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Back to Basics: Common Social Media Terms You Need to Know

With a constant influx of new social media platforms (and constant updates to old ones), it’s easy to get confused about the latest social media lingo. Even worse, different sites use different terms to describe the same thing, which makes it even more confusing!

So today, I’m going to explain ten of the most common social media terms to help you navigate today’s social media landscape. Here we go!

1)   Followers/Friends/Fans. While most sites (Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.) use the terms "Followers" to describe the people who subscribe to receive your posts, Facebook uses "Friends" for personal profiles, and "Fans" for Pages.

2)   Tweet/Blog/Status Update/Pin. All of these refer to posts you create and share as the original poster (OP). So, if you share your opinion on an article from USA Today, then that is an original post. Twitter uses the term tweet, Tumblr users blog, Facebook users post status updates, and posts on Pinterest are called pins!

3)   Retweet/Reblog/Share/Repin/Regram. Facebook is the most accurate here, by simply using the term "Share" whenever another chooses to share your content with their own followers. Twitter uses "Retweet," Pinterest uses "Repin," Instragram uses "Regram," and Tumblr uses "Reblog." Getting people to share your content is important on any new site, because it exposes you to potential new followers (aka a large prospective client pool).

4)   Like/Favorite. "Liking" (on Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, or Instagram) or "Favoriting" (Twitter) a post is a way to say you enjoyed it without sharing it on your personal feed. However, it won’t necessarily encourage other people to then retweet you.

5)   Bit.ly. If you spend much time on social media, you’ll eventually come across links from bit.ly (or ow.ly, t.co, etc.). These are just shortened links that help users stay within the character limit requirements social media sites impose. They also help sites like Twitter (which uses t.co) limit the risk of users being taken to virus-laden pages. Using a site like bit.ly can also offer additional benefits, such as the ability to track the number of clicks each link gets.

6)   Hangout. This is the Google+ video chat service that allows you to video chat with up to 10 users at once. It’s becoming more and more common for businesses to conduct remote calls, small webinars, or client coaching sessions via services like Hangout.

7)   Hashtag. A hashtag is an annotation that goes in a social media posts. They serve two main purposes: additional commentary or a way to index posts. If it’s additional commentary, someone might post "#ilovemydog" on a post that features a picture of their dog, or "#didntseethatcoming" on a post about being surprised. Really, it can be anything! For the latter, the purpose is to help other people find the posts. For instance, hashtags that use a trending topic allows those searching for the topic to find related posts. Even a general hashtag like "#retirementplanning" can help interested parties find your post.

8)   Engagement. The rate of engagement refers to the number of people who interacted with your post, whether they like, share, or comment on the post. A high engagement rate improves your reach, and helps you get new followers.

9)   Reach. This refers to the number of people who see any individual update you post. Surprisingly, this is rarely the same as your number of followers due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, which we’ve covered in the past. If no one interacts with the post, fewer people will see it. If people engage with the post, then you’ll have some of your followers, plus the followers of anyone who interacted with the post!

10) Cover photo. Different than a profile picture, this is the large photo that goes at the very top of your profile. While profile pictures are almost always square or round, cover photo size requirement vastly vary from platform to platform. Always check the individual sites for specifications before getting one designed!

I hope this clarifies some of the most common social media-related terms! If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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