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Image courtesy of Frame Angel / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

It’s that time of the year for lists so here’s mine for the most used, and sometimes confused, social media marketing terms. But first, let’s stick them into one simple sentence:

Digital natives are naturals at social communication and understand the power of inbound marketing and content marketing as techniques to engage customers.

For those who make a living in marketing, you of course can explain what this means. For those who can’t, here’s a glossary along with a few links for further study.

Happy 2013 and good luck with all your social initiatives this year.

1. Digital native – This is what we call individuals who have grown up using social technology, aka the Facebook Generation. They live a portion of their lives online, naturally, and are the reason why companies are investing heavily in social media marketing.

2. Social communication – Isn’t all communication social? Of course, but we like to distinguish that which occurs using social technologies and networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, blogging, online communities, etc.

3. Inbound marketing – Traditional outbound tactics like advertising, cold calls, and direct mail overtly promote the business to target customers. Inbound marketing is different; it makes customers find you, by drawing them into your website through search (via SEO), content marketing, (see #4), email marketing and analytics.

4. Content marketing – When non-promotional material is published and shared by your business through blogs, micro-blogs, e-books and news stories, this is called content marketing. Of course the content must relate to your business but it does not push a particular product. This can be called thought leadership and is designed to showcase the expertise of your employees and of course to drive traffic to your website (inbound marketing).

5. Engage – To engage is to communicate with other users or companies online through social platforms. Examples are sharing content, liking Facebook posts, commenting on blogs, and writing reviews. The ultimate goal of engagement is to convert the engaging person into a real customer. There is an entire social analytics industry that offers products and services to measure how effective your social media marketing efforts are at doing this and how to adjust campaigns to engage the right prospects.

Here’s a few links if you are interested in more vocabulary. What are your top social media words for 2013?

Social media A to Z : A glossary of terms for 2013 (Social Media Today)
Glossary of social media terms (IBM)
26 Social media marketing terms you need to know (Social Strand Media)

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