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The 5 Step Method To Finding Your Ideal Clients on Instagram

(Note: While this post was originally written in May 2020, it has been updated in March 2024 with even more helpful information.)

Instead of spending all your time posting and waiting for people to come to you, this method of outreach and engagement will help you find your ideal clients on Instagram and start to build genuine connections.

If so far your strategy is to post many times a week, making sure at least one story is up every 24 hours, using optimized hashtag lists and putting polls up there you hope your audience will see, congratulations! Sounds like you understand a lot about content strategy. But we’ve been talking for so long about "how to make great reels" and "when is the perfect time to post?" that we’ve neglected the opportunity to use Instagram's platform to find our ideal clients - and no, I don’t mean in a gross, cold pitch kind of way!

Your marketing time spent on IG fulfills two very distinct (but complementary) purposes:

1. Content Creation - creating posts and captions, creating and uploading Stories, answering comments on your own posts.

2. Outreach and Engagement - interacting on other people’s content in order to find your ideal clients on Instagram.

This post focuses on # 2, so you can learn how to use authentic outreach on Instagram to find your next clients.

Because your comment will be the first contact with your newly found ideal client, it's a good idea to think about your brand voice first. Will your comments be hilarious and entertaining? Simple and friendly? Deep and thought-provoking? No matter what stage of business you're in, whether you're a newer entrepreneur or you've been a business owner for a few years, knowing your voice is the key to consistency in your content and your copywriting - which will accelerate the trust process your ideal clients are in as they get to know you. I've written a fun and easy book to help you define your brand voice so you can use it in so many situations, like helping you find your ideal clients on Instagram and make a good first impression.

Let's get into the exact system I recommend to help you find the people you most want to work with. Below is the list for the 5-Step Ideal Client Hashtag Method, and you can get the accompanying FREE Instagram Ideal Client Tracker here.

1. Make a list of 5-10 hashtags and/or search terms that represent or resonate with your ideal client.

Hopefully these are the same ones as you’ve been using on your posts and in your stories! Although in 2024, hashtags aren't as a big a part of the strategy for posting, they do still work well for search purposes. Typing keywords into Instagram's search bar can pull up a lot of great keywords that would be synonymous with your ideal client.

Example 1 : For a social media strategist with a target client who is a mom, some examples might be:

Example 2 : If you're a holistic nutritionist who works specifically with young athletes, you might search local colleges and universities' hashtags or look to connect with sports parents who might reach out on their young athlete's behalf. You could try search terms like:

2. Tap over to the TOP tab of each hashtag’s page in Instagram.

For all top nine posts for the hashtag, read, like and write a comment on each. While you’re in each post, notice who else has commented on the posts. These may be your ideal clients and bonus, you already know that they are engaged followers and commenters. As you’re writing your own comments, tap over to the profiles of the other commenters. Scan their bio and feed posts, and if they are an ideal client, make a note of their Instagram handle in your free tracker as well.

If you have even more time to spend on engagement, you can also click through to commenter's profiles and find a post to comment on of theirs. I like to find posts that end in a call-to-action to comment because it gives me a natural opening to a genuine conversation, which I and my ideal clients tend to value.

3. Click the RECENT tab of each hashtag's page in Instagram.

Click on the posts that you think your ideal client would find most engaging (hint! this is most likely content that is similar to yours) Repeat the above process of liking and writing genuine comments while making notes of the Instagram handles of people you think may be your ideal clients. You can use the Instagram Ideal Client Tracker to keep track of the ideal clients you find while you're going through this process for each hashtag.

You may have heard that your ideal clients need 4-7 touchpoints before trusting you enough to follow, engage, or purchase - this estimate is by now quite out of date. For 2024, the accurate number of touchpoints your ideal client needs is probably quite a bit higher. That means that you'll need to engage with them more than once for them to begin to recognize your username and engage back. This is the rationale for keeping their usernames in a list. Over the course of building a genuine connection, your list will help you know who you've engaged with, when, and ensure you can follow up with the people who are most ideal to work with you.

4. Revisit the ideal client list on your tracker often and routinely engage with each of your potential ideal clients on Instagram.

I recommend following them, then liking and commenting on a few posts that stand out to you, which are NOT necessarily the most recent three, and not too far down their feed either. The idea is to authentically engage with them, not to be creepy or too much! 3 likes and 2-3 comments is a great place to start that is real and not pushy.

I like to imagine that I'm at a market and talking to the person at the booth. If I wouldn't say "ooh, I love these earrings!" and truly mean it, I'm not going to type that in an Instagram comment either. Being genuine is so important in business - and on social media. Keep scrolling on an account until you find something you genuinely connect with. That is what is going to spark the best conversations!

If you find yourself scrolling for too long, either this person isn't a good fit for you after all (no problem, just keep going) or you've been doing engagement for too long. Take a break to reset, or acknowledge that you've done enough for one day and pick it up again tomorrow. Tired comments won't come across the way you want!

Challenge yourself to ask questions, share from your own experience, give value, share an insight, or give an answer to a question asked in the caption. Your overall goal here is to start a conversation and build a solid relationship - just like you would in real life if you met your ideal client at a yoga class, networking meetup, or local conference.

As examples, here are 5 comments I've written on other people's posts today:

5. Nurture Your New Ideal Client Instagram Connections

The most important part of this 5-step process, by far. It's so important to like and answer the replies that you get when following this strategy. Consider watching the stories of the new accounts you’ve engaged with and starting a conversation in the DMs through there. Be in alignment every time you’re connecting - that means getting to know people over time, and not pushing to make a sale or directing them to your products or services until you’ve gotten to know each other and you've established consent.

In the tracker, you'll notice that there are a few columns for follow-ups. Engaging in a different type of content each time is a good way to get to know people on social media; meaning that you could engage in a Live the first time, a Reel the second time, and a carousel post the third time, for example. In doing this, you're also training the algorithm to recognize which accounts you want to be connected to. Expect more targeted follow suggestions and new followers coming your way who match the characteristics of your ideal client, which can only mean good things for your marketing efforts.

As you continue to engage and get into conversation, you'll be learning more about your ideal client in real-time through this Instagram engagement and building an authentic relationship, too. Noticing which words they use to describe their viewpoints, interests, and struggles can help you to further develop your own brand voice and write your posts in a way that speaks directly to them, because having a common language is a solid way to build genuine trust and position yourself as the right person to help them.

Bonus Step: Use the Power of Mindset to Help You Find Your Ideal Clients on Instagram

In her You Are A Badass book, Jen Sincero writes about having to believe in something before you can see it or it becomes real in your life. Your ideal clients on Instagram are no exception! If you believe they are out there (and your market research backs that up!) you’ll be much more open-minded when it comes to trying to find them. Some mindset reframes that might come in handy:

- The energy I put into Instagram matters.

- I am open to finding dream clients who want to work with me on Instagram.

- The perfect clients for me are out there and I am intentional about connecting with them.

Dos and Don'ts to Find Your Ideal Clients on Instagram


☑️ Use the tracker to keep track. This strategy quickly becomes overwhelming otherwise.

☑️ Type like you would talk. My book Beyond Brand Voice can help you figure out how to be consistent with the words you use on Instagram and everywhere else in your business. ☑️ Keep in mind that this is the beginning of building a genuine relationship - don't just do a one-time engagement blast and then ghost. This won't work well as a marketing strategy.


🙅‍♀️ Talk about your services or products directly in the comments you write, unless this is the answer to an actual question in their post. This will come across as spammy.

🙅‍♀️ Comment with just emojis or one word. This won't "count" or get you the results you want.

🙅‍♀️ Do this once and then never do it again. Finding your ideal client on Instagram is a long game marketing strategy meant to be done with intention and alignment.

Top Tips for Success in Finding Your Ideal Clients on Instagram

1. Get your copy of the tracker so you can track your progress!

2. Make sure you’re feeling positive and have plenty of time, ie: not rushed, and not in a low vibe mood.

3. As soon as you start to notice yourself writing similar comments, take a break. Your list isn’t going anywhere, and you won’t get the results you want if your energy isn’t high. It's better to come back to this activity when you are in a great mood and you're feeling high-vibe because you'll write better quality comments that are truly conversation and connection starters.

4. Decide ahead of time how much time you are going to spend on this task as it can be time-consuming. I recommend 15 or 30 mins to start while you practice. You may only get through a few steps at first and that’s okay! Take your time and don’t get discouraged if you don’t get as far in as you wanted. You can always reserve a block of time and make it part of your daily marketing tasks to fit it in to your schedule.

Why I created the Ideal Client Tracker

About 50% of my current clients come from Instagram... some of them find me, and others I connect with first through intentional engagement using this exact hashtag method! Without the tracker, I was feeling overwhelmed because I would fall down an Instagram rabbit hole. This way, I can keep track of where I'm at and actually feel like I'm making progress, while keeping it sustainable and motivating for me to find my ideal clients on Instagram.

Track your ideal client progress on Instagram here!

Have you started using the tracker and come up with questions? Let me hear them! Connect with me on Instagram @clearquartzcreative and I'm happy to give personalized feedback!

Chantelle Headshot Clear Quartz Creative.jpg


CQC Crystal - How to Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset

 - a mentor to service-based business owners and the author of the Aligned Action Series of print workbooks for solo entrepreneurs.


Also... a former K-12 teacher who left the classroom to teach you how to run your business with intention instead.


In working with 100+ clients, I’ve developed a unique approach that promotes alignment and self-awareness as key business skills.

Solo entrepreneur clients work with me to establish a continuous cycle of introspection and implementation - you too can learn how to infuse self-awareness into your business.


Let’s turn the pain of unfulfilled ideas into real possibilities and plans, by reflecting and taking action in your business together!

White and Grey Keyboard Glasses - Ideal Client


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