A step-by-step guide to finding trending hashtags via Instagram search

A step-by-step guide to finding trending hashtags via Instagram search

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Instagram hashtags are a powerful tool for marketers. The use of relevant hashtags can serve a variety of purposes for your brand. Utilizing trending hashtags can help you attract followers, reach out to target audiences, and increase engagement. Statistics show that Instagram posts that have at least one hashtag receive an average of 12.6% more engagement than posts with no hashtags. It is not just about quantity though; the quality of hashtags can significantly influence their impact. In this guide, we suggest an effective strategy for finding high-quality trending hashtags using Instagram search.

Before we move on to the guide though, it is important to understand the importance of Instagram hashtags for marketing.

Why Instagram hashtags are important

Hashtags are basically Instagram?s sorting mechanism. Hashtags do not hold any importance on Facebook and have little meaning on Twitter. However, on Instagram, they decide your ?to be, or not to be?. This means that hashtags determine the social media reach of your posts and how discoverable your content is. They assign categories to your content, helping it reach a wider audience.

Instagram has over 95 million daily posts. This makes it a challenge for Instagram to view the right content to the most relevant people efficiently. Hashtags make your Instagram pictures more discoverable by people, who are most interested in that content. Hence, they are the most efficient tool for you if you wish to grow your Instagram profile.

Fundamentally, hashtags are used to categorize Instagram photos more efficiently. They link you with your target audience and help your target audience discover you too, which is exactly what you need for a better profile. There are more chances of these users interacting with your post because it contains exactly the content they were looking for.

It is important to understand that you may not always see more interaction just because adding the most popular hashtags on your posts. Millions of users make use of a popular hashtag. This means that you must compete with a high number of others to rank well for that hashtag. It is important to narrow down and be specific with your hashtag topic, as discussed later in this article.

All your Instagram posts can contain a caption and up to 30 hashtags. You need to be smart with your choice of words ? it should not be too less or too much.

Are all trending hashtags good for business?

Some Instagram hashtags are favorites amongst users around the globe. The most popular Instagrammers try to use these on almost all of the Instagram pictures they post because they help them build an audience. For instance, the #likeforlike hashtag is a common way to indicate if a user likes your photo. Likewise, #followback means that if someone follows you, you will follow his/her profile too. Other popular hashtags cover wide subjects, like #makeup, #art, #travel, #fashion, etc. #love is the most popular hashtag on Instagram. Using Instagram search people find hashtags that they can use to increase their engagement.

The use of these popular hashtags allows your posts to appear in the most popular places. However, there are four significant problems with the Instagram search.

Targeting the wrong audience

You may build your audience with hashtags such as #likeforlike or #followback but what would you choose amongst hundreds of active and loyal followers who engage with your posts and thousands of followers who are only interested in a ?like? or ?follow?? It is more useful to build a quality audience who really wants to see your content instead of just increasing your number of followers. For finding the most relevant users, you should make use of the Instagram profile search and Instagram lookup features. These can be used to search people on Instagram online and analyze them. This can help to determine whether specific users should be a part of your target audience or not.

Administrating content can be time-consuming

You might want to reconsider if you really have the time to follow or like everyone who follows or likes you. Because this also means that your feed will be full of content that does not really interest you. Hence you may not gain much from the #followback commitment and end up losing a lot of your precious time.

Difficult to stand out

When you use the most popular hashtags, you are competing for attention with millions of other posts. This means that even your most well-thought-of posts will be drowning in a sea of spam and a mixture of irrelevant content that loosely falls under the broad tag. Some researchers predicted that if you share a post to a tag with 10 million posts, your post appears in the feed for around three minutes only before losing its position in the top nine posts.

Making use of inappropriate and irrelevant hashtags

Instagram users have the option of blocking particular content that appears on their feed because of the hashtags they follow. Therefore, if your tags are not relevant to your content, users are more likely to flag your content; when this happens often, Instagram may consider you a spammer.

How to know which trending hashtags are relevant?

Success with hashtags come when you maintain a strategic approach towards their usage. Even though the popular Instagram hashtags, like #love, #dog, or #happy have been used in millions and millions of posts, their usage doesn?t guarantee that your post will get a lot of comments and likes.

So, instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it is advised to add those top Instagram hashtags which have an active community behind them and are relevant to your industry and target audience.

Now, how to find such creative, attractive, and community-relevant hashtags? The most efficient way is to see what Instagram hashtags are being used by your competitors, industry leaders, and target users. Remember, the narrower the scope of your hashtag, the more engaged your audience is. Once you start researching, you will be surprised by how typical hashtags can get.

For instance, imagine you have to post a picture of your French Bulldog. Rather than only using the hashtag #dogstagram (more than 15 million posts), you can also use #squishyfacecrew (more than 1.3 million posts) or #frenchie (more than 5 million posts). This way your post will reach a more targeted audience of users, who actually like French Bulldogs. Hence the engagement on your post will be more targeted and actually helpful in connecting with people having similar interests.

This is how you can determine the best hashtags for your posts:

  1. Understand your audience

As mentioned above, adding random hashtags in your Instagram posts is not going to increase your followers. So first you need to find out what hashtags your audience is using and choose the ones that are most relevant to the content you are posting. For this, you can make use of Instagram user search and Instagram profile search to analyze your audience. Remember, your tags must be relevant and include keywords that your target Instagram users are actually searching for.

  1. Understand your competitors

It is always extremely smart to keep a close look at what your competitors are doing. Similar to how you can search people on Instagram online, you can find the hashtags that your competitors are using. This will help you determine which hashtags mostly improve engagement. Your purpose may not always be to compete on those tags, but you will definitely find out what your potential consumers are talking about. Therefore, you may even discover completely new hashtags to add to your list.

  1. Understand the industry leaders

One of the most helpful ways to find good hashtags for your content is to follow Instagram leaders that influence users having similar interests as your target audience. For the unskilled, social influencers are the people that perform quite well on social media platforms. You can make use of the Instagram user search feature for finding these influencers and industry leaders.

There are respective key influencers in each industry. You need to find who these people are in your industry and learn from their success path. Since these leaders are already strongly-connected with your target audience, you can only learn good things from their experience.

  1. Make use of related hashtags

Another easy and effective way of growing your community is to find trends that are related to your own hashtag. All you have to do is type your hashtag in the Instagram search bar as shown in the guide below.

You may additionally search for Instagram photos containing the hashtag that is already proving to be helpful for you. To find other trending hashtags being used with the one that you are using, you can use the Instagram lookup.

Instagram Search for Trending Hashtags

There are two methods for using the Instagram Search for finding the best trending hashtags for your brand to use. We explain these methods of the Instagram search in detail below.

  1. Instagram search results:

A very helpful feature on Instagram is that you can search for hashtags related to a phrase. If you enter a phrase or a word in the Instagram search box, you can switch to the Tags tab on the top to view the list of related hashtags. For instance, the owner of a trip advising company can search for ?vacation locations? and find the related hashtags using Instagram Search. This will enable the owner to analyze what places do people like to visit when they go on vacation.

Within the same search, Instagram will show the number of posts just below the hashtag. You can use the hashtags and the number of posts to find out what hashtags are ?trending?. Hashtags with a high number of posts are likely to be trending and popular so you can pick the first 5 or first 10 hashtags based on relevance and number of posts.

Hashtags that are unpopular and infrequently used should be avoided since very few people are interested in such hashtags. However, having said that, it is also important to note that there can be certain hashtags that are popular in a specific niche community but have few posts overall. Therefore, you need to consider not just the frequency but the audience using the hashtag before picking trending hashtags as well.

  1. Related hashtags:

You can also find related hashtags using the Instagram search. Search for a keyword or hashtag that you want to find related hashtags and then move to the Tags tab on the top. From the list of hashtags, just tap (or click) on the hashtag that you want to find related hashtags for. Instagram will suggest all related hashtags on the top of the interface.

For example, if you want to find related hashtags to ?Maldives? then you can search for ?Maldives? and then tap on the ?#Maldives? under the Tags tab to see the related hashtag suggestions. From within the same feature, you can explore the popularity and frequency of use of the related hashtag.

This is an effective tip on how to search on Instagram because on some occasions Instagram does not show all relevant hashtags with the simple Instagram search (as in step 1) and therefore, exploring related hashtags can help you find suitable trending hashtags.

Mentionlytics for Finding Trending Hashtags

Mentionlytics is a social media monitoring app that automates the process of finding trending hashtags and categorizing them for you. The efficiency and effectiveness of the tool are what makes the use of Mentionlytics the most successful strategy for finding high-quality trending hashtags. Rather than using the Instagram search, people such as influencers and marketing managers can make use of Mentionlytics.

A step-by-step guide to finding trending hashtags:

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to search on Instagram for hashtags using Mentionlytics with an example of the country estate booking website, fincas4you. In our example, we will be tracking all trending hashtags related to Ryanair flights for fincas4you.

Image for postAn example of an Instagram post by fincas4you with their strategic use of hashtags

Step 1. Start by selecting the Add Keyword/Tracker option.

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Step 2. Select the option to track Something About my Brand in the next screen.

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Step 3. Add a name for your campaign in the text box that shows up in the next screen. Make use of a useful name such as ?Instagram Search? or ?Trending Hashtags? so that it is easier to remember for future reference.

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Step 4. Now you can add the keyword phrases that you are looking to find trending or related hashtags for. The main keyword is the primary focus of the search, but you can add additional keywords or exclude keywords as well. In our example, we have added the main keyword of #ryanair.

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Step 5. Select Instagram as the Data Source. Additionally, you can specify language or country filters if you wish to target particular geographical regions or languages.

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Step 6. Skip the option for Social Profiles to monitor. This is because we wish to monitor trends across Instagram and therefore should not limit ourselves to a specific social profile or network.

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Step 7. Configure the email alerts that you receive by setting the frequency, first-email time, and attachment settings. You can also add additional email addresses for receiving the report.

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Step 8. Select Create to create your new tracker and generate reports for trending hashtags.

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The Results:

The key benefit of using Mentionlytics is that it provides results, which are more comprehensive than Instagram search. Here is a breakdown of the results which are generated through the mention tracker that you created using the guide above.

  • The Top Trending Hashtags that are related to your main keyword are sent to you in the form of a table and a word cloud as shown below.

Image for postA table showing top trending hashtags for #ryanairImage for postA word cloud showing the top trending hashtags for #ryanair

  • The Top Mentioners e. the people who have used the trending hashtags the most number of times are sent to you in the form of a table.

Image for postA table showing the top mentioners of trending hashtags for #ryanair

  • A summary of the mentions including sentiment analysis and social reach of the keyword is demonstrated through the graphic shown below.

Image for postA graphic showing the summary of mentions for #ryanair

To Sum Up

A great way to develop a positive brand image and connect with customers is to make use of effectively make use of Instagram hashtags. By making use of the strategy that we have outlined in this guide, you can grow your audience significantly on Instagram by finding and utilizing trending hashtags. Using Mentionlytics, you can simplify the process of Instagram marketing through our range of social media management tools for monitoring hashtags, managing comments, and social reporting.


  • https://www.ryanair.com/gb/en/
  • https://www.convertwithcontent.com/6-ways-to-search-on-instagram-like-a-pro-increase-your-following-and-engagement/
  • https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/instagram-features-tricks
  • https://www.sistrix.com/blog/search-and-discovery-with-instagram/
  • https://blog.bufferapp.com/instagram-search
  • https://izea.com/2018/06/28/instagram-hashtag-search/

Originally posted on Mentionlytics: https://www.mentionlytics.com/blog/a-step-by-step-guide-to-finding-trending-hashtags-via-instagram-search/


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