20 Must-Know Social Media Marketing Terms and Definitions

August 03, 2020

From dental practices to designer fashion, healthcare to retail, and everything in between, Statista reports that 90% of US businesses are utilizing social media for marketing purposes. With an estimated 3.6 billion people using social networks worldwide, maintaining an online presence is undoubtedly considered a “marketing must-have.” Beyond each photo, caption and post is the ability to establish a new connection with a potential consumer. To fully capitalize on these readily available resources, here are 20 social media marketing terms to help you learn the lingo and nurture your audience beyond the screen. 

A/B Test

Used to compare two similar variations of marketing content, A/B testing or split testing, allows you to assess which material performs best between split audiences. To get the most insights from your results, only test one variation at a time. Slight changes in post length, caption style, headlines, descriptions and calls to action (CTAs) can help optimize content performance. For example, when we are promoting an Orange Label blog, we may test out an image versus a quote card to see which resonates most with our audience.


Social media algorithms are what determine which content is displayed to each individual user at any time. Generally, social networks utilize user behavior to estimate which content they’d like to see – this is why posts from brands and individuals that users engage with most frequently will likely be at the top of their feed. After switching from reverse chronological order in 2016 to the current ranked feed, the average Instagram post is now seen by 50% more followers.

Boosted Post

When you boost a social media post, you’re paying to have it be shown to target audiences. Photo, video, carousel (multiple image) and Story posts can be boosted on various platforms. When boosting, you can specify your target audience based on location, demographics, interests and behaviors. You can also choose your post objective, whether it’s generating brand awareness, evolving the brand-customer relationship or encouraging audiences to convert.

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is a metric that captures a snapshot of how many people are familiar with your brand during a specific reporting period, or measured span of time. This is calculated based on how much attention your posts generate, including tagged mentions, shares, comments, clicks or any other way that audiences and other brands interact with your brand on social media.

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)

The click-through-rate, or CTR, measures how many people click on your campaign content to learn more about the post, make a purchase, follow your brand or take another form of action. When conducting an A/B test to see which performs better, you’ll want to look at the click-through-rate (link clicks divided by impressions) to see which variation produced a greater response.  

Content Curation 

Content curation is the act of incorporating shared content into your social media marketing strategy and adding your own voice to it. This may include a photo, video, blog, podcast or social media posts from an outside source that is relevant to your audience. Doing so can help demonstrate your industry knowledge, build connections, spark conversation and further grow your business.

Conversion Rate

The conversion rate illustrates the point at which audiences shift from browsing to buying, or from showing interest to taking action. To calculate conversion rate, take the number of conversions (individuals that took a desired action) divided by the number of visitors. For example, if 200 people clicked on your boosted social post and 50 people purchased the product on your website or signed up for your newsletter, etc., then your conversion rate would be 25%.  

Cost Per Click (CPC)

Cost per click, or CPC, refers to the price you pay for each click in your paid campaign. This is calculated as the total amount spent divided by the link clicks.  

Dark Post

A dark post is an advertisement that is run on social media, but does not live organically on your brand’s feed or timeline. These types of posts can help with A/B testing and prevent an influx of promotional posts from being shown on your brand’s timeline. Dark posts can, however, be located on the Facebook Ad Library for Facebook and Instagram, under the “Ads” tab of an organization’s LinkedIn profile and in Twitter’s Ads Transparency Center.

Engagement Rate

In addition to strengthening your online presence, the purpose of social media is to get individuals to engage with your brand. Engagement rate looks at the number of people that interacted with your brand after being introduced to it. In order to find this percentage, divide the number of engagements (likes, comments and shares) by the amount of people reached.

Evergreen Content 

When planning content for your social media calendar, there will be time-sensitive posts that you’ll likely include, such as holiday promotions, news and webinars. There will also be content that you’ll want to keep in your back pocket that isn’t time sensitive, otherwise known as evergreen content.


Impressions measure how many times an organic or boosted post is displayed on a social network. For example, if one user consistently sees your advertisement pop up on their social media feed three times in one week, this counts as three impressions. Platforms such as Facebook offer a “cost per impression” model where you can choose to be charged each time an impression is served.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are specific metrics tracked over time that determine progress toward a specific and valuable business goal. Examples of social media KPIs include engagement rate, conversion rate or click-through-rate.


Metrics are quantitative measures of social media success that can be tracked over time.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay per click campaigns are a type of advertising in which your brand or organization pays each time a user clicks on the ad. Looking to drive a high quantity of traffic to your website? You can set up a PPC campaign, so you’re charged each time a user clicks on your ad, instead of each time a user is served your ad.


Your brand’s reach indicates the number of users that have been exposed to your social media post or advertisement. The reach doesn’t guarantee that individuals engaged with your content, but rather that it appeared in their feed. When reviewing your metrics, you can review both your paid and unpaid (organic) reach.

Also Read: Branding strategies to better reach Gen Z


Similar to the saying “quality over quantity,” sentiment describes the way individuals feel about your brand on social media, not the number of posts or engagements related to your brand. Benefits of analyzing social sentiment include: gathering audience insight, informing brand messaging and supporting customer experience.

Social Listening 

In order to uncover brand sentiment, you’ll need to utilize social listening. Social listening begins with exploring and assessing what is being said about your company, brand and industry on social media channels, and then incorporating that into your social strategy. Conducting polls on social media is an intuitive way to listen and gain insights directly from your audience.

User-Generated Content (UGC)

One way to show that you’re listening to your customers is by sharing materials that they post about your brand. Known as user-generated content, or UGC, audience posts provide you with additional content to share in your feeds and a way to say “thank you” to your supporters by tagging and engaging with them. 

Vanity URL

Vanity URLs are web addresses that replace common URL shorteners and are branded for marketing purposes. This can help give your brand a cohesive look and help users feel confident in sharing your content.


While social media can exponentially increase your organization’s capability of being seen by the right audiences, its constant evolution can be equally exciting and overwhelming. If your marketing list of must-haves, must-knows and must-dos has grown longer than expected, Orange Label can help. Learn more about our social media marketing capabilities, today.

Written By: Michelle Komala

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