Learning a new language isn’t easy, and there is unfortunately no Duolingo Owl for social media acronyms (Duo, if you’re reading this, I’m totally going to practice my Japanese later, please stop texting me). But proper, clever use of internet abbreviations is part of a successful social media strategy — so if your brand is using social media for business, you’re going to want to study up.
Improper use of acronyms online can be confusing at best and embarrassing at worst. You don’t want your company to sound like someone’s great aunt Margy:
Shoutout to my great aunt Margy, who thinks that “lol” means “lots of love” and has just managed to thoroughly confuse a whole bunch of bereaved relatives.
— Brian Carey (@CareyBrian) June 20, 2022
So we’ve put together the ultimate guide to social media acronyms. Read on for a crash course in internet lingo.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
G+: Google +
DM: Direct message
This is a private form of communication, seen only between the sender and the recipient. On Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn, users can “slide into” someone’s DMs by sending a private message.
MT: Modified Tweet
Tweets that begin with MT indicate that the Tweeter has edited the content they’re retweeting for brevity or other reasons. This is also called a Quote Tweet.
PM: Private message
Private messages are the same as direct messages. If someone asks you to PM them, they’re essentially asking to move a public conversation into the private realm.
PRT: Partial Retweet
This is very similar to a RT, but is used to show that you’re only quoting part of what the other Twitter user said originally. Maybe you’re condensing to save space for your own commentary, for example.
Instead of hitting the retweet button, or retweeting with a comment, some Twitter users repost a tweet and use “RT” plus the user’s handle for attribution.
AFAIK: As far as I know
Used when sharing facts or stating something that you believe to be true, but typing AFAIK shows that you aren’t completely sure. You’re not an expert, after all.
AKA: Also known as
This is a useful abbreviation when referring to folks who literally go by two names (Stefani Germanotta AKA Lady Gaga) or referencing a common nickname (Simone Biles aka the GOAT). Also, see “GOAT.”
‘Afro Art’ is a series of portraits celebrating the beauty and versatility of Black hair inspired by Baroque period artworks, by Kahran Bethencourt (and partner Regis) aka Creative Soul #WomensArt pic.twitter.com/WY1seCRvqn
— #WOMENSART (@womensart1) June 11, 2022
AMA: Ask me anything
AMAs are social question-and-answer sessions. Companies, influencers, brand representatives and everyday folks might post AMAs on Twitter, Reddit, or in a Facebook or Instagram live stream.
ASAP: As soon as possible
For when you need something, right now.
BRB: Be right back
This is one of the original social media abbreviations, first used in the late 1980s or early 1990s. It’s from the chat forum era, but finds its way back on social when the right occasion calls for it.
BTS: Behind the scenes
Nope, not the Korean boy band. This abbreviation is used to offer followers a behind-the-scenes look at your brand.
Peter Pan ✨magic✨ #bts #peterpan #flying #balletflex #behindthescenes #fyp
♬ GOOD TIME – Niko Moon
BTW: By the way
This social media acronym is used to add extra info, go on a tangent, or throw some shade.
CMV: Change my view
You’re sharing an opinion, but are aware that your opinion might be flawed. You’re open to having a civil conversation. In fact, there’s an entire subreddit dedicated to CMV discussions.
DYK: Did you know
Did you know the DYK abbreviation is a great way to share a fun fact with your social media audience? Write in your social media caption or include it as a hashtag.
Today is Day 5 of #SeaTurtleWeek and it’s all about the loggerhead turtle! #DYK that loggerheads are the most common nesting turtle that we document in Broward County? Each year, our team with the @BrowardCTurtles marks over 2,000 loggerhead nests on our beaches!
📷: K.Kilfoyle pic.twitter.com/hxlJKQNseg
— Broward County Environment (@BrowardEnv) June 12, 2022
ELI5: Explain (it to me) like I’m five
This social media abbreviation is popular on Reddit, and is a way to request a simple explanation for a complex topic or concept.
FBF: Flashback Friday
A way to throw it back to the past on a Friday.
FOMO: Fear of missing out
If you haven’t heard of FOMO, you’ve been missing out. This social-bred phobia expresses the anxiety of absence. For the homebodies there’s the antonym acronym JOMO, which means Joy of Missing Out.
having some coachella fomo pretty hard rn pic.twitter.com/pvik7lqalT
— Jordan Doww (@JordanDoww) April 16, 2022
FTW: For the win
A sometimes sincere, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes full-of-genuine-excitement acclamation. (And on the other side of the coin, FTL means for the loss.)
FWIW: For what it’s worth
This social media acronym is commonly used to express one’s opinion, but in a way that isn’t rude or overbearing. It shows you’re not intentionally trying to call someone out if they share something you don’t think is correct. You’ll most often find this on Twitter or message boards.
FYI: For your information
This social media acronym is an informative abbreviation, sometimes delivered with a hint of sass.
H/T: Hat tip
Sometimes just HT, a hat tip is a virtual nod that credits an original source for intel or an image. It can also stand for heard through.
ICYMI: In case you missed it
A way to highlight content or news that might have been missed in the everlasting blitz that is social media.
IMO/IMHO: In my opinion / In my humble opinion
A disclaimer that someone is sharing their opinion, not facts, about something. Opinions are divided on whether the H stands for humble or honest.
IRL: In real life
IRL is used to distinguish when something happens in reality, not on social media, in games or anywhere else on the internet.
JSYK: Just so you know
This acronym is used when delivering useful info.
Jsyk full moon in 3 days!! On Tuesday the 14th!!! pic.twitter.com/duJeKpQcbP
— Spiky-Toad✩°̥࿐ (@PiperMad_duck) June 11, 2022
LMK: Let me know
When someone uses this social media abbreviation, they’re waiting for feedback or information. Creators will often add “LMK if this helps!” after sharing advice.
MFW: My face when
This acronym is always accompanied with an image that represents a facial expression. It’s used both positively and negatively (for example, “MFW I find $50 in my old pants” or “MFW my sister finds $50 in the old pants I just gave her).
NBD: No big deal
Often used as a humble brag for something that is actually a big deal for the writer of the social post.
NP: No problem
A very chill response (regardless of whether it was actually a problem).
NSFW: Not safe for work
This one is literally not safe for work. Think twice before using it — and sharing any NSFW content — on a corporate account.
NYT: Name your trade
Used in groups and forums where exchanges are made. Has misled many to assume The New York Times is in very high demand.
OC: Original content
Another way of showing that you are sharing your own content, not someone else’s ideas or words. Basically the opposite of RT. For example, sharing a photo over Twitter that you took would be OC. Sharing someone else’s photo wouldn’t.
WFH: Working from home
Unsurprisingly, this acronym gained a lot of traction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Often used in online chats with colleagues, but this can be useful for social media as well.
SMH: Shaking my head
For the times when it’s necessary people know that you’re unimpressed or incredulous, and possibly literally shaking your head behind that screen.
TBH: To be honest
Much like IMO, this social media abbreviation is used to show vulnerability, as a humble flex, to share an opinion or show you agree or disagree with something.
TBT: Throwback Thursday
Like FBF, this is another social media-designated day of nostalgia.
TFTF: Thanks for the follow
Twitter slang. This social media abbreviation is a way to interact in a positive way with someone who recently started following you on social.
TFW: That feeling when
Precedes an often relatable experience, and is usually accompanied by a meme.
TGIF: Thank God it’s Friday
Because everybody’s working for the weekend.
TL;DR: Too long; Didn’t read
Usually used to offer a pithy summary on something too lengthy for Internet attention spans. Or it’s the summary typed out before or after the long explanation, kind of like the Coles Notes version of a social media caption.
WBW: Wayback Wednesday
Wayback Wednesday takes a trip down memory lane on hump day.
WCW: Woman crush Wednesday
A day of the week to celebrate a self-identifying woman, usually on Instagram, for whatever reason! There’s also MCM: Man Crush Monday. WCW can be used in a caption or as a hashtag.
Today’s #WCW is the immensely talented @Khosi_Ngema_ . She plays Fikile Bhele on Netflix’s series Blood & Water (if you haven’t watched season 1, RUN DON’T WALK! Season 2 just started, and we are already deep). Khosi is only 21 years old and is already killing the game. pic.twitter.com/QjGgWPBUXa
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) September 29, 2021
B2B: Business to business
Shorthand for a company that offers products or services for businesses (rather than individuals).
B2C: Business to consumer
Describes a company that offers products or services directly to customers.
CMGR: Community manager
Community managers cultivate a brand’s relationships on social media. Not to be confused with social media managers, community managers engage and nurture the company’s community.
CTA: Call to action
A call to action is a verbal, written, or visual prompt. It offers people a directive on what to do next, whether that’s “Sign up,” “Subscribe,” or “Call us today.”
Resource: Here’s how to write an effective CTA.
EOD: End of day
Usually to show a deadline. For example, “Please get this report back to me by EOD Monday.”
EOW: End of week
Same as above, but for the end of the week (TGIF).
EM: Email me
There’s no need to schedule another Zoom meeting. This can be figured out in writing.
ETA: Estimated Time Of Arrival
The abbreviation used when guessing when a deliverable is due. For example, “What’s the ETA on that blog post we’re waiting on?”
F2F: Face to face
This acronym is used when wanting to arrange an in-person meeting. For example, “Rather than another Zoom meeting, let’s schedule something F2F.”
IAM: In a meeting
An abbreviation to show that now is not the ideal time for a phone call or an endless barrage of text messages. You’re busy!
ISO: In search of
Often used in forums and groups where things are solicited, sold, or exchanged.
IT: Information technology
The department you’ll want to call when you’re having technical difficulties (after you try turning it off and on again).
KPI: Key performance indicator
A key performance indicator is a measure that tracks how effectively a company is accomplishing its goals.
Resource: These are the KPIs to track in order to measure your brand’s success.
MoM: Month over month
Used to show growth or quantitative changes happening each four weeks. Commonly used for changes in revenue, active users, page views or sign ups. There’s also YoY: Year over year. This measures the same quantitative metrics, but comparing data over 12 months instead of 4 weeks.
OOO: Out of office
Usually included in an automated email, scheduled to be sent when someone knows they will be away from the office on holiday, traveling for work, or in an extended workshop. For example, “I will try to get back to you by Monday as I will be OOO for the next three days on vacation.”
P/E: Price to earnings
A ratio or metric often used by investors and business analysts to determine the value of a company.
ROI: Return on investment
ROI measures how much profit is delivered for given corporate initiatives. ROI is one of the most common ways businesses assess the success of campaigns and ventures.
Resource: Learn how to track and improve your social media ROI.
SEM: Search engine marketing
Search engine marketing is a method of advertising on the Internet. It involves purchasing ads on search engines to increase website traffic.
SEO: Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization aims to improve organic search engine results and increase the visibility of content on the web.
Resource: Does social media impact SEO? We let you know here.
SERP: Search engine results page
These are the paid and organic page results that are displayed by a search engine after a user performs a search.
SMART (goals): specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely
A common business acronym used in goal-setting. It reminds the person setting the goals to create ones that can be tracked and actually achieved.
Resource: Here’s how to set SMART goals to set up your brand for social media success.
SMB: Small and midsize businesses
Small businesses are businesses with less than 50 employees. Midsize (or medium-sized) businesses typically have less than 250. They also are sometimes referred to as small and midsize enterprises (SMEs).
Resource: Is your brand a small business? Here are some tips to help you with your social media strategy.
SMM: Social media marketing
The practice of increasing brand awareness and consideration on social media, with the objective of building relationships and generating leads.
SMO: Social media optimization
Social media optimization ensures the use of the appropriate platforms for brand marketing. It’s very similar to SMM.
SoLoMo: Social, local, mobile
Social, local, mobile describes the convergence of mobile and locally targeted social media marketing that’s grown in popularity thanks to geo-location technology.
SRP: Social relationship platform
An SRP is a centralized platform that uses enterprise-grade technology to allow companies to publish on multiple social media sites, as well as monitor, moderate, and analyze.
Resource: If you’re looking for an example of an SRP, look no further. Hootsuite is a social relationship platform and here’s how to use it.
TBD: To Be decided/determined
Use this acronym when the information you need isn’t known yet, as in “Cake for Alyssa’s birthday on Thursday! Flavour TBD.”
TOS: Terms of service
Terms of service are the legal rules users agree to follow to use a social platform.
UGC: User-generated content
User-generated content refers to any content, including posts, images, or videos, created by users of a platform rather than a brand.
WOM: Word of mouth
Word-of-mouth marketing refers to the viral passing of brand conversation online through the active encouragement of a company.
API: Application programming interface
An API is a set of tools, definitions, and protocols that allows software developers to backend one system with another. For instance, Google Maps has APIs available for web browser and app integration so that different companies can integrate map technology.
CMS: Content management system
A content management system is a platform that hosts the creation and management of digital content. Popular content management systems include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.
CPC: Cost per click
The price an advertiser pays for each click earned on a campaign.
CR: Conversion rate
The conversion rate measures the percentage of people who have taken an action on your campaign such as views, registrations, downloads, purchases. Conversions are a key metric when it comes to calculating ROI.
CRO: Conversion rate optimization
Measures taken to improve conversions.
CTR: Click-through rate
A click-through rate represents the percentage of people who click on a link after being presented with the option.
CX: Customer experience
Customer experience refers to the relationship a customer has with a company through various interactions and touchpoints. Mapping out the customer journey is a good way to ensure a customer will have a good experience with your company.
ESP: Email service provider
In simple terms, an ESP is a third-party company that offers email services, such as newsletter deployment or marketing campaigns. Popular companies include MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Drip.
FTP: File transport protocol
A way of transferring files or copying files between computers. Often used for file transfer between a server on a network and a client’s computer. This is one of the easiest ways of transferring files — and also the oldest, since it was taking place in the pre-internet era.
GA: Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an analytics platform for websites. It allows marketers to track website visitors, referrals, bounce rates, and more.
Resource: We tell you how to set up Google Analytics and use it to track your brand’s social media success.
IM: Instant messaging
Sending a typed message to someone else’s computer immediately. For example, you can send an IM over Slack, Google’s Hangout Conversations or Skype chat.
OS: Operating system
The software that runs a computer, tablet or smartphone. For example, when you get a notification on your iPhone to update to iOS 16, you’re updating the OS that runs your phone.
PV: Page views
Page views is a tally of how many visitors have landed on a given web page. Overall page views stats often tracked alongside unique page views.
RSS: Rich site summary
RSS, sometimes known as Really Simple Syndication, is a format for syndicating web content. (That means content from one website is made available for another website.) Podcasts, blogs, and publishers rely on RSS feeds to share their content with a wide audience.
Resource: Check out the Hootsuite Syndicator.
Saas: Software as a Service
Software as a service refers to cloud-based applications that are available to customers over the Internet. It’s sometimes also known as “on-demand software” or software plus services.” Examples include email and calendar apps, and Hootsuite.
SOV: Share of voice
Share of voice measures the amount of exposure a company owns compared to its competitors. Social share of voice, on the other hand, measures brand exposure based on social conversation about a company.
UI: User interface
The visual part of a system that’s been designed for end users. Basically, it’s where humans and machines meet.
URL: Uniform resource locator
A URL is the global web address of a website or page. This blog post’s URL is https://blog.hootsuite.com/social-media-acronyms-marketers-know/.
UV: Unique views
Unique views are the number of individual viewers of a page, video, or image. For example, if a single user reads a story on a website 10 times, it will register as 10 page views and one unique view.
UX: User experience
In digital design, user experience examines how effectively people interface with systems such as websites or applications. Good UX aims to understand users’ values, needs, abilities, and barriers.
VPN: Virtual private network
A private network that gives the user anonymity when using the internet by offering an encrypted connection, as opposed to being on a public network. A VPN might be used to protect the user from hackers or spyware.
Gen Z has a spending power estimated at over $143 billion — that’s a lot of money. And Gen Z’ers are known for aligning their spending with their values, so now’s the time to be #relatable. Here’s the abbreviations Gen Z is using right now.
If you’ve got the 411, you know what’s up.
AF: As f–––
An addition for emphasis, i.e. I’m hungry AF.
“who got you smiling?” me im funny af
— Noah ✵ (@noahdonotcare) June 10, 2022
AFK: Away from keyboard
Used to let others know there might be a bit of a delay in replying to their message because, well, you aren’t at your keyboard right now or are currently offline.
BAE: Before anyone else
Affectionate term for someone’s friend, crush or partner.
‘Cause BC is just easier.
BFF: Best friends forever
An acronym that shows someone is a really, really close friend. Like, the best.
FFS: For f–––‘s sake
Just total exasperation.
FML: F––– my life
Often used before or after an unfortunate anecdote.
GOAT: Greatest of all time
This social media acronym recognizes the very best in their field. Not everyone gets to be a GOAT. For example, Simone Biles is the gymnastics GOAT.
HMU: Hit me up
Call me, get in touch, slide into my DMs, etc.
IDK: I don’t know
If you don’t know what this means, IDK how to help you.
idk what anxious person needs to hear this but remind yourself that you are still loved even when ppl are upset with you.
— Kemi Marie (@kemimarie) June 13, 2022
IDGI: I don’t get it
An acronym used to express confusion.
ILY: I love you
Sometimes also written as ILU. Also acceptable are hearts and blow-kiss emojis.
JK: Just kidding
A helpful add-on for when the joke’s not obvious.
JTM: Just the messenger
Shorthand to indicate that you’re not the source of the info you’re sharing. Often used in groups and message boards.
A way of saying, “cool” or “all good” or “I got it.” But when you type KK, you’re showing that you’re chill about that decision. You’re casual.
LOL: Laughing out loud
Because we can’t hear your laughter on the Internet.
LOML: Love of my life
Another shorthand term of affection (used mostly in platonic and romantic relationships—don’t use it with your boss).
LMAO: Laughing my a–– off
For when laughing normally doesn’t cut it. Or when something is really funny.
Lmao I am obsessed with my cat. Why does she look like this? pic.twitter.com/foA043lCja
— Jillian Suh-Kurovski (@BugsOrBust) June 13, 2022
MRW: My reaction when
A social media acronym that’s most often paired with an image or GIF to show how you’re feeling about something.
Just forget about it.
nvm i almost got bit by a snake https://t.co/Xks2xhT4kD
— Neon Genesis Martellegram (@martellegram) June 13, 2022
Obvi is also used, obvs.
Precedes a direct quote or paraphrase picked up from eavesdropping.
OMG: Oh my God
Or “Oh my goodness” also works.
OMW: On my way
An abbreviation to use when you’re meeting up with someone, or just expressing being on the move in general.
i think it’s a cry in my car to phoebe bridgers omw home from work kinda day
— yerba mate enthusiast (@staticbuzzzz) June 26, 2022
Please, sans vowels.
POV: Point of view
This acronym has been around a long time, but it’s blown up specifically on TikTok: creators typically treat the camera as if it’s a person, giving viewers that person’s point of view.
I’ll get the screen fixed soon after these bills 🥲 #pov
♬ original sound – CEO of smol pp
PSA: Public service announcement
A way to broadcast a message considered valuable to the general public.
RN: Right now
A real-time mood, i.e. “So hungry RN.” You can also ask someone WYD RN? (Translation: What are you doing right now?)
ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
A full degree above LMAO.
For serious incredulity.
TMI: Too much information
Used before providing too much information (i.e. “this may be TMI, but…”). Or to tell someone they have: “That’s gross! TMI!”
TTKU: Try to keep up
Often used in a sassy way to call someone out when they’re not quite fast enough to understand a joke or a fact.
TY: Thank you
WBU: What about you
“I’m doing great, WBU?”
WDYM: What do you mean
An abbreviation to show you don’t totally get what’s going on right now. You need someone to clarify for you.
WTF: What the f–––
Seriously, WTF. Also can be shortened to just TF.
YOLO: You only live once
Only a few years ago, YOLO was used a lot to show that you’re living your best life. Now, in true Gen Z style, it’s mostly used in an ironic way—it’s cringey.
#slay #yolo #cringe #genz #millennial #zillennial #bikeride #colonialparkway #jamestownva #williamsburgva #virginia #heyya #slayya
♬ original sound – 😳
YW: You’re welcome
Don’t mention it, using only as many letters as necessary.
Master these acronyms and your brand will be one step closer to social media success.
(It’s all part of developing an effective strategy).
Alright folks, class is officially dismissed. For now. Get yourself a snack, you’ve been working hard AF.
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