How to Search Instagram for Tags and Users

Find users or posts for a specific tag on Instagram

The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
The Ultimate Guide to Instagram
Introduction

If you don't know how to find users to follow or interesting posts to engage with, you could miss out on a lot of great content on Instagram. You can use Instagram's search function on the official Instagram app and Instagram.com in a web browser.

How to Search Instagram

Open the Instagram app on your mobile device (or go to Instagram.com) and sign in to start using Instagram search.

  1. Instagram search is located on the Explore tab of the Instagram app. To access search, tap the magnifying glass icon in the bottom menu. A search box appears at the top that says Search. Tap the search to display the keyboard.

    On Instagram.com, the Instagram search field is at the top of your home feed as soon as you sign in.

    Search box on Instagram
  2. In the Instagram search field, enter your search. Four tabs appear at the top: Top, Accounts, Tags, and Places.

    To search for a tag, search for it with or without the hashtag symbol (such as #photooftheday or photooftheday). After typing your tag search term, either choose the result you were looking for from the automatic list of top suggestions or tap the Tags tab to filter the results that aren't tags.

    Instagram.com doesn't have the same four search result tabs that the app has, making it harder to filter results. When you type a tag search term, a list of suggested results appears in a drop-down list. Some of these results are tags (marked by the hashtag—#—symbol) and others are user accounts (marked by their profile photos).

    Instagram search example
  3. After you tap a tag from the Tags tab on the app or click on a suggested tag from the drop-down menu on Instagram.com, you're shown a grid of photos and videos that were tagged and posted by Instagram users in real time.

    A selection of top posts, which are posts with the most likes and comments, displays in the default tab on the app and at the top on Instagram.com. Switch to the Recent tab on the app to see the recent posts for that tag in the app or scroll past the first nine posts on Instagram.com.

    When searching tags in the app, you can follow a tag by tapping the blue Follow button so that all the posts with that tag show up in your home feed. You can unfollow the tag by tapping the hashtag and tapping the Following button.

    Searching on Instagram mobile app

Search for Users on Instagram

In addition to searching for posts with specific tags, you can use Instagram search to find user accounts to follow. Enter the username or first name of a user. Like the tag search, Instagram provides a list of top suggestions as you type.

When you know a friend's username, you get the best results by searching for that exact username in the Instagram search. Searching for users by their first and last names can be more difficult since not everyone puts their full name on their Instagram profiles. Plus, depending on how popular their names are, you could end up scrolling through many user results with the same names.

Searching for the name Marie on Instagram

How Does Instagram Rank Search Results?

For users in Instagram search, the most relevant and popular users display at the top, along with their username, full name (if provided), and profile photo.

Instagram determines the most relevant user search results by matching the username or full name accuracy and your social graph data.

You might get results based on your search history, mutual followers based on who you follow and who follows you, and your Facebook friends if your Facebook account is connected to Instagram. The number of followers may also play a role in how users show up in search, making it easier to find popular brands and celebrities.

If you're looking for a high profile individual's account, such as a celebrity or politician, look for the blue checkmark beside their name. This represents a verified account. Verified accounts show up at the top of the results to help you find legitimate accounts easier.

Bonus: Search for Posts from Places

Instagram also lets you search for posts that were tagged at specific locations. All you do is type the location into the search field and tap the Places tab in the app or, when using Instagram.com, look for results in the drop-down list that have a location pin icon next to them.

For ideas on what kinds of things to search for on Instagram, look up some popular Instagram hashtags, or find out how to get your photo or video featured on the Explore tab (also known as the Popular page).

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