8 Tips to Win at Instagram Search and Get Discovered

Learn how to appear top of the result list to grow your Instagram following!

How To Win At Instagram Featured

Attracting new followers is a top priority for every emerging brand on Instagram, but what if you get stuck in the process, and your numbers simply won’t increase? One solution for growing your following on the social network is to make sure you appear in Search. This article details tips and tricks on how you can get discovered more easily in Search.

Search is part of the Explore tab, which you can access by tapping the magnifying mirror button at the bottom of the display. It’s the bar at the top that helps you look for new stuff to follow and lets you search accounts, tags and places.

How To Win At Instagram Search Find

According to Instagram, the search results you see are based on various factors, such as the accounts you follow, your engagement with them, and the photos and videos you like on Instagram. The social app uses its own algorithm that works behind the scenes to bring up the most relevant and accurate results for you.

With this in mind, if you’d like to start using Instagram Search to your advantage to get in front of your target audience, focus on improving your Instagram profile in a way that will help you get discovered in Instagram search more frequently. Here are some suggestions of where to get started.

1. Use a Relevant Instagram Handle

Your Instagram handle (username) should almost always reflect your brand name. It would be quite unproductive if your business was trying to sell wines, for instance, under your personal name or something seemingly unrelated like that. Instead, the better option would be to use your brand’s name alongside your particular business niche or related keywords. In the case of wine, it could be “drink” or “enjoy.”

How To Win At Instagram Search Handle View

If you’ve already picked your Instagram handle, don’t worry – you can change it quite easily. Check out our tutorial to see how to change your Instagram username.

Having a re’levant Instagram handle increases your chances of being discovered in Search by people who are using broad keywords, such as “wine,” to discover new relevant businesses centered around their interests.

2. Add the Right Keywords to Your Name Field

The name field on your profile is searchable, and so it should be optimized by including keywords that are relevant to your brand. For example, if you’re selling organic cosmetics (skincare), these two keywords should be included in the name field on your profile. We’ve attached some relevant examples below.

How To Win At Instagram Search Keyword Optimization Profile

Keep in mind that your Instagram name is not the same as your username (or handle). You can change it by going to your Profile on Instagram and pressing the “Edit” button just underneath. From there you can overhaul your name field. Note that you can also include hashtags and links.

The idea is to help new users find your page faster, and to achieve this, you’ll want to use the keywords that most effortlessly define your brand. Make sure the description is not too long, though, as the name field can only include 30 characters.

3. Optimize Your Bio Using Hashtags and Keywords

Your bio appears when someone is looking for a brand like yours in Search, so it may help them decide whether to click on your profile. This is why you have to make sure you customize this part of your profile accordingly.

On top of keywords, you can also use hashtags (and links) here and that should ensure that your profile pops up when someone is searching for the relevant hashtag. You have 150 characters available to fill up your bio.

How To Win At Instagram Search Keyword Optimization Bio

To make it even easier for people to find you, we suggest you also add a business category so that potential followers can swiftly differentiate between your brand and another one with a similar naming scheme. You can do that by going to your profile and pressing the “Edit” button. Scroll down until you find the “Category” section, tap on it and select your niche. Make sure to toggle on the “Display on profile” option at the top.

4. Add Relevant Hashtags to Your Posts and Stories

Hashtags are essential to making your Instagram posts and Stories more searchable. When used correctly, they can build communities and attract like-minded individuals to your profile. Instagram users can search for hashtags in Search, and the results will appear in the top tap as the well as “Tags,” doubling your chances to get discovered.

Brands can use up to 30 hashtags per post, but opinions on the optimal number of hashtags vary. Some advocate for more hashtags, while others consider the minimalist approach an indicator of more reliable self-categorization. Depending on your Instagram marketing goals, you can opt to use more or less. Just keep in mind that more doesn’t necessary translate to better.

Types of Hashtags

How To Win At Instagram Adding Hashtags
  • Branded hashtags – branded hashtags highlight your business and help you build a community around your business. This type of hashtag can be anything – the name of a line of products, your business name or a slogan you developed.
  • Product and service hashtags – these hashtags should be used to target users looking for a specific type of product, such as #summerdress, #icecreamrolls and so on.
  • Industry niche hashtags – these can be used to indicate your specific niche and should be narrower than your product and service hashtags. For instance, #handmadecandles or #vegan.
  • Campaign hashtags – if you’re running a giveaway or another sponsored campaign, adding hashtags to highlight this aspect is the smart thing to do.
  • Trending hashtags – these are time-sensitive hashtags that are related to current (seasonal) events or relevant trends, so using them may draw more attention to your posts. Examples include #sustainability, #BLM, #Christmas and more.

Don’t forget you can add hashtags to your Stories as well. These can be stylized, placed via a sticker or text and positioned directly on the Story. Instagram allows you to add up to 10 hashtags, although using all of them may result in your Story looking cluttered. Despite this aspect, using hashtags on your Stories is a great way to augment your profile’s visibility, so don’t forget to sprinkle a few.

5. Add a Location Tag to All Your Posts

Adding location tags will make your posts more easily discoverable when people search for that particular location in the “Places” tab in Search. This is where they can discover content associated with a certain location. Therefore, you’ll be improving your chances of getting more views by adding a location to all of your posts.

How To Win At Instagram Location Hashtags

While Story discovering through location tags used to be possible, it doesn’t appear that’s the case any longer. You can still add a location to your Stories, though, but it isn’t likely to have any major effect.

6. Post at the Right Time

While browsing the “Places” or “Hashtags” tabs in Search, users can easily go through the latest posts under these categories by switching to the “Recent” tab. This represents a great incentive to try to time your posts as much as possible.

Best Time Post Instagram Sprout Social

Basically, make it a point to publish your posts when your audience is at its most active. To access this information, brands can check their Instagram Insights console, which should show when their followers are most active. Alternatively, they can rely on information on the matter from third parties. For instance, according to research conducted by SproutSocial, the best times to post on Instagram for a global audience are Tuesday 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. CDT and Monday through Friday 11 a.m. CDT.

7. Get Onboard the Reels Train

Instagram lets users browse Reels that have been tagged with certain hashtags, which represents another great opportunity to get discovered. The social app has been promoting its TikTok alternative quite heavily in the last few months, so not sharing Reels means you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your fan base.

How To Win At Instagram Search Reels

Like with regular posts, you can add keywords and hashtags to a Reel. Choose them carefully and make sure they accurately describe your post. Even if you’re brand doesn’t seem to be an obvious fit for Reels, you can still experiment. Focus on creating fun original content that is short and snappy to encourage repeat views.

8. Get Inspired by the Competition

Take a look at the competition and get some inspiration for your own profile. For instance, you could check out their best performing posts and see what hashtags and keywords they are using. Also take a look at their bio to possibly spot a few things to improve your own.

Best Time Post Instagram Competition View

Furthermore, it may also be a good idea to start interacting with them, so don’t be scared to get friendly with the competition. This may result in a series of collaborations later on, which is another great way of attracting new followers to your page.

If you’re having problems, get up to speed on what to do if Instagram stops working. On the other hand, if you’re done with Instagram and want to start a new chapter in your online journey, read all about deleting or deactivating your account.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What are some ways to make a great first impression when potential new followers visit my Instagram page?

As a brand, you should read this guide to learn about using “Highlights” on your profile to help you stand out.

2. How can I link my Instagram and Facebook pages together for a more seamless experience?

Linking the two together can be done via the Accounts Center. You can get up to speed on this by reading our post detailing how to connect your Instagram and Facebook.

3. How can I create a collaborative post on Instagram?

Collaborations are always a good idea, even more so if you’re a brand. Check out this post that shows you how to create collaborative posts and Reels.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox