Learn the lingo

Social media has a language of its own and each platform has its own variations on general social media terms. Here are the basics.

  • Platform: A social media network connecting people, groups, companies, brands and organizations.

  • Content: Anything that is posted on a social media platform.

  • Handle: Generally used when referencing Twitter or Instagram, this is a person, group, company or brand's name.

  • Follower(s): Generally used when referencing Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, these are the people, groups, companies and brands seeing your posts and engaging with you on a social media platform.

  • Fans: Used when referring to the people, groups, companies or brands that see your posts and engage with your Facebook page.

  • Like(s): Used when referencing Facebook, any time an individual, group, company or brand engages with another person, group, company or brand's Facebook content by clicking the "like" button.

  • Engagement: Used universally across all social media platforms to describe the individuals, groups, companies and brands interacting with your organization's social media page.

  • Tweet: The message, consisting of 140 characters or less, sent by a Twitter user.

  • Favoriting: Similar to the "like" button on Facebook, clicking the star on Twitter symbolizes you liking a post on Twitter.

  • Retweet (RT): When someone forwards your tweet, or retweets your tweet, they put "RT" in front of the message to credit the source.

  • Direct Message (DM): A private message from one Twitter user to another. Note: In order to privately message someone on Twitter they need to be following you and you need to be following them.

  • Twitterverse: Describes the Twitter community at large—i.e., the Twitter universe.

  • Mention (@): Almost all social media platforms support the @mention function. To mention another user on your social media platform by simply placing the @ symbol in front of their name or handle.

  • Hashtag: Widely used across most social media platforms, the hashtag (the hash or pound sign, #) is a way of identifying specific topics. To use, place the # symbol, directly followed by the word, words or characters you are assigning to that subject. Do not add spaces or punctuation marks and limit yourself to three or fewer hashtags per post.