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Social Media Business Primer: Basic Vocabulary

Don’t you hate it when everybody is using buzzwords and you don’t know which to use when, or what they mean? Social media is easy. If you’re new to it, here’s some help with the basic vocabulary.

  1. The top five social media platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google Plus (also called Google+).
  2. All five have the option of engaging as your personal self or your business. The links here in point #1 above all go our Have Presence business accounts, not our personal accounts.
  3. Refer to your Facebook page as a Facebook page, not a website. Putting a photo, comment, or link onto your Facebook page is called updating your page, but you can also call it posting to your page. The main collection of updates is called your Facebook wall. Depending on privacy settings, other Facebook people or companies can post to your wall. You can delete them if you don’t like them.
  4. In Facebook you like something: an update, a photo, a comment, a business, a video, etc. You like something that’s in an update. You don’t like people; you friend people. But the friend as a verb is old fashioned. People use connect with often; I’m connected with her in Facebook.
  5. Don’t refer to your Twitter presence as a Twitter page; instead, you just say we’re on Twitter. Refer to your Twitter presence with the at (@)and your twitter handle, as in I’m on Twitter @TimBerry, and my company is @HavePresenceLLC  (and @bplans and @liveplan and a few others, by the way … multiple personalities happens a lot on Twitter.)
  6. Those famous 140-character snippets people post to Twitter are called tweets. Posting an update to Twitter is called tweeting. When somebody likes what you tweeted, and passes it on, that’s called a retweet.
  7. In Twitter you follow people. Please follow me in Twitter. I have more than 12,000 followers. To follow somebody means you see his, her, or it’s tweets. Like in politics, and campaign financing (ouch), you don’t have to an actual human being to be a person in Twitter. I’m @TimBerry and that’s really me. But I’m also @smbplans and that’s also me, but it includes two others, and the face of it is the logo for smbplans.com.
  8. Twitter allows you to send a private message to one person. That’s called a DM, for direct message. You can only send to people who follow you.
  9. When your tweet starts with @ and somebody’s handle, that’s called an @ mention (pronounced at mention) and it’s sort of like a DM. If you start your tweet with @TimBerry then people won’t see it unless they search for “@timberry” or for some other term in that tweet. It’s not private, but it doesn’t show up in the normal flow, so it’ s sort of private. Sometimes when you want other people to see the tweet but you want to start with a name, you put a period at the beginning, as in “.@TimBerry I loved your last post.” If it doesn’t begin with @, then everybody sees it.
  10. Hashtags are important in all the main platforms. The best explanation is an example: When I tweet about business planning, I put #businessplan in the tweet so people searching for business planning will see it. TV shows show their hashtag on the screen on purpose. Sometimes people get together and create a hashtag just by using it a lot, so others will catch on. For example, I happen to like #goducks and #goIrish on Saturday afternoon. #debates was a popular hashtag in October.
  11. In LinkedIn you get connected with somebody. LinkedIn updates are called updates or posts. It takes two people to connect. You and I might be connected in LinkedIn. If we are, then each of us can see the other’s updates.
  12. In Google+ you add people to your circles. We’re all still figuring out common usage on that one. And if you like a post or update, you +1 it. Those terms are still working themselves out.

I know I just got started. Please feel free to add more in replies. And you can check back, I’ll be adding more later.

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