The Ultimate Glossary: 120 Social Media Marketing Terms Explained

by Kipp Bodnar

Date

December 30, 2011 at 6:30 PM

social media marketingOn the web today, things change fast. New applications launch every day, and existing applications continue to evolve and add new features. Just this year we witnessed the debut of Google+ and the introduction of Facebook Timeline. Even the Merriam-Webster Dictionary started adding a few to its collection!

Thus, while we're all learning about social media and inbound marketing as well as teaching others about it, having a resource that quickly and clearly explains all of the basic terms and applications is critically important.

I hope that you will pass this blog post along to others in your organization and maybe even print it out to have on hand when others have questions related to social media marketing. And for even more inbound marketing-related terms and definitions, check out The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Glossary.

Social Media Marketing Dictionary: 120 Terms to Know

A

AddThis - AddThis is a social bookmarking service that provides a code users can put on their websites so that when people visit that site, they have the option to share via Facebook, Twitter, etc. Its analytics service can show you which pages are trending, where people are interacting with your brand, and what they're saying about your content on Twitter.

Algorithm - An algorithm is a set of formulas developed for a computer to perform a certain function. This is important in the social sphere as the algorithms sites like Facebook and Google use are critical for developing content-sharing strategies.

Application Programing Interface (API) - An API is a documented interface that allows one software application to interact with another application. An example of this is the Twitter API.

Avatar - An avatar is an image or username that represents a person online within forums and social networks.

B

BackType - BackType is a social media analytics company that helps companies measure their social engagement. Previously, the service started as a blog comment search engine.

Bitly - Bitly is a free URL shortening service that provides statistics for the links users share online. Bitly is popularly used to condense long URLs to make them easier to share on social networks such as Twitter.

Blip.TV - Blip.TV is an online video sharing site that provides a free and paid platform for individuals and companies who host an online video show.

Blog - Blog is a word that was created from two words: “web log.” Blogs are usually maintained by an individual or a business with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

Blogger - Blogger is a free blogging platform owned by Google that allows individuals and companies to host and publish a blog typically on a subdomain. Example: yourblogname.blogspot.com

Blog Talk Radio - Blog Talk Radio is a free web application that allows users to host live online radio shows.

BoardReader - BoardReader is a free search engine that allows users to search for keywords only in posts and titles of online forums, a popular form of social networking.

Boxee - Boxee is a social video application that allows users to watch online videos on their TVs and computers. Users can share and watch videos from a variety of online videos sources for free.

Bookmarking - Bookmarking online follows the same idea of placing a bookmark in a physical publication--you're simply marking something you found important, enjoyed, or where you left off to continue reading later. The only difference online is that it's happening through websites using one of the various bookmarking services available, such as Delicious.

C

Chat - Chat can refer to any kind of communication over the internet but traditionally refers to one-to-one communication through a text-based chat application commonly referred to as instant messaging applications.

Circles - Circles are clusters of a user's friends on Google+, meaning you can group certain people you choose to connect with on your Google+ into a certain Circle--such as colleagues, college connections, family, etc. When you want to share content with only these individuals, you include that specific Circle in your post's sharing options.

Collecta - Collecta is a real-time search engine that includes results from blogs, microblogs, news feeds, and photo sharing services as they are published.

Collective Intelligence - Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision-making in social networks.

Comment - A comment is a response that is often provided as an answer or reaction to a blog post or message on a social network. Comments are a primary form of two-way communication on the social web.

Compete - Compete is a web-based application that offers users and businesses web analytics and enables people to compare and contrast the statistics for different websites over time.

Connections - The LinkedIn equivalent of a Facebook 'friend' is a 'connection.' Because LinkedIn is a social networking site, the people you are connecting with are not necessarily people you are friends with, but rather you met in brief, heard speak, or know through another connection.

Craigslist - Craigslist is a popular online commerce site in which users sell a variety of goods and services to other users. The service has been credited for causing the reduction of classified advertising in newspapers across the United States.

Creative Commons - Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. It provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.

D

Delicious - Delicious is a free online bookmarking service that lets users save website addresses publicly and privately online so they can be accessed from any device connected to the internet and shared with friends.

Digg - Digg is a social news website that allows members to submit and vote for articles. Articles with the most votes appear on the homepage of the site and subsequently are seen by the largest portion of the site’s membership, as well as other visitors.

Disqus - Disqus is a comment system and moderation tool for your site. This service lets you add next-gen community management and social web integration to any site on any platform.

E

Ebook - An ebook is an electronic version of a printed book. However, most ebooks are not actually available in print (unless you print them). These are typically published in PDF form.

Eventbrite - Eventbrite is a provider of online event management and ticketing services. Eventbrite is free if your event is free. If you sell tickets to your event, Eventbrite collects a fee per ticket.

F

Facebook - Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study, and live around them. Facebook is the largest social network in the world with more than 800 million users.

Firefox - Firefox is an open-source web browser. It has emerged as one of the most popular web browsers on the internet and allows users to customize their browser through the use of third-party extensions.

Flash Mob - A flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse. The term flash mob is generally applied only to gatherings organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails.

Flickr - Flickr is a social network based around online picture sharing. The service allows users to store photos online and then share them with others through profiles, groups, sets, and other methods.

Forums - Also known as a message board, a forum is an online discussion site. It originated as the modern equivalent of a traditional bulletin board, and a technological evolution of the dialup bulletin board system.

Follow Friday (#ff) - Follow friday is a trend via the hashtag #ff every Friday on Twitter. Users select other usernames and tweet them with #ff in their post, meaning they recommend following those Twitter users. People tweet at their favorite brands, colleagues, celebrities--you name it!

Foursquare - Foursquare is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close physical proximity to each other. The service uses a system of digital badges to reward players who “check in” to different types of locations.

Friends - No, not your pals you play poker with on the weekends. We're talking Facebook friends. These are individuals you consider to be friendly enough with you to see your Facebook profile and engage with you.

G

Google Chrome - Google Chrome is a free web browser produced by Google that fully integrates into its online search system as well as other applications.

Google Documents - Google Documents is a group of web-based office applications that includes tools for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheet analysis. All documents are stored and edited online and allow multiple people to collaborate on a document in real-time.

Google+ - Google+ is Google's new social network. It differs in that it promotes social sharing that is more similar to how people share in real life by providing features such as one that limits who you are talking to, creating 1-on-1 conversation.

Google Reader - Google Reader is an RSS reader that allows you to aggregate various blogs and sites and collect updates to new content in one location. You can log on whenever you choose, and the latest content from multiple blogs will be in one stream so you don't have to navigate to each site individually.

Gowalla - Gowalla is a social network in which friends share their locations and connect with others in close psychical proximity to each other.

Groundswell - A social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. (Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff, Groundswell, pg. 9)

H

Hangout - A Hangout is a video service on Google+ that allows you to video chat with up to 10 Google+ users are a time. You can name these chats, watch YouTube videos during them, open a Google Doc with colleagues, and much more.

Hashtag - A hashtag is a tag used on the social network Twitter as a way to annotate a message. A hashtag is a word or phrase preceded by a “#.” Example: #yourhashtag. Hashtags are commonly used to show that a tweet, a Twitter message, is related to an event or conference, online or offline.

hi5 - hi5 is a social network focused on the youth market. It is a social entertainment destination, with a focus on delivering a fun and entertainment-driven social experience online to users around the world.

HootSuite - HootSuite is a social media management system that helps brands streamline campaigns across social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Pages. Teams can collaboratively monitor, engage, and measure the results of social campaigns from one secure, web-based dashboard.

HTML - HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a programing language for web pages. Think of HTML as the brick-and-mortar of pages on the web. It provides content and structure while CSS supplies style. HTML has changed over the years, and it is on the cusp of its next version: HTML5.

I

Inbound Marketing - Inbound marketing is a style of marketing that essentially focuses permission-based marketing techniques that businesses can use to get found by potential customers, convert those prospects into leads and customers, and analyze the process along the way. Inbound marketing leverages tactics such as SEO, blogging, social media, lead generation, email marketing, lead nurturing, and analytics. It is in direct contrast to outbound marketing, which utilizes traditional interruptive marketing tactics such as direct mail, trade shows, print and TV advertising, and cold calling.

Instagram - Instagram is a photo sharing application that lets users take photos, apply filters to their images, and share the photos instantly on the Instagram network and other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare. The app is targeted toward mobile social sharing, and in just over one year, it has gained almost 15 million users. Currently, it is only available for iPhone devices.

Instant Messaging - Instant messaging (IM) is a form of real-time, direct text-based communication between two or more people. More advanced instant messaging software clients also allow enhanced modes of communication, such as live voice or video calling.

J

Joomla - Joomla is a content management system (CMS) that enables users to build websites and online applications.

K

Klout - Klout is a measure of social influence. The service allows users to connect various social accounts such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, etc., and then provides every user with his or her Klout score. The score is out of 100--the higher the score, the more inlfuence you have on the social world.

L

Lifecasting - Lifecasting is a continual broadcast of events in a person's life through digital media. Typically, lifecasting is transmitted through the internet and can involve wearable technology.

Like - A “Like” is an action that can be made by a Facebook user. Instead of writing a comment for a message or a status update, a Facebook user can click the "Like" button as a quick way to show approval and share the message.

Link Building - Link building is an aspect of search engine optimization in which website owners develop strategies to generate links to their site from other websites with the hopes of improving their search engine ranking. Blogging has emerged as a popular method of link building.

LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site. Founded in December 2002 and launched in May 2003, it is mainly used for professional networking. As of June 2010, LinkedIn had more than 70 million registered users, spanning more than 200 countries and territories worldwide.

LinkedIn Today - LinkedIn Today is LinkedIn's own version of a social news service. Every industry on LinkedIn (marketing, journalism, technology, etc.) has its own LinkedIn Today. Stories are selected based off which ones are posted and shared the most by users of LinkedIn.

Lurker - A lurker online is a person who reads discussions on a message board, newsgroup, social network, or other interactive system, but rarely or never participates in the discussion.

M

Mashup - A content mashup contains multiple types of media drawn from pre-existing sources to create a new work. Digital mashups allow individuals or businesses to create new pieces of content by combining multiple online content sources.

Meme - A meme on the internet is used to describe a thought, idea, joke, or concept to be shared online. It is typically an image with text above and below it, but can also come in video and link form. A popular example is the "I Can Has Cheezburger?" cat meme that turned into an entire site of memes.

MySpace - MySpace is a social networking website owned by News Corporation. MySpace became the most popular social networking site in the United States in June 2006 and was overtaken internationally by its main competitor, Facebook, in April 2008.

Punchbowl - Punchbowl.com is a social site that facilitates party planning and provides members with ideas, invitations, favors, gift registries, photo/video sharing, and more.

N

News Feed - A news feed is literally a feed full of news. On Facebook, the News Feed is the homepage of users' accounts where they can see all the latest updates from their friends. The news feed on Twitter is called Timeline (not to get confused with Facebook's new look, also called Timeline).

O

Opera - Opera is an open-source web browser. While not as popular as Firefox, Opera is used as the default browser on some gaming systems and mobile devices.

Orkut - Orkut is a social networking website that is owned and operated by Google. The website is named after its creator, Google employee Orkut Büyükkökten. Although Orkut is less popular in the United States than competitors Facebook and MySpace, it is one of the most visited websites in India and Brazil.

P

Pandora - Pandora is a social online radio station that allows users to create stations based on their favorite artists and types of music.

Permalink - A permalink is an address or URL of a particular post within a blog or website.

Podcast - A podcast, or non-streamed webcast, is a series of digital media files, either audio or video, that are released episodically and often downloaded through an RSS feed.

Posterous - Posterous is a blogging and content syndication platform that allows users to post content from any computer or mobile device by sending an e-mail.

PostRank - PostRank monitors and collects social engagement related to content around the web. Essentially it helps publishers understand which type of content promotes sharing on the social web.

Q

Qik - Qik is an online video streaming service that lets users stream video live from their mobile phones to the web.

Quantcast - Quantcast provides website traffic and demographics for websites. The tool is primarily used by online advertisers looking to target specific demographics.

R

Real-Time Search - Real-time search is the method of indexing content being published online into search engine results with virtually no delay.

Reddit - Reddit is similar to Digg. It is a social news site that is built upon a community of users who share and comment on stories.

Retweet - A retweet is when someone on Twitter sees your message and decides to re-share it with his/her followers. A retweet button allows them to quickly resend the message with attribution to the original sharer's name.

RSS Feed - RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a family of  web feed formats used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs and videos in a standardized format. Content publishers can syndicate a feed, which allows users to subscribe to the content and read it when they please, and from a location other than the website (such as reader services like Google Reader).

RSS Reader - An RSS reader allows users to aggregate articles from multiple websites into one place using RSS feeds. The purpose of these aggregators is to allow for a faster and more efficient consumption of information. An example of an RSS Reader is Google Reader.

S

Scribd - Scribd turns document formats such as PDF, Word, and PowerPoint into a web document for viewing and sharing online.

Search Engine Optimization - Search engine optimization is the process of improving the volume or quality of traffic to a website from search engines via unpaid or organic search traffic.

Second Life - Second Life is an online virtual world developed by Linden Lab that was launched on June 23, 2003. Users are called "residents," and they interact with each other through avatars. Residents can explore, meet other residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade virtual property and services with one another, and travel throughout the world.

Seesmic - Seesmic is a popular desktop and mobile social application. Using APIs, Seesmic allows users to share content on social networks such as Twitter and Google Buzz from the same application.

Sentiment - Sentiment is normally referred to as the attitude of user comments related to a brand online. Some social media monitoring tools measure sentiment.

SlideShare - SlideShare is an online social network for sharing presentations and documents. Users can favorite and embed presentations as well as share them on other social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Skype - Skype is a free program that allows for text, audio, and video chats between users. Additionally, users can purchase plans to receive phone calls through their Skype account.

Social Media - Social media is media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.

Social Media Monitoring - Social media monitoring is a process of monitoring and responding to mentions related to a business that occur in social media.

StumbleUpon - StumbleUpon is a free web-browser extension that acts as an intelligent browsing tool for discovering and sharing web sites.

T

Tag Cloud - A tag cloud is a visual depiction of user-generated tags, or simply the word content of a site, typically used to describe the content of web sites.

Technorati - Technorati is a popular blog search engine that also provides categories and authority rankings for blogs.

Timeline - Timeline is the new Facebook form

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