Whether you work in the social media sphere or you are just a regular oke, social media is an integral part of our daily life. But, how can you use your social media platforms optimally if you aren't fluent in digital terms?

media update's Jana van der Westhuizen is here to give you a breakdown of the 10 social media terms that you need to add to your vocabulary.

Ready? Here is our list of must-knows:

1. Virality rate

Virality rate looks at how your content is spreading. So basically, when your post is shared by a friend or external brand, you are immediately exposed to a larger social media circle. Your post can then reach more people than just the followers on your own platform.

The more shares and impressions gained, the higher the virality rate goes.

And voila, you have your answer. Not higher grade maths at all!


2. Algorithms

With the rise of algorithms, users became more aware of the fact that they are not really in control of what appears on their social media feed.

An algorithm is a mathematical tool that helps to predict how a set of data will behave. Machine learning creates a space where developers can teach platform functions how they must operate. 

This means that when you search for certain items or products, the algorithm will pick up on that and you might get spammed with various products or offerings related to your initial search. Algorithms have made headlines as they can, in some way, lead to a polarised viewpoint because users are not in control of what they see.

Still, by being aware of the effect that algorithms have, you can censor what you see and make insightful decisions that are not based on how a post makes you feel.


3. Avatar

It may sound like something from a movie, but an Avatar refers to that tiny circle in the right-hand corner of your social network profile that is there to give you a social persona. An Avatar can either be a picture, graphic or logo linked to your account. This picture is how other people can identify youso choose your good side!


4. Clickbait

It's all in the word — click-bait, or more like game over! Clickbait refers to any instance where a brand or person tries to falsely lure a follower in by the way they structure their content, just to get a user to click on a link.

For example, you look at a weight loss article and the headline reads as follows:

"Lose ALL your winter fat with ONLY one step."

The above statement is a false representation of what is truly being portrayed in the article. When you read the article, it doesn't give you a quick fix but talks about other subjects not relevant to the initial heading. Clickbait posts seem enticing, but it's only to get your attention

Also, playing on the feelings of your audience to make them click on a link is a big no-no! Stop phishing for followers and rather earn them fairly and transparently.


5. Dark post

No, it's not a scene from Stranger Things, but it is still scary. Dark posts appear directly on a specific target audience's screen. This means that the post you are seeing appears as "sponsored" and is not organically posted on a brand or person's feed for everyone to see.

Instead, this post is created and only the people that are targeted can see it — yes, you are the chosen one!


6. User-generated content

User-generated content or UGC (only use this abbreviation if you want more street cred), is when your followers create content relating to your brand and provide you with material that you can use for your social media platforms. 

An example of this is when you launch a campaign for your product and you ask your followers to take a picture with the product and add a certain hashtag to the post. This creates content that you can not only use on your own social media accounts but that also boosts your brand image … yassss!


7. Shadowbanned 

Now you see it, now you don't! Being shadowbanned means that your content is not appearing on the screens of your users. How? Well, certain social media platforms can deprioritise, hide or restrict your content on social platforms.

You will typically know that you have been shadowbanned when your user engagement declines. Don't be banned, just go with the flow!


8. Paid media

Paid media refers to content that is being paid for to be promoted on platforms or to a specific demographic. You get boosted posts, like-ads or carousel ads that are all paid for. 

With the rise of Meta, you can now do cross-platform paid marketing. This means that if you upload your paid post on Facebook, you have the option to duplicate it on Instagram — noice

Organic content, on the other hand, is content that you create without paying any money. So yes, the explanation is in the word!


9. Clickthrough rate

Click the click … On social media, the clickthrough rate refers to how many people not just view your post, but also click on your post link. In the bigger picture, this rate looks at how many clicks a post receives in comparison with the number of users that view it. 

If you have a good clickthrough rate, it means that your content is relevant to your target audience.


10. A / B testing 

If you have a great content strategy, it is very important to make sure your strategy is aimed at the correct audience. With A / B testing, you create a split test where you compare two social media posts or campaigns against each other. 

To do so, you would change a certain aspect of the post like the heading, wording or call to action. This will help you to figure out what content performs best and why. 

If the post with the call to action performs better than the one without it, you know that your audience needs an actionable response from you.


With all this knowledge, go get some social media street cred!

What are the social media terms you struggle with the most? Share your thoughts about it in the comments section.

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Want to get the most out of your content strategy? Then get to know more about social algorithms and how they can influence your brand by reading The effect of social media algorithms in 200 words or less.
*Image courtesy of Canva