Instagram is a hot social network, with more than 800 million monthly active users. If you want to get a bigger piece of that audience following your Instagram profile, then every post you make needs to keep the Explore Page in mind. It’s unlikely that all of your posts will make it there – because an algorithm chooses the content that makes it, but these are the guidelines you should follow.
What is the Explore Page?
The Instagram Explore page is an updated version of the Popular page that was on the network in the early days. The Explore page is different for each user on the network – focused on showcasing content that’s relevant to them based on the accounts and hashtags they follow.
The page is a mix of posts you’ve liked, and posts by people whose posts you’ve liked. This is wonderful for businesses because when your followers like your post, it can show up in their followers Explore Page. If you have a photo that gets a lot of engagement, it makes it easier for your post to go viral on the social network.
You want to be on the Explore Page because it’ll help you get more likes and followers on Instagram, which could easily increase the revenue you bring in. You’ll be able to earn more customers and sell more to them. The Explore Page will expose your business to a new audience of potential customers, and because it’s different for each user based on interests, followers who find you there will be the targeted audience you’re looking for, rather than a random Instagram user. And, it doesn’t cost you anything.
How Instagram Chooses Content for the Explore Tab
Instagram selects photos and videos that have a lot of engagement on them in a short amount of time after they’re posted to your account. This means posting content your audience loves, at a time when they are online to engage with it. But, more than likes, the algorithm pays attention to the conversation that takes place – or the comments between you and other followers.
Your profile must be set to public – which it should be as a business profile. Believe it or not, we have seen some businesses set to private – which protects your profile content from people who are not following you.
The older your account is, the better. It’s not likely Instagram puts a lot of weight on account age, but chances are that if your account is just a few weeks old or doesn’t have a lot of content on it, it won’t be as eligible for the Explore tab, even if you have lots of followers and engagement.
The reason is Instagram knows a lot of activity like that doesn’t happen quickly, and they’re paying attention to natural activity just like Google does when they choose where and how to rank websites.
How to Increase Your Chances of Being Featured on the New Popular Page
Use an automation platform. Using an Instagram bot like SocialCaptain can help you follow people that are part of your targeted audience. It can also like and comment on photos for you, so you can increase your engagement automatically and spend more of your time focusing on the content creation side of things. It also ensures you are building a continuous stream of new followers, which is important to the algorithm.
Create content specifically for your target market. You want your content to stand out on the Explore page, so just getting there isn’t enough. If you’re not creating stellar content for the audience, then they won’t engage with it… and engagement is key. But, if you land on the Explore page without something awesome, it’ll just fade away into the noise. You won’t get new followers from it because no one will notice your content from the other stuff they see on their Explore page.
Schedule posts at the right time. Scheduling posts in advance not only means you can batch your work so you don’t have to stress creating new content every day, but it means that you can make sure you’re posting at the right time for your audience to maximize engagement. You may need to experiment with various times until you see what works best, and go from there. Your Instagram Analytics will provide insights into the best times for optimal engagement based on your audience behavior.
Include a call to action on each of your posts. Tell your audience what you want them to do on each post. Encouraging interation is one of the best ways to get it. Tell them they can “double tap” to like your photos, or leave a comment. When they take the time to leave a comment, take the time to reply to them to continue the conversation. This shows them you’re paying attention and encourages them to comment on future posts.
You can also tell your followers to tag a friend in the comments to let them know about what you’re offering. Getting more likes and comments can help improve your chances of showing up on the Explore page.
Remember, there’s no way to find out exactly what the Instagram algorithm formula uses to pick and choose the Explore page content. And because that formula changes all the time in an effort to improve user experience, the only thing you can do is consistently step up your game to make sure you’re producing quality content and work on your presence and engagement. It will take time and effort, but the payoff will be worth it.