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Acceptable Social Media Acronyms

Working from home now?

Life and work have become one?

Here is a repost of a 2015 post which outlines which social media acronyms are acceptable to use in text, on Facebook, on Tik Tok, and which should not be used when sending an email to your boss, or your staff.

To begin with, it might be helpful to review some of the common acronyms which relate to specific social media networks. They’re generally intuitive in nature, but after being in quarantine for such a long time, they should be locked in your brain by now.

FB: Facebook.

IG: Instagram.

LI: LinkedIn.

YT: YouTube.

TT: Tik Tok

SC: Snap Chat

There are also a few regularly used acronyms that describe features on those networks. If you’re on Twitter in particular, these are a must-know for improving your communications among team members and with your online audience.

DM: A “Direct Message” is a one-on-one message sent on Twitter that is only visible to the two individuals exchanging them.

MT: Sometimes when you’re resharing a Tweet, you’ll alter the text. That makes it a “Modified Tweet.” That may mean shortening it to fit within the character limit or removing the poster’s handle if they have a private account.

PM: “Private message” is the more general term for any one-on-one communication that’s not visible to the public. It includes DMs.

RT: A “Retweet” is when you publish somebody else’s Tweet, in its entirety, to your own feed.

Business Terms

Business experts have always had a unique set of terminology. Many of the general terms that would come up in marketing meetings are equally useful in a social media context.

B2B: Means “business to business” and refers to companies that sell to other companies.

B2C: Also known as “business to consumer” means companies who sell to individuals.

CMGR: This is the abbreviation for “community manager.”

CMS: A “content management system” is the tool you use for editing, scheduling and publishing any written material for the web.

CPC: The “cost per click” is the dollar amount an advertiser pays for every person who clicks on an ad.

CPM: “Cost per thousand” measures an ad’s impressions rather than its clicks (as in CPC).

CR: The “conversion rate” is a simple equation: the number of people who take an action divided by the number who could have.

CTA: A “call to action” is a statement that asks the reader to do something. This is usually a specific action related to building the company’s social presence or to getting involved in a marketing push, such as, “Act now!” or “Buy this today!”

CTR: The “clickthrough rate” is a particular type of conversion rate where the action in question is clicking on a link.

KPI: A “key performance indicator” is a metric used to measure success in achieving goals. For social media, this could be a measurement of engagement, conversions, shares or clicks, depending on your purpose in being on those networks.

PPC: “Pay per click” is a metric for advertising costs that’s the same as CPC.

PV: This stands for “page views.”

ROI: “Return on investment” measures the money you make in relation to the money you spent to make it. It’s a way of assessing the success of certain promotional or advertising efforts.

UGC: The term “user generated content” encompasses any written or visual material that the individuals using a platform create, from comments or blog posts, to photos or video clips.

The Technical Terms

These may not come up frequently in your regular water-cooler chats, but it’s useful for anybody working in social media to understand some of the most relevant technical abbreviations. These cover a range of acronyms related to online business that could come up in a chat with the IT team or when dealing with a customer support ticket.

API: An “application programming interface” is a set of rules for how pieces of software interact. Your social media management tools use the APIs of Facebook, Twitter and the other networks to post and schedule.
ESP: Your “email service provider” is the software used for sending emails. This can be an outside service used for email blasts to your audience or for powering your internal team communications.
HTML: You see these letters all the time, and they stand for “hyper text markup language.” It’s the coding language used to build all webpages.
ISP: Just as the ESP is the business supplying your email needs, your “Internet service provider” is the company powering your Internet service.
RSS: A “really simple syndication” is a feed of all posted content from a source, usually a blog.
SaaS: This is an abbreviation for “software as a service,” which is a subset of companies that are in the business of providing software programs to people or companies for their use.
SEM: “Search engine marketing” is how businesses leverage search engines for marketing purposes.
SEO: “Search engine optimization” is a form of SEM. It refers to the choices you make in your written content that are designed to make sure that your creations appear high in the rankings of the correct search terms.
TOS: “Terms of service.” Just about any online service, including social networks, have Terms of Service which you must agree to in order to use it. Marketers will want to keep an eye out for any limitations on business activity and details about ownership, both of your content and your data.
UI: The “user interface” is the display that a person uses to control a tool.
UX: The “user experience” is a person’s response and reaction to taking actions within a tool.

Just For Fun

Many of these acronyms crossed over into social media from texting or from online shorthand used in forums. Some of them have been bandied around the Internet for years, but others are more modern inventions. You’ll most likely find these in the public posts made and shared by your followers, or in their comments on your social content. Some of them also get turned into popular hashtags that individuals and brands alike can take advantage of.

AFAIK: Stands for “as far as I know.”
AMA: Stands for “ask me anything.” Often used to signal an open Q&A opportunity on a social channel.
BAE: This abbreviation means “before anyone else,” and is one of the more recent creations. Typically it refers to a person’s significant other, but could be a very close friend as well.
BFF: A throwback to childhood in the 80’s and 90’s, this still stands for “best friends forever.”
BRB: “Be right back.” This comes up most often in the context of real-time messaging or chat services and means be back soon, not in hours, weeks, days or months..
BTW: Stands for “by the way.”
FBO: Stands for “Facebook official.” Refers to making a public announcement of a life development, such as a new job or new relationship, on Facebook to your entire social audience.
FOMO: Stands for “fear of missing out.”
FTW: “For the win” began in the gaming world, but has become a cry of victory or success for all.
FYI: “For your information.” Another classic that’s still in frequent rotation.
GTG: “Got to go” can end a conversation.
ICYMI: “In case you missed it” most frequently is used when sharing content that is not current. That could be a news item from a few days prior or an evergreen blog post that you want to return to circulation.
IDC: Stands for “I don’t care.”
IDK: Stands for “I don’t know.”
ILY: Stands for “I love you.”
IMHO: This acronym means “in my humble opinion or in my honest opinion”
IMO: This means simply “in my opinion.”
IRL: This acronym means “in real life,” and is meant to distinguish between people’s online and offline lives.
JK: This phrase is “just kidding,” and can be helpful in conveying a light-hearted tone when there’s a possibility for a statement to be misconstrued.
LMAO: Stands for “laughing my ass off.” Not always the right phrase for a business context, but makes it just as necessary to know this acronym when you see it.
LMK: Stands for “let me know.”
LOL: A well-used phrase from the beginning of online chat culture, this means “laughing out loud.” This acronym has been confused by some older Internet users to mean “Lots of Love”. They’re wrong.
NBD: Stands for “no big deal.”
NM: Stands for “not much.”
NVM: Stands for “never mind.”
NSFW: The label “not safe for work” usually designates material that is violent, sexual or otherwise inappropriate for a professional setting.
OH: Stands for “overheard.” Generally used as context for quotes.
OMG: Stands for “oh my god” or “oh my gosh.”
OMW: Stands for “on my way.”
PPL: This is shorthand for “people.”
QOTD: Another frequent hashtag, this one means “quote of the day.”
ROFL: A close relative of LOL and LMAO, this acronym is “rolling on the floor laughing”. There is also ROTFLMAO, which means Rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off.”

SMH: This stands for “shaking my head” and is most frequently used to express shock or dismay.
TBH: Stands for “to be honest.”
TBT: If you’re sharing an old photo, you’ll most likely want to use the hashtag for “Turn back time.” TIL: Stands for “today I learned.”
TL;DR: This unusual acronym means “too long; didn’t read.”
WTF: Another salty shorthand, this stands for “what the f***.”
YOLO: The phrase originated in a song by Canadian rapper Drake, “you only live once”.


Which acronyms do you use? What are your favourite, and which drive you crazy?