Organic reach, share of voice, amplification rate, oh my? If these terms sound scarier than anything Dorothy had to deal with, keep reading! Whether you’ve taken on your social media management yourself, have hired an agency, or are simply trying to improve your business’s online presence, knowing the jargon will eliminate the question: “What does that mean?” and free up space for more important ponderings like “How can I improve my share of voice?” Knowing the language can also help you distinguish if the agency you hired really is making your hard-earned dollars work for you. 

Check out our full list of must-know social media terms below:

1. A/B Test

A/B testing is a technique used to track the effectiveness of any type of content that you publish. By varying content slightly and publishing it to different audiences of the same demographic, you can distinguish which style or type of content resonates best with your target audience. 

2. Algorithm

Put simply, an algorithm is a computer’s to-do list. While we can never really know the ins and outs of social media algorithms (thanks, Zuckerberg), essentially it determines what content is viewable to what users at what time. 

3. Amplification Rate

This is a ratio used to communicate the number of shares a post receives compared to the number of followers your account has. This is a good indicator of whether or not your followers are willing to be associated with your brand. 

4. Application Programming Interface (API)

This is a system that facilitates communication between programs. Content scheduling platforms like Sendible and Sprout utilize the APIs of social media channels to directly publish posts to social media accounts. 

5. Applause Rate

An applause rate is the number of positive engagements that your post receives compared to your total followers expressed as a percentage. This is a great way to tell if your content is resonating with your audience. 

6. Brand Awareness

The more mentions and engagement that your brand gets online, the greater your brand awareness. This metric is most helpful when measuring it over the amount of time that you have run a campaign. 

7. Click-Through Rate (CTR)

A percentage used to communicate the effectiveness of a post with a link or a call to action. CTR can be calculated by dividing the total number of clicks by the total number of impressions of a post. 

8. Content Curation

Sharing content by other credible sources on your page is a great way to provide value to your online community while forging connections with other professionals—just be sure credit the original source!

9. Content Marketing

Creating and using original content as a means to attract and retain clients or customers. This includes any type of content: blogs, images, infographics, microblogs, videos—you name it!

10. Cost-Per-Click (CPC)

This is a metric used to communicate the cost of an advertising campaign by the number of clicks that the ad receives. 

11. Cost Per Thousand Impressions (CPM)

The CPM of an ad or promoted post tells you the cost of the ad for every 1000 times that your ad is populated to someone’s screen.  

12. Crowdsourcing

The best way to get information? Straight from the source! Crowdsourcing is the act of gathering information directly from your community. This can be done through polls, quizzes, and posing questions in your post captions. 

13. Disappearing Content

This is content that is only viewable for a defined amount of time. For instance, stories and Snapchat posts are only available for 24 hours, so they are considered disappearing content. 

14. Engagement Rate

The rate at which users are interacting with your content. Metrics like comments, likes, and shares are considered engagement. 

15. Geotag

Anytime you add a location to your content, you are creating a geotag. This can improve the reach of your content as locations are searchable on social media channels. 

16. Impressions

Not to be confused with reach, impressions are defined by the number of times your post or ad was populated to someone’s screen. 

17. Key performance indicators (KPI)

How do you know if your efforts are working towards your goals? KPIs. These are metrics set forth by strategists to keep track of how our campaigns are performing. These will vary depending on your social media goals. 

18. Native Advertising

Ads that don’t look like ads. Anytime that you create an ad that looks like your normal organic content, you have created a native advertisement. 

19. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This is a score used to track customer loyalty. To calculate your net promoter score, you’ll create a poll with one question: What is the likelihood that you would refer our product or service to a friend? Users will be asked to answer the question on a scale of 1-10. Detractors are anyone that answers 0-6, passives are 7-8, and promoters are 9-10. Your NPS is promoters minus detractors divided by the total number of users that took the survey then multiplied by 100. 

20. Organic reach

This is number of unique users that see your content without paid promotion. 

21. Pay-per-click (PPC)

A type of campaign in which you pay a certain rate (CPC) each time that someone clicks on your ad. 

22. Sentiment

Less data-centric than engagement rate, sentiment is the general feeling surrounding your brand or content. 

23. Share of voice

When preparing your social media strategy, you should have identified several competitors. Your share of voice is the comparison of how many mentions your brand is getting to your competitors. 

24. Social Listening

Anytime you assess and analyze what is being said about your brand on social media and take action to respond or correct, you are conducting social listening. Social listening takes into account data metrics as well as brand sentiment. 

25. Social Media Compliance

Did you know that there are strict rules on how and what businesses can post on social media? Compliance is the process of understanding and upholding these laws and regulations. 

26. Social Media Conversion Rate

Anytime a user visits a link and completes a desired action by a business, it is considered a conversion. The conversion rate can be calculated by dividing the number of conversions a post gets by the number of clicks. Your conversion rate is a good indicator of your ad effectiveness. 

27. Targeting

When creating an ad on social media, you can select exactly who you want to see it. This is targeting. 

28. User-Generated Content (UGC)

Any time that a customer or user creates a post about your product or service in a positive light is an exciting moment! Your customer is creating content for you—hence the name “user-generated.” Just be sure to get permission to share that content before posting.

29. Vanity Metric

These are metrics (likes, comments, shares) that are important for brand recognition, but might not be indicative of a real return on investment depending on your social media goals. 


Now that you know the difference between a CPC and a CPM, take your newfound knowledge and RUN.


written by Caitlin Rostampour