Have you ever sat there in front of your Instagram feed, willing your content to be featured on the Instagram Explore Page? Well, you are certainly not the only one.
Millions of Instagram users pray for a spot on Instagram’s front page, but for the majority of users, this continues to be a pipe dream.
If you’re trying to get on Instagram’s Explore Page, then you’ve got to think differently to other users.
You can’t just upload a piece of content, and hope for the best. If you want to make it big, and really get featured on the Explore Page, then you will need to do something that is going to really stand out and go viral.
The best way to do this is with a really good strategy. You also need to get a good idea of what’s going on behind the scenes over at Instagram’s headquarters.
We are referring to the top-secret Instagram algorithm for the Explore Page. In this article, we are going to tell you all about the good stuff.
This is because we have years of experience under our belt and are committed to helping our readers use every chance they’ve got to go viral, and be featured in all the right places on Instagram.
What is the Instagram Explore Page?
So, if you have just arrived, Instagram’s Explore Page came from the discovery or popular page, which displayed popular content at the time of your visit on Instagram.
However, the issue with the discovery page was that it didn’t cater to the specific interests of Instagram users.
Now, when you go onto the Explore Page, the content you will see on there has been curated just for you, based on what you are interested in.
Instagram’s Explore Page includes posts that have been liked by people whose posts you have also liked.
It also includes posts from similar accounts to those that you follow, and posts that have received high engagement.
Instagram chooses posts to show you, without being constricted by the list of people that you follow.
By keeping track of how you interact with Instagram, it is able to make the most of an algorithm to choose content that is going to sync up with your interests.
This is why the Explore Page for Instagram has been called the most honest place online.
This adjustment to how people see new content is great news for companies and businesses alike who have interactive Instagram audiences.
This now gives you a chance to reach new users that otherwise would have never seen your images and videos.
The Explore Page also lets you find Instagram stories from profiles Instagram thinks you will find interesting.
The bottom line with Instagram’s Explore Page is that you’re going to see content on a level that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Why You Need Instagram’s Explore Page
If you are a business or a brand, then you need to be strategically hoping that the Explore Page is going to pick up your content.
As well as helping you get more likes on your content, being on the Explore Page is going to help build brand awareness, acquire new customers, and sell your products.
This is because the Explore Page offers something that other strategies can’t, which is exposing your content to a new audience that haven’t been targeted. They are just random.
As opposed to using Instagram ads, you can take advantage of the Instagram Explore Page, which is free and organic.
Another great thing about it is that Instagram is always including new features, which makes it easier to engage with new users.
This means that getting on the Explore Page now is going to pay off exponentially in the long run.
How to Get on the Explore Page
Of course, nobody really knows how Instagram’s Explore Page algorithm really works, but Instagram has mentioned that the content will come up on the page based on how you use the app, and how you interact with current content.
It is essential that you understand that the algorithm is choosing posts automatically for the Explore Page.
This means that if you want to try and beat the system, you’ve got to try and act like a computer.
The way that Instagram works out how to feature content on the Explore Page is similar to how they choose to feature content in your newsfeed.
The biggest difference is that the Explore Page includes content from people that you aren’t already following.
With Instagram as popular as it is, it’s got a lot of content to draw on when it comes to deciding how to choose which images and videos that you see.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at eight things that are going to determine whether you get featured on the Explore Page or not.
1. Know Your Audience
Instagram features content on the Explore Page that they believe people are going to interact with and they determine this using a number of advanced methods.
However, we have managed to figure out one of these, and it is relevance.
Social media platforms in general want to showcase content to you that you are more likely to be interested in, and it is no secret that Facebook has access to a lot of information about the content that is shared on their platform.
They are also continually working to bring the platform to new users, especially when it comes to accessibility.
As an example, they have developed photo recognition software over the last year or so to help users that are blind.
This tool automatically includes audio with every image upload. This means that if you prefer particular content types, Instagram is going to know this on a very intimate level.
For example, if you run a page based around a restaurant or food, then you will probably want to copy the kind of content that you see on the Explore Page.
So, the first step to appearing on the Instagram Explore Page is to work out your target audience.
When you curate an audience persona, you will know exactly which Explore Pages you want to come up on.
With this in mind, you should be able to start making content based on your target audience’s interests.
If you still don’t really know where to start when thinking about your target audience, thinking about questions like this is helpful.
Who is your target audience? What kind of things are interesting to them? Who are they currently following? What are they currently posting?
We suggest that you start by looking at posts that come up on your own Instagram Explore Page. Have a look around.
This can help you work out what kind of posts your audience likes, as well as dominant aesthetics, and prevailing themes.
If you are a business that is local, then you might want to tap into local influencers and users.
By working out who the influencers are for your target market, you can also connect with them to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement, so that they will feature your product on their profile.
2. Use Popular Hashtag and Location Tags to Get Discovered
One of the most effective, yet simple ways to get a good amount of likes on your content is to use hashtags.
This instantly makes the content more discoverable, but you don’t want to rely completely on limited brand hashtags.
You also want to make the most of unbranded hashtags as well, so that your content can reach out to new audiences.
Hashtags are a powerful approach to helping people discover your content, but you need to make sure that you use them discreetly in order to avoid coming across as overly promotional.
Figuring out the right number of hashtags to use is important.
You probably already know that the limit to how many hashtags you can use on any given piece of content is 30, but generally, the advice is that you don’t go over 11.
There are also rumors swirling around out there that nine is an even better number, but at the end of the day we suggest that you just run your own analytics and tests to work out the ideal number for your particular audience.
If you are showcasing a brand, like a restaurant or clothing company, then you will need to tag them in the post, so when they interact with your photo, it will be easily discoverable to their community.
You can also tag locations in your content to better target your audience, and to make your content discoverable to users that are nearby, and those who are searching within a specific location.
3. Interact with Your Audience
If you really want to be discovered by Instagram’s algorithm and featured on the Explore Page, then you need to increase engagement with your audience.
As well as giving you more reach on Instagram, this is going to help build audience loyalty, as users tend to respond positively when they feel that effort and time was taken to personally interact with them.
One of the most obvious ways to increase engagement with your audience is by commenting and liking on their posts or replying to comments that they leave on your content.
In fact, comments can be seen as more interactive than likes.
So, when you can, reach out to users with comments, instead of just liking their posts.
The more specific you are with your comment, the more likely the user is to want to keep interacting with you and your content.
4. Encourage Action with Captions
Never underestimate the power of your captions to encourage people to respond and interact with your content in a particular way.
Implementing a motivating call-to-action is one of the best ways to encourage your audience to engage with your content.
This can be done through asking them a question, including a branded hashtag, and marketing a particular product.
There are a lot of existing Instagram profiles out there that have found success through sharing interesting or funny photos, and then including a phrase like ‘double tap if you agree’ at the bottom of their caption.
Not only does a call-to-action promote interaction on your Instagram, but it is also going to help you convert your audience into paying customers.
5. Post Your Content at the Right Times
Of course, whether your content is high-quality or not is definitely going to determine whether it is featured on the Explore Page, but another thing that is extremely relevant is when you choose to upload your images and videos.
If you are currently using an Instagram business account, then you can make the most of analytics data to work out when the majority of your audience is online.
This is the best way to determine the best times to post for your audience.
However, this is only really helpful if you have been using Instagram profile for a while, and you’ve got a lot of data to go back through.
If you don’t, then you can do your own research, and work out the best time to post on Instagram, as well as how many pieces of content you should be uploading every day.
As with everything else that we have talked about in this article, it’s important that you experiment with your approaches, and find the right solution based on your audience.
6. Get Influencers and Big Brands Looking at Your Posts
Yes, you do have the option of tagging influencers and brands in your post, but this might just come across as spammy.
Once you are considered a spammer, you will have a difficult time making genuine connections with the people and brands that you have tagged for so long.
We think that a much better approach to this is to begin with a goal of building up long-term relationships with key influencers within your niche.
Basically, you’ve got to think about how you can make friends with people who have a lot of influence already.
On the first things you want to do is follow them, without the expectation that they’re going to follow you back.
After this, you can try to connect with them through a direct message, introducing yourself and sending a post through that you would like them to look at and a reason why it is going to be worth their time.
Even just tagging a relevant influencer in your content can potentially encourage them to comment and like it; you just have to make sure that the post is incredibly relevant to them.
7. Ask Your Followers to Turn on Their Notifications
Apart from trying to get a high quantity of engagement with your content, you’ve also got to make sure that this activity happens at the right time.
Another issue with Instagram’s algorithm is that it decides who to feature on the Explore Page based on how much interaction your content gets within the first hour of uploading it.
If you upload a piece of content and it gets a lot of likes, comments, and shares within the first hour, then it’s got a much higher chance of being featured on the Explore Page.
One way to encourage your audience to interact with your content as soon as it is uploaded is to ask them to turn on their post notifications.
This is a great way to make sure that they see your content as soon as it goes up on your feed, which is going to greatly increase the chances of the Instagram algorithm picking up on your image or video and consequently featuring it.
8. Encourage Users to Interact with Your Content in Alternative Ways
Everybody knows that the most common forms of engagement are comments and likes, but there are also alternative ways for your audience to interact with their posts that can help increase your chances of being featured on the Explore Page.
The first is if your audience saves your posts, and the second is if they share your posts through direct message.
If you want to encourage this type of engagement, then we suggest that you host a contest that incorporates these activities in order to participate.
Encourage participants to engage with your content in multiple ways, including saving the post, liking it, and commenting on it.
If you want people to share your posts in their direct messages, then it’s essential you come up with content that is going to be easily shareable.
There’s also no harm in including a call-to-action in the caption, that encourages them to share it via a message.
How to Know if You’ve Been Featured on the Explore Page
The easiest way to figure out whether a piece of your content has been featured on the Explore Page or not is to look at its level of interaction.
If a post has gotten three times your average engagement rate, then there is a good chance that it has made it to the Explore Page and in the very least it has trended on hashtag for a couple of hours.
Another way that you can tell is by looking at who is commenting on your content.
If you’re getting lots of comments from people you don’t know, then there’s a good chance that they have seen it through their Explore Page.
The Easiest Way to Make the Explore Page
All the methods that we have discussed above are practical and efficient for helping you get on the Explore Page, but sometimes if you really take notice of what’s going on with the Instagram app, you can find something that nobody else is doing.
Something that we have notice lately with Instagram is that it is showing location stories at the top of people’s Explore Pages.
This means that one really easy way to get on the front page is to be featured on the location story of a large town or city in your area.
The best part is that you don’t even have to tag the city or town itself, you can just tag your current location that is within that location.
The good news is that this is really easy to do. All you need to do is tag the location in your story, and make sure that you have created content that is really engaging.
If you currently don’t have that many Instagram followers, then try making the most of the other engagement hacks we have discussed above.
Currently, there are more than 1 billion people on Instagram. This is a huge number of people, and a huge opportunity for you to be seen by even more of your target audience.
However, if you are trying to promote your brand on Instagram, the Explore Page is a good place to be.
The best part is that it isn’t rocket science. It all comes down to a combination of timing, and good content.
If you have a really good vision of your target market, engaging followers, and using the right hashtags, and then it’s definitely possible to get yourself closer to being featured on the Explore Page, so that you can stop paying for those pesky Instagram ads.