Social Media Marketing Terms You Should Know

In the span of two decades social media went from websites that distracted teens to global corporations that became essential cogs in any marketing machine. Social media distracts everyone now, not just teenagers. For anyone who runs a business or works in marketing, social media is part of your toolkit. The uninitiated may get bogged down with all the lingo and abbreviations. We’re here to initiate and unbog you.

The “we” here is Adam Roberts — the man behind the keyboard on this blog — and Jesse Macko — Coal Creative’s Social Media Specialist.

Social Media Marketing Basics

We’ll start with some general abbreviations and terms to get you grounded.

SM – Social Media – The category of websites and applications that allow users to create and share content. The big guys in this space include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, among others.

SMM – Social Media Marketing – The practice of using social media sites to promote a product or service. This cost-effective strategy allows businesses of all sizes to speak directly to their customers, on platforms that their customers already use constantly.

DM – Direct Message – The private contact feature on social media sites.

CTA – Call to Action – A prompt delivered to a customer that asks them to do something, like make a purchase. The classic example is a post from your favorite store announcing that an item you want is on sale. The enticing button at the bottom that begs you to “Shop Now” is the CTA.

Conversions – Actions users take that are important for business goals. Conversions can take many forms, including, but not limited to:

  • Purchases
  • Newsletter sign ups
  • App downloads

Organic vs. Sponsored

Social media content can travel two paths on its way to your followers. The first is free or organic; the other is paid or sponsored.

Organic Content – Social media posts including text, photos, videos and events that are posted for free with no paid promotion. Organic content tends to have a significantly smaller reach than sponsored posts.

Sponsored Content – Paid posts that are supported by advertising budgets. Sponsored content is optimized to reach a targeted audience outside of your organic follower circle.

Jesse explains that a well-deployed strategy includes both organic and paid content.

“Organic content fosters relationships with your current followers and shows that your brand is active,” Jesse said, adding, “It doesn’t take the place of sponsored content, but if you do it right, it can go a long way to complement it.”

The deployment of paid social depends on the objectives of the company and their budget. Jesse recommends using sponsored content if possible.

“The great thing about social media is how flexible advertising is,” said Jesse. “You don’t need to have exuberant marketing budgets. Even a small amount can go a long way if it’s done right.”

Impressions vs. Reach

Impressions – The number of people shown a particular piece of content. This metric counts all the feeds your photo, video or post appears in. Impressions measure exposure and include the same people seeing your message multiple times.

Reach – The unique number of accounts that have seen your post, video or photo on social media. Reach measures the users who have viewed your content, while impressions measure the number of views.

Your reach number will always be lower than the impressions number. However, the people who engage with your page are more likely to become customers than people who see your ad in passing.

“Impression campaigns are cheaper to run, but the con is you don’t necessarily get any action out of them,” Jesse said. “Whereas traffic campaigns are optimized for people who will click the link to a website.”

Most of our collaborators opt for traffic campaigns — with the goal of driving clicks to a website, e-commerce or signups for an event or newsletter. Jesse says a new business or a new product might opt for impression-based marketing.

“The main goal of those campaigns is to get it in front of the most people,” Jesse said.

The more common strategy — with the bigger bang for your buck — is advertising around a call to action.

“With these campaigns, the algorithm is geared for people who will most likely be interested in what you have to offer, which makes them more valuable,” said Jesse. “You’re not putting it in front of just anyone.”

Social Media ROI and KPI

While one of the benefits of social media advertising is the ability to change course, there is lots of data to formulate your strategy. Let’s look at some of the business terms that your company’s number crunchers will want to consider.

ROI – Return on Investment – The ratio between net income and an investment. It asks the question: “did the money spent on this campaign drive income?” In our case, it’s used to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of a marketing campaign.

KPI – Key Performance Indicator – A business metric that quantifiably measures progress toward a stated result. It’s a big umbrella that covers all kinds of metrics. Social media KPIs include impressions, comments, likes and shares. These metrics tell us if a strategy is resonating with the target audience.

This LinkedIn blog uses the metaphor of a book to differentiate between KPI metrics and measuring ROI. “KPIs tell you what happens after each chapter, whereas ROI tells you what happened after the conclusion of the entire story. KPIs are a forward-looking predictor of end performance, whereas ROI is used as a backward-looking informer of future budget allocation decisions.”’

Metrics for Clicks and Impressions

Engagement data tells us how campaigns perform at a granular level. They’re KPIs that help us decide whether our ROI was worth it. Social media and web advertising spit out rich reports about engagement, and you might feel the pressure to start measuring your success immediately, since the data starts flowing pretty much right away.

But it’s important to let a campaign run its course before you start tinkering. We’ve found even the most brilliant campaigns usually need a little time to build momentum.

CTR – Click Through Rate – A measurement of success for online advertising and email marketing campaigns. It’s the ratio of users who click a link to the number of total users who view an asset (webpage, email or ad).

PPC – Pay Per Click – A model of online advertising, in which advertisers pay each time their link is clicked. The PPC model is employed by:

  • Search Engines: The search results that appear at the top of Google or Amazon with a marker indicating it is an ad. Advertisers bid on a specific keyword to have their website show up first in the results. Popular search terms are more expensive to advertise on than unique, niche keywords.
  • Social Media: Social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn sell PPC ads.

Advertisers bid on keywords and pay based on their ad quality.

CPI – Cost per impression – The price paid for each impression on a digital advertisement. Remember impressions are the people who are shown an ad, not the people who interact with it.

CPM – Cost per thousand impressions – CPM refers to the cost of an advertisement for each one thousand impressions. You might also be asking why Cost Per Thousand is denoted as CPM, not CPT. You can thank the Romans. The M stands for mile, the Latin for thousand.

CPC – Cost per click – A performance metric based on the price paid for each click on a call to action.

Thanks for checking out our social media marketing glossary. Does reading this make you want to pick Jesse’s brain for more social media sorcery? If you want to learn more about social media or any of our other services, the Coal Crew wants to hear from you. Please fill out the form below and we’ll reach out. And don’t forget to stay Coal!

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