If you’re a social media marketer, then Instagram is probably somewhere at the top of your mind. With so many brands on the platform, each uploading their own unique content, it becomes essential for you to think about ways to maximize your reach.
That’s where the Instagram Explore page can help you. Getting on the Explore page is a sure-fire way to massively boost the visibility of your posts, creating a viral effect that gives you an intense shot of engagement in a short period of time. Unfortunately, there’s no definitive way to get yourself on this page. However, with some work, you’ll be able to at least increase the chances of your post ending up on the page.
But before we get into all that, there’s one question that we need to answer.
What is the Instagram Explore page?
The Instagram Explore page is where Instagram curates content for its users. Every user will see different content on their Explore page, and this is based on the posts they like, and the people they follow. Simply put, it’s a collection of posts that Instagram thinks you might enjoy.
Instagram says that more than 50% of it’s users use the Explore page. And that’s a lot of people. Instagram has more than a billion active users, which means there are 500 million users actively checking the Explore page.
But how does Instagram decide which posts will appear on the page? That’s decided by their algorithm, and they consider things like:
- Posts that people you follow have liked
- Posts with high engagement
- Posts from accounts similar to ones you already follow
Around the middle of 2019, Instagram did an overhaul of their Explore page. They added filters to the top of the page, so that users are able to find specific content that they’ll enjoy. They also pinned two specific filters to appear first: IGTV and Shop. This is followed by topic-specific channels, and Instagram has rolled out Stories on the Explore page for some accounts, as well.
Advantages of getting on the Explore page
By now, it should be clear that getting on the Explore page has one obvious advantage—more people will see your content. This, in turn, can give you a lot of other related benefits:
- More engagement on the post that was featured on the Explore page, as more people can see your content now.
- An increase in followers, because people who check out your profile from the Explore page may follow you if they like your content.
- Increased engagement on all future posts, because of these new followers.
- With proper CTAs, more conversions.
How to get on the Instagram Explore page
1) Post when people are active
One of the best Instagram tips that you’ll hear is to post at the times when your followers are most active. This is great advice because Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes timeliness as one of the factors for posts being seen.
What this means is that if your post is brand new, it’ll be shown on your followers’ feeds. And if you can time your posts to when your followers are most active, you’re likely to get higher engagement, which is key to getting your posts onto the Explore page.
And thankfully, finding out when your followers are most active isn’t a difficult thing to do. If you have an Instagram Business account, you can head over to the Audience section in the Insights tab, and you’ll be able to see when your followers are most active, both by the hour and by the day.
Alternatively, you can use a social media management tool that provides these analytics for you. Zoho Social, for example, can use past engagement data for your brand and then predict the best times for you to make your next post, along with the percentage of your followers that are likely to be online at that time.
2) Figure out what kind of posts your audience likes
To make a successful post, it’s not enough if you’re just posting when your audience is online. You’ll need to make sure that you’re posting content that’s interesting and useful, as well. This is when you’ll be able to get the most engagement, so it’s more likely that your post will end up getting featured on Instagram’s Explore page.
Pay close attention to the kind of posts that are getting the most engagement for you. Does your audience like videos more than pictures? Do they like carousel posts the best? Do they like funny content or inspirational content? If you’re able to answer these questions, you’ll be armed with enough information to make the best kind of posts, at the best times, for your audience. And that pretty much guarantees engagement on your posts.
Instagram’s own analytics tool makes this a lot easier, as well. Under the Posts section in Insights, you’ll be able to sort the best performing posts/stories based on various different metrics—engagement, reach, impressions, etc. Notice a pattern? Great! You can now take advantage of this information to craft better posts for your brand.
And don’t forget that you’ll also be able to get similar insights into your posts and engagement by using a social media management tool.
3) Learn from posts that are already on the Explore page
A trick that could really work for you is to look at the posts that are already appearing on your Explore page. If you’re following Instagram accounts or engaging with posts that are relevant to your industry, your Explore page will give you plenty of insights on what kind of content the Instagram algorithm is noticing, and what kind of content your prospective audience would like to see.
If you spot a post on the Explore page that has nothing to do with your industry, chances are that it has great engagement. Remember, there’s something to learn from every post that shows up on the Explore page. Take a careful look at them, then think about how you can incorporate some of those elements into your own posts.
4) Use the IGTV format and shoppable posts
It’s a well-known fact that videos are the best performing content across all social media. So it’s no surprise that Instagram is pushing its IGTV format hard. They’ve even launched an IGTV academy in London to help content creators make better use of the feature.
Using the IGTV format can work well, because IGTV has a separate section on the Explore page, and is also pinned right at the top. Creating IGTV content could be a good call for your brand, as it’s evident that the Instagram algorithm is going to push this kind of content harder in the coming years.
And if you’re looking for tips on how you can best use IGTV for your brand, check out our guide!
Similar to IGTV, shoppable posts are also pinned to the top of the Explore page. If you’re a B2C company, this is especially great for your business. There’s a lot of competition from other brands in these kind of posts, though, so you’ll have to ensure that you craft a great post, and publish it at the right time for the most engagement.
5) Use location tags and hashtags
Location tags and hashtags are extremely powerful tools on Instagram. They’re a great way to ensure that your posts are discoverable by more people on the channel, meaning that you’ll be able to instantly reach people who aren’t a part of your network (yet).
And when you do use them, be sure that you’re only using tags that are relevant to the post, to avoid looking spammy. Using tags can significantly boost the engagement that your posts receive, and will thereby improve your chances of being featured on the Explore page.
6) Use calls to action
By now, we all understand that the key to getting on the Explore page is through higher engagement on your posts. One of the best ways to ensure that is to directly encourage your audience to engage with your posts through the use of calls to action (CTAs).
Include questions in your captions so that your followers can answer them in the comments, thereby starting a conversation with you. You can even be direct and ask your followers to like, share, or tag their friends in your posts, as well. This is a great strategy for contests or giveaways that your brand might want to run.
Simply asking your audience to engage with your posts can sometimes have a great effect on engagement, and can boost your chances of being featured on the Explore page.
Check out our guide on CTAs for more information!
7) Work with influencers
Finally, your brand may also consider working with influencers in the industry, or your within brand’s particular niche. This is a great way of boosting your reach and driving engagement from an audience that your influencer has already cultivated. This additional engagement can help ensure that your post ends up being featured on the Explore page.
Cross promote the posts on both your page and the influencer’s page, and then repurpose the content created by the influencer for future posts, as well.
For more information on how you can use influencer marketing, head over to our guide!
By using the tips we went through above, you should be able to drive enough engagement on your posts to eventually appear on the Instagram Explore page. And for even more help in this area, check out our guide on engagement for additional tips and tricks!
Know of anything we’ve missed, or want to add something? Let us know in the comments below, and we’ll be sure to get in touch with you!