Instagram search is one of the many features of Insta that doesn’t get enough attention.

The search function for Instagram is a lot like the Google search of the social media world; it helps users online to track down the kind of brands, people, and content that they want to see. You can even use Instagram search as inspiration for your next vacation by looking at Places instead of People.

More than just a way to search hashtags on Instagram, Search is a critical component of the Explore page, and one of the best ways to give depth to your social strategy. Now that IGTV is becoming more popular, there’s even a specific version of search for your videos too!

The question is, how do you use Instagram search to drive real results from your Instagram campaigns?

Read on to find out!

Defining Instagram Search: The Basics

Before we talk you through the things you can do to search Instagram hashtags for post inspiration, or boost your chances of more followers, let’s start with a definition.

Instagram search is basically an internal search engine specifically for Instagram users. The algorithm within the search function reads through profiles to learn exactly what it needs to reveal when users search for something. According to Instagram, the results that you see when you search hashtags on Instagram are based on a variety of factors. Those factors include the videos and photos you’ve liked on the channel before and the people you follow.

Whenever you’re active on Instagram, the algorithm is working on figuring out who you are and what you want to see, so your search results can be more relevant to you.

For brands, it’s important to use Instagram search not just for research and educational purposes, but also for company growth and social media presence. Just as you’d optimize a website with relevant content and keywords for SEO, you should also be optimizing your Instagram campaigns so that you appear more frequently in the search results.

Here’s how you can enhance your Instagram strategy for Instagram search

1.    Know Where To Use Keywords

Keywords are a crucial component of SEO when you’re working with platforms like Google. It only makes sense, then, that you’d need to use keywords effectively on Instagram too. There are a lot of different places where it pays to use keywords on Instagram, including your captions and video descriptions. However, one of the first places to focus on is your name field.

The name field on your Instagram profile is searchable and customizable, so you can adjust it to highlight whatever your business is all about. For instance, while @BlueBottle uses just the name BlueBottle for its handle, it also uses it’s name field to explain what it is: Blue Bottle Coffee. This means that the company will show up when customers as searching for “Coffee” – a crucial keyword.

Blue bottle Instagram search

Edit your profile to change the name field in your bio and remember that you can always update this part of your Instagram profile if anything about your business changes over time.

2.    Optimize your Bio with Keywords and Hashtags

Your name isn’t the only thing you need to optimize when you want to make the most out of Instagram Search. It’s also worth adding plenty of keywords to your bio too. However, remember that as well as keywords, your bio can also be upgraded with clickable hashtags that improve your chances of showing up when people search for Instagram hashtags.

Notice how influencer brand Golde has used “health and beauty”, “Superfood” and other keywords to highlight the purpose of her profile.


The terms appear naturally in the first line of Golde’s bio, so they don’t seem too obvious or obnoxious.

If you really want to ramp up the searchable nature of your profile even further, you can also add a link to your physical location into the mix. You’ll need to have a link between your Instagram Business Profile and your Facebook Business page to do this – but it’s worth the extra effort. Instagram shares all of your essential address details when you add your location, including opening times, and a business contact number, so it’s easier for followers to connect with you.

When you add your location to your Instagram profile, users will be able to see exactly where you are on a map-  which could boost the number of local visits you get too.

3.    Add Location Tags to All Your Posts

Speaking of making the most out of your location tags, it’s worth adding geotags to your posts and Instagram content too. You’ll notice when you search hashtags on Instagram today; you get the opportunity to look at People, and Places. If someone taps on the “Places” tab when they’re using the Instagram Explore Section to search Instagram hashtags, your post may appear at the top of their grid when you use a location tag.

Although there are various factors that can affect where you appear in the Instagram search, including your popularity and the time that you post, you stand a much better chance of increasing your views and engagement when you tag a location. What’s more, on Instagram, each location has its own dedicated space where viewers can see the content and Stories that have been tagged with that place. All you need to do is tap on the Stories at the top of the search results to view Stories linked to a location.

Do your best to be as precise as possible with your location tags, however. Rather than just tagging #America or #USA use #NewYorkCity or a specific neighborhood instead. This will boost your chances of a better ranking.


4.    Use Hashtags in All Of Your Posts

Whether you love them or hate them, hashtags are essential to making your content stand out on Instagram. Ultimately, the Explore page is where users search hashtags on Instagram to find the content that they want most. If you’re not using the right tags in your content, then you’re not going to get the engagement you need. At least one hashtag in each of your posts can get you 12.6% more engagement.

When a user goes online to search Instagram hashtags, your selection of geolocation, trending, and branded hashtags will determine whether your posts appear or not. Just like with Instagram stories, hashtags also come with their own unique tabs for Stories and IGTV too. That means that you need to apply your tags to all of your content – not just your photos and quotes.

If you’re considering creating a new branded hashtag to help your business grow and generate user-generated content for your marketing campaigns, make sure you integrate a keyword. Adding both a crucial term and your business name into a branded tag will boost your chances of driving great results. For instance, the Anthropologie brand uses #AnthropologieHome to both showcase their homeware selection, and encourage users to show off their own content.

@Anthropologie home page

Eventually, your branded tag may also earn connections with other related tags that help you to make better decisions about how to describe your future content too.

5.    Update your IGTV Strategy

Instagram is devoting more time, and attention than ever before to its video solution, IGTV. If you haven’t started to explore the benefits of IGTV yet, now might be the time to get started – particularly if you want to appear more regularly on Instagram search. The way that people search hashtags on Instagram TV is improving, and the channel is constantly making changes to how users discover new content.

Like any material you might share on Instagram, one of the most important features of your IGTV content is your descriptions and video titles. Now’s the time to start optimizing whatever you post with a wide selection of keywords and hashtags. Remember to mention the location where you filmed your content in your caption and use hashtags that encourage your followers to share your clip.

When you’re describing your video in your title, make sure that the words you use highlight the benefits of the content and tell your followers exactly what to expect. Although IGTV descriptions aren’t searchable text yet, they do offer the option to include clickable URLS and hashtags that convey Instagram more about where you should appear in the search results.

6.    Engage with Complementary Brands

Here at SocialFollow, we’re big believers in the idea that who you know makes a huge difference to your chances of success on social media. Instagram’s algorithm knows exactly who you engage with most on the platform, and which users you’re more likely to connect with based on your previous activity. Thanks to this wealth of useful data, Instagram can showcase relevant profiles that might appeal to a user in the “Suggested” columns of Instagram search.

If you want to improve your chances of appearing in the Search function on Instagram, then one of the best thing you can do is make sure that you’re connected with other leading brands and individuals in your niche. Following influencers and complementary brand will help to increase the authority and impact of your profile, just like backlinks boost your SEO with Google.

As well as following the right brands, and hopefully encouraging them to follow you in return with a solution like, make sure that you look for opportunities to collaborate with influencers and other companies too.

The more genuine relationships you can build with influential figures on Instagram, the faster your own digital presence is likely to grow.

7.    Use Instagram Search to Avoid Hashtag Mistakes

Finally, remember that Instagram Search can be an excellent way to get some inspiration for your hashtag strategy. If you’re not sure how to make your content stand out on social media, and you’re running out of unique hashtags to use, Search can help. When you search hashtags on Instagram, the channel will show you related and suggested tags based on the ones that you already use.

Keep in mind that Instagram posts with 9 hashtags or more perform 2.5 times better than posts that use just a single hashtag. The key to finding the right tags is making sure that you experiment with a selection of different kinds of trending, branded, and niche tags. Instagram search will help you to keep your hashtag strategy fresh.

While you search Instagram hashtags, you can also use the built-in functionality that Insta offers to check whether the tags you’re using are safe. As Instagram continues to grow, some spammers and malicious individuals have begun to target certain hashtags and flood them with unwanted content. If you click on a hashtag and see no “Top Posts” associated with it, there’s a good chance that the tag has already been banned.

Avoid using any banned hashtags in your content. Not only do banned hashtags waste your time and effort, but they can also increase your chances of attracting negative attention from Insta moderators.

Making the Most of Instagram Search

Instagram Search is one of the most powerful tools that businesses and individuals can access online today. Not only does it give you an excellent way to find relevant influencers and connected brands to work with, but Instagram search also offers plenty of other useful ways to grow too. If you can learn how to use this function to your advantage, you can boost your chances of reaching more crucial followers and improve your reputation on Instagram.

With Instagram Search, you can find out exactly which hashtags you want to rank for, track down the people you need to follow, and even optimize your Instagram profile. With just a few basic tweaks to your bio and content, you could push your profile to the top spot in no time.

Are you using Instagram Search to your advantage yet? Tell us all about your strategy in the comment section below!