If you have hopes of building a strong following on Instagram, you need to ensure your posts are visible. One of the best ways of finding a new audience for your posts is to make it to the Instagram Explore page. But you can’t get your posts there by choice. Only the “best of the best” posts show up on the Instagram Explore page. But it isn’t as daunting as it may seem. If you follow our suggestions below, Instagram will begin to recognize your posts and consider them as worthy enough to share on the Explore page.
How to get onto the Instagram Explore Page:
What’s So Special About the Instagram Explore Page?
The Instagram Explore page is the Holy Grail for Instagrammers looking for an audience. This is because it gets your post splattered before a new, large audience. It is Instagram’s curation of “best content.”
Whether you are a brand, an influencer, or just an ordinary Instagrammer searching for a wider audience, you can consider appearing on the Instagram Explore page to be the pinnacle of your success.
Instagram hasn’t always had an Explore page. It evolved from their Popular and Discovery pages, which showed the most liked content at the time you opened the app. The problem with relying on “most liked” as a criterion, is that it doesn’t necessarily mean that the items that appeared on those pages were any good. They also may not have interested you in any way.
The Instagram Explore page uses AI to deliver posts that will be relevant to each user. Sure, if your post makes it to the Explore page, it won’t be shown to every Instagram user. But it will be shown to those users that Instagram’s AI believe will appreciate your post.
Instagram has made a point of updating what it includes on the Instagram Explore page too. It has recently made a few changes to the page, including:
- It now recommends Instagram Stories as well as regular Instagram feed posts
- It includes channels, so your users can hunt out content on topics that are likely to be of interest to them.
- One of the suggested channels is a specialized Shop channel, which will highlight the brands you follow, along with suggestions of others that may interest you
- It includes a button linking you to a personalized feed of recommended IGTV videos
How the Instagram Explore Page Works
The Instagram Explore page used AI to learn about user behavior when on Instagram, taking notice of the types of content that people like. With this knowledge, Instagram searches to similar kinds of content. It places these posts in a customized grid on your Instagram Explore page.
Each user’s Instagram Explore page is different. They are very dependent on the nature of each Instagrammer’s history.
Triggers That Affect What Appears on the Instagram Explore Page
As everyone’s Instagram Explore page is different, the following list is a general guide only.
Instagram Likes and Follows
This is apparently the most significant trigger to the algorithm. The algorithm tries to show you posts that are similar to other items you have followed and liked.
So, for example, if somebody always likes and shares fashion-related posts, then they will find their Instagram Explore page will mainly include items that are about fashion.
Content is generally prioritized in terms of
- High-quality video posts
- Average video posts
- High-quality still images
- Low-quality still images
Because videos auto-play, they are more likely to attract Instagram’s attention than traditional triggers.
Visual Instagram Stories
Instagram is, of course, all about the visual look. So, it should be no surprise to learn that high-quality visual Instagram posts are often selected for the Instagram Explore pages Having an animated component will also go in the account’s favor, along with liberal use of visual elements such as stickers and GIFs.
You might not have heard of regramming Instagram content, but it is an essential part of “being social” on Instagram. Sure, we don’t regram as often as we retweet, but people do share each other’s material. We have previously looked in detail at How to Regram Instagram Content.
You do have to be careful you don’t overdo the regramming of content, however. Frequent regramming hurts the likelihood that your content will be selected for the Instagram Explore page. Obviously, Instagram only wants fresh and original material on the Explore page.
Regramming is fine, if you don’t break copyright on visual images, and if you don’t make it the heart of your social program. If you want to become an elite account, though, you should create content for people to share, rather than sharing the works of others.
Tips to Get on the Instagram Explore Page
Know Your Audience
Remember that the Instagram Explore page is a highly targeted page. Instagram believe that they have found the content that will most suit any individual. Therefore, you should create content that suits your preferred target audience. It needs to be relevant to the people you want to take notice.
If you are like your audience, you could copy the types of material that appear on your Explore page. You need to create videos that will interest that audience.
Make Your Instagram Posts at the Best Times
If you are aiming to maximize the audience for your Instagram posts, then you will want to post at the time when most of your target audience is online and checking their Instagram accounts. This makes sense – people will only engage with the posts they’re online to see.
If Instagram notices that you have better than usual engagement with a post, they are more likely to consider your content worthy of adding to the Explore page.
In our earlier article, When is the Best Time to Post on Instagram, we looked at a range of studies and found a variety of best times, depending on the study:
- HubSpot - between 2 PM and 3 PM – Thursday the best day
- Sprout Social - Wednesday at 11 AM and Friday at 10–11 AM
- Expert Voice - Wednesday: 5AM, 11AM. and 3PM (doesn’t specify time zone)
- Later – 9AM-11AM EST, equivalent to 8AM-10AM CT
You need to determine when your audience spends time online and make your posts at the best time for them. Again, your Instagram Insights should give a good indication of this.
Use Instagram Insights to Determine Which of Your Content Performs Best
Assuming you are already a regular poster of original content, it is likely that some of your content already makes the Instagram Explore page for some people. Remember, the Instagram Explore page is individualized. If your post is of reasonable quality and targeted towards a person, it may already have been shared with that type of person.
You can learn a great deal about the effectiveness of your post from your Instagram Insights. Remember that you can also gain analytical insight into your stories too. We have recently looked at Instagram Stories Analytics.
Don’t forget that you must first register as a business profile to gain access to Instagram Insights. If you haven’t already done so, you will have to change from a Personal Profile to a Business Profile before you can do any analysis of your performance.
Look at each recent post. Tap the View Insights button beneath each post and swipe up to see more statistics about the post’s performance. You will notice a Discovery section which includes a breakdown of the post’s impressions. Look for any posts that include “From Explore.”
These posts have clearly performed well. Instagram has recognized that they suit the requirements of a particular audience (hopefully the one you were targeting). Therefore, if you want more appearances in Instagram Explore, you should create more of these types of posts.
Keep a Consistent Style Across All Your Posts, Including Instagram Stories
The best brands post in such a way that you can tell who’s made a post without even reading the poster’s name. You need a house-style for all your posts.
As Instagram Stories (and indeed IGTV) now have sections of the Instagram Explore page, these also need to be created in a consistent style.
Create Short Videos Featuring Your Product
You need to find a balance between creating a blatant ad (which won’t succeed on Instagram) and a short video promoting the benefits of your product. For instance, you could make a short video showing how people use your product. Perhaps you could create a tutorial showing some aspect of your product in use.
Instagram creators have made many short videos that showcase a product and its features without the hard sell. These include makeup tutorials, hair styling tips, and clips on how to set up your television correctly.
Influencers are particularly good at creating this kind of post. They know what it takes to pique the interest of their followers. If enough take an interest, then Instagram is likely to widen the audience by adding it to the Instagram Explore page for relevant people.
Love Instagram Live
Live video is now exceptionally important. Quite a few brands have recognized this and have introduced faces who regularly run live video session on Instagram. Live videos have their own section on Instagram Explore. Live video can give you incredible exposure, once you’ve got over stage fright of making the presentations.
Create IGTV Videos
Video is rapidly becoming more popular. IGTV is nowhere as big as YouTube yet but is it growing in popularity. And, of course, IGTV has its own dedicated section on the Instagram Explore page.
This could be an excellent place for you to upload longer and more detailed videos, that otherwise couldn’t be included in your regular feed. Don’t forget the requirement to use vertical videos, however, which means that you can’t just reuse a YouTube video.
Repurpose Still Content as Video Content
Video content is rapidly gaining importance on the Instagram Explore page. The addition of sections devoted to IGTV and Stories have emphasized this more than ever.
Videos autoplay in Explore, which immediately grabs people’s attention.
However, creating video can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Therefore, you can make things easier by repurposing some of your existing content as videos. You could, for instance, convert a still image into an animated GIF, or turn a series of still images into a slideshow. You could insert short video clips into a previously used Story.
Tag Products in Your Posts for the Shopping Channel
One of the recent changes to Instagram Explore is a section devoted to shopping. Ideally, you would like your products to appear in this Shopping section of Instagram Explore. For this to happen, you first need to tag relevant posts and stories with shoppable product tags.
Tag Other Relevant Brands
If you work with other brands, you should begin to tag them in your Instagram posts. Instagram will recognize that there is a relationship when it sees a consistent tagging pattern.
For instance, if you stock a particular brand, make sure to tag that brand in your posts. If you’re able to, ask your suppliers to tag you in their posts.
If the connection is strong enough, Instagram is likely to start showing your posts to the other firm’s followers, and vice versa.
Use Hashtags Cleverly
Hashtags may have started out on Twitter, but they are arguably more important on Instagram nowadays.
When you use hashtags, you have a chance to deliver your content to a whole new audience – your only similarity being that you use the same hashtag.
If you use the right hashtags, you might find a whole new breed of followers. It’s crucial that you are selective with your hashtag use, though. Instagram doesn’t like it when people use the same hashtag for each post and has been known to shadowban people who do that. Also, remember, you are still only targeting a particular type of person. There is little point in attracting the “wrong” audience for your product.
Interact with Your Instagram Followers
Instagram is a social network…which means that to be successful, you must be social. People won’t be impressed if you remain a broadcaster solely. Like and comment on your followers’ posts.
Interact with Influencers on Your Posts
Just as you should interact with your followers, you should also communicate with influencers in your field (whether you work with them or not). It’s quite common for people to tag particularly important influencers in their niche in their posts.
Create and Share Quote Posts
While quotes may not seem overly relevant to the typical topics of your content, they are a particularly popular type of post. Quotes get people thinking. They can often be motivational. Sure, they don’t relate to your product, but they encourage others to take a further look at the types of content you produce.
Don’t forget that Instagram is a visual medium, though. You want your quote to stand out from all the other images and videos that make up the Explore page.