How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page

 In Sprout Social

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If you’ve recently joined the visual-first hordes of Instagram to generate awareness and recognition for your brand, then there’s a good chance you’ve found yourself hoping for a spot on the Explore Page.

In the world of social media marketing, the Instagram Explore page is like snagging a spot on prime-time TV or a billboard on your target customer’s commute. In simple terms, it gets you face-to-face with your prospective audiences and can earn you a ton of additional organic engagement outside of your follower base.

What is the Instagram Explore Page?

The Instagram Explore page is the network’s source for real-time content curation. Appearing on the same page as the search function, it presents different posts for every user from accounts they don’t yet follow based on their past likes and interests.  When users engage with your posts, your content has a better chance of showing up in the Explore Page of their followers, creating a chain-reaction of brand reach. It also has a better chance of showing up in the Explore Page of those interested in your niche area.

Since Instagram now hosts about 800 million monthly users, and 60% of those are active with the platform every day, knowing how to get on the Explore Page could be your key to a world of highly-engaged, (highly valuable) followers.

instagram explore mobile

How does the Instagram Explore page algorithm work?

The Instagram Explore Page is essentially an evolution of the “Popular” page which was introduced back when the Instagram app first began. Unlike today’s Explore Page, this selection of content didn’t cater to an individual users’ specific interests.

The Explore page, on the other hand, appeals to the needs of today’s empowered customers, giving them the relevant content they crave based on posts that they’ve liked in the past. The Explore algorithm monitors how you interact with the social platform, and generates content that specifically syncs with how you use the app. That’s why some people consider it to be the “realest” place on the web.

For businesses, whenever your content shows up on the Instagram Explore page, there’s a chance for you to develop new touch points with previously unconnected users. That means that you instantly expand your potential market.

instagram explore on desktop

Why the Instagram Explore Page matters to your brand

In simple terms, the Instagram Explore page delivers exactly what your company wanted when you signed up for social media marketing in the first place–recognition for your brand.

If you can strategically boost your presence on Instagram Explore, then you can generate more likes and engagement for your company, while increasing your opportunity to sell new products, acquire new customers and connect with a wider audience.

Ultimately, hacking the Explore page is all about figuring out how to speak to your audience in the right way. After all, the content that appears on this tab depends on how your target customer interacts with the app. Since Instagram has around 95 million photos worth of consumer data to explore each day, it knows exactly how to connect the right brands, to the right people. All you need to do is get in on the algorithm.

How to get on the Instagram Explore Page

Engage followers in your niche

When you log into Instagram, the content you see on the Explore Page will be dictated by what other people in your network view, and what you’ve shown interest in before.

That means that you need to know exactly what your customers are looking for when they’re browsing their Instagram feed. You want to build an authentic following and forge connections with them so they return to your feed again and again to engage with your posts through likes and comments. This means there’s no benefit to buying followers who don’t have enough interest in your niche to boost your post with real engagement.

With that in mind, ask yourself:

  • What does your target audience look like?
  • What kind of things do they enjoy?
  • Who do they follow?
  • What kind of content do they post?
timberland instagram engagment post

Use location tags & hashtags

Hashtags are some of the most useful tools you can access on Instagram. These simple solutions instantly make your content more discoverable, ensuring that you can reach people beyond your existing network. That’s why research shows that brands who use at least one hashtag per post achieve more engagement than those who use none.

Hashtags give Instagram users a fantastic way to find content that speaks to their needs and feed directly into your chances of getting on the Explore Page. Not only are your posts more likely to get the engagement they need to feature on the Explore Page, but you’re also signaling the topic of your post and your niche by using relevant hashtags.

Just remember, hashtags shouldn’t just be promotional. Combine branded tags with locations, trending topics and fun phrases that all relate to your posts’ topic and target audience.

Post at the right time

It doesn’t matter which social media channel you use, the first step to successful promotion will always be exceptional content. Remember, 50% of Instagrammers currently follow companies, which means that Instagram is the easiest place to connect with your users.

However, you still need to make sure that you’re sharing things that your people want to see if you want amazing results.

Though the quality of your content is crucial, it combines with another factor when determining your spot on the Instagram Explore page.

Timing.

If you have an Instagram business profile, you can use your Insights page to find out when your followers are most active. Alternatively, if you want to see an overall picture for your industry, check out our findings on the best times to post on Instagram.

the best times to post on Instagram

Or, you can make the process of posting at the right time super-easy with Sprout’s patented ViralPost function. ViralPost analyzes your specific audience’s behavior to recommend custom peak engagement times for every post.

Connect with your audience and use calls to action

It’s no surprise that social media is all about being “social”. To improve your chances of getting on the Instagram Explore page, you’ll need to take that concept to heart to inspire your audience to take action and drive engagement.

You can easily build this habit by asking followers to double-tap on a photo or use your caption to ask questions. This will encourage your customers to start a conversation or give you their feedback. You can even request that your fans tag their friends in the comments to spread the impact of your new post. This is often a great strategy for contests and giveaways that help expand your reach to other interested users who may not know of your brand yet.

The more comments and likes you get, the likelier you are to find your place on the Instagram Explore page. What’s more, good interactions will also help to build brand loyalty too.

Work with influencers

Influencer marketing can be a great way of boosting your reach and engagement by tapping into the power of an already cultivated audience. Influencers’ followers often engage frequently with their posts and trust their brand recommendations. By cross-promoting with posts that feature your brand on both your feed and an influencer’s, you’ll get extra visibility and engagement with a new audience.

Just like all of the top tactics for getting on the Instagram Explore Page, you want to make sure you’re highlighting your relevance to a particular topic area or niche. There’s no benefit to partnering with an influencer that has no connection to your typical audience just because they’re a big name. Consider micro- and nano-influencers in your niche who target a small but super-motivated audience that are more likely to engage with your posts and even convert into buying customers.

Influencers give your company instant brand power, perfect for when you want to strengthen your position on social media.
madewell influencer example

Earning your Place on the Instagram Explore Page

Thirty-two percent of the internet users in the US are now active on Instagram.

With so many potential prospects to connect with, accessing the Explore page could do incredible things for your business, allowing you to connect with new, but relevant customers.

The good news is that hacking the Instagram Explore Page isn’t exactly brain surgery. It’s all about knowing how to share the right content, at the ideal time, to the perfect people. The more you build your understanding of your target market and connect with people and methods that can potentially enhance your brand, the more obvious your path to the Explore Page will become.

What results have you found from getting on the Instagram Explore Page? Share your top tips in the comments!

This post How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page originally appeared on Sprout Social.

This post was originally published on Sprout Social

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