September 15, 2014

Whatever your goals are on Instagram, if you're using the platform to market your business in any way, you need to make sure that you're reaching your target audience on Instagram.

But how do you find them? Where are they? How are they using Instagram? How do you reach out to them?

Here are some ways to go about finding your target audience on Instagram and actually connecting with them.

Follow Event Hashtags

Whatever your industry, there are events related to it. They could be conventions or conferences. They could be seminars or announcements. They could be shows or celebrations. Whatever your events are, find the event hashtag(s) and follow them on Instagram.

For me, being that my target audience is business owners and entrepreneurs looking to learn social media, I follow social media conference hashtags closely. The Content Marketing World (#cmworld) conference just happened recently. I checked the hashtag on Instagram daily to find ideal target Instagram users.

I recommend you do the same, for whatever your industry events are.

But you have to do more than just follow the hashtag. You have to be active. It can be as simple as liking a bunch of photos tagged with the event hashtag. Go through the stream and "like" photos and posts.

Take some time to read the captions of the posts and engage in response. Answer a question. Offer a helpful piece of advice. Compliment the user. Or ask them a question about the event.

Taking the time to engage with these event attendees will usually result in a significant bump in those who follow you - and best of all, they're your target audience!

With the recent #CMWorld event, I garnered about 10-12 new followers in a couple days. Other events I've used this method with have easily resulted in 20-30 new followers in a couple days.

Follow Interest or Hobby Hashtags

Much like the method for event hashtags, follow hashtags related to hobbies or interests that are relevant to your business.

If you provide health and nutrition coaching, follow tags related to health, like yoga, or pilates, or barre, or P90X, etc. If you sell pet specialty items, follow tags related to pets, pet fashion, grooming, etc.

Knowing your target demographic, you should know what they are interested in. Use this information to find those people on Instagram. Then use the same methods I just described above to engage, like, and have conversations with them.

See Who's Following Your Competitors

If you're looking for your target audience on Instagram, chances are they're already engaging with and following your competitors. This makes it easy - they're in one place.

Go to your competitors' profiles, and click on their "Followers". You can see the whole list of people who follow them. Depending on how many people follow them, this could be more time intensive than other accounts.

Scroll through the list of followers and find people that are your ideal clients. Look for people that are active, engaging, and match your ideal customer profile. Then scroll through their posts, like some of their posts, and join in the conversation by responding to comments, complimenting them, or answering a question.

This method is more time consuming than following hashtags but works just as well.


It's important that you have the right, engaged followers on Instagram. Having 5000 followers who don't care about your business or who never actually use Instagram are useless to you. Instead, focus on finding and building relationships with your ideal target customer to see real results on Instagram.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. This is very useful advise, thank you for sharing!
    -Sabrina Kizzie, Author & Social Media Lecturer

    Twitter & Instagram: @sabrinaonmove

  2. Great tips Jenn! I also running a blog on social media marketing tips. Instagram is also one of my favorite and effective tool. I hope you pay a visit sometime ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi Jen,

    first of all great new design!
    As always you had some really good points. Recently I setup a hobby blog and because you convienced me through your articles, I also setup an Instagram profile for that to engage and involve more people. I really tried to use all the techniques what you and Brooke presented in your webinar in April ๐Ÿ™‚

    However, I would have a question for you which bothers me a lot, but maybe you have a solution for that.
    The topic of the blog is self-development for young people, so obviously I try to use nice picture which can motivate people. However, since the language is not English, but Hungarian (so definitely smaller market). I have difficulties to find proper hashtags in the specific language which both related to the topic and reach enough people.
    Maybe you have some secret weapons/tools/ideas in your pocket which can help ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thank you very much!

    1. Hi Richard,
      Congrats on the new blog and venture into Instagram! I’m so glad that you found such value in the posts and webinar to really embrace these aspects of social media ๐Ÿ™‚

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any secret tools to make your Hungarian hashtag efforts more effective. I recommend you research popular Hungarian words or phrases on a site like Tagboard to see how popular they are and if they are worth using. Also, take a look at any other Hungarian Instagram or Twitter accounts to see what they commonly use. If it’s relevant to your business and brand, you can incorporate those too.

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