Speaking the language of social media

Oct. 1, 2012
Social media has exploded on the scene and is a powerful marketing tool. To help you get started, Livvie Matthews explains the new vocabulary of the most common social media platforms.

Social media has exploded on the scene and is everywhere. You turn on the TV and see companies advertising to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Businesses have their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube icons in their magazine advertisements. You look up a business online and their website has their Facebook and Twitter icons. Social media and online marketing have become incredible marketing power tools.

You may be asking yourself, “What IS social media?” It’s what we’ve talked about in dentistry for years — it’s relationship marketing. It’s people telling a lot more people about businesses, services, and products. Specifically, it’s word-of-mouth marketing ... on steroids!

But along with these new marketing power tools comes a new vocabulary, a new language, the language of social media.

Social media marketing platforms

These are the largest social platforms, but there are many other smaller ones:

  • Facebook — Largest of the social platforms, personal and business pages
  • Twitter — Second largest social platform, 140 characters of pure gold
  • Pinterest — Newest and already the third largest social platform, visual only
  • LinkedIn – Largest business to business (B2B) social platform
  • YouTube – Owned by Google and is the second largest search engine (Google is No. 1)
  • Google + – Google’s answer to Facebook with personal and business pages

Let’s take a closer look at each of these platforms.


With 901 million active users, Facebook is the largestof the social networks. In fact, if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest by population. This means there is an unlimited number of people you can connect with, engage with, and build relationships with all over the world or locally.

With Facebook, you create “pages” to represent your business or practice. Since the changes to the timeline cover and other amenities were added, your Facebook business page is almost a second website with powerful features.

Speaking “Facebook”

Profile page: Your Facebook personal page. Before creating a business page, you create a personal page.

Friend request: A message received when someone is requesting to connect with you on your personal page. You must approve/confirm these requests in order to connect.

Business timeline page: Your business page on Facebook that viewers “like” in order to see all the information you’ve made available to them.

Newsfeed: This is where you view posts from other Facebook people you are friends with or who have “liked” your business page.

Like: To view all of a business page’s information, you must first “like” their page. Always like a business page in your personal ID so the like counts. You can also “like” a person’s comment.

Comment: This is when you or someone else writes a comment on a post, photo, or video.

Post: This is what you write for viewers to read, or you may choose to post a picture or video, or share someone else’s posts.

Share: Facebook gives you the option to share someone else’s post, image, video, or other information that they posted. You can share to your own page for your viewers to read or share to someone else’s page.

@Tag: When you use the @ sign in a post, the person or business you “tagged” will be hyperlinked to that post for viewers to click on and see.

Apps: This is short for applications. These are mini areas on your business page that you can send visitors to straight from your Facebook business page — your blog, a newsletter signup, an event, a program, and many other options.


Twitter is a fast-paced and very powerful social platform. Your Twitter stream conversations can literally fly by with tweets and information in seconds. It’s a microblog platform that uses only 140 characters. If you can text, you can use Twitter!

People often ask, “140 characters?! What can you do with 140 characters?” My answer is, “Anything you want to!” You can share valuable tips and strategies, links to your blog posts, links to websites, articles, programs, events … you name it, you can share/link it on Twitter.

Speaking “Twitter”

You don’t have to be on Twitter very long to realize it has its own language. You’ll see words like hashtags, retweets-RTs, FollowFridays #FF, and DMs. What does all this mean? Below is a Twitter glossary for helping you speak Twitter:

Tweets: This is what you post on Twitter and it’s done in 140 characters or less (including links and hashtags). Best if you can keep your tweet to 120 characters to allow for Retweeting with comments.

RT– Retweets: Used when repeating someone’s tweet or when your tweet is retweeted by someone else. It’s a high compliment when your tweets are retweeted — always tweet back something such as @Livvie­_Matthews “Thank you for the RT.” Bonus: When someone retweets your tweet, it goes out for all their viewers to see. Retweets that you post appear on your stream and go out to all your viewers for them to see as well. To retweet, you can copy the tweet to retweet (to add a comment) or you can use Twitter’s auto-RT feature.

Stream: This is the line of posts that are viewable on your Twitter page. On your Twitter page, only what you post and what you retweet are viewable to your viewers/followers.

@connects: This is how you know when someone has mentioned you specifically on Twitter. (example: @Livvie_Matthews Enjoying your tweets and posts). This would show up in my Twitter stream and on the stream of the person who sent the tweet.

#FF or FollowFriday: FollowFriday (all one word) is a very popular way for people on Twitter to recognize and suggest some people for others to follow. This is done on Fridays and is tweeted by using the hashtag #FF.

#Hashtags: This pulls tweets of a certain subject together all in one place. Just add the # in front of the word (example: #socialmedia shows all posts using #socialmedia hashtag).

DM – Direct messages: This is Twitter’s private messaging and sent directly from you to that person or vice versa. Keep DMs to less than 140 characters just like your tweets.

**Note: You must both be following each other or you cannot send a direct message to that person (exception is your initial thanks for following DM).


Pinterest is an online virtual pinboard, visual-driven, and is now the third largest social networking platform. The saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never held more meaning.

You may be thinking Pinterest is just for those who make crafts, share photographs, exchange recipes, or just online scrapbooking. In fact, you may be one of those asking yourself, “How can a photo sharing website help MY business?

Simple: It’s driving more traffic to you than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined!

Speaking “Pinterest”

Board: The place you create to pin your images (like using a corkboard).

Pin: Images you upload to pin on your board and link back to your website, blog, or business. You can also repin from another board.

Repin: When you move an image from board to board, yours, or another’s board.

Pinner: People who pin pictures/images.

Follow all: Means to follow all that person’s boards (not follow everyone they are following). **Note: You can also follow individual boards on a person’s page without following all their boards.

@Mentions: Works like Facebook and Twitter and tags the person with a comment. People will receive an email that you have tagged them so they can respond.

#Topic: Works like Twitter hashtags. Use #topic (ex: #Pinterest - #Places - #Food - #Photos - #SocialMedia - #Blogging - #Video - #yourtopicname) to show up in searches.

Like: Works like Facebook to “like” an image

Comment: Write a comment underneath the image


LinkedIn is the largest business to business (B2B) social network. As of June 2012, LinkedIn reports more than 175 million registered users in more than 200 countries and territories. On LinkedIn, you have the opportunity to create a much longer, more detailed profile for connecting with other business professionals.

With professionals being the operative word, your profile has the option of presenting as your online resume. A LinkedIn presence is a must for marketing to other business and dental professionals and executives as you establish yourself as a thought leader in your area of expertise.

Speaking “LinkedIn”

Recommendations: LinkedIn allows you to ask for (and give) recommendations. These are similar to testimonials, and colleagues, business acquaintances, and previous or current clients can write recommendations to be displayed on your page.

Groups: LinkedIn features groups for every facet of business and presents a huge opportunity for connecting and networking in your professional sphere. Choose the groups most closely associated to your business or how to market your business.

Connections: As you join groups, you have access to their members and can send them invitations to connect with you on LinkedIn, which build your network of people. This becomes your list of connections to promote your business, send offers, ask and answer questions, receive feedback, and more.

Ask questions: Probably the best kept secret of LinkedIn is the answers feature. Questions are asked daily. Routinely check for questions in your area of expertise and establish yourself as a thought leader in your profession by providing meaningful answers to these questions.


YouTube is owned by Google and is the second largest search engine, with Google being No. 1. Multi-millions of videos are uploaded and played each day.Viewers now search YouTube for tutorial videos on how to do most anything.

Speaking “YouTube”

Channel: When you join YouTube, you are given your own channel for posting your videos.

Embed code: This is the code you can copy and paste into your blog or other social platform for viewers to actually see the screen to play the video.


Google+ is Google’s answer to Facebook with options for both personal and business pages. It allows you to update your status and post on friends’ pages. A Google+ feature is to place people in different groups/circles that you create. This allows you to target your messages to a specific circle. At present, Google+ has not taken off with the dental profession like Facebook has.

Speaking “Google+”

Pages – You can create a personal and a business page for posting updates for viewers to see.

Circles – This is where you group specific people on your list and can send specific marketing messages to them.

Hangouts – You can do “live-streaming” hangouts or even host a video chat for connecting and engaging with your audience. Consider creating your own or attend someone else’s hangout.

Author bio
Want to know more? Livvie Matthews, a 30-year business office professional, provides social media training, management, and consulting solutions to businesses and practices for in-house or outsourcing their social media programs. She is passionate about helping service professionals learn to draw clients and patients into their space using the incredible power of social media and Internet marketing. Need a quick start? Her “8 Day Social Media eCourse” is free and delivered right to your inbox. For more information, email her at [email protected], or visit http://www.SimpleSocialMedia.TV.