If you’ve been observing social media conversations, you might have come across a ton of lingo or acronyms that take you a while to figure out. Social media acronyms like TFW, TBH and LMK get thrown around very casually in comments, captions and conversations between people.
So when you’re in charge of creating social media content or responding to customers, it’s essential that you arm yourself with knowledge about the most common social media acronyms and slang. This will help you understand what your audience is saying and how to speak their language.
Plus, there are some acronyms that might find their way into marketing or sales reports and business meetings. This makes it even more crucial to know what they stand for so you become even better at your job.
Check out this list of social media acronyms and common internet slang to stay updated with the latest online lingo.
Network-specific social media acronyms
First, let’s start with the common acronyms related to specific social media networks and work our way up. While these network-specific acronyms are generally intuitive, it’s important that you know them inside out.
- FB – Facebook
- IG – Instagram
- LI – LinkedIn
- YT – YouTube
- TW – Twitter
You might also come across some acronyms that refer to the features on those networks. These are particularly important if you’re on Twitter, where social media abbreviations are commonplace. Knowing them will help you improve your communications with team members and followers alike.
- DM – Direct message. Refers to a message sent between two users. Mostly used on Twitter and Instagram.You’ll typically find users and companies asking followers to “DM for inquiries” as you can see in the screenshot below. You could use it in your Twitter bio or Instagram bio to specific types of messages if it fits your business.
- MT – Modified tweet. This is when you alter the text of a tweet before resharing it. You would typically create a modified tweet to shorten the text and fit the character limit or remove the poster’s handle (in case they have a private account).
- PM – Private message. It’s a more generic term for one-on-one communications that aren’t visible to the public and includes DMs as well.
- RT – When you share someone’s Tweet to your own feed, you are Retweeting them. Companies, influencers and celebrities alike often ask their followers to “RT” a post if they agree with it. It’s a great way to gain more shares and visibility for your Tweets
Social media acronyms for businesses
Next we have acronyms frequently used in a business setting. While you’d typically use these acronyms in your marketing meetings and communications, they’re equally useful for social media communications, especially if you’re in a relevant niche.
- B2B – Business to business. Refers to companies that cater to the needs of other businesses.
- B2C – Business to consumer. Refers to companies that sell products or services directly to customers.
- CMGR – Community manager. They are responsible for managing and nurturing a brand’s relationship with its community – not to be confused with social media manager
- CMS – Content management system. The tool you use for editing, scheduling and publishing any form of written material for the web.
Evergreen publishing issue here at our Tech & Product Innovation Day: Build vs. Buy … and a new twist, Is the CMS really a business? Great discussion with @mslaurenrae @clockwerks and Jeff Turner. #DCNlive pic.twitter.com/ePSG0Wkcl7
— Digital Content Next (@DCNorg) June 27, 2019
- CPC – Cost per click. This is the dollar amount you pay for every person who clicks on your ad.
- CPM – Cost per thousand impressions or cost per mille. Used for measuring ad impressions instead of clicks.
- CR – Conversion rate. A measurement of the number of people who took the desired action divided by the number of people who could have.
- CRO – Conversion rate optimization. This refers to the measures you take to improve conversion rate.
- CTA – Call to action. A statement that encourages the audience to take a certain action.
- CTR – Click-through rate. The percentage of people who took the action of clicking on a link when given the option.
- ROI – Return on investment. It’s a measure of how much you earned considering the amount of money you spent to get those earnings
- SMB – Small and midsize/medium businesses
- SMP – Social media platform
- SMM – Social media marketing
- SMO – Social media optimization
- SoLoMo – Social, local and mobile. The merging of mobile marketing with social media marketing efforts that are locally targeted
- SRP – Social relationship platform. A centralized platform that lets you publish content on multiple social media networks and then monitor and analyze the results
- TOS – Terms of service
- UGC – User-generated content. Refers to any form of content in any format created by the users of a social network.
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Technical terms for marketers to know
Technical abbreviations may not come up regularly in people’s everyday conversations. But if you’re working in a tech company or managing social for one, knowing these technical terms can help you engage with your brand’s audience. They could also come in handy in your conversations with the IT team.
- API – Application programming interface. It refers to a set of rules that determine how pieces of software interact with each other.
- CX – Customer experience
- ESP – Email service provider. The software you use for sending emails.
- GA – Google Analytics
- ISP – Internet service provider. The company that powers your internet service.
- PV – Page views. The number of visitors landing on a specific page.
- RSS – Really simple syndication or rich site summary. A feed of all the published content from a source, typically a blog.
- SaaS – Software as a service. A subset of companies that provide software programs accessible online and paid via subscription.
— Amazon Web Services (@awscloud) July 11, 2019
- SEM – Search engine marketing. The practice of increasing visibility on search engines through paid ads.
- SEO – Search engine optimization. Often involves making improvements to your website content with the main goal of ranking higher in relevant search results.
- SOV – Share of voice. The amount of exposure that your company owns in comparison to the competition.
- UI – User interface. The visual aspect of a tool that a person uses for controlling it.
- URL – Uniform resource locator. The web address used for identifying a website or page.
- UV – Unique views. The number of individual page viewers. It could also apply to videos or images.
- UX – User experience. This refers to the best practices around how people can easily interact with and perform actions within a website or application.
Have you been a UX design director (or higher) at a company with more than three or four designers? Would you be willing to chat on the phone for 30 minutes? I'm gathering some info. Thanks!
— Laura Klein (@lauraklein) July 16, 2019
Conversational internet acronyms and slang
Most social media acronyms are less business-related and more casual and conversational. A lot of them have been around online for years, while others are a bit more recent. You’ll often find these acronyms used in public posts that your followers make or share, or in their comments on your posts.
It’s good to know what these social media abbreviations mean so you know what your audience is saying and provide them with a relevant response if needed. Some of these abbreviations are also used as hashtags, and you can take advantage of them for better visibility.
- AFAIK – As far as I know
- AMA – Ask me anything. Often used by celebrities, influencers, industry experts and regular social media users as an open invite for questions.
- BRB – Be right back
- BTAIM – Be that as it may
- BTS – Behind the scenes. Use this social media acronym when you’re giving your followers a behind-the-scenes look at what your brand is doing.
- BTW – By the way
- DAE – Does anyone else…?
- DYK – Did you know…?
- ELI5 – Explain like I’m five. Often used in forums like Reddit when people are looking for the simplest explanation to more complex topics.
Join us for conversations about the future of social media and business, featuring Alexis Ohanian, Seven Seven Six Founder and Former Executive Chair of Reddit, and Alexandra Waldman, Co-Founder of Universal Standard.
- FBF – Flashback Friday. A theme in which people share old pictures or posts with their followers/
- FBO – Facebook official. When you make a public announcement on Facebook about a live event such as a new relationship, a change of job, etc.
- FF – Follow Friday. A trend that started out on Twitter and involves giving a shoutout to people that you think deserve more recognition and followers.
- FOMO – Fear of missing out. This often spurs people’s desire to keep up with social media in general, and is also often tapped for marketing such as through limited deals, exclusive product reveals and other tactics.
— 96.5 TDY (@965TDY) July 17, 2019
- FTFY – Fixed that for you
- FTW – For the win
- FYI – For your information
- G2G or GTG – Got to go
- GG – Good game
- GTR – Got to run
- HBD – Happy birthday
- HIFW – How I feel when…
- HMB – Hit me back
- HMU – Hit me up
- HT or H/T – Hat tip. Used for acknowledging, appreciating or thanking other users.
- HTH – Here to help or happy to help
- ICYMI – In case you missed it. Typically used when sharing content that’s not too current.
- IDC – I don’t care
- IDK – I don’t know
- IKR – I know, right?
- ILY – I love you
- IMHO – In my humble opinion
- IMO – In my opinion
- IRL – In real life
- JK – Just kidding. Used for conveying a light-hearted tone.
- LMAO – Laughing my a** off
- LMK – Let me know
- LMS – Like my status. Used for inviting people to engage with a post.
- LOL – Laughing out loud
- MCM – Man crush Monday. Chipotle put its own twist to this abbreviation to fit the product:
- MFW – My face when…
- MTFBWY – May the Force be with you. A “Star Wars” reference commonly used to give encouragement.
- NBD – No big deal
- NM – Not much
- NSFW – Not safe for work
- NVM – Never mind
- OH – Used as context for quotes
- OMW – On my way
- OOTD – Outfit of the day
- OP – Original poster
- OTP – One true pairing. Commonly used in fandoms. Refers to two people or fictional characters that you consider the perfect pair/couple.
- PPL – People
- ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing
- ROFLMAO – Rolling on the floor laughing my a** off
- SFW – Safe for work
- SMH – Shaking my head. Used to express shock or disappointment.
The doctored shark photo that’s been around since Hurricanes Irene and Sandy is making its rounds again in 2019. Already people tweeting it suggesting it’s in New Orleans. #smh #FakeNews pic.twitter.com/3oVkXWLhzG
— Ed Piotrowski (@EdPiotrowski) July 13, 2019
- TBH – To be honest
- TBBH – To be brutally honest
- TBT – Throwback Thursday. Like FBF, this involves sharing old photos or posts.
- TFW – That feeling when… Used for sharing a relatable experience.
- TGIF – Thank God it’s Friday
- TIL – Today I learned…
- TL;DR – Too long; didn’t read. Here’s an example of Slack using this acronym along with some of the other ones we’ve mentioned earlier. This may look like overkill but in the case of Slack, it fits the brand personality and shows an attempt to get the message across clearly with a bit of humor:
Oh hi! Just FYI TL;DR ICYMI BTW: here’s a post on a few nifty features we’ve added of late, including drafts, dark mode on mobile and a whole new way to move conversations from email to channels. https://t.co/ppwZz2w95z
— Slack (@SlackHQ) June 11, 2019
- TMI – Too much information
- WBU – What about you?
- WBW – Way back Wednesday. Follows the same theme as FBF and TBT
- WFH – Work from home
- YOLO – You only live once
Social media slang
While social media acronyms are extremely useful for anyone handling social, knowledge of internet slang is equally important. Social media users come up with new slang and abbreviations all the time. It will help you understand your audience better when you understand the most popularly used social media slang.
- ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ – A shrug expression used to convey indifference. Often used in place of “whatever,” “doesn’t matter,” “who knows” or “why not”
- Clickbait – The practice of using a provocative title with the sole purpose of driving clicks.
- Cray – Abbreviation for crazy
- Crush it – When someone’s doing particularly well on something, they are crushing it.
- Facepalm – When someone does or says something that’s unbelievably stupid.
- Fam – Short for family. Refers to a person or a group of people you consider family.
- Fire – When something is exceptionally good. The fire emoji is often used for the same purpose.
- I can’t even – Indicates the speaker’s inability to convey their emotion because they’re either overjoyed or frustrated.
- It me – Used when someone can relate to something, usually a quote or meme. Evernote cleverly uses it in the following tweet where it shared the tool’s top functions and used “it me” as a caption.
- Lit – Used to describe something that’s “happening.”
- On fleek – On point
- Savage – When someone or something is extremely harsh. Often used as a commendation.
- Slay – Like “crushing it,” you’re “slaying” something if you do it exceptionally well.
- Slide into someone’s DMs – The practice of randomly sending a DM to someone.
- Squad goals – A term used to describe something that you would like your group to become or achieve.
- Thirsty – When someone is too eager or seems too desperate.
- Throwing shade – The act of publicly denouncing or disrespecting someone. Often used in reference to sarcastic remarks against someone or something.
- Trendjacking – When users take over a trending topic with irrelevant content.
- Yaas – A particularly enthusiastic form of “yes.” You could use as many A’s as you’d like.
Best practices on using social media slang and acronyms
Although knowledge of these social media acronyms and internet slang is important, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should fill up your social media posts with them. Here are a few best practices to help you use them right:
1: Maintain your brand voice
Regardless of how well you know and understand social media language, you should use it only if it truly fits your brand voice. Some of the more technical and business-specific acronyms would be a necessity for B2B companies and companies that want to maintain a professional voice. But it would look completely out of place if they tried calling their followers “fam” or calling their events “lit.”
For example, companies like Canva may maintain a casual brand voice, but it doesn’t try too hard to use these popular social media abbreviations and slang. It still uses a casual tone when addressing followers on social media but doesn’t force trending social media language where it doesn’t fit.
It’s been a crazy journey so far – thanks to you all for being with us along the way! We’re excited to continue empowering the world to design 🌏https://t.co/iXVIoQwtbJ
— Canva (@canva) May 20, 2019
2: Know when to use the right slang or acronym
Even in cases of companies that have a more casual brand voice, it’s not always a good idea to use casual social media language. You have to carefully assess the situation and know the right time to use the right acronym. For instance, a customer coming to you with a complaint may not appreciate it very much if you asked them to “hit you up.” Instead, you could tell them that you’re “hth.”
3: Don’t try too hard
One of the worst things a brand could do is trying too hard to stay relevant and ending up a laughing stock. This best practice goes hand in hand with the first two tips. Try not to force it if it doesn’t fit your brand voice or the situation. But even if you’re not going to use a lot of slang yourself, understanding these popular social media acronyms will help you understand your audience and their replies better.
4: Know what slang your audience is using
Most importantly, know exactly what kind of internet slang your audience is using through social listening. Make the most of Sprout Social’s social listening functionality to listen in on your audience’s conversations. This is a great way to identify common phrases and acronyms in their posts so you can understand their language.
How often do you use acronyms and slang in your posts? Before you start adding slang everywhere, make sure you understand your target audience: try out our worksheet for creating and improving connection with your audience to inspire better content.
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