Social media for beginners - a useful glossary

Published 19th Aug 2022 by Josie Jackson
Social media for beginners - a useful glossary There’s never a bad time to start using social media for your business – and with video-first content garnering the most engagement, Tik Tok and Instagram Reels should be at the top of your to-do list. But if you’re new to these aspects of social media, the jargon can be hard to understand – so here at HJ we’ve created a 'Social Media For Beginners' glossary, covering some common words you may come across when creating content online.

Tik Tok

Tik Tok is one of the biggest online video sharing platforms, with over one billion monthly active users. It recently increased its maximum video time from three minutes to 10 minutes, however many users still prefer to keep their videos on the shorter time, as many people scrolling on the app report having a short attention span.


Reels was Instagram’s answer to Tik Tok, and whilst the app was historically a photo sharing platform, it is increasingly pushing video content – which is exactly what Reels are. They are short videos, much like Tik Toks, however the maximum length of a video is 90 seconds. Many hairdressers will likely already have an Instagram account, so the benefit of reels is that if you’re not a social media whiz, you can keep all of your content on one app. Reels are different to traditional Instagram posts because instead of user’s only seeing Reels from accounts they follow, users see Reels from all Instagram accounts on the Reels Explore Page.


Hashtags (#) are a method of organising content online. Users can ‘tag’ their content with words of phrases that they think is representative of what they are posting, making it easier for likeminded individuals to find. Social media platforms also take note of the hashtags you use and view, and will suggest others’ content that matches. When writing a hashtag, even no spaces are included, #forexample. If a hashtag has been used a high number of times before, it will make your content harder for others to see, as it may get lost in the masses. Equally, if you use a hashtag that has barely been used, people will be unlikely to come across it. As such, you want to try and find a sweet spot. On Instagram, hashtags with around 10,000 to 500,00 uses can be a good place to start. Instagram only lets you use a maximum of 30 hashtags per post, whereas Tik Tok has a character limit of 300 (characters being letters, spaces, punctuation and emojis) so you can use as many hashtags as this allows.

Reels Explore Page

The Reels Explore Page (the centre icon on the navigation bar) is a dedicated page for Reels on Instagram. This page will show you posts from people you follow and also people you don’t follow, just as yours will be displayed to people that follow you and people that don’t follow you. Because of this, Reels can reach a wider audience than photo posts, making them a great strategy for growth.

fyp (stands for for you page)

The fyp is the made stream/ feed on content on Tik Tok – the videos the scroll through when you enter the app. It acts the same as the Reels Explore Page, showing you content from others. The algorithms (see below) on these apps mean that you will be shown videos that it thinks you will enjoy, based off of what you spent the most time watching and engaging with.


A social media algorithm is the mathematical calculation that sites such as these use to understand user habits and to customize the social experience. Social media algorithms work seamlessly behind the scenes, optimizing the user experience without them knowing the system is at work. One simple example is that if you skip past three cooking videos in the space of 10 minutes, but watch three dog videos the whole way through, you will see more dog videos appearing on your feed or fyp, and lesss cooking videos.

Instagram Feed

Your Instagram Feed is the visible part of your profile – the page where all the photos and videos you post are displayed. This can be found by clicking your profile icon in the bottom right corner of the app. When someone searches your profile, they will be taken to your feed.


If something is trending, it means it is popular right now. This often applies to audio. On Instagram, an easy way to find trending audios is to scroll through the Reels Explore Page and look for a little diagonal arrow in the bottom left corner of the screen, next to the name of the audio. By using a trending audio, Instagram is more likely to display your video on the explore page.


Tags are not the same as hashtags, although if you’re new to social media, you’d be forgiven for getting the two mixed up. Using someone’s ‘tag’ or ‘tagging them’ means you are inserting a direct link to their social media account on your post/ comment. They will get a notification and see this, as will all other users. For example, if another stylist inspired a look you recreated, you could tag them to give them credit. They will see this, and your recreation, and your audience will be able to view your inspiration, too. You can also tag people on other people’s posts, if you want them to see it, e.g you tag a fellow colourist at your salon because you see a copper look that you think they will love.


This refers to how people are interacting with your social media accounts and content. The term can cover a broad range of actions across all social platforms. For example, engagement might include:
  • Likes and Favourites
  • Comments, DMs, Replies
  • Shares and Retweets
  • Saves
  • Clicks
  • Mentions


This is the sound in your videos. Original audio refers to a sound you have uploaded yourself; this could be your voice or a sound/ song you have recorded outside of the app and have the uploaded into the app. You can also use other peoples’ audios. If an audio is used by many people in a short space of time, it may start ‘trending’. You will see videos using trending audios frequently on the Reels Explore Page and fyp, so using these can be a great way to get your content seen by more people.


These refer to how multiple video clips are edited or merged together. You can find these within the editing areas of the apps, or on a third-party editing app. A simple example of a transition would be one clip fading to another. There are also transitions which require more than video cutting. Have you seen a video of someone jumping or clicking their fingers, and suddenly their outfit has changed? Users perform these movements and then carefully cut the footage together to make the transition from one video to the other appear seamless. They are effective when done well, but aren’t essential, so you may find it easier to wrap your head around more basic transitions first. An easy transition which requires some physical action on your behalf would be covering the camera at the end of one clip, then starting the next clip with your hand in front of the camera, only to move it away and reveal the subject has changed.

Align Tool

This is a feature on Instagram which can be found in the Reels editing space. It is useful for transitions, as it faintly reflects the previous frame over the current frame – meaning you can easily position yourself to stand in the same spot. Want more 'Social Media For Beginners' guides? Check out expert advice on getting your salon on Tik Tok here. 
Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 19th Aug 2022

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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