Instagram remains one of the most profitable and marketable social media networks; if you’re an entrepreneur, brand, business, or creator, it’s likely that you’ll need Instagram for your professional endeavors.
The best way to go about maximizing your Instagram efforts is to know all there is to know about the platform in the way of terms, features, and growth strategies that will lead to better content creation and Instagram follower growth.
Once you have a solid grasp of the terminology used on the Instagram platform, you can utilize all of these elements to your benefits and maximize profitability and conversion through the network.
Regardless of if you’ve been in the Instagram game for a while or are just starting to navigate the Instagram world, our ultimate glossary of Instagram terms has got you covered. Let’s go!
Your Account and Profile
Here we’ll discuss four of the principal terms you’ll need to know related to your Instagram account profile. Keep in mind that we will be using the term IG in some sections; this is just a simple abbreviation for Instagram.
An Instagram bio is composed of 150 characters and is viewed under your profile picture and username on your main profile page.
The Instagram bio is one of the most important factors in defining your brand identity and what your Instagram is all about. Here, you should give insight into your company or brand, what you do, and what people can expect to see on your Instagram.
Because it’s one of the first things any user will see when they visit your profile, it’s a valuable tool for you to share pertinent information with the Instagram community.
What’s more, this is the only section that allows for the placement of a clickable link on Instagram, so you should also consider including one there if you have an external site that you want to funnel traffic to.
If you have multiple social networks and links, consider using a directory-building tool such as Linktr.ee so that you can have one link to encompass all of your links.
An Instagram handle, also known as IG handle, is your username— this is the name that defines your specific profile and by which users can locate you on Instagram.
Your Instagram handle is found at the top of your Instagram profile; it’s also shown above all of the content you post on the left-hand side. You will choose your Instagram username (aka handle) when you sign up, and it can be changed at any time.
Instagram usernames may be as simple as your name or your business; some creators or influencers choose other usernames that accurately represent their personality. Your Instagram handle is what Instagrammers use to find your profile.
Your Instagram newsfeed, feed for short, is the main landing page when you open the Instagram app. Here you can view posts from the people that you follow, posts from your followed hashtags, as well as sponsored content.
You’ll be directed to your feed when you open the Instagram app, but you can also access it from the home icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the app.
The Instagram algorithm decides what content to show to which users based on their preference and user habits on the platform.
Algorithms are used in pretty much all of our tech devices and applications; an algorithm is basically a procedure that makes calculations. They are especially prominent in social media, where they make most of the decisions about what content gets seen by who and many other processes on the networks.
Algorithms control trending hashtags, the order in which content appears to Instagram users, in which order Instagram stories are organized, and much more. Each social media network has their own algorithm.
The Instagram algorithm, previously based on chronology, is now much more focused on user engagement; this now dictates what users see based on the actions they take on the platform.
This section of Instagram terms will cover those most closely related to Instagram content creation and post type.
A brief description that appears underneath an Instagram post.
Instagram captions are key in giving your followers extra context about your photos; it can be a way to tell a story, show your audience who you are, explain something, and more.
A common term you’ll hear used in captions for Instagram is calls to action (CTAs), which means you ask your followers to do something such as like, comment, share, etc. Hashtags are also included in the caption (see next section).
Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long; you can make them as short or as long as you feel appropriate, and you can also use hashtags.
A word or phrase, no spaces, with the # symbol placed in front so that it becomes searchable and discoverable by Instagram users.
Hashtags were first used on Twitter in 2007 to better organize the content on the platform and help people find content of their interest. When you add a hashtag (#wordsandphrases) to your content, your content will then be categorized into a hashtag feed so that new users can see it.
Understanding which hashtags are most related to your target audience and can get your content seen by more people is vital. We’ll discuss that more in a later section.
7. User-Generated Content (UGC)
Content (photos, videos) created by fans of a certain brand, celebrity, creator, etc. involving the brand in some way.
If you’re a brand or business, you usually sell products or provide services; if you are a creator, you may make art, music, content, and more. When your clients or supporters post themselves engaging with your product, service, or creation in some way, this becomes user-generated content, or UGC.
UGC gets some of the highest engagement on Instagram and also features your followers, building your relationship with them and leading to more UGC because other users also want to be featured.
8. Gallery Post (Carousel)
A type of Instagram post that can include anywhere from 1-10 photos and/or videos.
An Instagram gallery post, also known as a carousel post, is a type of post that allows you to share multiple photos and/or videos without having to post them all separately. Followers and viewers can then swipe through the photos and view all of the content.
Carousel posts also have higher levels of engagement over regular posts, even more still when at least one video is included. The first image or video you select will set the size for all other photos/videos in that carousel, so keep that in mind.
A private album where you can hide old posts without removing them from your Instagram permanently.
When you archive a post on Instagram, it removes it from your feed and stores it in a private archive of old posts. It does not delete the post, and you can even unarchive it at any time if you decide you want to put it back on your Instagram feed.
This is a valuable tool if you want to completely change your aesthetic or drum up interest in a special event or promotion without your followers getting distracted by other content.
This section covers all things engagement— this is the blanket term for all interaction that happens on Instagram: likes, comments, DMs, saves, shares, story reactions, and mentions.
10. Saved Posts
An action that users take to keep posts that they want to see again later.
Users can save posts by tapping the banner icon in the bottom right corner of any Instagram post, right above the caption. This will save the post to a library of saved photos; users can create different albums so that they can better organize their saved content.
When users save your content, that indicates that they find it valuable, and is a great type of engagement to keep your eye on.
You can also save posts on Instagram— save posts that you may want to reference later as a source of inspiration for your own content, captioning, or hashtag strategies.
11. Engagement Rate
The number of likes and comments received on a post divided by the number of followers the IG user has.
Your engagement rate is an important metric by which you can gage your content’s appeal, success, and how you might fare against the Instagram algorithm. If you have a high engagement ratio, you’re likely to get your content seen more regularly by your followers.
You can find out your Instagram engagement ratio with some simple math. Let’s do an example.
Let’s say that your post gets 675 likes and 80 comments. Add those together, and you’ll get 755. The final step is to divide this number by your total follower count, which we’ll imagine is 12,000. That would mean that the engagement rate is roughly 6%, which is just above the average.
Typically, a solid engagement rate on Instagram is between 1%-5%, but it also depends on how many followers you have. Accounts with a higher follower count typically get less engagement overall.
12. Direct Message
A private message between two people or a group of people.
Instagram DMs are private messages that can’t be seen publicly. Direct messages don’t have a direct impact on your engagement rate, per se, but they are a great way to build rapport with your audience, make connections with your followers, and share important information.
Users who communicate with you directly are more likely to view your other content and engage with it. When you respond to an Instagram story, you also receive a DM.
Another type of engagement on Instagram is sharing photos, and this happens via DM; you will be able to see how many times your photo was shared by users on the platform.
13. Double Tap
Liking an Instagram post.
A shortcut to liking a photo on Instagram is simply to tap the photo two times; this is where the expression “double tap” comes from. It’s another way of saying “to like someone’s Instagram post.”
Users can also like Instagram photos by simply clicking on the heart at the bottom left of a post.
You can always invite users to “double tap” as a call to action, gaining you a higher engagement ratio.
14. Tags / Mentions
To attach someone’s username to a post.
Tags and mentions are both ways to involve another user in your Instagram content. You can tag someone directly in the Instagram post before you post the content, which will then allow the username to show up directly on the photo.
That photo will then show up in a separate feed on their main profile page where all photos they are tagged in will be displayed.
If you prefer, you can also @username them in your comments or caption, which is known as a mention, or mentioning someone. This is useful especially if you’re giving shoutouts and want other users to be notified; you can also create CTAs that ask users to mention their friends in your post.
15. Organic Reach
The idea that your content gets viewed by an Instagram user without any paid promotion.
Organic reach can be understood as Instagram users happening onto your profile by themselves, through hashtag feeds, friends, webpage links, or even from interaction that you perpetuate with the account.
You will see your general reach number under your Instagram insights, and for each person that this content reaches, you’ll get 1 added to this number. Even if this person views your content more than once, it will never give duplicate counts for the same user.
The more engagement you have, the more organic reach your content will have based on the Instagram algorithm. You can also use an Instagram growth service to get more organic reach, which we’ll discuss in a later section.
An area of Instagram that provides data and statistics about your audience, your content, and your performance on Instagram.
Instagram insights is available to business and creator profiles to give them an idea about how much reach their content gets, who their target audience is, what their Instagram browsing habits are, and more.
Using Instagram insights to see how people interact with your content and what type performs best is vital to creating an effective content strategy, which is the most important thing for a strong Instagram presence.
Here we dive into all things followers! If you want to get more Instagram followers, this is a great section to check out.
Instagram users who follow your account.
Instagram was built for users to be able to follow accounts that they enjoy and regularly see content from those accounts. The number of people who follow you on Instagram is at the top of your profile page.
The goal is to get your followers engaging with your content through likes and comments so that your content will appear more frequently and with more priority in your followers’ feeds.
18. Follower Growth Rate
The percentage of new followers your account gets.
The follower growth rate is a very simple way to track how many new followers you get over a set period of time. You should always have a period of time by which you’re going to examine how many new followers you gained.
Let’s say you check every week, and this week you’ve gained 150. You’ll then look at how many followers you had at the start of the previous week; let’s say you had 1500. You’ll then know that you have 1650 followers and your followers grew by about 9% of your total follower count.
You don’t necessarily have to calculate this percentage, however; simply knowing how many followers you’re gaining week over week (or any other period you set for yourself) is the important part.
Instagram insights will help you to see this information as well. Just be sure that you’re not losing followers, because that can mean you have a problem and need to take action immediately to reverse that trend.
The total number of times your post has been viewed.
Impressions can be a bit confusing, but just remember that it’s not the number of users who have seen your photos, but how many times your post has been viewed, period. That means if you have 300 impressions, it could be 300 people viewing one time, or less users with some viewing multiple times.
This is what separates impressions from reach, which we’ll discuss later.
Alerts that announce a new social media activity.
Notifications are sent to you about a variety of things on Instagram: likes, comments, DMs, mentions, new follows, Live streams, and comment likes. When you receive a notification, make sure you check it out right away and if it warrants a response, respond in a timely manner so that you can show you’re active on the platform and available.
The most important things to respond to are DMs, comments, and mentions. You can also adjust your notifications preferences on the settings menu.
21. Instagram Growth Service
A company that helps you get more Instagram followers.
It’s tough to get more Instagram followers on a regular basis; using organic growth methods like engagement can take a lot of time, so an Instagram growth service can help you fortify your efforts and save you time.
The best organic Instagram growth service on the market is Growthoid; they provide a dedicated account manager to help interact with followers in your target audience, gaining you more real followers that will actually care about your content.
Using an Instagram growth service can be a worthwhile investment so that you can refocus your time and energy on content creation, captioning, hashtag strategy, and analytics.
22. Target Audience
The users of Instagram that are most likely to be interested in your brand or business.
Your target audience is composed of the people who are most likely to be supporters or clients of your brand or business. You want to consider things like demographics, location, Instagram usage trends, and followers of your competitors when deciding what users you’re going to target on Instagram.
When you interact with targeted followers, they’re more likely to follow you because they care about your content and niche.
This section will cover all things hashtags in a little bit more detail.
23. Branded Hashtags
Hashtags that are created by the company, often using the company name, to create a campaign or encourage UGC.
Branded hashtags can be used in different ways. The #ShareACoke campaign was a great example of getting the community involved and creating a feed that’s basically dedicated to user-generated coca cola content.
Brands can also use their business name, such as #HM, to give users a chance to be featured on their profile when they post content with their hashtag and/or mention their brand name (in this case, @HM).
It’s a good idea to let followers know about this in your captions as well as in your Instagram bio so that users know about this.
The tagged location on a post.
When you want to add a geotag to your post, you can select a location before you post your content to your feed and that location will appear underneath your username on your post.
Your content will then appear in the feed for that location if people search for it.
25. Trending Hashtags
Commonly used hashtags that people are searching for and reach a lot of Instagram users.
Popular and trending hashtags can be a good way to keep your content relevant, but know which ones are most relevant to your niche so that you don’t attract followers that are outside of your target audience.
If you’re not sure where to start with identifying the best trending hashtags for your content, you can use an Instagram hashtag tool like Task Ant to search for, analyze, organize, and easily post your hashtags on all of your content.
You may have heard of the “influencer” craze on Instagram, and it’s still healthy and thriving. Let’s learn a little bit more about Instagram influencers.
Someone who produces content for a large, engaged audience in a particular niche or industry.
An influencer is a user on Instagram that has a large or very engaged audience; they have a strong reputation and connection with these followers, posting a wide range of content and often partnering with brands and businesses to recommend or feature their products.
An influencer typically has 10k followers or more on Instagram, but micro-influencers, those with under 10k followers but high engagement rates, are becoming increasingly popular.
27. Influencer Marketing
A form of social media marketing that involves influencers promoting, advertising, and recommending products and services through creative content.
Influencers have a lot of hold on their audience, so they’re likely to be swayed by what an influencer says or does. Companies use influencer marketing to promote their products in a more authentic and realistic way.
28. Influencer CPM
The cost and value of an influencer; Cost Per Mille (thousand).
Influencer CPM is a way to measure the cost of an influencer against their value in terms of followers.
Let’s say that an influencer has 100k followers and a CPM of $25, a sponsored post could cost $2,500. (100 x 25).
Not all influencers follow this pricing scheme, but ones with higher follower counts may.
Instagram ads are another way to get your content seen by new users, and here are some of the key terms you need to know.
29. Sponsored Ads
A paid promotional post that is displayed in users’ newsfeeds.
Instagram ads look practically identical to normal posts, but it will say the word sponsored underneath the username of the post. Sponsored ads help to get posts out to more users and increase engagement and follower count, or even to promote products and services.
30. Brand Representatives
People who represent a brand or business on Instagram.
It’s common that brands and businesses look to regular Instagram users to promote their posts as well; while they don’t pay, they do offer discounts or free products in exchange for posting and sharing.
It’s a good way to get more UGC and also to expand reach to more people in your target audience through relevant, real Instagram users.
31. Paid Reach
The size of the audience a paid Instagram post reaches.
Organic reach is gaining viewership naturally; paid reach is the number of people who see your sponsored or paid post. You can typically gain a lot of paid reach with sponsored posts, but you want to make sure the targeting is correct otherwise you won’t see much ROI.
Instagram stories is a key component on Instagram if you want to have an active and professional profile with a strong presence, so listen up!
24-hour photos or videos that users can view at the top of the Instagram newsfeed.
Stories only stay active on Instagram for 24 hours; they can be either photos or videos, and they can be shared with all of your followers, with your close friends list, or to users that aren’t on your hide story from list.
Instagram stories can also be saved into an Instagram story highlights folder and pinned onto your Instagram profile to make this content viewable after the 24 hour period has expired.
There are many interactive features for Instagram stories.
Previously posted Instagram stories pinned to your main profile page.
The circular icons that appear under your Instagram bio is the section for Instagram story highlights. Any post that you’ve uploaded to your Instagram stories is available to be pinned to one or various albums for later viewing.
Creating relevant and well organized Instagram stories is a great way to boost the professionalism of your profile and create a unified aesthetic while making fun and important content available to your followers.
A short looping video.
Instagram has created a camera feature and standalone app called Boomerang. Boomerang creates short looping videos that play continually, much like a GIF. The movement goes back and forth to create the continuous loop without interruption.
Small pictures, GIFs, or interactive elements that can be added to IG stories.
Stickers make your content more interesting; you can search for stickers and GIFs based on a word or phrase and then add them to your content. You can also add music, location tags, hashtags, polls, quizzes, questions, ratings, and more.
Use these features to liven up your Instagram content and get your followers and viewers engaging. Polls are one of the most popular and engaging features on IG stories.
36. Instagram Live
A Live stream where your followers can react and leave comments.
Instagram Live allows you to broadcast an interactive live stream to Instagram users and then save and upload your video later. It can be a useful tactic to be able to communicate with your followers and viewers in real time.
The number of users who left your story.
Exits represent the number of people who didn’t view your IG story to the end and either skipped to the next story, went back to the main feed, or closed out of Instagram. This may not always be caused by your content, as there are other possibilities, but keep your eye on this number.
A zoom feature on Instagram stories that also creates a sound effect.
Instagram superzoom has become very popular, especially for things that users love and adore. These types of filters and effects are always expanding on Instagram stories, and they can be fun and enjoyable ways to create unique IG story content.
Here are some additional features and terms that you shouldn’t leave without knowing about! Take a look at some miscellaneous terminology for Instagram.
An additional Instagram feature that allows users to upload videos up to an hour in length (15 min via the app and 1 hr. via the website).
IGTV was created to help users expand their video content past the 1 minute limit of normal feed videos. The small TV icon on users’ profiles allow you to check out their IGTV videos.
These videos can be great for short tutorials, interviews, BTS, and more. Everyday users typically only get 15 minutes and up to an hour is afforded to accounts owned by celebs, public figures, and verified accounts.
A short form video feature on Instagram similar to TikTok.
Reels was introduced when TikTok began to explode with popularity; these videos are short form videos and can last between 15 to 30 seconds. You can view them by selecting the bottom middle icon at the bottom of your IG feed.
41. Shoppable Posts
Posts that allow users to view product tags and buy products.
Shoppable posts on Instagram use product tags to identify products in photos, allowing users to see more about that product and even purchase it. Take advantage of this feature if you have an e-commerce store and want to sell merchandise.
Planning your Instagram content ahead of time so it can be published at a set time.
There’s no way to schedule your Instagram posts from within the apps, but using a visual schedule planner and auto-post tool such as Later can seriously increase your Instagram aesthetic and your content consistency.
43. Explore page
The section of Instagram that recommends posts that you may enjoy.
The explore page can be seen under the search tab and is basically the Instagram algorithm at work. The algorithm will suggest content that it thinks you would like based on content you frequently view and engage with.
This is another goal for your content— if it gets a lot of engagement, it may just end up on the explore page.
A humorous picture or video that gets shared rapidly all over the internet.
Memes are one of the most popular content types on Instagram, so it’s likely you’ve heard of them from just browsing around, but did you know that brand-related or trending memes can be a huge opportunity to boost your engagement on Instagram?
Consider choosing a day of the week and always share a meme, like #mememonday (in reality, it could be any day of the week).
Doing so can show off your brand or business’s personality, entertain your followers, and give them something to look forward to every week— this will ultimately get you more engagement and boost your performance against the Instagram algorithm.
An editing feature that changes the colors and appearance of your photo/video.
Instagram filters are commonly used to make photos more attractive or add a particular aesthetic to your image. You can use the preloaded filters that are available from within Instagram alongside other editing tools, or you can use an outside editor with different filters such as VSCO.
You can also use photos on Instagram videos and Instagram stories.
A post that you upload to Instagram a few days or longer after it happened.
You can use the hashtag #latergram if you upload a photo that was taken earlier and then posted to Instagram at a later time.
Reposting someone else’s post.
If you want to regram someone’s content, don’t forget to mention the user and use any relevant hashtags in the regram. You can use an app like Repost to do this, or even take a screenshot and then repost the image that way. You may want to ask the original poster for permission first if it’s a creative piece. Don’t get into trouble over this; it can lead to legal trouble and a damaged reputation.
Visual trends and aesthetics on your Instagram feed.
One thing you can do to create a cohesive and pleasant brand image is to use an Instagram theme. This will help you dictate your content, color scheme, lighting, and more. Having a consistent theme will help your account to look more professional and trustworthy, as well as more visually stunning, capturing users’ attention.
49. Nametag (QR Code)
A way for people to immediately be directed to your profile.
Instagram now has a nametag for easy sharing of your Instagram profile. Simply click the menu icon from your profile page in the top right corner (three horizontal lines). There, you’ll see the option that says QR code about halfway down the list.
This will bring up a unique code that people can scan to follow your profile.
50. Website Traffic
Tracks website visitors who were funneled from Instagram.
One of the main goals of Instagram for business is to redirect Instagram users to your external websites or channels where sales can be made. While Instagram is continually improving the in-app shopping experience, you need to get traffic to your website.
Use Google Analytics to track this metric and also don’t forget to use link-in-bio and/or the swipe up feature in Instagram stories. Swipe up is only available to business accounts that have over 10k followers, so if you don’t have it yet, keep working!
Final Thoughts on Instagram Jargon
Instagram is continuously updating and changing features, so it’s a good idea to stay up-to-date with this glossary to see what’s happening. This will help you to understand the ever-changing and evolving jargon on Instagram.
Not only that, you’ll surely continue to discover new ways to optimize your profile, captions, content creation, hashtags, and more in order to reach more users in your target audience and get more Instagram followers.
What Instagram term is your favorite? What’s your favorite Instagram feature? Let us know in the comments, and share this article if you thought it was helpful!