There are tons of different acronyms and slang words that cross our paths every day when using Instagram. If you’ve never heard them before, you may wonder— what does that mean? And is it something I should be using in my Instagram captions or content?
TBH is one of those acronyms, and it sounds pretty familiar. If you’ve never heard it before, TBH means: To Be Honest. This three-letter acronym, TBH, has become a fan favorite on Instagram, written by users far and wide to express their thoughts and ideas on Instagram.
Typically this word is used by teens and young adults, and it’s most commonly used when one wants to give their candid opinion about something, and it’s also frequently used to emphasize something nice or positive on a social media post.
It may also be used, though, to emphasize something that is lackluster or not enjoyable, so it really depends on the context here.
We are going to expand the ideas around TBH, how it’s used, as well as impart some additional wisdom on some common Instagram lingo that may help you better understand what you see on the platform. Let’s go!
TBH Meaning: To Be Honest
The acronym of To Be Honest, TBH, actually gained traction during the late 90s and is connected to the culture of internet language, text messages, and chatting online. It can be used at the beginning or end of a sentence in order to show a strong opinion about something or someone.
The internet has expanded vastly, and this abbreviation has also expanded to used for not liking someone or being rude to someone. For example:
- TBH, I hate the new Instagram algorithm
- I think the new track by (insert musician here) is complete crap, TBH
- TBH, you don’t even know what you’re talking about
You can, though, use the acronym for positivity, like the following:
- TBH, the sweater looks better on you than on the model!
- You should be more forgiving of yourself, TBH. You are a fighter.
Both meanings can be seen widely across Instagram.
Alternative Meaning: To Be Heard
There is another less-known meaning of TBH, though, that teens have begun to use. This can also be used as an acronym for the expression To Be Heard. This is similar in the sense that it’s commonly used for strong or straightforward opinions, but typically from the speaker directly.
The opinions could be funny, hurtful, controversial, or pretty standard, depending on the teenager who is using it.
TBH Meaning on Instagram
The most standard meaning that you’ll see for TBH on Instagram is To Be Honest, but with many other words, it may even become a different part of speech when users implement it in their comments, captions, etc.
The same phenomenon has been seen with words like email, text, Google, and others. These words were originally nouns, and now can easily be used as verbs. “Just text me later!”
Teens may also use TBH as a way to interact with each other, creating a noun out of it. For example, if a teenager wants to get more likes on their IG (Instagram) post, they may say “Like for a TBH.”
This whole interaction basically means that if a person likes the photo, or even comments on it, they will respond to you with a TBH. This can even be done for reciprocity, such as TBH for TBH.
A TBH for TBH means that once the person likes or comments on the OP’s (original poster’s) photo, the OP will then go to their profile and leave a comment on their picture that includes the famed TBH.
The comment may look something like: “ TBH I love your makeup!” or “TBH you look amazing,” among many other variants.
This is a great engagement strategy for the right audience, and it can be something your brand implements depending on who your posts are mainly for.
These types of trends, after all, may confuse older audiences such as millennials or boomers since they don’t really have a grasp on this usage of the term To Be Honest (TBH) and see it as something else.
The TBH trend can also be shared amongst different people on Instagram— to your friends, or even to your romantic interests if you want to spice things up a bit. In the next sections we’ll go over some different options so that you’ll know when someone leaves one for you, or how to leave one for someone you care about.
You can even leave these for your clients, followers, and people you’d like to collaborate with if you have a good rapport with them and it fits your brand image!
How to Write a TBH to a Friend
If you want to write a TBH for a friend, you can say direct phrases before or after you place the abbreviation:
- You’re such a good guy, TBH
- TBH I miss our brunch dates!
- You crack me up all the time, TBH
- TBH I hope we can hang out soon!
These types of phrases can also be adapted to clients or potential leads if you’re running a brand or business. In addition, it can be used to get to know people that you don’t have a direct connection with. For example: TBH, you seem really cool!
TBHs can also be used for romantic interests, which you can see a bit more about in the next section if you are so inclined.
How to Write for a TBH for a Crush
If you want to attract people to your Instagram page and are ready for them to leave you comments, you can type into your caption TBH and Rate. That means users will be able to leave a comment with impressions of you as well as their rating.
When someone comments this on your photo without you having posted anything, that means you can respond to them and give them your impression as well as your rating.
You could go even further and put TBH Rate and Date, where the person will rank you, give an impression as well as let you know if they’re interested in dating you. This is the same if someone posts this as a comment on your photo, and you can do that for the poster when responding to the comment.
While this whole concept is a pretty niche way to use TBH, it may still be beneficial for those out there looking for a little love. If you don’t want to go too romantic, you can consider using TBHs for nice ways to shout out friends, or acquaintances, as we mentioned above.
Below are some other ideas for specific TBHs depending if the person is male or female.
TBH for a girl
- TBH if I had a sister I’d want her to be just like you
- Your fashion sense is incredible, TBH
- You’re one of the most genuine person I’ve ever met, TBH
TBH for a boy
- I wish we were as crazy as we were back in the day TBH
- TBH you are a great listener
- You’re like a brother to be TBH
Other Instagram Terms: Glossary
TBH can be used to highlight and strengthen many different ideas and opinions on Instagram as we’ve seen above. It’s not the only phrase you should know when using Instagram, TBH. There are plenty of other ones, and we’re going to give you some insight into some popular terms and acronyms that you may have come across on the platform.
You may see posts that say things like “mention my handle” or may even be asked, “what’s your IG handle?” This is basically asking for one thing: your username.
In regards to social media, whenever someone talks about your handle, that’s the name you go by on Instagram or other social networks.
Double tap comes from the action of liking someone’s post. When you want to like a post on Instagram, the most common way is to simply tap the photo two times. This is a great phrase that can promote engagement on your Instagram content.
- Double tap if you can’t live without your coffee in the morning!
- Double tap if you wish you were here right now
- Double tap if…
You can adapt this to basically any context, so it’s a great way to invite people to like your photo on Instagram. This is also known as a call to action (CTA). This is whenever you actively invite a user on Instagram to take action after seeing your post.
Using the phrase “double tap if” can certainly incite action after a user sees your post.
User-Generated Content (UGC) is also a big one if you want to generate more engagement for your content and have a wider range of things to post. While you aren’t likely to see this one noted on Instagram, it’s a good one to have under your belt.
There are a couple ways that you can generate UGC for your profile:
- Use a branded hashtag, include it in your bio, and ask users to tag you when they buy your products/services or have something related to your brand.
- Search the platform for content that’s related to your account.
- Ask users to mention your handle in their Instagram stories or posts.
UGC is shown to gain more engagement on Instagram and can help you to build a rapport around your brand and profile. It generates excitement around your content and also motivates people to tag you and share related content because they also want to be featured.
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TBT is one of the oldest and most prominent traditions of Instagram— when you see the hashtags #TBT, it means Throwback Thursday. This is the perfect time to share flashbacks of when you were younger, your earlier endeavors, or anything about your business in the early days.
Because so many people know about TBT, it’s a great way to engage your audience and also share some fun and lighthearted posts that show earlier times.
This is mainly a hashtag acronym that was created for the fashion industry, but can easily apply to any account depending on how you use it. OOTD means Outfit of the Day, so you can showcase different looks in your Instagram posts.
This works great for niches like fitness, travel and hospitality, business, and pretty much any other account that knows how to creatively implement the hashtag in a way that captures your audience’s attention.
WCW / MCM
These two separate hashtags are used on Instagram to shout out men and women who you think are attractive, who you respect, who you want to highlight on your profile, or anyone else you want to recognize!
WCW: Woman Crush Wednesday
MCM: Man Crush Monday
While it comes from the romantic term “crush,” it’s now widely recognized that this can be used for people who are esteemed. This can be used to feature employees that deserve recognition, outstanding figures in your industry, and just about anyone else! Again, creativity and brand voice is key here.
IGers is one of the most widely-used hashtags on Instagram, and it basically means Instagrammers. This is why it’s become one of the most-used hashtags of all time; it may be best avoided in your hashtag strategy, however.
#IGers has so many posts being uploaded with it, you’re unlikely to actually get any exposure because the hashtag feed is pushing the new posts down so quickly. It’s better to use specific, niche-targeted hashtags so you can get into hashtag feeds that are viewed by a more exclusive and targeted audience.
It can be a fun add, though, every now and then.
IDK is one of the most commonly-used acronyms across all of social media, and it means I Don’t Know. If you see it, you may be able to help expand someone’s knowledge or give them information that they’re seeking, IDK.
It can also show uncertainty, but it’s a bit casual for official brand communication, depending on the rapport you have with your audience.
This acronym is one you probably want to know, because if you see it in your comment section, it’s likely that someone is feeling a bit combative. GTFO means Get the F* Out, and if the “H” is attached at the end, it comes to Get the F* Outta Here.
It’s typically used when someone feels combative or wants to dismiss what someone else has said on the platform, although it may be used in a positive way to highlight disbelief or excitement. Context is key, but keep an eye out for it— you might have to diffuse a situation if you see it on your profile.
Final Thoughts: TBH on Instagram
TBH, we hope this post was useful in better understanding acronyms and lingo on Instagram. Now that you know how to use To Be Honest on Instagram as well as a variety of other words and hashtags, you can further your engagement and growth strategies, giving your brand voice a stronger identity on Instagram!