Instagram Glossary

Every single Instagram Term, Acronym, and Abbreviation

November 14, 2021
Kyra Goodman

Don’t speak Instagram yet? No worries. This Instagram terminology glossary will help you become an expert in social media marketing-speak.

The Basics: Profiles, Hashtags, Comments, DMs & More

If you’re an experienced marketer, you may already know most of these. But let’s just go over some basics for those who may be new to Instagram marketing.

Instagram Profile

An Instagram profile is your account on Instagram. It includes your name, username, profile photo, and your photo gallery.

Instagram profile and username are often used interchangeably. Your username is your identity on Instagram and starts with @. For example, we’re @getskedsocial.

There are three types of Instagram profiles: personal, business, and creator.

A personal account is, as the name suggests, for personal (individual) use.

A business profile is for brands and businesses. It comes with additional business account functionality like adding Call-to-Action buttons, Instagram insights, Instagram advertising, and more.

A creator Instagram account is ideal for influencers and content creators. They usually come with functionality that makes it easier to create and share content and collaborate with other creators or brands.


The bio, located under your username, is Instagram’s version of your about me. Use it to describe your brand or business because it’s usually the first thing people see when they come to your profile. Emojis, short bullet point text is encouraged.

Don’t forget also to add a link in your bio. This could be to your website, but we recommend adding an Instagram link tree like a Sked link if you truly want to optimize this. More on this later.


A comment is a reply or response on your Instagram post from another user. A comment is one way for users to participate on your page actively. Usually, the more comments you have, the more quality engagement you have on your account. Spambots not included!

Direct messages (DMs)

Direct messages or DMs are private messages sent via Instagram’s built-in messaging platform. When people respond to your stories, the responses will also come via your DM. It’s also where people often head when they have a customer support query. DMs are a great way to build trust and engagement with your followers.


A hashtag is any word or phrase that is preceded by the pound symbol (#). The purpose of hashtags is to allow users to find specific content on Instagram quickly. Though initially invented by Chris Messina on Twitter, it’s now used on almost all social networks. You can use as many as 30 hashtags relevant to your industry in one post. Learn how to use hashtags effectively to make your content more visible on Instagram.

Double Tap

Double-tapping content on the Instagram feed adds a little heart to it. It’s simply another way to “like” a post. Invite people to double-tap a photo you posted to encourage them to like it.


The newsfeed is your home screen, where you can view new posts from people you follow. It automatically opens each time you open the app. You can also tap on the house icon on the bottom left corner of the app to access your newsfeed.


Tagging is the act of attaching someone’s username to a post. Simple as that.


Instagram captions are usually a combo of text, numbers, and emojis used to describe photos and appear underneath them. Your caption can be as long as 2,000 characters long and can have up to 30 hashtags.


Followers are the Instagram users who follow your account. These followers can see your posts in their newsfeed. You can see how many people are following you at the top of your Instagram profile.

Think of your followers as your Instagram “friends” or customers. The more followers you have, the larger your audience.


Notifications are alerts that announce a new social media activity, such as likes and comments on your posts, as well as when a user mentions you or when you get new followers.

Alerts are important because they allow you to respond to comments and messages quickly—which increases engagement. You can choose which push notifications you want to receive if you go to your settings and click ‘notifications,’ then turn notifications on and off.

Instagram Stories to Boomerangs: The Content Terms to Know

Next up, we have the Instagram lingo you need to know with regard to creating and consuming content on the platform.

Instagram Posts

A post is any visual content you share and appears in your Instagram grid and your followers’ feeds. This includes but isn’t limited to photos, memes, graphics, and videos.

Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are another content format on the platform. The key distinguishing feature of Stories is that they disappear from your profile after 24 hours (like Snapchat) unless added as a highlight. Stories are located at the top of the newsfeed.

IG Stories are a great tool that businesses can use to grow relationships with followers. It’s especially great for sharing behind-the-scenes photos or live videos, polls, and reactions to develop a rapport with followers.


IGTV is a video feature on Instagram that allows you to upload videos up to 15 minutes long or up to an hour for accounts with more followers. Stories allow 15-second videos, while Reels and the newsfeed allow one-minute videos. So if you have a long video, it needs to be in IGTV format.

Instagram Reels

Instagram Reels are short (15, 30, or 60 seconds) video clips. Reels are the TikTok of Instagram. They’re a fun, engaging way to create video content with music, text, stickers, voiceovers, and other special effects.

Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a way for you to host live streams for your followers. They can watch you and interact with you in real-time. When you go live, it appears at the top of your followers' Instagram feeds (where Stories appear) with a play icon.

User-generated content (UGC)

User-Generated Content (UGC) is any content created by your fans/ user base. It can refer to videos, pictures, blog posts, testimonials, and everything in between. This could be a customer who posts pictures of themselves using your product or service. UGC is great for a brand because it’s a way to get endorsed by your customers—turned brand ambassadors. Get permission from the content owners to repost it for increased brand visibility and to earn trust from potential customers.


Boomerangs are short videos that play continually, like a video version of GIFs. They’re fun and straightforward to create and usually more engaging than a photo alone. , Boomerang is available within Instagram Stories or via a separate video app created by Instagram.

An Instagram carousel is a newsfeed content format with multiple photos or videos that users can view by swiping left. You can add up to 10 images or videos and share them as a single post on the feed. People can like, comment, and share your carousel post, just like any other. It can be an especially great tool for storytelling or sharing educational content.


Reposting on Instagram is the act of posting a photo from another Instagrammer’s account. Currently, there’s no option to repost to your feed directly on Instagram. You can however repost posts to your Instagram Stories.

To repost content on your feed, you have to do it manually by taking a screenshot of the post. Another option is to use a third-party repost Instagram app.


Geotagging is when you tag a location on a post. The tagged location will show up under your account name. Geotagging posts is another good way of helping people find them. Tagging the right location for your posts can be useful for extending your reach as a business.

You’ve probably seen posts with “See link in bio“ in their captions. The “link in bio” is the clickable URL that appears in your Instagram profile description. Marketers often use the link in bio to:

  • Promote products/services
  • Announce a new product launch
  • Promote an event
  • Offer special discounts and offerings for Instagram users
  • Provide information on their most important products
  • Send traffic to the company website, podcast, or YouTube channel
  • Direct users to a video or blog post with unique content.

Since Instagram only allows one clickable link in the bio, most marketers will use a tool that allows them to create a link tree. We recommend Sked Link, of course. It’s the one link to rule them all. Sked Link enables you to add buttons, add links to your Instagram gallery posts, and easily create shoppable links.

Saved posts

As you browse your newsfeed, you may come across a post that could come in handy in the future, such as a shopping idea, a tutorial, a recipe, etc. You can save the post on Insta and come back to it later. To save a post, tap the banner icon at the bottom right, just above the caption. The post will be saved in your Instagram library, not your phone library.

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Common Instagram Terms to Know for Social Media Marketing

These are the Instagram marketing 101 terms you must know.

The Instagram algorithm

The Instagram algorithm decides which content gets seen whenever a user opens the app. It decides:

  • Which content will appear at the top of the newsfeed, and in what order
  • Which posts will be featured on the Explore tab
  • In what order Stories, Live videos, Reels, and IGTV videos show up in the feed and their respective tabs.

Every time you take an action on Instagram, such as post, like, comment, save, share, etc, the algorithm records it and uses the information to customize your feed. Learn more about the algorithm and optimization strategies here.

Target audience

The target audience is the users you want to attract, follow your account, and ultimately convert into customers. A good audience has common interests in the topics you share. Knowing your target audience allows you to create content that’s interesting and suitable for them.

A trending topic is a subject or event that has a sudden surge in popularity on social media. In some cases, it may even be a particular content format that is trending.

Hopping on Instagram trends is an excellent way for brands to stay relevant and create similar trending content that appeals to their audience.


Engagement refers to how people interact with each other on Instagram. Some of the ways people interact include replying to comments and doing an Instagram live Q&A. As a brand, engagement is a crucial metric for success, and you want to increase the rate at which users engage with your Instagram account.

Calculating engagement rates can be a matter of debate. Some marketers measure the engagement rate on their Instagram posts by the number of followers. While others believe measuring based on the number of impressions is a better method. A good engagement rate indicates a strong relationship between you and your followers.


Impressions are the total number of times your post has been viewed. One user can view a post multiple times. Each of these times is calculated as a new impression. So here, we’re not just referring to the number of people who view your post but the total number of times these people view it.


Reach refers to the metric that measures the number of unique users who view your content. Instagram reach is often represented in percentages, and this is known as the Reach Rate. It’s calculated by dividing the number of people who have seen your content by the number of followers your account has.

There are two ways you can get reach; organic and paid. Organic reach refers to the people who find your content organically, i.e., without any intervention from advertising dollars. On the other hand, paid reach refers to the people who discovered your account through a specific advertising campaign.

Scheduling and auto-posting content

Scheduling and auto-posting your Instagram content refer to planning the content and scheduling it into a tool to publish at a set time automatically. You can use a tool like Sked Social to schedule your content in advance and untether yourself from your phone. Scheduling and auto-posting can save you time and effort and help you build more followers through consistent and timely posting.

Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights is Instagram’s built-in reporting tool allowing you to monitor key metrics about your creator or business profile. It breaks down the data and will enable you to see the age and gender breakdown of your followers and the reach of each post.

While Insights is great, to get even better insights into the metrics of your Instagram account, consider using a more advanced analytics tool. It will help you look deeper into the account and see where your posts are going, how people are discovering them, and even details such as the time of the day when most people interact with your content. These insights can help make your Instagram marketing strategy more focused.

Influencer marketing

An influencer is someone who has influence over their audience on social media, and in this case, Instagram. They produce highly engaging, organic content, often for pretty large audiences. They usually have expertise (or at least an established interest) in a particular domain such as fashion, travel, food, finance, business, fitness, etc. They are also likely to have over 10,000 followers, although micro-influencers with fewer but more engaged followers are gaining in popularity as well.

Instagram influencer marketing is a form of marketing where brands partner with influencers who promote their products or services on Instagram. When influencers mention or endorse the products or services, they generate buzz and awareness about the brand they’ve partnered with. Given the influencer’s authority, social following, and expertise, they can add social proof to your campaign.


Collaborations (or collabs) is a common Insta term now. It’s where you collaborate with a brand, business, or influencer in a joint campaign or partnership for mutual benefits. Collaboration is great because it can lead to new innovations, new processes, better content, growth, and new relationships. Collaborative marketing is similar to influencer marketing but isn’t limited to influencers alone. Anyone can collaborate with anyone on Instagram. It’s the perfect way to try out new ideas while reaching a new audience.

Instagram advertising

Instagram advertising involves running paid ads, also referred to as sponsored content on the social media platform. Ads allow you to reach a larger and more targeted audience. Using Instagram advertising can also grow brand exposure and website traffic, generate new leads and convert current leads into paying customers.

When it comes to Instagram advertising, there are some essential terms that you need to understand:

  • Sponsored Ads: These are ads that might look like a typical post at first glance, but they have the “Sponsored” mark. They show up in users’ news feeds just like any other post.
  • Paid Reach/Impressions: Paid reach, as earlier mentioned, refers to user views you received through a sponsored or paid post.
  • Conversions: This refers to your ad’s ability to convince your leads to take action. For example, click a link, and convert on your website or within your app.
  • App Installs: This is when people click on your ad and install your app.

If you’ve ever used Instagram (lols, of course, you have!), you know that acronyms and abbreviations abound on Instagram. It would take us forever to make a list of all of them, and by the time we finished, Instagram users will have come up with several new ones.

Anyway, here are a few of the most popular acronyms you’re likely to come across on your Instagram adventures:

AFAIK: As Far As I Know

AMA: Ask Me Anything

BAE: Before Anyone Else

FTW: For The Win

HMU: Hit Me Up

ICYMI: In Case You Missed It

IDC: I Don’t Care

IDK: I Don’t Know

IKR: I Know Right?

ILY: I Love You

IMO/IMHO: In My Opinion or In My Humble Opinion

JK: Just Kidding

NGL: Not Gonna Lie

NSFW: Not Suitable For Work

TBT: Throw Back Thursday (related: FBF aka Flash Back Friday)

TFW: That Feeling When

Pro tip: If you’re ever unsure how to use an acronym contextually, simply search for the abbreviation on Urban Dictionary. There are usually great explanations for each term (some NSFW) and in-context examples too.

Over To You

If all of this Instagram terminology is new to you, don’t let it overwhelm you. You don’t have to learn all the lingo today. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that.

Feel free to bookmark this post so you can easily refer to it.

By the way, if you’re looking for a tool to make planning, scheduling, and managing your Instagram content easier—Sked Social is the social media sidekick you’ve been waiting for!

Sign up for a free 7-day trial to see how Sked can help you turbocharge your Instagram marketing efforts.


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