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Social Media Glossary: 20 Terms to Know

Navigating without a guide can get you lost. Similarly, navigating the landscape that is social media without some sort of base knowledge can leave you feeling frustrated and confused. Educating yourself before delving into social media can help you feel more confident in the messages you are wanting to communicate to your audience. This social media glossary—terms defined in our own words—serves to help you do just that!


Admin refers to the “administrator” of a business or group page on Facebook. The admin has the ability to manage all aspects of the page. This includes responding to comments and messages, changing cover and profile art and editing page info.


Your bio on social media, (sometimes called the “About” section) is a short space for you to tell people what you’re about. Like on Instagram, for example, it usually appears at the top of a page’s profile.


Boosting a social media post means paying money to extend that post’s reach to more social media users. A boosted post is essentially a social media ad that you set parameters for to reach an intended audience.

Business Page/Account

For marketing purposes, your business page is where you should focus your attention. A business page or account on social media is a page that represents a brand, whether it is a brick-and-mortar store, ecommerce entity or a service-based industry. On Facebook, you manage business pages via your personal page.


Comments are responses to social media posts that typically appear below the post itself. Anyone who is following a page or personal profile has the ability to comment on that page, unless the admin has restricted commenting.

Cover Art

Moving along in our social media glossary—you can’t forget the cover art. This is the larger, rectangular photo or video that appears at the top of an individual page on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The cover art serves to give visitors a first impression of your page.

Direct Message

Ever heard someone refer to “DMs” or “PMs”? The abbreviation “DMs” refers to “direct messages.” (“Private messages” for “PMs.”) Unlike a comment, which is shown publicly, direct messages go to a page’s personal inbox. Here, messages can be exchanged between users out of the public eye.


Social media engagement refers to any interaction that users have with a post. Post “likes,” “comments,” and “shares” are all forms of engagement. Page admins have the ability to track engagement to determine which types of posts yield better responses than others.


Denoted by the pound sign (#), a hashtag is used on social media to link to posts that share a common theme. The # is placed before a word or phrase, making the word or phrase clickable (example: #AdvertisingMomentum). Once clicked, the link will take a user to a list of other posts that have been associated with that hashtag.


The simplest form of engagement on social media is “liking” a post. The option to “like” appears differently depending on the platform (for example, “thumbs up” vs. “hearts.”) Liking indicates a range of emotions for a post’s content—approval, support, encouragement, sympathy. In addition to likes, Facebook offers other emotions that users can assign to a post, including “sad,” “angry” and more. Liking and following also refers to a user following a page. Doing so means that the page’s content could appear in your News Feed organically.


A mention on social media is when one uses the “@” symbol to reference another page in a post. For example, if someone were to “mention” McNutt & Partners in an Instagram post, they would type “@mcnuttpartners.” This works the same way on Twitter. On Facebook, the process is referred to as “tagging.”

News Feed

Think of your news feed as your home base. When you log into Facebook, your News Feed is the stream of content that you see immediately. It collects and displays the posts you see from the pages you follow. It’s also where sponsored ads can appear.


Notifications exist to alert you to when there has been any activity on your pages.  You can customize your notifications. On Facebook, for example, you can be alerted to everything from post likes to friends’ birthdays.


Going back to the basics in our social media glossary—posts! A post refers to the content that you share to your social media pages. Posts can come in the form of text, photos, videos, gifs; however, some of these are limited by the platform. For example, Instagram does not allow text-only posts. Posts may also be called something else depending on the platform. On Twitter, posts are called “tweets.”


A social media profile is essentially your social media identity. Your profile encompasses your name (whether it is your name, your business’ name etc.), a profile image, and a handle or username for your page (@McNuttPartners, for example). The way you set up your profile is the way that other social media users will see and interact with you.


When you share on social media, you are taking another page’s post and sharing it to your own. Shares are one of the most effective ways to exponentially increase a post’s visibility. On Twitter, this is called a “retweet.”


Stories are relatively new on the social media scene, but have proliferated in popularity over the past year. A social media story reveals a progression of events in the form of posts—either still photos or videos. Posts made on the stories tab are visible for 24 hours from the time they were posted.


Tagging another social profile on your own content can serve several purposes. The act of tagging is similar to a mention; however, on Facebook it does not appear in the “@McNuttPartners” format, but simply as a hyperlinked “McNutt & Partners.” Tagging other Facebook users in photos they appear in, tagging to call their attention to content, or tagging to just give another page a shout out are all common uses of the function.


If your News Feed is the place that collects and displays everyone else’s content, your timeline is the space where all of your page’s own content appears. On a page’s timeline, social users can see everything that the page has posted in succession. The concept is referred to as “Your Activity” on Instagram and simply “Tweets” on Twitter.


A trending topic is one that experiences a significant surge in popularity on social media in a very short period of time. Trends range from silly to serious—and are typically fleeting by nature. Read more about social media trends.


Phew! If you made it this far down our social media glossary—congrats! You’re well on your way to becoming a social guru (or at least to understanding more than you did before). Still don’t understand? Don’t want to understand? We’ve got you!

McNutt & Partners is a full-service advertising and digital marketing agency. Contact us today for your marketing needs! Call 334-521-1010, or visit our contact page.

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