Social Media Terminology for Any Social Media Plan

social media terminologyFor your convenience, this list of social media terms used in reporting and measurement will be updated when new standards are released from credible resources that specialize in research, measurement standardization, and training for public relations and marketing professionals, such as (but not limited to) the Coalition for Public Relations Research, the Institute for Public Relations, and other industry leaders.

You may be familiar with some of these terms if you use social media channels, such as, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ or LinkedIn for business purposes. Using these terms or similar terms can help small businesses or nonprofit organizations gain a basic understanding of social media reporting, and it is suggested that professionals interested in public relations, social media, and marketing become familiar with them, and empower their clients to understand the importance of metrics other than “Likes” and “followers,” so please feel free to bookmark this page and revisit this list often as updates become available.

The process of completing an activity after viewing an item. This could include a fiscal activity, such as purchasing an item (ecommerce conversion), or completing and submitting a form on the host website (goal conversion). This term is commonly used in conjunction with Google resources such as AdWords and Analytics.

Conversion Tracking
Conversion tracking is a free tool in Google Analytics that shows you what happens after a customer clicks on your Google AdWords advertisements—whether they purchased your product, signed up for your newsletter, or filled out a form to receive more information. By tracking these conversion actions, you will know which ads, keywords, and campaigns generate business and ultimately boost your return on investment (ROI).

This term addresses the questions of how many individuals were exposed to an item and then took some additional action. Engagement is defined as some action beyond exposure and typically occurs in response to an item published on an owned channel. This metric could be related to clicks, likes, comments, shares, votes, +1s, retweets, video views, content embeds, etc.

Engagement Rate
When measuring engagement, it is suggested that one measure the engagement rate by reviewing the number of engaged people and the number of people reached by the post in question. By taking the number of engaged users and dividing it by the number of reached users, then multiplying it by 100, you will produce an engagement rate / percentage that can serve as a benchmark for performance of each social media item.

Google Ad Grants
Nonprofit organizations with a 501(c)(3) charitable organization status that has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can apply for the Google Ad Grants program and potentially qualify for $10,000 per month in Google AdWords credits. Upon approval, your organization would be required to run Google AdWords campaigns with a minimum spend of $330.00 per day and meet all requirements set by Google, Inc. Selections are made at Google’s sole discretion, and are not subject to external review.

Google AdWords Certified Partner
Google Adwords offers the most extensive certification process of any of the paid search marketing providers. A Google AdWords Certified Partner / Professional is recognized as a trusted business partner by Google, which is often signified by the Google Partner badge online.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and traffic sources and measures conversions and sales.

The # symbol used to mark keywords, phrases (no spaces between words), or topics in a Tweet. It is used by Twitter users to categorize messages so that they appear more easily in Twitter Search.

The number of people who might have had the opportunity to be exposed to a story that has appeared in the media. Impressions are also known as an “opportunity to see” (OTS) and do not equal awareness since it relates to the number of times and item was displayed or the number of individuals who may have viewed or been exposed to an item and isn’t based on an action taken by the message recipient. Includes the number of times your posts were seen in news feeds or ticker or on visits to your page. These impressions can be by people who have liked your page and people who haven’t. (Total Count) Relevant Social Media Channels: Facebook, Twitter

An item of content is a post, micro-post, Tweet, article, or other instance appearing for the first time in a digital medium.

A mention refers to a specific reference in an item of a brand, organization, campaign, or other entity that is being measured or analyzed.

Page Stories
The number of stories created about your Facebook page. (Total Count)

Target Audience
A specific group of consumers from your target market that is being targeted during a specific campaign. The target audience can be the same as a brand’s target market, but a target audience can be more defined to include demographics and segmentation criteria, such as: age, location, gender, income level, education level, ethnic background, lifestyle, etc.

Total Count
Used to identify instances where data is based on the total / aggregated amount of occurrences.

Total Likes
The total number of people who have liked your Facebook page. (Unique Users)

Twitter Chat (a.k.a. Tweet Chat)
Works as a back and forth “conversation” between users and followers by tweeting at one another using a designated hashtag during a specific time frame.

Unique Users
Used to identify instances where data is based on an individual user, visitor, or recipient of an item or specific content.

This term addresses the number of individuals that might have been able to see, read, or hear a communications item. It represents the total number of unique users who had an opportunity to see an item or a valid reproduction of that item across digital media. Includes the number of people who visited your page, or saw your page, or one of its posts in news feed or ticker. These can be people who have liked your Page and people who haven’t. (Unique Users). Relevant Social Media Channels: Facebook, Twitter

In regards to Web traffic, a referral relates to a user being directed to a resource from an external resource. This could be a link sent by an existing “follower” to someone else with the explicit purpose of having the recipient take action by clicking the link to read the item, follow the source organization online, or to reshare the item.

YouTube Brand Channel
A YouTube channel that is specifically for businesses. It allows businesses to fully customize and brand the user experience. For more information, visit

Suggested Reading

  • PRSA | Social Media and Digital Media Measurement Standardization
  • HubSpot | The Ultimate Glossary: 120 Social Media Marketing Terms Explained

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Yasheaka Oakley Owens

Yasheaka Oakley Owens is the owner of YOakleyPR, a woman-owned small business that provides public relations, social media, and online marketing support services to small businesses and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.

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