The Most In-Depth 5 Step Guide to Hashtag Research You Will Ever Need

The Most In-Depth 5 Step Guide to Hashtag Research You Will Ever Need

In 2019, hashtag research still plays an important role to any business on Instagram. However, some businesses may not be using hashtags to its full potential. Utilizing hashtags properly allow your brand to be seen by the audience you want. When using hashtags, the key words are specificity and relevancy.

At NXTFactor, we recommend to create 3 sets of 30 hashtags and rotate it for every post you make. There are many different ways to find the right hashtags but we want to provide you a simple step-by-step guide on how to do it. We will be using an example of an ice cream shop in NYC to create this list. (Let’s call it NXTIce!)

  1. Create a basic hashtag list

Create a list of simple hashtags with the following categories: community-based, interest-based, location-based, and post-based.

Community-based hashtags are key words related to the industry your business is in and the type of community that follows it. These hashtags are typically broad. Let’s break this down  and think of 2-5 hashtags that apply to the ice cream industry.

  • Food (#food)
  • Desserts and/or Sweets (#dessert, #sweets)
  • Ice cream (#icecream)

Interest-based hashtags are directly related to the products or services your business provides. This one is a little more specific. For the example of an ice cream shop, you might add #gelato or #custard to this list.

Location-based hashtags are specific to where your audience is. For the ice cream shop, The most obvious hashtag to add is #newyorkcity and #nyc, but if the shop is located in a specific area like Brooklyn, it doesn’t hurt to add #brooklyn or #kingscounty on there either.

Post-based hashtags are specific to the content you post on social media. If the ice cream photo you posted has pistachios sprinkled all over it, you can use #pistachio as a last minute hashtag.

These hashtags typically have more than a million posts and are not ideal to use for your hashtag sets since it can get lost easily. However, it is a start to finding more specific hashtags. For better organization, separate these hashtags by category.

  1. Find More Specific Hashtags

To find more specific hashtags, go to the search bar and search for the hashtags already on your list. Click on hashtags you think might fit your content. Look through the posts that use these hashtags and see if your type of images and/or videos would fit.

Instagram will even give you “relevant” hashtags that have less than a million posts. Add those relevant hashtags to your list. You will want to aim for hashtags that have 20K-500K posts.

  1. Find Niche Hashtags by Delving into the Community

Find influencers that have a huge following in the community. The accounts can either be very general and post different types of food, or it can be specific and only post content about pastries and/or ice cream.

Take a look at each of their posts and use the same hashtags they use. If you can’t find it in the captions, the hashtags will most likely be located on the very first comment of the post. You will find that there are extremely niche hashtags only relevant to the foodie community like #firstwefeast and #foodiefinds that make it easier for your posts to be seen.

There are also large company brands like #eaterny and #thrillist that you can use in your social media.

Many people follow these community hashtags because they provide consistent, high quality content compared to the hashtags you’ve already created in step 1. Repeat step 2 with these niche hashtags.

  1. Target Nearby Customers through Location Hashtags

Additionally, influencers can also be local to your business. Find an influencer close to your location. If you don’t know where to start in our ice cream shop example, you can always start with anything that has the word “foodie” in it (ex. #nycfoodie) or do a Google search on the most popular foodie influencers around your location. Repeat step 3.

  1. Follow Accounts Similar to Yours and Go to the Explore Page

Instagram will automatically put relevant content in your Explore Page if you interact with accounts similar to yours. Click on the top 10 posts and take the list of hashtags those accounts already use. This is just icing on the cake if you don’t have enough hashtags from Steps 1-4 already!

(6. Create Your Own Hashtags)

Yep! You get an extra step with a cherry on top! Create your own hashtags to help your business grow. In our example, we are going to use #NXTIce and #WhatsNXT to build a community and story around our ice cream brand. Utilize this step to gauge the strength of your brand.

Of course, there are several other ways to do hashtag research but this is a great way to get started! Do you have your own tips and tricks on how to find hashtags for your business? Let us know!

Need help on hashtag research? Give us a call at 844-NXT-IDEA or email us at to accelerate your digital marketing strategy.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *