The Instagram Hashtags Your Target Audience Are Using

Secret Hack To Find The Instagram Hashtags That Your Target Audience Are Using

Instagram Hashtags

Do you want to learn a secret hack to finding instagram hashtags to use for your business? But, not just any hashtags…the ones that your target audience are actually engaging with? If you answered yes, then this post is definitely for you!

But first, finding the right hashtags to use can feel a little bit frustrating at times can’t it?

I know all to well how daunting this task can feel. Each time I get a new freelance client, it’s my job to deep dive into this task again and I have to really get to know each customer base and find out where they’re hanging out and what hashtags they are engaging with.

Honestly though, I actually find that the hardest part about hashtag research for Instagram is just getting started! Once you’ve got this bit out of the way, the rest can be so easy.

Especially if you use the hack I’m about to share with you. If you’re new to hashtags, I’ll give you a quick ‘intro’ to them. If you’re familiar with them, you can skip over this next section.

What are hashtags?

Consider Instagram hashtags your ‘gateway’ to your audience. Hashtags are basically SEO for Instagram. They’re what categorise your posts and they’re what people use to ‘search’ for what they are looking for.

There is also another really special element to hashtags. They are a great tool for building communities! It’s in these little communities that you’ll find your engaged audience!

In fact, hashtags, if used correctly, can literally catapult your posts and place them in front of THOUSANDS and even MILLIONS of your target audience. So, if you haven’t got a hashtag strategy yet, it’s so worth building one.

Ok, now we’ve covered that base, lets dive right into the ‘how’. Are you ready for my 5 step secret hack for;

Finding Instagram Hashtags Your Target Audience Are Using

Step 1 – Start broad

First we are going to write down words that describe your brand and Instagram page. So, what do you sell or offer? Who are you? Basically, what do you SHARE on Instagram?

For example, if you sell jewellery, write down some keywords about what you stock. Are your products homemade? Are they silver? Etc etc. If you are an influencer, what is your niche? What topics do you talk about? If you are a freelancer, what do you offer and what sets you apart?

Next you’re going to write down words that describe your target audience. For example, are they parents? Do they live in a certain area? Do they have lifestyle traits that are notable?

Whatever words you write down are going to become your keywords for ‘finding’ hashtags.

Secret Hack To Find The Instagram Hashtags That Your Target Audience Are Using

Let’s use the healthy snacks brand Nakd as an example. First, I’d start out by writing down words that describe their business, industry or product, like:

  • #healthysnacks
  • #glutenfree
  • #dairyfree

Next, I’d write down words that describe their ideal customer. The people that eat Nakd bars are probably health and allergen conscious.

Hashtags such as #glutenfreelife, #eatforhealth and #wellnessjourney would expose their posts to people that hold the same value system.

See where I’m going with this? Right, when you’ve done that. Lets hop onto step 2.

Step 2 – Start typing in one of those keywords into the Instagram search bar.

So, for example, say you run a ‘kids home decor’ company and you make your own products. You might want to start by typing in #kidsdecor on Instagram. If you are a freelancer, perhaps you want to put in keywords for your industry e.g. #weddingphotographer and if you are an influencer, you might want to try typing in your niche such as #parentblogger.

Secret Hack To Find The Instagram Hashtags That Your Target Audience Are Using

I will just say now, these ‘broad’ hashtags probably aren’t going to make it onto your ‘to use’ list – I’ll explain more as to why a bit later on.

Onto the next step…

Step 3 – Follow the hashtag!

Did you know that Instagram now gives you the option to follow hashtags? When you follow a hashtag, the photos that get attached to that hashtag end up in your news feed, just the same as when you ‘follow’ a person.

Secret Hack To Find The Instagram Hashtags That Your Target Audience Are Using

So, as soon as you hit follow, you will notice lots of other ‘related hashtags’ suddenly pop up. This won’t work for ‘all’ the hashtags that you type in, but it will for most, so you just need to experiment.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to continue following the hashtag (or you can if you want to), you can click ‘unfollow’ in just a second, we just need to follow it for this part of the hack.

It’s time for…

Step 4 – look at these related hashtags  and start noting them down.

You especially want to be looking for the hashtags that have only been used between 10,000 and 500,000 times. Anything above that, you really want to ignore. 

That takes me back to my previous comment when I said  you probably won’t end up using those initial ‘broad’ hashtags.

Secret Hack To Find The Instagram Hashtags That Your Target Audience Are Using

Why? These hashtags are used SO many times a day, that your photo will likely disappear in the feed in moments after posting to it. You really want to focus on using the hashtags where your photo stays around for as long as possible. That way your target audience has a good chance to see it and interact with it.

Step 5 – the final stage.

By now you should officially have a bunch of very ‘niched down’ instagram hashtags, yay!

Now it’s time to go through them all.

I know by this point you’re probably thinking ‘ahh I have my hashtags, please Chloe can I just store them and use them!’ But, I’m going to have to say ‘not yet’. Honestly, this next part is the most important part of all.

You now need to look at who is posting on those hashtags! Are they your target audience? Are they your competition? Or, are they randoms just ‘spamming’ the hashtag? 

Which should you use?

Ok, firstly you definitely want to avoid the hashtags that are just being spammed. But, you might want to consider using a mixture of hashtags that both your target audience AND your competition are using, just so you cover all the bases.

For example, say your target audience is a parent who loves to share her style. She might use a hashtag such as #outfitoftheday or #womensfashion to ‘shop’ for clothes. But, for a sense of ‘community’ she might be hanging out on a hashtag such as ‘#whatmamaworemonday’.

Secret Hack To Find The Instagram Hashtags That Your Target Audience Are Using

Using both sets of these hashtags means that you’ll show up in front of  her not only when she’s ‘shopping’, but also when she isn’t purposefully looking to buy. The latter is a great marketing trick for putting you at the forefront of someones minds, so that you’re the first thought for when they do come to buy!

Does that make sense?

Now, it’s time to repeat this process for all your topics. I know it takes time, but I promise, you’ve got this!

Remember, you can use up to 30 instagram hashtags per post so try and find as many ‘niched’ hashtags as you can.

Once you have chosen all your hashtags, all you need to do is store them somewhere! I tend to store mine in in the notes section of my phone. That way, when it comes to posting, all I need to do is ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ the group that I need. You can also use these hashtags in your Instagram stories! Find out more about that in my post; ‘4 Tricks To Get More Engagement On Your Instagram Stories‘.

So, there you have it. The secret hack to finding Instagram hashtags that your target audience are using!

Secret Hack To Finding The Instagram Hashtags Your Target Audience Are Using

Are you going to try this hack?

I know this takes a while and might seem a little bit overwhelming. But, honestly, it really pays off and wouldn’t you rather carve out a few hours now to focus on getting your Instagram strategy perfected, KNOWING it’s going to benefit you and sky rocket your growth and sales? 

To me, that sounds so much better than the alternative; throwing spaghetti at the wall, hoping that something sticks.

Pop me a comment below if you loved this post and if you are going to try this!

P.s. If you found this post helpful, I’d be so grateful if you’d pin it on Pinterest for other people to find too!


  1. Sewing with Sofia says:

    Love this, Chloe! Super useful, I’ll definitely be taking the time to find my hashtags 🙂

  2. I’ve found this so useful Chloe – thank you.
    Jess x

  3. Pia Gill says:

    Thank you SO SO much. This was possibly the best hashtag advice to date. And I’ve read lots! This was so clear and easy to follow and I look forward to getting an actual strategy in place now! I’ve been throwing spaghetti at the wall for far too long with zero understanding. So thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. xxxx

    • Chloe Ciliberto says:

      Pia this is so lovely to hear! I completely understand what it’s like to throw spaghetti at the wall, I’ve been there too! I am so glad this strategy has been so impactful for you. xxxx

  4. Emma says:

    This is such a useful post! Something that I will definitely be finding the time to do, thank you Chloe 😊

  5. Erin says:

    Thank you so much for this breakdown – it makes it so simple to do! I’m going to give it a go first thing tomorrow 😃

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