Top 20 Social Media Buzzwords and What They Mean

If you have anything to do with your brand’s social media marketing, chances are you’ve heard these buzzwords a time or two…or twelve. Below I break down some of the most common social media buzzwords and what they mean.

1. Organic: A non-paid piece of content. For example, if a brand posts a piece of content to their page and doesn’t put any money behind it, it’s considered organic. This is how brands used to post on Facebook until algorithms started making it so only a tiny percentage of fans actually saw branded content, essentially forcing brands to pay for impressions and reach on that channel.

2. Boosted/Promoted/Paid: These all mean the same thing; you’re paying for a piece of content to get more impressions.

3. Meme: A humorous image that’s shared rapidly, often with copy on it. The copy may change as it’s spread. One thing to note is that it may be tempting for brands to use popular memes, but they can be copyrighted and set your brand up for legal trouble if you use them for advertising. (#ProTip: is a good resource to find out the background of a popular meme.)


4. GIF: No matter how you pronounce it, a GIF is a short snippet of video that repeats in a loop. People often use them to express emotions in social media, but brands are now creating them with their own assets, especially since Facebook announced GIFs work for brand pages now, too.

5. CTA: Call to Action. This is the action you want your audience to take on a particular piece of content. Some common social media CTAs are encouraging your audience to click a link, share a post, watch a video, or answer a question. 6. Viral: When a piece of content from a small source gets the attention of a large number of people through indirect means. You can think of it as a chain reaction. One person sees it and shares it, then their six friends see it and all share it, then their friends see it and so on. This generally happens with videos or images in social media. Brands often to try to create “viral” content, but the nature of viral content is so random, that it’s almost impossible to purposefully create. 7. Cinemagraph: A video where only one part of the image moves, while the rest is stationary. It results in a very hypnotizing video.

8. Hyperlapse: Another form of video content used on social media (and even more since the development of the Hyperlapse app). This type of video is essentially a moving time-lapse. It speeds up the timing of a video, like a time-lapse, but isn’t stationary. Here’s an example from our #client Country Inns and Suites.

9. Dark post: This is when a brand creates a post, but does not push it out live on their page. This type of post won’t be seen in the newsfeed either. The only way the audience will see this post is if a brand puts paid media behind it. Many brands use this when they’d like to promote a post to a certain demographic of people, such as fans of a certain NFL team, instead of their entire fan base.

10. Click-Bait/Link-Bait: Ever see those annoying posts where the copy reads, “You’ll never BELIEVE what this woman did…” That’s click-bait or link-bait. It’s the idea that a brand or publisher uses sensationalized copy to entice the reader into clicking without actually informing them what they’re clicking through to. More often than not, the article it clicks through to isn’t of much value and that’s when it aggravates people. Facebook actually cracked down on click-baiting and began penalizing content it considered click-baiting by not showing it in the newsfeed as much.


11. Engagement: This is an important one. Engagements are the actions your audience takes in response to your content. This could be a like, comment, share, video view, link click, retweet, mention, or clicking to view a photo. This should be what everyone strives to get on their content; it means people paid attention to your content.

12. Influencers: People paid to talk about your brand and/or produce content for your brand on social media. These people generally have larger followings than the average social media user, thus they are more influential. They tend to be a very effective form of social media marketing.

13. KPI: Key Performance Indicator. This is a traditional business & marketing acronym, but the measurements for social media are different. The right KPIs vary by goal, but can be things like hashtag usage, @mentions, number of comments, number of shares, etc.

14. Gamification: This is the idea of adding an element of game play to online marketing or content. This can be as simple as a brand post where the audience has to answer a trivia question correctly, or as elaborate as a branded app that actually serves as a game. Scratchy is a great example of gamification.


15. Real-time: Creating content on the fly and reacting as things happen in the moment. A lot of brands utilize this type of marketing during large events, such as the Super Bowl or the GRAMMYs. This can also be used day-to-day for trending events or topics.

We may be biased because they’re a #client, but we think this Staples tweet is a fun example of real-time content.

We may be biased because they’re a #client, but we think this Staples tweet is a fun example of real-time content.

16. Newsjacking/Trendjacking: Taking a trending news topic and inserting yourself or your brand into it. This can be around important topics, such as world events, or ridiculous topics, such as The Dress. Word of caution for brands: Unless you have an extremely relevant or creative tie-in, it’s best not to engage with these. It can hurt your brand instead of help if you approach it the wrong way.


17. Social Listening: When someone identifies and assesses what’s being said about a brand, person, product or company on social media. Most brands use real-time listening tools to help with this task. This is a great way to inform upcoming content because you can identify what matters to your audience and form useful, branded content around it.

18. Moderation: This is part of what the people who monitor your brand pages (often referred to as Community Managers) do. They moderate all of your different pages by responding to fans, cleaning up SPAM and deleting offensive comments, among other things.

19. UGC: User-Generated Content. This is an extremely effective way to get branded content that’s almost guaranteed to resonate with your audience because it’s made by your audience! Brands use pictures or videos that their fans submit and repurpose as owned content, posted by the brand. It’s authentic to the channels and represents what people truly want to see in social media.

Our #client On The Border does a great job utilizing UGC on their social pages.

Our #client On The Border does a great job utilizing UGC on their social pages.

20. Trending: When something’s trending, it means a huge amount of people on social media are talking about it in a short timeframe. Typically, trending items are related to current events or celebrities, but can sometimes include interactive hashtags like #IWillNeverBeTooOldTo. Trends can last minutes, hours, or days and they usually have a hashtag associated with them.

Are there any other social media buzzwords you think should be on the list? Let us know below!

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