The Ultimate Glossary of Instagram Terms

In social media, Instagram stands out as one of the most popular and influential platforms for sharing photos, videos, and stories. 

With over a billion active users in 2023, it’s no wonder Instagram has developed its unique lexicon of terms and phrases. 

Whether you’re an Instagram newbie or a seasoned user, understanding the platform’s language is essential. 

In this comprehensive Instagram glossary, we’ll explore and define the most standard Instagram terms to help you navigate the platform with confidence.

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Navigating Instagram’s World: A Comprehensive Instagram Glossary

Let’s have a look at all the important terms that we associate with Instagram.

1. Instagram Handle

Your Instagram handle, often called your username, is your unique identifier on the platform. The name starts with the “@” symbol and is how users find and tag you in posts, stories, and comments. 

Your handle is essential for building your online identity and making it easy for others to discover and connect with you on Instagram.

2. Profile

Your Instagram profile is your digital home on the platform. It’s where you can express your identity, whether personal or for business. 

The profile includes your profile picture, bio, and your collection of posts. It’s your chance to curate content and create a visually appealing and informative space representing you or your brand.

3. Profile Picture

Your profile picture is a small image that acts as a visual representation of your Instagram account. It is one of the first things that other users see when they visit your profile. 

Many users choose a photo of themselves, their brand logo, or something visually significant that helps others quickly identify them. The profile picture is an integral part of your digital identity.

4. Bio

Your Instagram bio is a concise but impactful introduction to yourself, your brand, or your business. 

It’s located just below your profile picture and allows you to share key information and engage users. 

A well-crafted bio can describe your interests, link to a website, and convey your style or personality. It’s often the first impression that potential followers get of you.


Followers are people who have decided to subscribe to your Instagram updates. They see your posts on their feed and can interact with your content by liking, commenting, or sharing. 

Your followers make up your Instagram community and are interested in the content you produce.

6. Following

The “Following” count on your profile indicates the number of users you have chosen to follow on Instagram. These are the accounts whose posts appear on your feed. 

By following other users, you curate the content you see on your feed and engage with their posts.

7. Feed

Your Instagram feed is the central hub of your Instagram experience. It’s a continuously updated stream of photos and videos from the users you follow. 

Scrolling through your feed is how you stay updated with the latest posts and engage with the content shared by those you follow. It’s the heart of your daily Instagram interactions.

8. Posts

Posts are the lifeblood of your Instagram profile. These are the photos and videos you share on your account. 

You can customize posts with captions, hashtags, and location tags to make them more engaging and discoverable to your audience. 

Posts can range from personal moments and artistic expressions to promotional content for your brand.

9. Caption

A caption is the text you include alongside your photo or video posts. It’s your opportunity to provide context, share a story, convey emotions, or engage your audience. 

Captions often enhance the visual content, giving it a deeper meaning and allowing you to connect with your followers on a more personal level.

10. Hashtag

Hashtags are keywords preceded by the “#” symbol used to categorize and discover content on Instagram. 

By adding relevant & trendy hashtags to your posts, you can make your Instagram content more visible to users interested in specific topics. 

Hashtags are an essential tool for increasing the discoverability of your posts. You can even use hashtag feeds using hashtag aggregator by Tagembed to reuse into the marketing campaign.

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11. Explore Page

The Explore Page is an Instagram feature that suggests posts, accounts, and content you might find interesting. 

It’s based on your previous interactions, the accounts you follow, and the content you engage with. 

The Explore Page is a valuable tool for discovering new and diverse content on the platform.

12. Like

The heart-shaped “Like” icon on Instagram allows users to express their appreciation for a post. 

When you like a post, the user who shared it receives a notification of your action, and the post may appear in your “Liked” tab for easy reference.

13. Comment

Instagram’s commenting feature allows users to interact with the content creator and other users by sharing thoughts, opinions, or feedback on a post. 

Comments create a space for conversations and engagement within the Instagram community, fostering connections and discussions.

14. Direct Message (DM)

Direct Messages, commonly called DMs, are a private messaging feature on Instagram. You can use DMs to have one-on-one or group conversations with other users. 

This feature is essential for private and personal communication on the platform.

15. Stories

Instagram Stories are short-lived posts that automatically disappear after 24 hours. 

Users can share photos and videos as part of their Stories, often including stickers, music, polls, and interactive elements. 

Stories provide a more casual and spontaneous way to share content on Instagram.

16. Instagram Broadcast Channel

Instagram broadcast channels are a recent addition to the platform, enabling creators to send direct messages to their followers in a one-to-many format. 

It’s similar to a mass WhatsApp group text, but recipients can’t respond. This feature is available to anyone with a Creator account on Instagram, allowing them to initiate and manage group chats with their followers.

17. Reels

Instagram Reels is a feature for creating and sharing short, entertaining videos set to music. 

Similar to the format popularized by TikTok, Reels is a platform for creative expression and viral content.

18. IGTV

IGTV, or Instagram TV, was a separate app by Instagram that allows users to upload and watch long-form video content on Instagram. 

Earlier IGTV was differentiated as creators were able to post content beyond the traditional short video format (Reels).

However, IGTV has been changed into Instagram videos, which appear in the same section as Instagram reels. The only difference is that the short duration videos are called reels and long duration videos are Instagram Videos which can be discovered into the users reels section.

19. Highlight

Highlights are a way to organize and feature your Stories on your Instagram profile. 

They allow you to keep specific Stories accessible beyond the 24-hour limit, creating a curated collection of content that represents your brand or interests.

20. Tag

Tagging is mentioning or identifying other users in your posts or Stories. It’s a way to give credit, show appreciation, or direct attention to other users on the platform. 

Tagging is often used in collaboration and content sharing.

21. Location Tag

Adding a location tag to your post is a way to share the specific location where the photo or video was taken. 

It’s a valuable tool for providing context to your content and increasing discoverability for users searching for posts from a particular place.

22. Instagram Live

Instagram Live is a brilliant feature that enables Instagram users to broadcast live video streams to their audience in real-time. 

It allows direct interaction, comments, and viewer engagement during the live broadcast.

23. Shadowban

A shadowban occurs when Instagram restricts the visibility of your posts without your knowledge. 

It can happen due to community guidelines violations, engagement with suspicious activities, or using prohibited practices to increase your reach.

24. Follower Count

Your follower count indicates the number of users subscribed to your Instagram account. 

This metric represents the size of your Instagram community and can be an essential measure of your influence on the platform.

25. Verification Badge

The blue checkmark, or verification badge, is a symbol that appears next to the Instagram handle of accounts that are considered authentic and belong to public figures, celebrities, or well-known brands. 

It helps users identify legitimate accounts and prevent impersonation.

26. Geotagging

Geotagging involves adding a specific location to your posts to share where the photo or video was taken. 

This feature adds context to your content, allows you to highlight your location, and helps users find posts related to a particular place.

27. Carousel Post 

A carousel post is an Instagram post that allows you to share more than one image or video within a single post. 

Users can swipe through the carousel to view all the content, making it an engaging way to tell a story or showcase a series of related images.

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28. Caption Hashtags

Incorporating hashtags into your captions is a popular strategy to increase the discoverability of your posts. 

Including relevant Instagram hashtags within your captions, you help your content reach a broader audience interested in those specific topics.

29. IG Algorithm

The Instagram algorithm is a sophisticated system that determines the content shown on your feed and Explore Page. 

It considers your interactions, the accounts you follow, and your engagement patterns to personalize your Instagram experience.

30. Instagram Notes

Instagram Notes are brief status updates, combining text and emojis, that display above your profile photo in the Chats or Messages section of the app. These notes have a lifespan of 24 hours or until you remove or update them.

31. Carousel Ad

A carousel ad is an advertising format on Instagram that lets businesses create posts with multiple images or videos. 

These ads can tell a story, showcase a range of products, or create engaging and interactive ad campaigns.

32. Instagram Shop

Instagram Shop is a feature that allows users to discover and purchase products directly through the Instagram app

Businesses can set up their digital storefronts, making it convenient for users to shop for products they discover on the platform.

33. Story Highlight Covers

Story Highlight covers are customized icons that represent and organize your Story Highlights on your profile. 

These covers help you visually group and present your archived Stories in an appealing and organized manner.

34. CTA (Call to Action)

A Call to Action is a prompt, often included in captions or Stories, encouraging users to take a specific action. 

It can range from visiting a website, making a purchase, or following an account, and it helps drive user engagement and conversions.

35. Insights

Instagram Insights is a set of data and analytics tools for businesses and content creators. 

It offers valuable information about your audience, the performance of your posts, and other key metrics that help you refine your Instagram strategy.

36. Shoutout

A shoutout is a form of recognition and promotion where you mention or highlight another user or brand in your post or Story. 

Shoutouts are often used as a gesture of appreciation or collaboration between Instagram accounts.

37. Explore Page Algorithm

The Explore Page algorithm is responsible for selecting and displaying content on the Explore Page based on user preferences, engagement, and trends. 

It’s constantly evolving to deliver the most relevant and engaging content to users.

38. IG Stories Poll

An Instagram Stories Poll is an interactive sticker you can add to your Stories. It allows you to ask questions and gather responses from your audience, creating an engaging and interactive way to connect with your followers.

39. IG Stories Swipe-Up

The IG Stories Swipe-Up feature allows accounts with over 10,000 followers or business accounts to include links in their Stories. 

This tool is brilliant for driving traffic to external websites, products, or additional content.

40. IG Stories Highlights

IG Stories Highlights are archived Stories that you can pin to your profile, giving them a permanent presence. 

You can organize your Highlights by theme, making them easily accessible to viewers and allowing you to showcase the best of your previous Stories.

41. Influencer

An influencer is an Instagram user with a significant following, typically in a specific niche or area of expertise. 

Influencers can influence their audience’s opinions and behaviours, making them valuable partners for brands looking to reach a broader audience.

42. DM Group

A DM Group, or Direct Message Group, is a private group chat within Instagram’s Direct Messages. 

It allows multiple users to have private conversations, making it a useful feature for coordinating with friends, family, or collaborators.

43. SFS (Shoutout for Shoutout)

Shoutout for Shoutout, often abbreviated as SFS, is a mutual promotion method on Instagram. 

Users share each other’s posts or Stories to increase visibility and engagement for both accounts, creating a sense of community and support among users.

44. Insta-preneur

An Insta-preneur leverages Instagram as their primary platform for running a business, making money, or building a brand. 

Many entrepreneurs and content creators have succeeded on Instagram, utilizing the platform’s tools and features to connect with their target audience.

45. FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is an anxious feeling or concern that you might miss interesting or significant content on Instagram. 

It’s the driving force behind many users’ continued engagement with the platform, as they don’t want to miss out on the latest updates or trends.

46. TBT (Throwback Thursday)

TBT, or Throwback Thursday, is a popular hashtag and trend on Instagram that’s commonly used on Thursdays. 

It’s an opportunity to share and reminisce about past moments, often accompanied by photos or stories from the past. 

It’s a fun and nostalgic way to connect with your audience and celebrate your journey.

Wrapping Up!

Understanding these Instagram terms is essential for effective communication and engagement on the platform. 

Whether you’re a casual user, a content creator, or a business looking to establish a strong Instagram presence, mastering this glossary will help you navigate the world of Instagram with ease. 

Stay up-to-date with the latest Instagram trends and features, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming an Instagram pro.

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