Half of the global population now uses social media. Naturally, businesses marketing to them must follow suit. As a result, more than 90% of businesses today use social networking as an essential part of their marketing strategy. 

Using the tools, services, and strategies of social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook have become standard practice for marketers. Whether it’s a seasoned marketer or a beginner, working in the field of marketing today requires thorough knowledge of social media. And it all begins with the social media marketing terms and definitions. 

We’ve put together a glossary of the most used social media marketing terminology to help you decode digital jargon. If you’re an aspiring marketer or looking to advance your career, you’re expected to be familiar with these top 30 social media marketing terms.   

Let’s get started with the top social media marketing terms and definitions.

1. A/B Testing

A/B Testing or split testing is one of the basic social media tests to identify what marketing strategy works for your brand or service. The testing compares two variants on your social media posts to measure which one drives more conversions. For example, you can run A/B testing on Instagram content-type: photo content v/s video content to determine the best strategy to convert consumers into customers.   

2. Algorithm

An algorithm is a mathematical system used to solve problems and deliver results. In social media, an algorithm refers to a set of rules that help search engines to rank, filter, and organize search results and advertisements. Marketers are constantly vying to beat social media algorithms to improve their rank in social media ads and content placement. 

3. Blog

A blog is a truncation of ‘weblog’ and refers to a discussion or informational website published on the web and updated frequently by an individual or enterprise. Blog entries or posts are often informal, diary-style text displayed in reverse chronological order. Digital marketers and business owners stay updated on the latest social media developments by reading social media blogs.  

Earn the Esteemed Purdue Certification

Purdue PG Digital Marketing ProgramExplore Course
Earn the Esteemed Purdue Certification

4. Chatbot

A chatbot is a form of artificial intelligence (AI) that simulates human-like interactions with customers via text messages or text-to-speech in social messaging apps. 

5. Clickbait

Clickbait in social media marketing terms refers to misleading or manipulative content (article, image, or video) that entices users to click on it. 

6. Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

Click-Through Rate or CTR is a very popular social media marketing term which forms part of almost every activity on any social media platform.  is a measure of the percentage of users that click on your post. It is calculated by dividing the number of link clicks by post impressions or the number of views. The higher the CTR score, the better for a business

7. Conversion Rate

This is one of the important social media marketing terms. Conversion Rate in social media terminology refers to the percentage of users who follow through a social post or ad’s call to action. This can be a download, purchase, or some other desired action depending upon the marketer’s conversion goal. Conversion rate is one of the top indicators of a company’s marketing strategy performance.

8. Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing means gathering a large group of social media users to generate ideas, services, or content for a brand or campaign. 

9. Dark Post

A dark post is a targeted social media ad that doesn’t show on the advertiser’s timeline. They only appear in the feeds of target users. 

10. Direct Message (DM)

A Direct Message is a private message between social media users that can only be seen by the sender and the recipient.  

11. Engagement Rate

Engagement rate is a metric that tells how much interaction a social media content earns from followers. It is calculated as the percentage of users who engaged with your post of the total number who viewed it. A good engagement rate (1-4%) indicates an effective social media marketing campaign.  

12. Ephemeral Content

Ephemeral content refers to social media content that disappears after a specific period of time.

13. Feed

A social media feed is among the generic social media marketing terms used to stream content you see from various social media accounts. It is a wall-like layout that displays all your brand’s content from different social media platforms. 

14. Follower

In social media marketing terms, a follower is a user who has subscribed to view your posts. The number of followers of an organization or brand is a key metric of how the audience on social media is engaging with the brand.  

15. Handle

A unique public username used on social media accounts is referred to as ‘handle’; like in Twitter, a handle refers to the username followed by an @ symbol.  

Become One of The Highest Paid Digital Marketer

With Purdue Digital Marketing PG ProgramExplore Course
Become One of The Highest Paid Digital Marketer

16. Hashtag

A hashtag (#) is a word or phrase preceded by a ‘#’ sign used to connect posts on social media to other posts on the same subject or a trending topic. Hashtags are a way to make it easier for users to search for posts related to specific topics. 

17. Impressions

Impressions are the number of times your content has been shown on the feeds of social media users. A viewer doesn’t need to engage with a post in order for it to be counted as an impression.

18. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A numeric unit used to measure the progress of your social marketing strategies and campaign goals. KPIs are frequently used to track progress in brand awareness, lead generation, sales conversions, etc.

19. Live streaming

Social media live streaming is a way of using eye-catching content to reach your audience on channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter in real-time. Live streaming helps boost your brand’s positioning in the news feed algorithms of channels. 

20. Meme

In the social media context, the meme is a text, video, or images that is spread through social media platforms, especially for humorous purposes. Memes go viral, and users get in by creating their own variations and sharing them.

Sometimes, brands capitalize on the latest memes to engage and connect with younger audiences, but you need more than a healthy sense of humor to pull off meme marketing.

21. Native Advertising

Native advertising on social media is the technique of showing paid content to users in such a way that it looks organic. Examples of native ads are promoted Facebook posts, which appear similar to regular posts in user’s feeds.

22. Pay per Click (PPC)

PPC is a social media marketing term referring to a form of paid advertising where advertisers pay a fee for each time a user clicks on the ad.

23. Share

Share refers to how many times a piece of content has been reposted on social media. There is a clickable ‘share’ feature on social media platforms that allows you to repost other user’s content to your own timeline or newsfeed. 

Shareable content or content that is useful, entertaining, and inspiring is more likely to get shared by users on social media. 

24. Story

A social media story is a collection of images and short videos that can be shared with other users. A story disappears after 24 hours, making them ephemeral. Marketers use the storytelling aspect of social media to tell stories about brands, products, or services.

25. Social Media ROI

Social Media Return on Investment (ROI) is a metric to determine the revenue your social media marketing campaign is generating when compared to how much you are spending on the campaign. ROI is a percentage calculation used to determine the efficiency of a business investment. 

26. Targeting

Targeting is a social media marketing term that refers to how you target a specific audience to display adverts and posts. Most social advertising platforms allow advertisers to define, identify audiences based on age, location, gender, and other demographics. Your social media target audience consists of people you want to appeal to, which will help develop your brand guidelines.  

Master the Art of Digital Branding

Free Webinar | 12 Oct, Thursday | 9 PM ISTRegister Now!
Master the Art of Digital Branding

27. Traffic

Traffic refers to all user visits to a website or mobile application. Social traffic includes all traffic coming from social networks. Increasing social media traffic is a common marketing objective, realized by building a larger presence on social media and getting people to see or engage with your content. 

28. Trending Topic

Trending topics are subjects or events that have suddenly gained immense popularity on social media. Many social networks search the top hashtags, or subjects users are posting about and include them in a ‘trending topics’ segment.  

29. UGC (User Generated Content)

User-Generated Content (UGC) is any content – in the form of text, videos, images, reviews, etc. – created by consumers rather than brands. Marketers are using UGC on their social media accounts and websites as part of their social marketing strategy. Sharing UGC promotes authenticity, builds trust, and drives purchasing decisions from their own audience. 

30. Viral

Viral is a term that refers to the content shared across social media such that it spreads exponentially. Marketers often use viral content as a strategy to promote brands and products.

Knowing these top 30 social media marketing terms and understanding what they mean is a good starting point for exploring the world of social media as a marketing professional. To advance your knowledge and gain skills to remain relevant in the fast-changing job market where today’s knowledge becomes obsolete tomorrow, join Simplilearn’s PCP Digital Marketing Course and other industry-recognized courses. Get started today to future-proof your career!

About the Author


Simplilearn is one of the world’s leading providers of online training for Digital Marketing, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Data Science, IT, Software Development, and many other emerging technologies.

View More
  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.