As I spend more and more time as a thought leader and consultant in the digital marketing space, it’s becoming apparent that I have to educate myself on what various terms in the broader digital marketing conversation mean.

Although the act of researching or reading the terms, acronyms and language associated with digital marketing can be challenging, it’s important to educate yourself on these terms, understand their meanings, and be familiar with what action you should take based on the meaning of their interpretations.


Facebook page of an entrepreneur's social media on desktop and mobile.

A common term used in digital marketing. The act of interacting with or engaging with a social media platform.

Examples of common engagement mechanisms are: posting a tweet, commenting, responding, replying, liking, sharing and searching.

To engage with a platform, a person (or group of people) must type a series of characters to post a piece of content to a platform’s dashboard. This represents the act of engaging.

Only one person at a time can engage in an interaction on a social media platform. Each person must then manually type their response in the body of the comment.

This process can be time-consuming, difficult and can easily be become overwhelming. This process is referred to as engagement.

An interaction occurs when a person reads something and comments on it.

A social media platform keeps track of how long an individual stays on the platform. The longer a person stays on a social media platform, the more interaction that person has with the platform.

This is referred to as engagement.

On average, a person spends 2 minutes per session on social media platforms. This is also known as engagement per session.

This amount of time spent interacting with social media platforms translates into how many times a social media platform can track an individual’s online behaviors.

When we read content on social media platforms, we are passively engaging with the social media platform.

However, on many social media platforms, individuals are actively engaged with a social media platform and are also passively engaging with the content.

Social media users can interact in any way they choose with a platform, but the platform cannot track this interaction.

A social media platform refers to the number of people that can interact with a social media platform at any given time.

These people include all the people that have interacted with the platform, those that are now passively viewing content, and those who have either clicked “like” or “share.”

When someone reads content on a social media platform, they are passively engaging with the platform. In many cases, a social media user may follow certain accounts and engage with these accounts in other ways.

For example, on Twitter, if you follow Tom Brady, your social media platform can track that interaction. Similarly, if you follow Kellyanne Conway and follow her, your social media platform can track that interaction as well.

However, it does not have the ability to track that same interaction when you just see one of Kellyanne Conway’s tweets.

To engage, you can follow, like, or comment on a tweet, but you cannot send it directly to the person who tweeted it. This is engagement.

Engagement means you are directly interacting with the person who wrote the tweet and the social media platform. Engagement can occur on any social media platform, but the majority of engagement occurs on Twitter and Facebook.


A picture of my desktop at my workplace, Porpoise. I love technology and coffee, and I have access to both all day at work!

A series of text characters and/or symbols arranged in a row, like “LOOK.” A person can post a series of random characters, which represent a sentence.

These may be punctuation marks, symbols or even smiley faces. This represents reading content and responding to the author.

However, when a social media platform recognizes that an individual is engaged with their platform, it can access this data to understand how often an individual is interacting with the platform.

For example, Twitter allows its users to follow accounts to follow specific people. This allows you to follow someone’s Twitter account, but you are not directly interacting with the user.

The goal of these platforms is to maximize engagement and user activity for each user and to show the content that is most relevant for the individual. This is called relevance.


This is similar to reading a post, but a person can comment on a post, which makes the post interactive. A person can post a comment and others can respond.

This is like reading a comment and responding to the author, although the author cannot track individual user’s comments.

When you comment on someone else’s post, you are actively interacting with the person who wrote the post and the social media platform.


A hashtag is a word or phrase followed by a number. When you use a hashtag, you’re communicating to other people that they should share a certain post with them.

This helps the posts get seen more easily, which leads to greater engagement.

The goal of a hashtag is to get more people to see a specific post, which leads to a higher likelihood that the post will engage your user.

The more people who see a post using the hashtag, the more likely they are to engage with it and the more likely they are to interact with the author of the post.

Just because someone hashtags a post with the word “medical” does not mean they are a medical professional.

However, hashtags are commonly used to indicate that the post is a medical professional, such as “medicated.”



While most people on social media are very friendly to other users, many may not know who someone is or may not know who a user is.

On Twitter, a user can “follow” a person, which is like becoming a “friend” with that person. When a person follows a user, that person can see all the person’s tweets.

The more a person follows a user, the closer the person is to becoming friends with the user.

The goal of a friend is to gain access to a user’s social media profile.

For example, if you know that someone is a flight attendant, you could follow their profile, like their tweets and look at their photos and begin to imagine all of the travel you could do with that person.

While it is possible to increase the likelihood that people will interact with you on social media platforms, your social media presence is not dependent on your followers.


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