Social Media Terminology for Beginners

Social Media Terminology for Beginners


The Virtuoso-PA short guide to the Social Media terminology used on popular social networks.

I’ve been asked numerous times by clients’ what the meaning of an RT is; not everyone knows that it’s good to be added into someone’s’ circle and what it means.  As we all have to start somewhere I’ve decided to write this blog for newbies to Social Media.


Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send and read short 140-character messages called “tweets”. Twitter currently has 304 Million active monthly users.

Retweet ~ is a re-posting of someone else’s Tweet (sharing). So, your followers get to see the tweet you’ve retweeted = which in affect means a larger audience base; You enjoyed it, and you think many more will too. Also commonly abbreviated to RT

Favourite ~ Favouriting a Tweet can let the original poster know that you liked their Tweet, or it also means that you can save the Tweet to read later. It’s like a Twitter ‘bookmark’

DM ~ is a Direct Message. No one else on Twitter can see it. To send a DM you must be following the recipient, unless you’ve stipulated on Twitter that you will receive direct messages from anyone. If you want to keep a tweet private, just put a dm before the @name. There is an account limit of 1,000 Direct Messages sent per day. Once you reach this limit, you can’t send any more Direct Messages for the day.

Follow ~ means you are subscribing to their Tweets as a follower. Their updates will appear in your Home tab. That person is also able to send you Direct Messages.

Hashtag # (an octothorpe) ~ used to categorise keywords or topics. Clicking on a hash tagged word in any message shows you all other Tweets marked with that keyword. Hashtags are an excellent source for contacting users looking for a specific, they make topics easy to search for on Social Media sites

Reply ~ response to another user’s Tweet that begins with the @username of the person you’re replying to is known as a reply. Reply by clicking the “reply” button next to the Tweet you’d like to respond to.

Lists ~ Use lists to categorise your followers i.e. if you want to target a specific industry, location or keyword # hashtag


Facebook is a popular free social networking website that allows registered users to create profiles, upload photos and video, send messages and keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues. It is also widely used by businesses. It currently has 1.49 Billion active monthly users!

Page ~ A Facebook Page is used by businesses, charities and celebrities. Pages do not gain ‘friends’ but ‘fans’. Pages work similarly to personal profiles, updating users with things such as statuses, but these are viewed on your Home Field rather than your Newsfeed.

Insights ~ Is the metric feature within business pages to analyse the performance of your content.

Reach ~ is the number of people who have seen your post. Your post reaches someone when it is seen in their newsfeed.

Engagement ~ is the number of actions related to your Post as a result of your post, for example a like or comment is an engagement. For your business to grow on Facebook you have to actively engage with your customers. It’s all about communication.


LinkedIn is an online social network for business professionals. It has 300 Million active monthly users.

Network ~ People in your network are called connections. Your network is made up of 1st-degree, 2nd-degree, and 3rd-degree connections and fellow members of LinkedIn groups you belong to.

Connections ~ are people you invite or people who have invited you to become part of their network. There are 3 degrees of network connections.

1st-degree ~ are people you’re directly connected to because you have accepted their invitation to connect or they have accepted your invitation.

2nd-degree ~ are people who are connected to your 1st-degree connections. You will see a 2nd degree icon next to their name in search results and on their profile. You can contact them through In Mail or through an introduction.

3rd-degree ~these are people are connected to your 2nd-degree connections. You will see a 3rd degree icon next to their name in search results on their profile. You can contact them through In Mail or through an introduction.

LinkedIn Groups ~ is a simple way of contacting people you would like to connect with without an introduction because you are part of the same group. You can contact them by sending a message on LinkedIn or using the group’s discussion feature.


Google+ is Googles own social media platform. It’s relatively new in comparison to Facebook and Twitter and has 300 Million active users.

Circles ~ a way of differentiating groups of people into ‘circles’ of similar passions/interests/locations. You can then look to share different content with different circles.

Hangouts ~ In addition to video conversations, you can exchange documents, images and YouTube video. Hangouts on Air is a feature for broadcasting live video conversations which are accessible to anyone with a web browser.

+1 button ~ is method of ‘positive reinforcement’ on Google. It says everything from ‘I have seen it’, ‘I like it’ or ‘this is a good read’

+Mention ~ inserting someone’s name in a post or comment by first typing the + symbol. For example +Virtuoso-PA. This alerts the person to the post and provides a link to their profile.

I hope this beginners guide to Social Media terminology has helped you. If you need further advice or help please contact me.

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Karina Bailey

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Written by Karina Bailey

Karina is the real person behind the Virtual Assistant. I support local small business owners, helping to relieve their admin stress and concentrate on their core business. When not at my desk working I can be found in graveyards, researching my family history. Dancing the Salsa and listening to local bands.