Social Media Lingo Explained

So you finally have your business’ social media pages created and you’re ready to start posting or you’ve just hired your first social media manager and are dazed by some of the jargon being used.

Whether or not you’ve decided to manage your social channels on your own or have hired someone to do so, you’re going to want to know the lingo utilized in order to have more productive conversations about your business’ marketing (or, more effective googling!).

Understanding = better results, better communication, better understanding, and better resources

I’m here to help you understand the most important terms, from the basics to the more complicated.

You may already be familiar with some of this language, but I wanted to make sure that this post was as inclusive as possible so that anyone coming from any level can benefit from this information!

And as an amazing bonus, I have included a FREE downloadable infographic with all of the terms discussed here today to be used anytime, anywhere! Keep it on your desk or wherever is most convenient so you can always be ready to show off your know how!

Alright, let's get started!


The Basics


An algorithm is a set of instructions used by a computer to perform a certain task. In social media, the algorithm is what determines what posts will be seen by its audience based on relevance and interest. Each social platform has its own algorithm and therefore “set of rules” that determine which posts get prioritized.

CTA (Call to Action)

A Call to Action on social media is pretty much like it sounds. You’re inviting your audience to take some sort of action or next step. This can range from following you on your social channels, clicking to read the full blog, like and comment, subscribe to your channel or your blog, etc. When using a Call to Action, make sure to make it as easy as possible for the person to perform the action such as having a direct link in the post.

DM (Direct Message)

DM stands for Direct Message and the term is used across many social media platforms. This is a private message between you and a person as opposed to a comment where everyone can see the conversation. Make sure to respond to any DM’s you receive in a timely manner!

Hashtag (#)

Hashtags are basically keywords used in posts on social channels like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Having relevant hashtags helps drive views, shares and likes to your posts. When I say relevant, I mean relevant to the post you are making. For example, if you are a soap maker and are posting pictures of your products, tag the post with hashtags such as #soap, #handmadesoap, #vegan, #organic, etc. (as long as the hashtags pertain to your products and your business). There are also hashtags that may not be relevant to what is in your post, but that can be used to get seen by more people. For example, the hashtag #FYP, which stands for “For Your Page”, is an immensely popular hashtag on TikTok which directs videos that the platform thinks you’ll enjoy to a page curated just for you.


A meme is a video, gif or image that is an often humorous representation of a relatable idea. Memes by definition are viral (see below if you’re not sure what viral is), and the captions within the meme can be changed by users to fit different situations. They are a fun way to engage your audience and break up your feed.

Short-form video content

Short-form videos are videos posted on social media that are generally under 60 seconds long used to share important information in a condensed way. The use of short-form video is an incredibly effective social media strategy that has the highest ROI (return on investment) than any other social media strategy(von der Osten, 2021). Some examples of short-form videos you may have seen on the internet are Instagram Reels, TikTok videos, Shorts on YouTube and Idea Pins on Pinterest.


Going viral means accumulating a considerable amount of views within a short span of time. In order to amass such a high number of views, the content is shared many times over between users.

Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is content that continues to be relevant past the date it was published. For example, if your business is making bath bombs, any holiday related posts that you create will be short-lived as once the holiday season is over, that content will no longer be relevant. On the other hand, posts about your best selling year round scents are evergreen in that they will be relevant in any season so long as you continue to stock them in your store. Informational posts can also be evergreen as long as the information provided stays up-to-date.


Traffic is the number of visits you receive to your website or social media page. It goes without saying that one of the objectives when using social media for your business is to drive traffic to your social channels, website and webstore (if applicable).


When someone asks for your handle, what they’re asking for is the username that you use on your social media channels. For example, an Instagram handle is going to start with an ‘@’ symbol followed by your username.

Blogging and Vlogging

Hey! You’re reading a blog right now! ‘Blog’ comes from the phrase ‘web log’, a term coined when the internet was still in its infancy. Blogging is a written article published online that offers educational and engaging content. Businesses have blogs to inform and keep their audience up-to-date with the happenings within the industry. Vlogging is essentially the same thing, but in video form. Vlogs document the creator’s day, process, or journey.

Brand Voice

Brand voice is a crucial aspect of your business and brand. It is your brand’s personality, how you show up to the world. Brand voice consistency is essential to your success across your social media channels. For example, if you are a fun, colorful and carefree brand, it would be off-brand to post dark images and speak in serious tones. Making sure to carry that playful, vibrant personality into your images, video and copy will make a lasting impression on your audience and build brand loyalty.


More Advanced Lingo

UGC (User Generated Content)

User Generated content or UGC is any type of content that is created by the customer and not the company itself. Taking advantage of UGC is incredibly smart, as it builds brand loyalty and conveys authenticity.

Vanity Metric

When you start to look at your social media metrics (more on that below), you’ll have to be careful not to be dazzled by what are called Vanity Metrics. Vanity metrics are metrics that may look positive, but they offer no real value and insight. Brandwatch cites impressions (which we will talk about below) as a classic vanity metric as it only tells you how many users scrolled past the post rather than how engaging the post was (Gollin, 2021).


Metrics can be a beast and there are a lot of terms involved, which is why this is going to be a hefty sub-section of this article.

  • Impressions

Impressions refers to the number of times your content has been shown on other user’s feeds. The reason this metric is not very reliable in judging how well a post did is because a user does not need to engage with the post for it to be counted as an impression. Although this metric is not very useful on its own, it can be used to calculate more valuable metrics.

  • CTR (Click-Through Rate)

Click-through rate is a beneficial metric to go by if you’re trying to measure the efficacy of your social media strategy. CTR shows how many users who view your content actually click through to your store, read further or otherwise further engage on your website. CTR’s value is exhibited by a percentage and is found using the following formula:

  • CVR (Conversion Rate)

Conversion rate is also represented by a percentage and calculates the percentage of page visitors who completed an action compared to the total number of total page visitors. This is important because even though it’s good to get traffic to your page, ultimately, the point of getting visitors is to get sales, sign-ups, downloads, etc. The CVR can be calculated with the following formula:

  • Engagement Rate

Although the formula for figuring out engagement rate is the same across all social channels, the definition of ‘engagement’ actually differs from platform to platform. One may define engagement as liking, commenting and sharing a post, while another might define it as simply being seen. A ‘good’ engagement rate is 1%-4% and suggests your social media campaign is going well. To calculate this metric, use the following formulas:

Engagement Rate by Post:

Engagement Rate by Reach: