The Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Terms

Social Media

If you’re in the process of starting your own business or updating your marketing strategy for 2020, you have undoubtedly been made aware of the importance of using social media to jump start your business’ growth.

General Social Media Terms

The first step to gaining an understanding of social media is learning the terms used to describe it. We will first go over several catch-all terms and then dive into the more specific definitions you will need to know for social media management on each popular platform.


Young people looking at phones

The majority of content that a social media user sees is through their feed. Ensuring that your content will be seen in feeds is an important step to increasing social media engagement.

Followers: Users who have chosen to see content you post on the platform in their personal feed. Depending on the social media platform, users may or may not receive notifications when you post new content.

Handle: The name that users can search for on platforms to find your business’ profile or page. Handles are formatted differently depending on the platform.

Hashtag: A searchable tag used to categorize a post with similar content and make it easier for users to find the content they are looking for.

Like: An interaction where a user can click a button to show their support, agreement or approval of a post.

Private/Direct Message: A message that is sent directly to you from a user. Only you and the people who manage your business’ profile will be able to see and respond to it. It is often beneficial to respond quickly to messages or create a list of stock responses.

Profile/Page: The webpage customers will go to in order to see information about your company, find contact information and engage with you online. Depending on the platform, there can be a difference between setting up a profile and page.

Share: When a user enjoys a piece of content, they can re-post it to their own profile by using the Share feature. This is useful in social media management for businesses as it widens your audience without any extra work from you. There are a number of ways to boost the chances of your content being shared, one of which is to post at the optimal times of the day and week for your audience.

Story: Several social media platforms have introduced a Story function. This is a piece of content that is available to users for the 24 hours directly after it is published, after which, it will be removed. While the content is short-lived, this particular type of post has proven to be increasingly popular and an incredible marketing tool.

Tagging/Mentions: When you create a post that mentions a separate page, user or group, you can tag them in it and they will receive a notification. Each social media platform has its own etiquette and usage for tagging, so doing research before using this function can be helpful to ensure you are using it to its full potential.

Verification: A page or profile that has been verified by the social media platform to belong to a public figure, brand or organization, often indicated by a blue check mark near their handle. Verification can play an important part in growing a following online.


Woman looks at social media analytics

Analytics will help you plan your social media strategy and understand what’s working and what isn’t.

Views/Reach/Impressions/Engagement, etc., also known as Analytics: Various statistics that detail how often your content has been seen by users, how they have seen it and whether they have engaged with the content by liking, commenting or clicking any links included in the content.

Social Media Terms by Platform

Now that we have covered general social media management terms, we will dive into terms that are specific to each platform.


Facebook Event: A feature that allows users to create pages specifically for upcoming events. A business that creates an event will be able to invite followers, advertise the event to users that don’t follow the page, gather RSVPs, respond to questions and keep interested followers up to date with information regarding the event.

Friend: A user that has been added as a connection on a personal Facebook profile.

Group: A dedicated space for users to share content, discuss pertinent issues and engage with each other. It is often beneficial for a business to create a group for their brand to create a sense of community for your followers and provide extra value.


Person looking at tablet with Facebook logo

As of 2019, Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world, with over 2 billion monthly users.

News Feed: Facebook’s version of a feed.

Page: A page is created for businesses, public figures, brands and organizations to connect with their followers via social media. It requires a profile to create. A business page also features a community tab, which allows users to post content regarding the business for other users to view. However, a Facebook group has added functionality that community tabs do not.

Profile: A personal profile page that each user will create with their own information, including name and email.


Written by Loknath Das