Social media marketing has become an essential tool for businesses and individuals looking to make a splash across the world wide web. And while it may be easier than ever to reach out and touch your audience and customers with the click of a button, a little knowledge will help you to strategically focus your marketing efforts. Here we’ve gathered a list of the most important, influential and ever growing social marketing tools, programs and mediums available for the best return on your investment of time and money.

Algorithm – An algorithm is a set of formulas which instructs a computer to perform a certain set of tasks. Facebook uses an algorithm to determine which stories to provide on your news feed. And search engines such as Google use algorithms to determine page rank and search relevance.

Blog – A blog (web log) is an online journal that’s updated on a regular basis with entries that appear in reverse chronological order. Blogs can be about any subject. They typically contain comments by other readers, links to other sites and permalinks.

Circles/Connections/Friends – These are all terms which refer to people collected into a networking Group. Google+ clusters users into circles by association – ie college friends, colleagues, etc. LinkedIn connects business users. And Facebook links friends together.

Crowdsourcing – This refers the practice of soliciting or gathering ideas and content from the online community – similar to an open call. Users get to demonstrate their expertise while crowdsourcers reap the benefits of the aggregate information.

Embedding – Adding code to the content area of a website so that a video or photo being hosed at another site is shown as a picture or clickable video, rather than a link to another website. Oftentime, bloggers embed YouTube video or Flickr photos for easy access.

Facebook – Now the most popular social networking site in the world with over 1 Billion users from individuals, to communities, businesses and charitable causes.

Flickr – Flickr is the most popular online photo (and video) management and sharing application in the world. With over 6 billion photos uploaded to the site users are able to exchange images from in public or private groups.

Geotagging – This is the process of adding location-based metadata to media such as photos, video or online maps. Geotagging can help users find a wide variety location-specific information for relevant businesses and services.

Google+ – This is Google’s new social network which promotes social networking based on how people share in real life. The site offers users ways to group your associations for targeting sharing as well as features limiting who you are talking to, creating 1-on-1 conversations.

Hashtag – A hashtag, popularized by Twitter, is a community-driven tag which adds additional context and metadata to your tweets. This allows other users to organize or discover relevant information to your post. Similar to tags on WordPress or Flickr, you add them to your tweets by prefixing a word with a hash symbol (or number sign).

Hosting – A blog, video or podcast needs a hosting service before it can appear online. Companies sometimes host their blogs on their own servers, but a better choice for video or audio is to use a host such as YouTube, Vimeo or for video and a host such as Libsyn for podcasts.

HootSuite – This new program is a social media management system which helps online developers to streamline campaigns across social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ Pages. Teams can collaboratively monitor, engage, and measure the results of social campaigns from one secure, web-based dashboard.

Inbound Marketing – This is the process of developing an online presence through content hosted on your main website which is meant to draw customers to your site.

Instagram – Another popular photo editing and sharing application, Instagram lets users take photos, apply filters and share the photos instantly within the program or on other social networks like Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and Foursquare.

Integrated Marketing – This is the process of coordinating your online and offline marketing campaigns to ensure continuity and high traffic. Can be as simple as adding your website to your print ads or developing specific landing pages with special promotions to drive offline users to your website.

Lifestreaming – This is the practice of collecting an online user’s total online presence in one central location or site. Lifestreaming can bring photos, videos, bookmarks, tweets and blog posts from a single user into one place using RSS. Tumblr is an example of a popular lifestreaming service.

Link Building – Link building is an important aspect of search engine optimization which generates traffic via links to their site from other websites. This process can build popularity and improve search engine ranking.

LinkedIn – An online business-oriented social networking site with other 200 million users in over 200 countries worldwide. This site allows users to gain introduction to other users, post resumes, suggest opportunities to colleagues, apply for positions and search for talent.

Meme – A meme is a thought, idea, joke, or concept to be shared and spread person-to-person by some viral medium online. This can be an image in juxtaposition with another image or text, a video, a misspelled word or floating hypertext. Some memes are clever marketing campaigns gathering lots of free market visibility.

Metadata – Metadata specifies information about a website, video, blog, or photo for browsers and search engines to improve the experience of users. This data may include geotags, titles, timestamps, authorship, tags, descriptions and captions.

News Feed – A news feed, also known as a web feed, is an aggregator program providing an updated list of information specified by a user’s interests or networks. Facebook displays a new feed of posts by your friends. Twitter posts a live timeline of tweets you follow.

Pandora Radio – This popular online music player alsos users to create radio stations – based on prefered artists, genre, album, etc – and receive calculated recommendations for songs which they can rate to better learn your music preference. Free versions are available with limited advertising making it a popular site for social media marketing ads to reach over 60 million users in the United State, Australia and New Zealand.

Paid Search Marketing – Often referred to as Pay-Per-Click or PPC is an internet advertising model to place advertisements for a business, service on search engines or applications in a high traffic position. If the paid banner/ad is clicked on by users, the advertiser pays the publisher (ie. Google) a fix cost.

Permalink – A permalink is the URL or address which directly points to a specific website, blog post, video or image.

Podcast – These non-streaming radio, audio or video webcasts are available for users to download as digital files to read on mobile devices and computers. Users can also add podcasts to a feed, letting you know when new files are ready for download.

Reddit – Reddit is a social news and entertainment forum in which members share links and post information. This social bulletin board allows for the quick dissemination of everything from memes to product reviews and world news.

RSS (Rich Site Summary) – This is a web feed format for the delivery of content — blog entries, news stories, headlines, images, video — in a standardized format. The format containing full or summarized text and metadata which is easily readable for aggregator programs enabling readers to stay current with favorite publications or producers. Most blogs, vlogs, podcasts and new publishers have an RSS feed for maintaining their connection to users who subscribe.

RSS Reader – This is a feed aggregator program, such as Google Reader, which places all your bookmarked RSS feeds into one easy to access stream. This reduces the users need to spend time check for updates and new content from the websites or blogs they follow; and it reduced the need for pushing information at users through annoy emails, instead the user is pulling the information they want to them.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – This set of internet marketing tactics will help attract customers, increase client visibility, generate brand awareness and build trust with users chiefly through paid marketing campaigns.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This is internet marketing strategy uses a dynamic process of arranging your website design, metadata and content for easy readability by search engines. SEO aims to improve organic, non-paid search visibility and traffic volumes.

Skype – This free online social telecommunications program that allows users to text, audio and video chats with other users. Additionally, users can purchase plans to receive phone calls and conference calls through their Skype account.

Social Bookmarking – This is a centralized online services which allows users to locate, store, organize, share and manage bookmarks websites, blogs, videos and readers without being tied to a particular machine. Users store lists of personally interesting resources and usually share these lists with other users with similar interests. Pinterest is the most popular image bookmarking site with over 12 million unique users.

Social Media – This refers to information produced for the purpose of driving social interaction with highly accessible and functional publishing technologies. These technologies can be social networks, blogs, vlogs, tweets, podcasts and many other programs offering user-generated content..

Social Media Optimization (SMO) – This internet marketing strategy aim is to generate brand visibility and internet traffic through social media networks and other online communities.

Social Networking – The act of socializing in an online community based on shared interest, activities, backgrounds and/or real life connections. Nearly half of all American adults are using a social networking service such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Tumblr. .

Splogs – Short for spam blogs which do not provide their own fresh content, but use automated tools or templates to create fake blogs in order to boost search engine results.

Spotify – Spotify is a new streaming music service offering users a chance to listen to protected content. Users have access to over 20 million songs from major and independent artist, radio capabilities and playlist sharing to network with friends. With an expanding catalogue and member base, this is often a popular site for social media marketing.

Streaming Media – Audio and video media that is not stored permanently but rather watched online is streaming – a constant stream of data. This is not the same, but similar to live streaming media which is enjoyed in real time, such as a live sports game or event. Streaming media is meant to be shared via links but protected from download.

Tags – In order to make blog entries, articles, tweets and status updates relevant to some other related topic, publishers tag the page with keywords helping search engines and users find their content quickly.

Trolling – This is internet slang for someone who searches the internet for places to post controversial, inflammatory or irrelevant messages with the intent of provoking or disrupting normal conversation in an online community.

Tweet – These are 140 character posts on the Twitter social network.

Twitter – This is a popular social network focused around the 140 character tweets members share as status updates, comments, serial stories, and more. With over 500 million registered users it is one of the ten most visited sites on the internet. This is a great forum for fundraising, connecting with customers, communicating a brand identity, and announcing events.

Tumblr – This is a short form blog and social networking platform letting users share content in the form of mini-blogs with text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos.

Vlog – These are serial video blogs. People sing, act, direct short movies and more. Interested parties can subscribe to a vlog receive updates.

Web Analytics – These is the process of collection, measurement, analysis and reporting of data for the purpose of understanding your web traffic in order to optimize your website and internet marketing campaigns.

Webinar – This is a conference, seminar, lecture, workshop or presentation transmitted over the internet. Live or streaming video is broadcast with chat or testing capabilities for members, usually for a company.

Widget – A widget is a small pane of content, typically displayed in a small box, which is programmed to provide specific data to users while they operate in another pane. For example you may have a live weather feed, news feed or stock ticker on the side of a dynamic website, social network page or blog.

Wiki – A wiki is a collaborative website that can be directly edited by anyone with access to it. Multiple people can access and modify a project over the internet in real time.

Yelp – This is a popular social network and directory for locating, rating and reviewing local businesses. It is free to register your business, however you can maximize your return through paid advertisements and deals to entice customers.

YouTube – This is the world’s most popular video sharing website. Users can generate their own content or share videos across the site. With over 4 Billion videos viewed a day utilizing 10% of all internet traffic, YouTube is most popular site to share viral video memes and connect with users all around the world.

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