Social Media
Charlotte Tomlinson

Digital Marketing Manager working on SEO, PPC, content and paid social media campaigns

With so many social media platforms in existence it can be difficult to keep track of all the different social media terms. In this post we explain some common terminology that crops up when discussing social media, which you can use as a handy reference tool in 2017 and beyond.


AddThis – AddThis code can be added to your site to allow users to bookmark and share your content.

Attribution – Attribution is the process of identifying a set of user actions (“events” or “touchpoints”) that contribute in some manner to a desired outcome, and then assigning a value to each of these events. However, it can be difficult to attribute revenue directly to social media activity. This is likely to change in 2017 – read more about potential trends to look out for in 2017 here.

Automation – There are many tools available to automate social media marketing, such as Hootsuite. However, make sure you always take the time to engage directly with your audience, and don’t rely too heavily on automation.

Avatar – In social media, an Avatar is a picture or graphic used to represent you. Businesses frequently use a logo as their avatar on company pages and profiles.


Blogs – A blog is a web content publishing platform that allows a user to post content which may include commentaries, news or views. Blogging platforms include Blogger and WordPress and blogs are indexed promptly by search engines. Read more about blogging for lead generation.

Bitly – Bitly is a URL shortening service frequently used on Twitter. It makes sharing long website addresses quicker and easier. Users can create a Bitly account and then can see statistics on each Bitly link they have created and shared. The Bitly link for this post is


Circles – or rather Google Circles are a feature of Google+. A Circle is a way of categorising or grouping people based around the relationship you have with them. People you add on Google+ can be added as friends, family, acquaintances or you can add people to follow.

Connections – Connections are people you connect with on LinkedIn. Connections are similar to Facebook Friends but are more likely to be made with people you have worked with, or would like to do business with, rather than friends or family members.


Delicious – Delicious is a social bookmarking web service for discovering, storing and sharing web bookmarks. It allows you to share bookmarks to make others aware of content that you find interesting. Delicious bookmarks are placed on the Delicious site and it can be a way to increase the reach of your great content.

Digg– Digg is a news aggregator with a curated front page that selects stories with topics that vary widely from trending political issues to science to viral stories and anything in between. It allows you to share content which may including news, videos or pictures. Users rate content by Digging it. Popular content appears on the homepage of the Digg site and can lead to increased visibility of your content. In 2015, the company claimed that it had about 11 million active monthly users.


Engagement – The main purpose of social media is for you to use it as an opportunity to actively engage with customers, potential customers, friends and family. In the simplest terms, engagement is the interaction between people and brands on social networks. For example, on Facebook, engagement includes likes, comments and shares.


Facebook – Facebook is the world’s most popular social networking website that allows you to connect with family and friends, and allows brands to connect with customers and potential customers. Facebook users can add photos, post status updates, create event pages and much more. Businesses are also able to advertise on Facebook by creating a free page and sharing updates, or through paid advertising (find out more about the advantages and disadvantages of Facebook advertising).

social media glossary 2017

Hallam Internet’s Facebook page

Facebook Live – Live lets people, public figures and Pages share live video with their followers and friends on Facebook. According to Facebook, Live allows you to interact with your followers and friends on another level – “Field their burning questions, hear what’s on their mind and check out their Live Reactions to gauge how your broadcast is going.”

Facebook Messenger Facebook Messenger (sometimes abbreviated as Messenger) is an instant messaging service and software application, allowing Facebook users to chat with friends both on mobile and the desktop website.

Filter – A photographic effect that can be applied to enhance images on social media, such as offering a vintage look, black and white, sepia, altering saturation levels, and more. Snapchat regularly updates their filters, and offers hilarious (if your sense of humour is anything like mine) possibilities such as face swapping.

Flickr –  An image and video hosting website and web services suite. Calls itself the “best online photo management and sharing application in the world”.

Foursquare – Foursquare allows you to share your location with others. You are shown deals and offers relative to your location that may have also been recommended by your friends.

Friends – Friends are people you connect with on Facebook. Friends can see your Facebook profile or elements of your Facebook profile depending on what you have given them access to. On Snapchat, a friend is another user you’ve mutually connected with (both of you have added each other as contacts within Snapchat).

Follow/Follower – When you follow someone on Twitter you are essentially subscribing to their updates and Tweets – you are a Follower. You can also follow a company or person on LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat.


GIF –  Acronym for Graphics Interchange Format, which refers to a file format that supports both static and animated images. Only certain social networks support gifs – check out to find gifs to share on social media.

Google+ – Google’s social network has decreased in influence in recent years, and according to recent research by Statistic Brain, only 5% of its active users are from the UK. Many marketers have declared the network “dead”. However, it’s important to take a more measured approach. Google+ has gone through major updates in November 2015 and August 2016 to attempt to stay relevant as a social network. And it may also have an influence on rankings. According to Backlinko, Google shows higher results for authors and sites that you’ve added to your Google Plus Circles.


Hashtag – A single word or phrase preceded by the # symbol to define messages relating to a particular topic. Hashtags first emerged on Twitter but are now used on almost every other social platform too.

Handle – On Twitter a handle is the name you choose to represent yourself. It starts with an @ e.g. mine is @charl0tomlinson.

Hearts – A feature of the Periscope app that measures popularity.  Viewers of a stream can “heart” the broadcast an infinite amount of times, which links to the streamer’s popularity ranking and stats.

Hootsuite – A dashboard that allows you to manage all of your social media marketing accounts from a single location, so you can find and schedule effective social content.


Influencer – A social media user who can reach a relevant audience (whether large or small) and create awareness about a trend, topic, company, or product. They have established credibility with their audiences and marketers work to build relationships with them in order to reach those audiences.

Instagram – Purchased by Facebook for a cool $1 Billion in 2012, Instagram allows users to share pictures and videos, apply filters to them and also share them on other social networking sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr.

Instagram Stories – Photos and videos shared on your Instagram feed that disappear after 24 hours. Launched in August 2016.


Klout – Klout is a site that measures the social influence of individuals on social media platforms such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and other platforms.


Like – A like on Facebook is the endorsement of a page, a piece of content or a status update. In February 2016, Facebook launched “reactions” which added the following to the repertoire:

social media glossary

LinkedIn – Is the social network for businesses and professionals. Individuals can make connections with others and create profiles. Company pages can also be created. Read our guide on creating the perfect LinkedIn page.

List – A curated group of Twitter accounts. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others.

Live Stories – Live Stories are a curated stream of user submitted Snaps (via Snapchat) from various locations and events. Users who have their location services on at the same event location will be given the option to contribute Snaps to the Live Story. The end result is a Story told from a community perspective with lots of different points view.

Live Streaming – Live broadcasting through social media. This is expected to grow in 2017, especially between social media platforms and television broadcasters. Facebook, it is expected, will announce partnerships with major broadcasters to screen exclusive content.

social media glossary

Dwayne Johnson using Facebook Live


Mention – The act of tagging another user’s handle or account name in a social media message. Mentions typically trigger a notification for that user and are a key part of what makes social media “social”. When properly formatted (for example, as an @mention on Twitter), a mention also acts as a link so your audience can click through to the users’ bio or profile.

Messenger Bots/Chatbots Chatbots are computer programs that mimic conversation with people using artificial intelligence. A way of building more personal relationships with customers, brands will increasingly use chatbots to complete simple transactions. This is something Ebay and Shopify are already using. Read more here.


Newsfeed – A newsfeed is a list of news posted on a particular platform. Newsfeeds exist on your Facebook profile page, on blogs and on Twitter, for example.

Notification – A message or update sharing new social media activity. For example, if somebody Likes one of your Facebook photos you will receive a notification to inform you.


Paid Social Media – Businesses can pay to advertise on social media – with common types being native advertising such as Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Sponsored Content, and YouTube sponsored videos. Companies can also run standard, display-style ads on some platforms. Read our case study on LinkedIn text ads.

Periscope – A live video streaming mobile app that was developed by Joe Bernstein and Kayvon Beykpour in February 2014. It is owned by Twitter – find out more here.

Pinned Tweet – A Tweet that has been pinned to the top a Twitter profile page. Pinning a Tweet is a great way to feature an important announcement or update.

Pinterest – A photo sharing site where users create themed image collections around events, interests or pastimes. Users can browse pinboards, add or “re-pin” images to their own pinboards, or “like” photos.


Reddit – A popular entertainment, social news and social networking website. Content is submitted or shared by users then voted on by other visitors.

Retweet – A Tweet that is re-shared to the followers of another user’s Twitter account. Retweeting helps to share news and build relationships with others on Twitter.


Share – The main focus of all social media platforms is to share your content, thoughts and company voice with others. Sharing options can also be added to your site using to allow people to like, +1, email, tweet or many other methods of endorsing or forwarding your content to others.

ShareThis – ShareThis code can be added to you site to allow visitors to more easily share your content on their favourite social media channels. You can build in a simple bar that allows people to instantly share your webpage or latest blog to their favourite social channels.

Snapchat – An image messaging app that has been around since 2011, and has grown to around 150 million active users, with 9000 snaps sent every second!

Snap – A photo or video sent on Snapchat. You can add filters, text, emojis and drawings before sending to your recipient. Individual messages only last up to 10 seconds then they are completely erased (although Snapchat have introduced a replay feature that allows you to have one more view).

Snapchat Story – The “My Story” section allows users to post a replayable Snap for up to 24 hours to their friends and followers.

Social Mention – Is a social networking search engine that allows you to search the internet for social content such as blogs, comments, bookmarks, events, news, videos. Google also allows you to search blog, video and image content.

Subreddit – A subreddit is a smaller forum within the social website reddit that is dedicated to a specific topic or theme. These are signified by the symbol “/r/” which precedes the unique reddit url of that particular subreddit e.g.


Trending  Refers to a topic that is especially popular on social media at a given moment. Originating with Twitter, users add hashtags to particular words to join the discussion surrounding a topic. This can improve engagement with posts.

Troll – A word that is used to describe someone who deliberately tries to offend others on social media, often posting abusive message to a particular individual or group in order to get a reaction (basically a complete loser).

Tumblr – A popular microblogging platform used to broadcast messages. 69% of Tumblr users are Millennials.

Twitter – Twitter at its most basic level is a platform for posting short messages of up to 140 characters. There are other 230 million active Twitter users.

Tweet – The name given to messages posted on Twitter. Tweets are micro blog messages that can be a maximum of 140 characters in length.

Tweetdeck – Tweetdeck is a platform for managing Twitter activity. Tweets can be created and scheduled along with many other advanced features.


Vimeo – Similar to YouTube, Vimeo is a platform for storing, sharing and uploading video content.

Viral Marketing – A marketing technique where information is passed electronically from one internet user to another leading to wide coverage and high interest levels.

Virtual Reality – 360 photos launched on Facebook in June 2016, and are seen as a first step towards offering virtual reality on social media. The next logical step would be to offer 360 video content. Twitter have already announced that they will be launching something similar in the new year.

Visual First – The idea that video, images and other visual content dominates social media (over text-based content). Hence the popularity of Snapchat and the introduction of Instagram Stories, Facebook Live, and Facebook also trying to improve their visual functionality by testing new camera and Snapchat-like filters.

Vlogger – Someone who creates and broadcasts video blogs.


Whatsapp – A free to download messenger app for smartphones. WhatsApp uses the internet to send messages, images, audio or video.


YouTube – Google owned YouTube is a video sharing website where users can upload, view and share video clips. It is a good platform for placing how to guides, testimonials and information about your products and services.

Are there any other social media terms that you think are missing from this list? Leave your suggestions below and we will add them to our glossary.

2 responses to “Social Media Glossary for 2017: An A-Z of Social Media”

  1. Suggestion: M for Monetization, B for Brand Awareness, and T for Target audience

  2. Charlotte Charlotte says:

    Hi Dana – thanks for those suggestions, we’ll look at getting them added!

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