3 ways to study your perfect peeps, right there on the platform

DrMichaela Michaela Bucchianeri health and wellness copywriting with heart dream client research on instagram eyeglasses on white surface

Dream client research on Instagram…?

Yes, friend. You heard me.

As you know, I’m a big believer in doing plenty of research on the people you’re trying to reach… before you ever type a single syllable to try and reach ’em!

But just as important (and far less often talked about!) is the ongoing research necessary to ensure you’re crafting copy + content that speaks to your dream client.

This kind of day-to-day research is the difference between you staring at a blinking cursor, scratching your head trying to guess what your people need from you…

…vs. you asking them directly what they need from you!  (<— SO much easier, right??)

So, why aren’t more of us doing this kind of research?

For some of us, the term “research” still conjures nightmare-memories of unfinished dissertations.

For others, it’s simply a matter of not knowing where to start.

Friend, if either of the above fits you, today’s post is gonna be like a cool breeze on a steamy day!

Researching your dream client doesn’t have to be scary.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

And you can start right where your people are already hanging out as we speak!

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As always, feel free to cherry-pick whatever’s most useful to you in your business right now.

However, I happen to think these strategies are most effective when used together, as a sort of funnel system.

Starting at the top, with the broadest level of dream client research on Instagram…

1) Use hashtags… the right way. 

Ah, hashtags. 

“Back in the day” (i.e., the early 2010s…), hashtags were one of the most powerful tools for boosting your reach on the platform.

The basic idea was to stuff your captions with a mix of broad and niche-specific tags, with the goal of “ranking” more highly for one or more of them and maybe (just maybe!) landing on the Explore page and “going viral”.

Things have changed since then. And that’s a good thing.

Instagram has shifted its priorities in the algorithm to emphasize more meaningful engagement + de-emphasize the kind of incidental, stumble-upon discovery that hashtags used to promote.

This is good news for you, because you know that meaningful is where it’s at!

So, here’s how to start putting these little tags to use in your research:

  • Make a list of hashtags your dream client is using. Let’s say you’re a yoga teacher whose dream client is a millenial woman of color in the Detroit metro area. And let’s say you already know she uses the hashtag #blackyogalife. Enter this in the Tags section of Instagram’s search field, and it’ll display the volume of posts on that particular tag. Tap on the tag, and Instagram will show you a number of related tags, displayed horizontally. Choose 3 to 5 of them to round out your list. For the example above, this might include tags like: #namaslay #detroityoga #blackgirlasana
  • Explore the posts on each hashtag. Now that you have a good sense of the tags your dream client (and others like her!) are using + following, it’s time to start investigating what she’s talking about there! Spend some time each day clicking through the posts on each hashtag on your list, making note of the comments you see on each. What themes do you notice? What language is your dream client using to articulate her struggles, goals, etc?
  • Keep a dream client copy bank. This can be as simple as a Google doc or the Notes app on your phone. Just choose a dedicated place to contain all the word, phrases, etc. you discover from your hashtag research, and add to it regularly.

2) Conduct virtual focus groups. 

Now that you’ve got a solid bank of data to help you understand where your dream client’s coming from, it’s time to dive a layer deeper.

One of my favorite ways to do this?

Virtual focus groups.

Here’s the basic idea:

You assemble a group of dream clients in one (online) space, and facilitate a little conversation about the issues they’re struggling with, their hopes for themselves (or their partners, families…), their questions, their sticking points, etc.

Can you glean this info from a simple survey? Sure.

But the real benefit of a focus group is the element of discussion it facilitates. One person’s comment elicits a piggy-back response from someone else, and suddenly your initial question has produced a cascade of valuable information about your dream clients.

And what’s more, unlike a survey, a focus group enables you to ask clarification + other follow-up questions in real time!

So, how do we do this right there on the platform?

By using the new “Chat” sticker Instagram rolled out just this summer.

(If this is all news to you, not to worry! Here’s a quick primer on what it is + how it works.)

  • Post a Story on a topic that’s relevant to your dream client. Of course, we should be doing this anyway(!), but the goal here is to choose a topic that you’re especially eager to get your dream client’s perspective on. For instance, let’s say you’re a lactation consultant for mothers of twins. You might post on the topic of breastfeeding positions to help with latching.
  • Include hashtags from the list you compiled. This will help your Story be discovered by new dream clients, not just those who already follow you!
  • Invite Story viewers (via the Chat sticker) to share their comments/questions on this topic. You could say something like: “Encountering issues with feeding as a new #twinmom? I’d love to help support you with a new resource I’m developing! Join the chat to share your questions + input!”
  • Start chat + facilitate focus group. Once you have a good number of requests to join your chat, kick things off by thanking participants for their time + input. Then, jump in with an open-ended question and see where the conversation leads!
  • Lather, rinse + repeat! You can replicate this approach with as many topics and questions as you like!

3) Follow up 1:1 via DMs.

Once you’ve had a chance to review the insights from your focus group(s), it’s time to follow up with dream clients individually.

The goal here is to encourage an even deeper level of responding. Think of it like the virtual equivalent to a coffee chat or informational interview.

Some tips:

  • Choose wisely. To make the most of your 1:1 research, think about who you most want to follow up with. Who engages most actively with your content? Who made meaningful contributions to your focus group discussions? Who are you curious to hear more from? Who’s most representative of your dream client?
  • Prepare your questions. Even more so than with your focus group(s), your 1:1 research should reflect forethought and attention to detail on your part. You want to invite thorough responses, but you also want to make things as easy on your dream client as possible. Word your questions carefully so as to provide them a basic structure (e.g., “I noticed in the group chat, you mentioned that X is a challenge for you. Can you share more about the specific ways it’s been challenging?” vs.“Is there anything more you want to say about this…?”)
  • Reach out via DM. I recommend keeping this short, sweet, and pressure-free. Simply let the person know you’re interested in learning more about how you can be most helpful to them + ask if they’d be willing to share their perspective on a few questions. You can also let them know that you’ll be sure to alert them to any new resource you create based on their input, the moment it’s ready!

That’s it!

Once you’ve adopted this comprehensive (yet totally convenient!) approach to conducting dream client research on Instagram, the only left to do is use what you’ve learned + get to work crafting copy + content that speaks directly to what your dream client is asking for!


Ready for your action step? I like your style. 😉Choose 1 of the levels above to conduct dream client research on Instagram (Remember: It’ll depend on where you are in your research process. Ain’t no shame in starting from scratch, friend!)…

…and then start putting it into action TODAY!

Cheering you on!

When it comes to attracting the people you love working with most, you already have a powerful asset at your disposal! Ready to learn what it is, and start putting it to workfor you + your business TODAY?

click the button below to get started…




I help health + wellness professionals connect with their dream clients through genuine, engaging communication. After spending over a decade studying, researching, and teaching psychology + communication principles, I started this business to empower health + wellness professionals like me to “preach what you practice”. I share practical guidance so you can get clear on your unique value, communicate it with heart, attract + serve the people you love working with most… and actually have fun along the way.

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