Regardless of how much you know about Instagram growth tactics, the likelihood of growing and monetizing your account sustainably and for a long period of time mostly depends on the level of saturation of your Instagram niche.
It’s a hard pill to swallow for most aspiring Instagram entrepreneurs, but accepting that reality and taking the necessary steps to pivot into a niche in which you have a higher likelihood of success is the difference between being endlessly frustrated by your lack of growth and finally feeling like Instagram success is achievable.
What are the most valuable Instagram niches?
How “valuable” a niche is depends on how much audience growth and monetization someone is likely to achieve within that niche. You can check out my Instagram Small Business Class if you want to learn more about the details of how to monetize.
Generally speaking, accounts that start in niches which are in Introductory or Growth Phases (you can read all about the phases in my article about Instagram niches) have the highest likelihood of long-term audience growth and monetization, when compared to accounts that start in niches that are in Mature or Declining Phases. Why? Niches in Introductory and Growth Phases are not as saturated as Mature or Decline niches, and therefore, accounts starting in them have a much higher likelihood of being able to create content that’s differentiated enough (the key to growth), allowing them to grow an audience that can be sustainably monetized over a long period of time.
This means that, unlike what some Instagram experts would lead you to believe, there is no one set of “most valuable niches” for everyone on Instagram; what is most valuable for each person will likely be different, depending on your unique set of skills and interests. The most valuable niches on Instagram are the ones that are in Introductory and Growth Phases, but more importantly, the Introductory and Growth Phase niches of topics YOU are sincerely interested in.
Finding a valuable niche is worth nothing unless you are interested enough in the topic that you’ll be able to create differentiated and high quality content about it, for a long period of time. In the highly-competitive Instagram ecosystem we live in, it’s the only way to grow.
How to find a valuable Instagram niche.
So knowing now that the most valuable niches on Instagram are Introductory or Growth Phase niches about topics you are sincerely interested in, the next question is: how do you find them?
The key is identifying relatively new niches that relate to your particular set of interests and skills. Even slightly tweaking the focus of your content to incorporate a new topic you’re interested in alongside the content you’re already creating might be enough to move you to a niche that isn’t saturated.
An effective way to do this is by using digital post it notes to brainstorm a list of new potential niches that interest you, then measure their size to identify if they are in Introductory or Growth Phases, and finally pivot to the one that you consider offers the most potential value.
Make a list of new niches that interest you.
Here’s a step by step explanation of the process:
- First, write down all of the Instagram niches you know that you would potentially be interested in creating content about:
- Second, write down your interests/hobbies/passions in life, as well as a location you can focus on that would effectively differentiate your business:
- Third, mix and match them and make a list of the topics that emerge when your niches and interests intersect:
Finally, write down a list of all the topics that came up and select the ones you are most interested in creating content about.
For example, using the above example of niches I’m aware of and topics I’m interested in, I came up with the following list of interesting topics that might be Introductory or Growth Phase niches:
Meditation-related ceramics, Buddhism-related ceramics, macrame-related ceramics, Dodgers-related ceramics, ceremonial cacao meditations, the most differentiated cacao ceremonies in Perth, Australia, giving Instagram advice around plant-based food or macrame, cryptocurrency-related enamel pins, Dodgers-related enamel pins, the Great British Bake Off-related enamel pins.
Out of those topics, the ones I’m the most interested in creating content about are:
Buddhism-related ceramics, Dodgers-related ceramics and The Great British Bakeoff-related enamel pins.
Please note, these can also be called “sub-niches” since they are generally much smaller than larger niches on Instagram, but for the purpose of this article, I’ll refer to them as niches in general.
Measure the size of the most interesting niches to identify what phase they are in.
Now that you have a list of topics you’re potentially interested in creating content about, the next step is to measure the niches of those topics to identify what phase they are in.
How to measure a niche: The size and phase of a niche is measured first by measuring the number of posts within the largest hashtag of that niche, and then by measuring the number of followers of the most popular account of that niche.
The sizes of Introductory & Growth Phase niches: On average, the largest and most popular accounts within Introductory Phase niches will have between 1,000–50,000 followers and the main hashtag will have between 1,000–300,000 posts. The largest and most popular accounts within Growth Phase niches will have between 50,000–500,000 followers and the main hashtag will have between 300,000 and 1 million posts in it. Please note that these are general estimations and not all Introductory and Growth niches will fit into these ranges. The most accurate way to measure the stage of a niche is to identify their characteristics, but for practical purposes, using these measurements is a good first step for most people.
Here’s a simple step by step process of how I measure niches.
- Find the main hashtag of each niche and measure how many posts it has: Go to the hashtag search bar and search for hashtags that you consider people who would be interested in the topic would search for. Scan the top posts of each hashtag you searched for, look at which hashtags those posts use, and identify the ones that seem most likely to be related to your topic. Of all of the hashtags you find, the one which has the largest number of posts is likely to be the main hashtag of that niche (see image below for reference). Keep in mind that the less you know about this niche on Instagram, the less likely you are to find the main hashtag of the niche, so try to do thorough research.
- Find the most popular account of each niche and measure how many posts it has: In the main hashtag you already identified, scan the top posts for the accounts that appear to be creating the content most closely related to the topic. Search through the “Suggested for you” section in those accounts and identify more accounts that create content closely related to the topic. Of all of the accounts you find, the one which has the most followers is likely to be the main account of that niche (see image below for reference). Measure the number of followers it has and again, keep in mind that the less you know about this niche on Instagram, the less likely you are to find the most popular account of the niche, so try to do thorough research.
- Identify what type of niche phase those measurements indicate to: Once you have the number of posts of the main hashtag and the number of followers of the most popular account, you can measure what phase that niche is likely to be in. In the example above, the topic I was trying to measure was “handmade art dolls”. The main hashtag was #artdoll, it has 1.2 million posts in it and one of the most popular accounts in it, @gakman.e, has 148k followers. Given these measurements, this niche is towards the end of a Growth Phase, nearing its Maturity Phase.
Using the topics I’m most interested in from my post-it note brainstorm, these are the results:
Buddhism-related ceramics: The main hashtag is #zenceramics with 2k posts and the most popular account is @zen.ceramics with 3,600 followers which indicate that it’s most likely in an Introductory Phase.
Dodgers-related pins: The main hashtag is #dodgerspin with 1k posts and the most popular account is @sm.pin.shoppe with 3,500 followers which indicate that it’s most likely in an Introductory Phase.
The Great British Bake Off-related enamel pins: The main hashtag is #GBBOinspired with 2k posts and the most popular account is @secreteaterfood with 3,400 followers which indicate that it’s most likely in an Introductory Phase.
Pivot to the new niche you feel passionate about and has the highest potential of growth.
The key to growth in Introductory niches is just being in one that has a high likelihood of becoming popular (which are often hard to find).
In Growth niches, it’s being able to create the highest quality content in comparison to other accounts within the niche, because that will differentiate you and therefore, make you the most likely to be followed over those to other accounts offering similar content.
Knowing this, once you’ve identified which phase your potential new niches are in, select the one that you feel most passionate about, which you also consider has the highest chance of growth long term. By selecting the niche you consider most likely to grow, you’ll have a higher likelihood of being in an Introductory niche that will transition into a Growth niche. By selecting one that you also feel passionate about, you’ll give yourself a higher likelihood of being able to create high quality content (since you enjoy the topic) and therefore, have a higher likelihood of becoming one of the most popular accounts in a Growth Phase niche.
Also keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be a BIG pivot into a completely new niche. Something as simple as organically including a new type of topic or interest into the content you already create might be enough. For example, in my account @potteryforall, I began creating content that helps small business owners grow their accounts on Instagram, in addition to the traditional ceramic-related content I had previously been creating. This has been enough to differentiate my account from all of the other ceramic curation accounts on Instagram, thus far.
From the niches I brainstormed and measured were in an Introduction Phase, the one I would pick would be “The Great British Bake Off-related enamel pins”. Why, you may ask? I love GBBO and I love making enamel pins so I wouldn’t get tired of it, but equally as important is the fact that there is no other account on Instagram focused on creating GBBO enamel pins, which would make me the most popular account within the niche. Taking into account that the show still hasn’t reached “mass” popularity in the USA and in my opinion it’s likely it will in time (given the continued prominence Netflix has bestows upon it) means that it has the potential to still grow substantially.
If you fail, try again.
If you go through this same process and don’t come across any niches that you’re passionate about and are in Introductory or Growth Phases, as well as being likely to grow — don’t worry, it’s normal. Finding valuable niches is hard. Keep your mind open, start the brainstorming process again with new interest, and see where it leads you. There is no hard science to this, try to see it as an exploration of new possibilities and have fun! If your account is already in a Mature or Declining niche, don’t fear pivoting — you aren’t likely to see any positive changes until you do.
And that’s it, pals! That’s how you find the most valuable niche for you. Use digital post it notes to brainstorm a list of new potential niches that interest you, then measure their size to identify if they are in Introductory or Growth Phases, and finally pivot to the one that you consider offers the most potential value.
Hope you find it helpful, and remember, growing on Instagram isn’t about being “cool” or “social”, it’s about understanding how the platform works and learning to execute the activities that lead to growth at a high level!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my article! If you enjoyed it, you can support me by signing up to my Instagram Small Business class, sharing this article and giving it a bunch of claps. You can also follow me on Instagram to get updates whenever I publish a new piece ❤
If you have some ideas about what you’d like me to write about next, let me know!
If you want to read more about how to grow a small business on Instagram, check out my articles about what Instagram really is and how works, how the Instagram algorithm works, why you’re losing Instagram followers, Instagram hashtags, how to increase your Instagram engagement, how to pick the right Instagram username, how to write an Instagram bio, the best Instagram content schedulers and automators, Instagram bots, Instagram bots 2021, the best Instagram bots, how to create an Instagram visual grid, how to create an Instagram repost account that makes money, how to check if you’re shadowbanned on Instagram, and why your Instagram account isn’t growing.