Instagram Glossary - For Beginners and Business Owners

Updated: Apr 28

Technology can be like speaking a whole other language. So we want to help you become fluent in tech talk. This resource will help you understand the terms used on Instagram and easily reference them when needed.


Algorithm - The algorithm is the coding and numbers behind Instagram (and all Social Media Platforms) that dictates the order in which people see posts organically. Essentially its some computer magic that can either help you or hurt you when you post. Knowing the algorithm and the techniques it uses to boost posts is a great way to get more reach on your posts.


Archive - Using your archive is a way to making your old posts or posts you don't want anymore to disappear from your profile but you still have access to them.


Boomerang - A boomerang is a short video that loops and plays backwards and forwards. Just like an actual boomerang it goes and comes back again. You can create small videos that are exciting for your viewers to watch.


Bio - Your Instagram Bio is the information section about you or your business that appears under your username on your profile page. You can also include links to your websites or create a link tree - multiple links under one link.


Caption - A caption is a brief description or story underneath the photo or photos you post. It can include a quote, call to action, story and hashtags.


Double-tap - When you double-tap a post It means you like it. Like you put a thumbs up on a Facebook post it creates a heart which means you like it on Instagram.


Direct Message - A direct message also known as DM's is a private conversation between 2 people or a group of people that cant be seen by anyone else unless they are invited to the chat or group.


Engagement - Engagements are interactions between users on any Social media platform. Typically people measure engagements on the number of people that engage with them or their posts and profile but engagement is also about you as a user engaging with your audience.


Engagement Rate - An engagement rate can work in one of two ways. It is a way of seeing how receptive your audience is to your content overall and is calculated by Your followers divided by the engagements you've had over a certain time period. Or the way I do it is total reach divided by total engagements over a month. It's a really good way of measuring the effectiveness of your content with your viewers.


Exits - An exit is a statistic that will appear in your stories. It means that someone has clicked out of viewing stories after viewing your story.


Filter - A filter is an editing feature that changes the colouring of an image.


Followers - The Number of other users that follow your account.


Follower rate - The number of new users over a certain time frame that follows you.


Geotags - These are when you tag a location on your posts or photo. It means that your post will appear on a separate page for that location that anyone can see.


Highlights - Highlights are Instagram Story Flashback that appears on your profile if you wish. Influencers and Businesses use them to highlight customer reviews, holidays, products and partnerships with other brands. They also hold prime real estate on your profile.


Handle - Your Instagram Handle is just another word for your username. The username you have is specific to you and is how users can find you the easiest.


Hashtags - Hashtags are a word or phrase with a # in front of it. They are considered to be searchable tags and ways for the Instagram Algorithm to categorize your content and who sees it.


Branded Hashtags - A unique hashtag created and used by brands or businesses to promote their content. Could be used by the brand, their strategic partners or customers/clients.


Popular Hashtags - A commonly used hashtags that are used across a wide range of topics, accounts and industries. Eg. #love #instagood #photography #fashion #happy etc


Insights - When you convert your Personal Instagram to a Business, Creator or Professional Account it means you are able to track statistics and numbers revolving around your account. It is a great way to measure success and growth.


Influencer - A person with a large audience or following who produces content with a specific focus. They also are involved in sponsored branded content and promotions.


Influencer Marketing - When people with a large following promote services or products.


Impressions - The total times that your specific post has been viewed. Can be higher or lower than the reach.


Instagram Live - A Live video on Instagram is a video you are streaming the moment you post it. It's a great way to engage with followers, for them to ask questions and get answers really fast. It's a way to build up trust with your viewers and get to know them also through comments.


IG - Abbreviation for Instagram


Insta - Slang term used to abbreviate Instagram


IGTV - Also known as Instagram TV, Instagram users can create and upload videos for up to an hour-long. It is known to be a great way to get new followers and viewers.


Memes - A funny video or graphic


Notifications - Alerts and Messages Instagram sends to you for all sorts of reasons eg. engagements, follows, likes, live and direct messages.


Newsfeed- Your newsfeed is where you find content from the people you follow. It can also include sponsored content that will be related or similar to the people you follow.


Organic Reach - Organic reach is the number of unique users that have seen your content without coming through a paid ad. They could come from a website, searching your username or from a friend but they have found to naturally.


Paid Reach - Paid reach is the number of unique users that have seen your content or account through a Paid Promotion you have been running. This is how Instagram and other Social Media Platforms make money is by guaranteeing more engagement when you pay money.


Polls - Polls are multiple-choice questions you can add into your stories as stickers and you can get live results over the 24 hours it is posted. It's a great way to get insights into your audience.


Saved Posts - Scrolling through Instagram looking at pages similar to yours is a great way to get ideas or just scrolling looking at content on your personal Instagram Saved posts are a way to tag posts you like so you can come back and look at them later. It's the ideal engagement.


Stories - Stories on Instagram have prime real estate and are found at the top of the user's newsfeed. They are posts that last 24 hours and can be graphics, pictures or video. They also have a range of elements you can include in your story that is interactive for your followers.


Scheduling - Organising content for posting so that it automatically posts onto Instagram at a certain time and date.


Tag - A Tag is when you attach someone else's account to a picture. You do this using their unique username. This is commonly used when a photo is taken with friends or in a photo that includes a brand collaboration.


Theme - A theme on Instagram is designing your profile and its posts to the specific colour palette and feeling to create a cohesive brand and personality.



Username - A name or handle someone uses to identify their profile.


User-Generated Content - User-generated content or UGC is content created by the user of your service or product. It is a visual review of your product and can influence others to buy in on the product or service you offer.


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