you paid your utility bills.

I can’t even
Speechless, impatient, annoyed - 20 bucks for avocado toast. I can’t even...

Your bestie. BBF. Short for family, this is your chosen family, not blood relatives.

Feelings, but oh so much more. How your favorite tv program makes you feel.

Alternative to FOMO - Joy Of Missing Out - JOMO my bestie sharing yet another pic of their avocado toast.

I thought you loved me!!! Ouch! You’ve been ghosted.

Greatest Of All Time - this post is GOAT!

Huuuuungry. So hungry, I’m aaaaangry. Don't mess with me!

You got owned! You lost this argument.

Yikes, done this. Ignoring other people by staring into your phone. Combo of snubbing and phone.

To win. Similar to killing it.

Sorry not sorry
I said I'm sorry, but hey, I'm so not.

Desperate for approval/likes.

Switched on to a social injustice.

Warning - This Glossary of Social Media Terms, is Shorter Than it Could be!

Too Long; Didn't Read

And - despite there being over 100 definitions - it's not complete! But, it's darn close. Sure, there're other acronyms and abbreviations, there's a heap of slang, there are more channels and tools, and there are new terms added every day.

If there are any definitions that you feel should be included, let me know. If I come across any that I think should be added, or find some cool new tools - I'll update the post. In the meantime, bookmark this post and/or download my social media glossary and use it as reference as you explore the ever-growing world of social media.

Free social media checklist

Victim of social media overload? I get that. Endlessly creating, curating, scheduling, posting, listening, responding, measuring, analyzing, engaging, planning, testing. Every day. Every week. Every month. Every quarter. I've got your back. Along with my social media messaging checklist, download my free, interactive social media checklist. It'll help you increase engagement, awareness, credibility, conversion. Reduce your stress levels, while you maximize your brand's success.

Free social media checklist


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