Hashtag strategies for finding customers on Instagram


First things first. Watch this 2 minute video by Gary Vaynerchuk explaining why it's important to engage on Instagram.

Who is Gary Vaynerchuk?

  • Founder of VaynerMedia, one of the top digital agencies in the world. $100mn in revenue with clients like Budweiser, Coke, etc 
  • Investor in Facebook, Uber, Twitter, Snapchat, Tumbler, etc 
  • Voted one of the top 10 most influential people on the internet 

Why is this important? 

  • He is the #1 "expert" in the world on branding, marketing strategy, and social media
  • Gary has a huge personal brand + executes the social media and advertising budgets for some of the largest companies in the world + he builds the individuals brands of upcoming celebs via Vayner Talent

How does Instagram work? 

  • Instagram is driven by algorithms and #hashtags
  • To get great at Instagram you want to understand these algorithms and adopt a hashtag strategy

Why be proactive?:

  • 99.9% of people just use Instagram to push out pictures and videos of themselves - what we call a “me” strategy. What people don’t realize is that the best digital brands use a "you" strategy on Instagram. They are obsessed with their customer, and in return, there customer becomes obsessed with them!
  • The 'top dogs' are commenting, liking and proactively building fans every single day. This commenting and engagement not only builds hardcore fans and followers, but it drives Instagram's algorithm to promote your content. That's free marketing for your content, with hardly any effort on your end!

Instagram Strategy #1 - Engage Around Your Key Hashtags!


Step 1 - Identify the top hashtags related to your health, fitness and wellness brand.

Do some research and come up with a list of the top hashtags around what you do in the health, fitness and wellness space. For example, if you are a yoga instructor, type in "yoga" in the search bar under "Tags" on Instagram. In the picture above you'll see the top hashtags for the yoga category. Pick the tags that most closely relates to your business.

PRO TIP: Click on one of the hashtags and scroll through the pictures. Do the people posting with that hashtag look like they would be a potential customer? Awesome. That mean's this hashtag is a great choice for you. Keep finding tags like these!

Step 2 - Write down 10-15 of the best hashtags you can find. 

Using the method above, choose 15 of the best hashtags your category. In our example, here are the popular #hashtags for yoga instructors. 

  • #yoga (42mn)
  • #yogaeverydamnday (11mn) 
  • #yogainspiration (4mn)
  • #yogaposes (394k)

PRO TIP: Write these down in a Note on your phone. This will make it easy to copy and paste them later into your Instagram captions and to reference every day while you work on your Hashtag strategy.


Step 4 - Search for just one of your top hashtags in Instagram's search bar. 

Open up Instagram and type out your first hashtag in the search bar under Tags. Click on the appropriate tag and check out the top 9 posts for that hashtag. For example, the image above shows the top 9 posts for #yogainspiration. 

Step 5 - Like and comment on one of the top 9 posts.

Click on the first image in the top 9 posts.

Here's the important part: now "like" and leave a comment on this picture/video. Make sure your comment is thoughtful and insightful based on the content posted. You are wasting your time if you simply reply with a thumbs up emoji or a, "Great job!" Go a step further and respond to this person in a meaningful way. It will be worth your while!

Step 6 - Repeat this for every post in the top 9.

Now go back to the second of the top 9 posts for, in this example, #yogainspiration. Repeat the same process. Go in and like/ comment on their picture in a thoughtful way. Repeat this process until you've liked and commented all of the top 9 posts for your key hashtag. 

Step 7 - NOW. Repeat this entire process for all 10 (or 15 if you're an overachiever) of your top hashtags!

We know this sounds like a lot but it really is a simple process that hardly takes any time to execute. After a few days of practice, you will whiz through these in 30 mins or so. 

And we wouldn't be telling you to do this if it wasn't worth your time. An hour a day of using this strategy could mean acquiring 1 new fan a day, which could mean 1 new subscriber every other day, which would mean 15 new subscribers per month. Imagine how much your Channel would grow in a year! Better yet, imagine how money you could be making on our platform!?!

Watch this 42 second video as a great summary of what you should be doing


Spend less time on yourself & more time on making others feel good!

We tried engaging around our key hashtags just before creating this article. And take a look at one of the responses we got below. This is just one, of many examples, of the types of replies you will get if you adopt a hashtag enagement strategy.


The best part about this hashtag engagement strategy is that it hardly takes any time or effort. Commenting on this person's post took all of 15 seconds and in return, we made his day and potentially acquired him as a new customer

Disclaimer: the post above says @fitner_app because we were Fitner before we became Playbook!

There has never been a more amazing time in history to be a digital entrepreneur. With platforms like Instagram, you have thousands of people just a few clicks away from becoming customers. And all it takes is getting specific on who your customers are, making a list of the key hashtags your customers are using, and then liking and/or commenting on their pictures. Every day.


Use your "Hashtag Engagement" strategy every DAMN day.

If you do this every day for a few weeks/months/years, you will be amazed at your results. And you can start small. Start by doing this for 10 mins a day. See how many of the hashtags you can get through. Adjust your hashtags if you find better ones. See how many new followers you get then spend more time on this strategy once you're comfortable with the process. Say 20-30 mins every day. Maybe even an hour?! ;)

Using this strategy will help you gain more followers, who eventually become fans, who will eventually share your business with their friends and family (we call this "word of mouth" and it's the bread and butter of growing any business in today's digital world!).

The "x-factor" on social media is not another picture of you or one of your workout guides. It's your engagement with your followers and fans. Real success will come to those who truly care and take the time to engage with their audience!

Strategy #2 - Engage Around Your Key Locations!

Everything you learned in Strategy # 1 can be applied here in Strategy #2 - engaging around specific “Locations”. Once you've gotten the hang of the first hashtag engagement strategy, then engaging around "Locations" will be a piece of cake.

Step 1 - Identify key words that relate to your business and search for these words in "Places." 

Get specific with who you are and what you sell to clients. If you're into fitness then your key words could be fitness, equinox, gym, studio, etc. You want Instagram to pull up places where potential clients would be visiting. Here is what it looks like when you type “fitness” into Places in the search bar.


Step 2 - Click on the first place that pops up, and engage with the people who've posted these pictures!

Just like the hashtags, places will have a top 9 posts. Go into each one of these posts & like and leave a comment. Make the comments supportive and thoughtful. Engage in a conversation and feel free to do this for more than the top 9 posts if you have time.


Step 3 - Repeat this for a minimum of 10 minutes every day. The longer the better.

If you are patient, consistent and adopt this strategy every day you will build a great digital business over time. You will earn followers, who turn into fans. And this is how word of mouth around your brand will spread. Remember, the "x-factor" on social is not another picture or workout guide. It's the time you spend engaging in conversations with your online community. Real social success comes to those who engage!


Here is a video walking you through the engagement strategy around your key hashtags!

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