Instagram For Business For Dummies Cheat Sheet - dummies
Cheat Sheet

Instagram For Business For Dummies Cheat Sheet

From Instagram For Business For Dummies

By Jennifer Herman, Eric Butow, Corey Walker

Before you start using Instagram to promote your business, you may want to learn the lingo that Instagrammers use. Instagram doesn’t like accounts that act spammy or over-engage in certain behaviors, so you need to become familiar with a number of restrictions as well as the appropriate image or video size to showcase your products and services. When you follow other Instagram profiles, you can share posts and even entire profiles in a direct message to another Instagram user.

Mastering Instagram Lingo

Getting familiar with Instagram is a whole lot easier when you understand the language. A few funny phrases or words may confuse you at first. This list of common Instagram terms will have you sounding like a pro in no time!

  • App: Short for software application. The Instagram app is downloaded to a mobile device to provide access.
  • Archive: A feature you can use to hide but not delete an Instagram post. Tap the three-dot button on any of your posts to access the Archive option. Review and revive archived posts by tapping the clock icon at the top of your profile screen.
  • DM: Short for direct message, a DM is a private messaging function in Instagram.
  • Explore: The search function on Instagram. You access the Explore tab by tapping the magnifying glass in the bottom navigation toolbar.
  • Feed: The collection of current posts shared by those you follow, designated by the house icon on the bottom navigation panel. It may also be referred to as the home feed.
  • Filter: An editing feature that you can apply to your post to enhance features and colors.
  • Followers: The people who follow an Instagram user.
  • Following: The people whom an Instagram user follows.
  • Frame: A border added to an image. Certain filters, from the original Instagram set of filters, enable you to add a border. When selecting a filter, tapping it a second time opens the intensity slider; if a frame is available, a square frame icon appears to the right of the slider.
  • Gallery: The collection of posts on an Instagram user’s profile. Also the tab in the camera feature where images from your phone’s camera roll are located.
  • Geo-tag: A location tag that allows a post to appear on a map that users can search.
  • Hashtag: The # symbol placed in front of a key word or phrase that is used to categorize the post. Hashtags are searchable on Instagram.
  • Home: The screen denoted by the house icon in the bottom navigation pane that shows the posts of everyone whom you are following. Also referred to as the feed.
  • Instagrammers: Instagram users. A collective term used to refer to people who use Instagram.
  • Instameet: A gathering or meeting of Instagrammers specifically facilitated to take Instagram photos.
  • Latergram: Something shared to Instagram after the image was taken. This is an older term that is less relevant now that Instagram is commonly used to share content taken from various sources and over periods of time rather than in real time.
  • Like: The measure of appreciation of a post is documented in the number of likes it receives. A like is represented by a heart icon. You can like a post by double-tapping the image or tapping the heart icon below the image.
  • Mention: When an account mentions another account on Instagram, it uses the @ symbol along with the username of the account to hyperlink to that account. This can be done in post captions or comments.
  • Notifications: When someone interacts with your content or profile, you receive a notification to alert you to that activity. A red pop-up screen appears at the bottom of your Instagram account when you log in, showing how many and what type of notifications you’ve received.
  • Post: Any visual content uploaded to Instagram.
  • Profile: Your account information, consisting of your name, username, profile photo, bio description, and gallery. You can view the profile of any Instagram account by tapping the account’s profile photo in the feed. You can view your own profile by tapping your own profile photo in the bottom navigation toolbar.
  • Stories: Short-form content (photos or videos) that remains on a user’s profile for only 24 hours. The content is uploaded via the Story platform (swipe right from the home feed screen) or by tapping on your image with the + symbol in the top banner of the home feed. Your current Stories and the Stories created by those you follow appear in circles across the top banner of the home feed.
  • Tag: A tag on Instagram includes the tagged account’s username on the original post. An account should be tagged only if it is included in the post content, such as a person in the image, a location where the photo was taken, or a product from a brand shown in the photo. When uploading a post to Instagram, you can tag another user in the post by choosing the Tag People option and selecting the account to tag. A post that includes tagged accounts will include a notification on your post that accounts are referenced; tapping the photo will display the tagged accounts. The tagged accounts will also receive a notification.
  • Username: The name an account uses on Instagram to define its profile address. The Instagram URL for any user is All comments, engagement, and profile interactions are documented as being conducted by the account’s username (not the name or other profile component). The username is generated with an @ symbol in front when typing the person’s username on Instagram.

Knowing Your Limits on Instagram

For all the fun you can have on Instagram, you need to be aware of a number of restrictions. Instagram doesn’t approve of accounts that act spammy or that overengage in certain behaviors that appear to have motives other than natural interactions.

While you have good intentions and you, or someone in your business, will personally interact with others on Instagram, believe it or not, there are many people out there who don’t. Those people who use automated software to rapidly follow other accounts, comment on posts, or like other account posts are violating Instagram’s terms of use.

The limits outlined here are meant to help reduce that automated activity and ensure more authentic engagement from users on Instagram.

Following is a list of the most common and current restrictions on Instagram:

  • Number of characters you can use in a username: 30
  • Number of characters you can use in your bio: 160
  • Number of characters you can use in a caption: 2200
  • Number of accounts you can follow: 7500
  • Number of accounts that can follow you: unlimited
  • Number of follower posts you can have in your feed: 200
  • Number of posts you can like per hour: 350
  • Number of posts you can share: unlimited
  • Number of recent likes that you can view: 300
  • Number of notifications that can appear in the activity log of the notifications tab: 100
  • Number of hashtags you can include per post: 30

Image and Video Sizes on Instagram

When using Instagram for business, it is important that you use the appropriate image or video size to showcase your products and services. Nothing looks worse than a photo cut off on one side or pixelated. Read on for the current recommended image sizes for Instagram.

Instagram Profile Picture

Remember that your profile picture will be placed in a circle when displayed. You may need to adjust the image if it is square or rectangular.

  • Recommended size: 110 x 110 pixels
  • Maximum size: 180 x 180 pixels
  • Image format: .jpg or .png

Instagram Newsfeed

Single image or carousel

  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1080 pixels (square), 1080 x 566 pixels (landscape), or 1080 x 1320 pixels (portrait)
  • Image format: .jpg or .png
  • Maximum file size: 30 MB


  • Recommended size: 600 x 600 pixels (square) or 600 x 315 pixels (landscape)
  • Aspect ratio: 1:1 (square) or 1.9:1 (rectangle)
  • Minimum resolution: 600 x 600 pixels
  • Maximum resolution: 1080 x 1080 pixels
  • Minimum length: 3 seconds
  • Maximum length: 60 seconds
  • File type: .MP4 or .mov
  • Maximum file size: 4 GB

Instagram Stories

Single image

  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Image format: .jpg or .png


  • Recommended size: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Aspect ratio: 9:16
  • Minimum resolution: 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Minimum length: 3 seconds
  • Maximum length: 15 seconds
  • File type: .MP4 or .mov
  • Maximum file size: 4 GB

If you have an iPhone, you can use the Storeo app (available in the App Store) to combat the 15-second breaks that Instagram Stories uses for video. You can record a longer video in the Storeo app, and then cut the video into 15-second slices to be uploaded to Instagram Stories. The Storeo slices run much more smoothly than recording 15-second videos in Instagram Stories directly.

Sharing Instagram Posts and Profiles Directly

As you follow the Instagram feeds of your business partners and competitors (you are, aren’t you?), you can share a post from a feed in a private, direct message with someone else in your company (say, your sales director) along with your own note. Or if you think a business partner should start following another Instagram user, you can send a link to that user’s profile in a direct message to your partner.

When you find a post you like and want to share, do the following:

  1. Below the photo or video, tap the Direct Message (DM) icon, in the upper-right corner.

    The icon looks like a bifurcated arrow.

  2. In the row of contacts in the Send To box, either swipe left and right (iOS and Windows) or swipe up and down (Android).
  3. Tap or click the profile photos of your recipient(s).

    As you tap or click, a check mark replaces the profile photo (iOS and Windows) or appears to the right of the username (Android).

  4. If you need to search for a recipient:
    1. Tap or click the Search icon and type the username of the recipient in the Search box.

      The usernames that match your search terms appears below the Search box.

    2. Tap the username when you see it below the Search box.

      The selected name has a check mark in the profile photo and the cursor is blinking in the Write a Message box.

  5. If necessary, tap or click in the Write a Message box.
  6. Type your message, and then tap Send.

    The Sent notification appears at the top of the screen for a few seconds. The recipients receive a notification that they have a new direct message.

The message that your recipients see on the Instagram Direct screen contains the post photo, any comment from the poster, and any message you included.

It’s also easy to share profile information directly with one or more recipients so they can decide if they want to follow that user. Here’s how:

  1. In the feed screen, tap the username directly above the photo or video.
  2. In the user’s profile page, tap the menu icon (three dots) in the upper-right corner of the screen.
  3. Tap or click Share This Profile (iOS or Windows) or Send Profile as Message (Android).
  4. Follow Steps 3 through 6 in the preceding list.
  5. Return to the feed screen by tapping the Home icon in the lower-left corner of the screen.

The message that your recipients see contains the person’s name, profile username, and photo, as well as the six most recent photos or videos in the profile. Any message you sent with the profile link appears below the profile message. The recipient can view the profile on the screen by tapping or clicking the message.