Buzzwords Decoded: 32 Social Media Marketing Terms Explained

Have you found yourself reading a blog post or participating in a webinar and simultaneously googling words as they are tossed back and forth? As we barrel through a period of unprecedented growth in our industry, one of the side effects is the creation of new, and sometimes confusing, social media marketing jargon. Here’s the definitions to some of THE most confusing terms in our industry in plain English.

PTAT (People Talking About This)

People Talking About This is the number of social actions that users are taking that include your page and/or posts including: Sharing, Liking, and Commenting, answering a question, responding to an event, claiming an offer, or tagging your page in a photo.

Viral Content

A photo, video, song, meme, or other piece of content that is interesting and easily shareable. The common term “it went viral” simply means it was shared via multiple Internet channels quickly and frequently.


A free web service that measures your influence on the Internet by measuring your interactions with other users of social media sites including: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, and Foursquare.


This simply refers to all of the known blogs on the Internet. It sometimes referred to as the Bloggerverse.


This refers to the entire user base of Twitter. Also known as the Twittersphere.

Social Synergy

When two or more social entities work together to create something larger than either of their own individual efforts could. These could include brands, programs, handles, promotions, pieces of content, contests, or any other action take in social media.

API – Application Programming Interface

This describes the programming space that developers work in to build applications for sites like Facebook,Twitter, and even Spotify. It allows developers to access the framework of the social network. They use this to build upon functionality that exists within the social network.

Content Marketing

This is really a misnomer because all marketing should be based on solid content. However, in this instance, the term refers to marketing using information, entertainment where the immediate goal is not a sale. This is extremely common in social media marketing. In traditional advertising, content came in the form of purpose made materials such as magazines, cookbooks, and user guides. It is heavily lifestyle driven and often demonstrates how the product is used.

Social Lead Generation

The act of generating a sales prospect via a social network. This is the same as traditional prospecting except that it takes place on social networks.

Blogger Outreach

The act of contacting blog owners/writers on behalf of a brand to secure an article on their blog or to secure a guest blog for the brand’s blog. This is used to increase awareness and expose products to new audiences. The pitch and selection process is conducted strategically based on lifestyle affinity for the brand.

Social Influencer

A social influencer is a person or brand that has a large following on social networks. These users are often approached to lend their relevance to products or brands as they are admired and followed by other users.

Social Media Revolution

The idea that social media fundamentally changed the world in a way that cannot ever be reversed. Thereby revolutionizing the way people interact with each other and brands.


The act of tying content and advertising together to fit a common plot or narrative. Can also refer to the concept of reaching out to your audience for their stories. These stories are used to display product features in a lifestyle atmosphere. They focus on how the product solves a problem rather than features of the product.

OLA – On Line Advertising

Banner and display advertising on the Internet. These are the ads you see above and to the side of many websites. When clicked they may take you to a company’s site, social network, or even prompt you to download an application.

CTA – Call to Action

This refers to the section in any piece of copy that gives the reader instructions. It is important to include a Call to Action when writing copy because otherwise readers may be confused as to what you would like them to do. Common digital CTAs include “Click here” “What do you think?” “Tell us your story.”


User interactions with your social media content. This describes likes, shares, comments, Retweets, favorites, +1s, and any other action that a user can perform with or on your content.


To continually rework copy, creative, and functionality based on performance to ensure efficiency. This applies to many components of social media because of the fast pace of the platforms.


The act of clicking favorite on the lower part of a tweet. This then adds that tweet to your favorites list. You can easily see this list from the log in screen in the top left corner of the “Me” section of your profile.


The act of being added to a Twitter list. These lists are usually arranged by the type of content you produce. Users will add you to a list to gather all of a certain type of content in one place for easy consumption.


When your Twitter handle is included in a Tweet it is referred to as being “Mentioned.” Your handle will appear in the Tweet preceded by an @ sign.


Similar to a mention. A reply is when a user responds directly to a tweet within the same thread. Hovering at the bottom of a tweet reveals the “reply” button. The handle of any of the users mentioned in the conversation will be included in your reply unless you remove them.


Boost describes the action of turning a Facebook page post into an ad unit. This ad unit is seen on the right hand side of your newsfeed as well as being placed as a sponsored story in the newsfeed.


Sometimes interchangeable with “Boost.” Promoted typically pertains to Twitter ad products. Tweets, accounts, and hashtags can be promoted increasing their reach and engagement.

Conversation Calendar

A calendar that holds daily updates for all social media sites. Typically these calendars are created on a weekly, monthly, and quarterly scale. Content is mapped out in advance to ease approval processes and assist in content creation.

Tab or App

Interchangeable words that describe an application built within Facebook that has unique functionality. Tabs/apps are not created or supported by Facebook they are completely built and maintained by third parties. Our awesome Technology Team builds them every day.


There is much debate about the real definition of prosumer. It is my understanding that a prosumer or professional consumer is a more educated consumer that may require more advanced features than standard consumers. They are likely more technically advanced and demand better products and services while not necessarily requiring professional grade items.

Last Click Attribution

When brands track how traffic comes to their site there are many attribution models. One of these attribution models is called Last Click Attribution. This basically means that wherever the last click that led you to their site was recorded gets credited for sending you to that site. Other attribution models include First Click, Linear, Time Decay, and Position Based.

Open Graph

Open Graph is a set of API’s (See API above) that allow developers to design applications that users then use to interact with different components of Facebook. Not to be confused with a user’s “Social Graph” which has a different meaning.

Social Graph

A term used to represent a user’s base of friends or followers. Also occasionally used to represent the combined group of influence a user has in the social media space.


Any piece of content, program, or promotion that has an advertising budget associated with it. Impressions earned from ad spends are considered Paid.


Any piece of content, program, or promotion that garners third party news attention or spreads via the intrinsic value of its own nature. This is a result of a PR or publicity play that does not have a budget to promote, but is inherently newsworthy and gains unpaid traction with media.


Any piece of content, program, or promotion that lives or receives most of its promotion on channels that are controlled by the brand. These could include a brand’s website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. etc.

I have no doubt that as I push publish on this blog post there are social media marketing “gurus” and “ninjas” and “rock stars” out there creating new buzzwords to dazzle and amaze you with their knowledge of Social Media Marketing. What I can tell you though is that no matter how fancy the word, it’s all based on tried and true marketing strategies that have been around for decades

I want to hear from you! Tweet you favorite or least favorite buzzwords to me @johnpatterson85 or to @IgniteSMA and we’ll give you a plain English definition. How’s that for a free sample?

Ignite Social Media