How to Perfect Your Instagram Hashtag Research

We all love Instagram, right?


I know I do!

For months, I spent hours and hours doing research on how to best use the platform. The end game for most entrepreneurs is to have a cohesive feed, an engaged following, and plenty of visibility!

How to accomplish that?

I'm going to tell you exactly how I shaped my research strategy and organize my hashtags to easily add to my Instagram captions.

When you're searching for Instagram tips on the web, the first bit of advice that you’ve probably come across contains one word: hashtags.


Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags.

They’re amazing.

We get it. It’s easy enough to copy and paste hashtags into your caption or the comment section. However, I found out rather quickly that this method isn’t good enough.

Sure, you’ll get a quick burst of likes, but nothing else. There are still too many people that are using the platform with the “likes for likes” mindset. As entrepreneurs that want to use Instagram to market, this strategy won’t help us in the long run.

Since I started committing to my own Instagram strategy, I became determined to perfect the hashtag strategy. It’s been a few months since I’ve narrowed down my strategies, and I’ve even tested the waters with a few clients.

Algorithms are tough eggs to crack. If you work in its favor, it WILL reward you. I promise!

I’ve been using Instagram for quite some time. One thing I learned to be absolutely true is that using the correct hashtags do work. Not only do they increase your engagement, but they help you discover your ideal audience. I’m going to show you exactly how I organize my hashtags and how I apply them to my Instagram posts.

I’m here to tell you that I researched and found 100 - yes, one hundred! - hashtags that worked for me.

Once you see the breakdown, you’re going to understand why I make a list of 100 hashtags to use. Remember, you can only have 30 on each post, but it’s great to have a variety on file.


The Hashtag Breakdown

When I’m digging for hashtags, here is the criteria that I look for:

  • The hashtag must have less than 500,000 posts

  • The feed should be cohesive and consistent

  • The feed should be active on a daily basis but not overwhelming

Tags that have less than 500,000 are a good place to start because they aren’t terribly oversaturated and spammy. They should be consistent with a pretty cohesive because for one, those are my kind of people, and two, it shows that the tag is very niche. I also check to see how often posts are being shared under each tag. A new up and coming hashtag may only have 3,000 posts but maybe that’s 100 accounts that are adding to it daily. That’s a perfect opportunity to join a new and thriving community!

I also want to share with you the types of hashtags that I find. Combining them into equal ratios has worked well for me, as well as my clients.



Consistency on social media is incredibly important for growing your brand. That’s the stepping stone for building an audience because people will remember you once they start to recognize your brand. Therefore, I look for hashtags that match my brand.



Storytelling and community-building are two factors that I believe turn entrepreneurs into 6-figure business owners.



While networking with your local peers may not be a priority, I find that it’s a huge help. One way to build community is to meet locals for coffee! How do I find them? I use local hashtags in my posts. These are also critical for brick-and-mortar businesses and photographers that want exposure in their local community.



Finally, the target hashtags are where your ideal clients are hanging out. These are the most important for your business. Most hashtags are relatively easy to determine who is using them. I’ll provide some examples to give you context.

  • #SoLovelySoFree - creative entrepreneurs

  • #TheKitchn - food bloggers and food photographers

  • #FemmeTravel - female travel bloggers

While those are some samples of my ideal clients, you can find hashtags for virtually any industry.

We’ve broken down the hashtags and why they’re important. Now let’s answer the big question:


Why do you need to find 100 hashtags?!

I get it, that sounds like a lot. Here is why I do it.

I want to have a variety to choose from. Trends will change on Instagram - that’s guaranteed. To help me stay ahead of the game, it helps me to find those 100 hashtags that work for me and organize them into a spreadsheet.

Within that spreadsheet, I group hashtags together and follow that ratio that I mentioned above. My target hashtags will be the first 15 hashtags. The other 15 will be a combination of brand, community, and location.

My goal here is to achieve some engagement but also to find potential clients as well as connect with people that live close to me. These might not be the same goals that you have, and that’s okay! Think about it, and strategize the ratio that will work best for you.

I hope you found this quick strategy guide useful. The algorithm is working so well for me now, so it was important for me to pass on the favor! And, if you’d like to read more tips on increasing your Instagram engagement, I found a lot of valuable advice in this article.

Now I want to know, what are your favor hashtags to use on Instagram? Share them below!

Miranda Hassen