5 Ways to Find New Instagram Accounts to Follow

I've talked briefly about the "business" side of Instagram before-- first in a post about how I've been growing my following lately and another regarding the dreaded shadowban. But creating and promoting my own content is only half of my Instagram experience, the other half is following other accounts and enjoying the content that my fellow Instagrammers are sharing.

And just like every other aspect of Instagram, discovering new accounts hasn't been as easy because of the new algorithm. The discover page for me is 50% spammy shit that I have no interest in seeing or following (or also accounts I've unfollowed recently...why?) No, I do not want to see some idiot applying her makeup with a geode for attention. No, I do not want to see random Bollywood dance accounts (which annoyed me because they deciphered that I'm Indian so I clearly must be a fan of all things Bollywood despite the fact that I do not follow/ like any similar content.)

At this point, I pretty much ignore the discovery page but on the bright side, I have found a few ways to find new accounts to follow! It's a bit more effort than looking at the discovery page, but it's a worthwhile investment!

Even though everyone has different criteria for following an account, I think these tips are pretty universal-- whether you're a brand looking for new influencers or if you've found a new hobby and want to find new accounts to follow these tips should help!

Personally, I mostly follow beauty/ skincare accounts as well as a handful of food and landscape photography/ travel accounts. I'm shallow and the first thing I look for are pretty pictures. After that, I like reading captions as I like to follow people I feel I can relate to or connect with. Anyways, onwards to the tips!

1. Search those niche hashtags
If you read my post on Instagram tips (if ya didn't, you can read it here) then you may be tired of hearing all about niche hashtags. Even though Instagram is screwing with hashtags with the whole shadowbanning fiasco, they're still functional enough to find new accounts to follow.

At first, finding niche hashtags may be a pain. Personally, I define "niche" hashtags as those with less than 200,000 to 300,000 posts-- although there are plenty that I follow and use that have less than 100,000, 50,000 and even in some cases 5,000. The perks of those hashtags are that I'm less likely to see irrelevant content as spammers aren't aware of them and people using them are dedicated to said niche community so the content is on topic.

Once you're able to find one niche hashtag, it's pretty easy to find related ones. For instance, if you're interested in following NYC food accounts, you might search something like #nycfood-- a tag with 570,145 posts at the moment that I'm typing this. Not quite a niche hashtag by my definition. Buuuut then Instagram suggests related hashtags like #nycrestaurants #nycpizza #eatingnewyork are all ones that easily fall into my definition of niche.

You can merely browse the popular section of the hashtag, but I also enjoy browsing the most recent section.

2. Search the hashtags your favorite accounts are using
So let's say you've searched a niche hashtag and have found a few accounts to follow. Since you discovered them via niche hashtags, it's probably a safe bet that they're pretty active with their hashtag use.

Go into their captions and search the hashtags they use. You can follow the same steps I mentioned up above-- looking at Instagram suggested hashtags and browsing the most recent photos.

Following the NYC food example from up above, I was able to discover the hashtags #citybites #yelpnyc #grubshotsnyc #eatsofnyc #nycfat and a bagillion more through this method!

Bonus: this is also a great way to find hashtags to use on your own photos.

3. Look at the comments sections of your favorite accounts
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Most likely the people interacting with XYZ's account posts similar content to XYZ. For instance, most of the people commenting on my own posts also share beauty/ skincare content.

Note: this usually works better on more personal/ smaller accounts. If you browse the comments of an account with 200k followers with 100+ comments on each post, you'll probably be digging through many spam-ish comments (you know the ones, random emojis, nice, cute, great, etc.) and fan comments. But if you search the comments on an account with 1k, 5k, 10k, 25k followers you're more likely to find people who post similar content to the original account.

4. Look at the tagged photos of your favorite accounts/ brands
While searching the comments sections of larger accounts can be fruitless, you can find more success browsing their tagged photos! Most likely the accounts that tag said account are trying to gain exposure by tagging the larger account, and hopefully they post similar content to the larger account.

To continue the NYC food example, I browsed the tagged photo section of @new_fork_city, a hugely (yuuuuuuge) popular NYC foodie account with over 800k followers. Here's a screenshot of some of their tagged photos-- as you can see there's a ton of good, relevant content there!

Personally, some of my favorite accounts to search tagged photos are Glossier, the Stell, Cosrx, Boy Smells, Farmacy, Drunk Elephant, and Kypris.

5. Look at who your favorite accounts are following
This is another self-explanatory one. People largely follow accounts that post similar content to theirs. If you were to browse my following list, you would find plenty of accounts that share posts on K-beauty, green skincare, and beauty in general.

Keep your eyes peeled for accounts that do follow Fridays/ woman crush Wednesday/ shadowban shoutouts/ similar series. Personally, I share my favorite beauty photos of the week on my Instagram stories every week (I'm @sharmtoaster over there!)

I had initially wanted to do a "social Saturdays" segment on the blog where I highlight my favorite bits of social media of the week-- instagram, youtube, twitter, whatever, but I need to make some sort of solid blogging schedule before I accomplish anything like that.

What are your favorite ways to find new accounts to follow? What are some accounts you've been loving lately?

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