More than 400 million people scroll through the Instagram Explore page each month and yet many users are still to understand the main features or principles of the page.
But what’s the purpose and value of this new feature on Instagram?
Instagram Explore is a page that showcases accounts you might wish to follow and the associated posts, products and content from these users. But more on this in a moment.
In terms of value, the Instagram Explore page can significantly increase recognition and awareness of a brand, while generating more likes and comments in the process. It’s an opportunity to gain highly-engaged followers and potential customers for your services.
In this article, we take a closer look at what you should know about Instagram Explore and how you can take advantage of the immense traffic and interaction on the page.
What is the Instagram Explore Page?
Instagram Explore is a collection of videos, stories and posts which the platform curates based on users likes and interests.
It’s actually an advanced version of the “Popular” page which long time users will remember from the early days of Instagram. You might also compare this page to certain areas of your Netflix or Amazon account which recommend movies and products based on your previous views and purchases.
As you can imagine, there are many benefits when it comes to snagging a spot on the Instagram page. If you sell products or services, this is “free” advertisement and a chance to build up your online following at the very least. Given the highly-targeted nature of this page, Instagram Explore is also especially valuable for putting your content right in front of your chosen target market.
How Instagram Explore works
You will find Instagram Explore on the same page as the search function. It presents users with a list of posts and content from accounts that they are not already following. It’s all interlinked which means that user activity and interaction determines what accounts or content will find itself on the Instagram Explore page.
For instance, Instagram knows that many of your followers are likely to have similar interests. When you like or comment on posts from a particular user, the algorithm is more likely to place this same content on the Instagram Explore page of your followers.
Interestingly, this also means that your Instagram Explore page is a transparent reflection of what you really like on the platform. In other words, this is not just content from accounts that you follow but rather an honest lineup of the content with which you interact.
When it comes to business accounts, the Instagram Explore page is an effective way to reach new and highly-targeted customers. After all, these users are already interacting with similar products or services that these businesses are providing - otherwise they would not be showing up on this page in the first place.
And then there’s the question of how you might improve your chances of getting featured on the Instagram Explore page. Here is a short answer:
- Engage with the most relevant users on Instagram
- Use the right hashtags
- Pick the right time for posting
- Send the right signals to the algorithm
- Reach out to influencers
How to get featured on the Instagram Explore Page
Mastering the Instagram Explore page is mostly a case of curating content that speaks to your target market and enhancing the way this content is posted. You see, Instagram already knows how to connect the right accounts with the right people which makes this an especially organic and transparent pocket of social media. It’s all about timing and knowing how to share content that will make users want to engage with your posts.
After that, authenticity and consistency is the key to featuring on Instagram Explore and the more you understand this process, the more quickly you should see your account in lights. Here’s a more detailed instruction on how to roll out the steps above:
Engage with the most relevant users
What posts does your average follower enjoy the most? Who else do they follow on the platform and to what kind of language might they respond more? Engaging with targeted audiences, relevant profiles is crucial for you to get favored.
You really want to be transparent with this approach and create a meaningful connection with users that will help build community around your account. Ideally, you should aim to have these users return to your account on a regular basis and responding to comments/interaction is the best way to build the kind of connection that will make this happen. At the same time, you must focus on authenticity to ensure that you are engaging with the most relevant users.
Use the right hashtags
If you’re anything like me, you might be bored to death with hearing about the importance of hashtags. However, choosing the right hashtags is the fastest way to make your content visible, while reaching users who are most likely to enjoy your content. Instagram also loves when users add hashtags because this helps categorize content and let users know the topic or purpose of a particular post.
Either way, just keep in mind that Instagram Explore pays close attention to the hashtags on your posts and to identify trending topics that users might find valuable within your content.
Pick the right time for posting
Timing is everything on Instagram and you need to get this timing right to snag a spot on Instagram Explore. According to Forbes, the best time to post on Instagram is during the day between Tuesday and Friday. Neil Patel is more specific and says that morning and afternoon is the best time to post for increased engagement.
At the same time, engagement depends on your specific audience and only data can answer the question of when exactly you might want to post. In other words, use Instagram insights to find out when your followers engage the most and this will give you the best possible chance of having those followers engage more often.
Send the right signals to the algorithm
First of all, sometimes you just need to ask that followers check out a web page, buy a product or comment on a post. And using a call-to-action (CTA) should be something you do on a regular basis.
For reaching the Instagram Explore Page, you certainly need to take this approach when it comes to liking posts at the very least. Whether this request is placed in the description or comment section, a genuine CTA will not only increase engagement on your posts but also send the right signals to the algorithm for Instagram Explore.
If you read back on the principles that drive the Instagram Explore algorithm, you should understand the great importance of this step.
Work with influencers
Like it or not, influencers still play a major role for getting traction on Instagram. It’s quite a gray area in recent times with so many brands telling influencers what to say but recent studies show that most users are more trusting of influencers than businesses.
By cross-promoting posts, you can use this sense of trust to build brand loyalty but also to gain authority in a particular niche. Instagram Explore takes this authority into account and takes note of accounts/users that often contribute to trending topics.
Now, that’s not to say any influencer will do. As always, it’s essential to do your homework and pick out individuals in your niche that have an audience in line with your own account. It should also be remembered that smaller influencers are sometimes more beneficial to brands as they tend to have a more targeted audience and a closer relationship with their followers.
Final thoughts on the Instagram Explore Page
Instagram Explore is an organic feed that can help you reach a wide audience outside of your existing lineup of followers. In fact, waking up to find your account on the Instagram Explore page is like striking gold or spotting your business on the most prominent billboard in town. And let’s remember that it’s absolutely free!
With over 800 million users every month, this is also a feature that businesses simply cannot afford to ignore and a place in which brands can achieve great traction with minimal effort.
However, Instagram is very picky as to who gets to feature on this page and algorithms are mostly focused on authentic users that produce outstanding content that also falls in line with the factors outlined earlier in this article. It’s true, some of these steps or nuances are rather tiresome to navigate but the truth is, getting a spot on the Instagram Explore page is more than worth the effort.