The Quick Guide to Finding Top Influencers Using Hashtags (It's Free, Fast and Fabulous)

Unlock influencer magic for your brand with free hashtag research in just 15 minutes.

Priya Nain

Priya Nain

May 25, 2023

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Hashtags aren't just trendy digital accessories. They are the golden keys that unlock vast networks of potential brand ambassadors.

Savvy creators are already riding this wave, leveraging hashtags for content visibility. But here's the secret: you can tap into this power too, not to boost your own content, but to discover the right influencers to grow your brand.

In this blog post, we're spilling the beans on a free and fabulous method that will have you armed with a list of 50 potential influencers in just 15-20 minutes. And you can do it without spending a dime! 😉

1 — List your core & tangential hashtags

Core hashtags

Core hashtags are essentially the ones that directly align with your brand, products, or services. They are most relevant to what you offer as an ecommerce business. They describe your products or services explicitly and leave no room for ambiguity.

For instance, if your ecommerce brand is selling protein-rich, healthy breakfast cereals (such as MagicSpoon), core hashtags could be:

  1. #MorningCereal: This hashtag is straightforward and directly associated with breakfast cereal, making it an excellent choice for finding influencers in your specific niche.
  1. #HealthyCereal: Influencers using this hashtag will likely be promoting or discussing healthy breakfast options, focusing specifically on cereal.
  1. #ProteinCereal: If your cereal is protein-enriched, this hashtag will help you find influencers who are specifically interested in high-protein breakfast foods.
  1. #WholeFoodBreakfast: Influencers using this hashtag are often promoting breakfast foods made from natural, whole ingredients, which aligns well with a healthy cereal brand.
  1. #EnergyBoostingBreakfast: This hashtag is used by influencers who discuss foods that provide sustained energy throughout the morning, which could include your healthy cereal.

These hashtags highlight the core essence of your product and target the users who are specifically looking for these attributes.

Tangential hashtags

Tangential hashtags, unlike core ones, do not represent your products or services directly. Instead, they are related to the context or the broader sphere your brand operates in. They associate with the lifestyle, interests, or values that your potential customers might adhere to.

For the healthy breakfast cereal brand, tangential hashtags for each core hashtag above might be:


  • #BreakfastClub
  • #MorningRituals
  • #WakeUpHealthy


  • #DietTips
  • #CleanEating
  • #HealthyLivingJourney


  • #ProteinSnacks
  • #FitnessFoods
  • #ProteinRichDiet


  • #CleanEats
  • #RealFoodRevolution
  • #OrganicLiving


  • #FoodForFuel
  • #HealthyStart
  • #ActiveLifestyle

These hashtags may not point directly to your product but represent the larger conversation and community your brand fits into.

💡 SARAL pro-tip: Avoid High-Density Hashtags

High-density hashtags are those that are excessively popular and heavily populated with posts. They are general, broad, and widely used across Instagram.

For example, using a hashtag like #Healthy is highly competitive with millions of posts, making your search for influencers a lot harder due to the sheer volume of content under this hashtag (187,110,989 posts!!) ❎.

Opting for lower-density, more specific hashtags can improve your chances of finding the right influencers. These hashtags, often termed ‘long-tail hashtags’, cater to a more niche audience. As you get more specific, the number of posts reduces significantly, making your search more efficient.

For instance, the hashtag #Healthybreakfast is a more specific, lower-density option, with fewer posts to sift through.

BUT, having said that you can keep 1 hashtag that is generic, and broad and we'll see later in the post why that's sometimes useful.

Here's our exact influencer hashtag research spreadsheet you can make a copy of.

Inside, you will find a table like this:

2 — Find expert hashtags

They are the ones used by established professionals in your industry who have built a strong reputation and following. 🧑‍🍳 🏌️🧑‍🎤

For instance, if you're selling a healthy, protein-rich cereal, expert hashtags could include ones like #RegisteredDietician, #FitnessCoach, or #Nutritionist. These hashtags are associated with authorities in the field who reflect expertise and credibility.

They might not have the most aesthetically gorgeous profile or shots of beaches that get a million likes but they have something important — influence! 🎯

The idea is to go for influence rather than influencer. In the end, you want sales, not just product shots at a beach resort. 💰

Open the other tab in your hashtag research spreadsheet and write these expert hashtags.

💡 SARAL pro-tip: Keep the list to less than 10.

A tightly targeted list of expert hashtags ensures that the audience following these tags closely matches your brand's target demographic, making your influencer outreach more effective.

3 — Check recommended hashtags

Instagram's search bar is a smart tool that can help you fine-tune your hashtag strategy. Here's how: When you type a generic hashtag related to your brand, like #Healthy, Instagram comes up with a list of related hashtags.

These are your recommended hashtags. They are algorithmically generated based on what Instagram believes is relevant to your search.

Why is this cool?

Instagram has a pretty good grasp of what its users are interested in. By providing these recommendations, it's giving you a peek into what your potential audience might also be looking at. It's like Instagram is handing you a curated list of related hashtags that you might not have considered before. 🪄

Now, let's go a step further.

🔎 When you come across an influencer's post via these recommended hashtags, take a moment to browse the hashtags the influencer is using. It will not only give you niche and new hashtags but also new ideas for campaigns.

For example, seeing #EasyBreakfastIdeas on a post might make you realize that simplicity is something your target audience values when it comes to meal prep

Again, in your spreadsheet add another tab for the search you just did.

4 — Finalize your mega list

Once you follow all the steps, the “Mega List” tab in your spreadsheet will auto-fill with all the required hashtags.

Even if you find an average of 20-30 influencers under each hashtag, that's still 1000's of influencers to reach out to. Which is good when you're just getting started.

I've recorded this whole strategy in a YouTube video, check it out here:

Don't panic when you see that mega list of hashtags. We've got you covered with a solution for that too.

5 — How do you make the next steps efficient?

When you visit any influencer's profile, use the SARAL free Chrome extension to find more details about them.

Simply click on the extension icon, and it will display the metrics that you can use to judge whether you want to reach out to them or not.

This is a convenient way to prospect and find potential influencers for your brand.

Then, you can save influencers to SARAL and send them direct outreach.

We even find their emails for you and allow you to send emails directly from the SARAL platform, saving you manual effort.

Give SARAL a try. Experience its benefits with a 7-day free trial, and see for yourself the positive impact it can have on your influencer marketing efforts.

Once you have a list of final influencers ready, you can add the number of influencers to the designated column and start emailing them. After sending an email, mark it as "email sent."

To track the effectiveness of each hashtag, list the corresponding numbers such as number of influencers emailed, open rate, etc. This information will inform your strategy moving forward.

Regardless of your niche, you can find a minimum of 50 hashtags in just 15 minutes of research. This opens up the potential to connect with thousands of influencers who can promote your brand on a regular basis.

If you want to go one step further and replicate the success of brands like Sephora, Pura Vida, and Athletic Greens you will need tools like SARAL.

Step up your influencer game

When you're ready to take it up a notch and really scale, the spreadsheet / manual method would be too slow. Find influencers in-bulk using SARAL:

With SARAL, you can discover influencers, contact them, accept applications, and provide resources to get good UGC out: Claim your 7-day free trial here.

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