How To Do Instagram Hashtag Research To Grow Your Tribe


For all of you who are new, my name is Brandi. I’m a Facebook and Instagram ads strategist. While I enjoy doing all the paid marketing, I was super excited to chat with Shannon McKinstry, a social media manager and coach, who is just amazing with organic marketing. I’m sharing with you today, what I learned from our conversation about how to do Instagram hashtag research to grow your tribe.


Not into videos? No problem! I broke the whole process down for you in this blog post, but to catch all the details make sure to watch.

How To Do Instagram Hashtag Research To Grow Your Tribe


Doing The Research

The first step is to come up with at least 10 categories that fit you and your business. So, for example; women in business, mom hashtags, home office, home town, anything that you relate with.  

Next, find an influencer that has things in common with one of your categories and see what hashtags they are using. Start big and work your way through to the smaller ones until you find a niche one. If the hashtags are too big, over 500,000 posts, find a photo that you connect with and continue searching. Remember to check in the comments also, because a lot of users hide their hashtags in there.

Once you find a hashtag that has under 500,000 posts, copy and paste it into your notes and repeat the process. This is why you should do your research from a computer, so you can easily copy and paste without worrying if you typed it correctly. Shannon recommends having your list broken up into 20-30 niche hashtags per group.

If you find someone that you feel captures everything you are about or their brand matches yours, you can absolutely copy and paste all the hashtags they use. It is not considered stealing, I checked. 😊


Investing In Your Hashtags

Okay, so once you have 20-30 niche hashtags, it is time to really engage with them and make them work for you. By spending just five minutes really engaging with a couple of profiles you find, could change your whole business.

Start by searching for the most recent posts within that hashtag, then like, comment, follow on someone you have a connection with. You just might become great friends.

Shannon really loves the niche hashtags that are under 20,000 posts and that people work to keep them that way. This means you have found a legit community of like-minded people, who care about connecting with others.

If the niche hashtag you find starts to get too big or brings in spam, just get rid of it.

Do NOT forget about your local businesses. I’m sure you like to support other local business owners and there is no better way to grow your Instagram business account than by starting to with local hashtags.

Some Last Minute Tips

You have probably seen people put hashtags in the comments instead of just the caption and wondered if you should be doing that also. It does not matter. Usually, it is because they don’t all fit in the caption. Putting them in the comments doesn’t make your post do any better.

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags, but Shannon has found that sticking to around 20 does really well.

Mix it up every day. Don’t keep using the same hashtags for every post. One, they might not all relate to what you are posting. Two, you might miss an awesome connection.

Thanks for reading today. I hope you are as excited to up your hashtag game as I am!  Until next time, I’m committed to helping online service providers and creative entrepreneurs serve, scale and soar into successful online businesses. Thanks so much.




Boutique Social DC

Shannon is a social media manager, coach, and strategist for her company, Boutique Social DC. She is passionate about helping small businesses and growing communities around their brands through authentic social media strategies. When she’s not helping small biz owners kick butt on social media, Shannon is most likely exploring local coffee shops, happy hour-ing it up with friends, getting zen at yoga, getting her church worship on, or having spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen with her husband, daughter, and dog, Tux.