Of all the destinations for Meta to place your content, perhaps one of the most desirable is the Instagram Explore page. Normally shown as the second tab in the Instagram app with a magnifying glass icon, this page is tailor-curated for each user but selectively spotlights content to expose to a whole new set of eyeballs.
Needless to say, getting on the Instagram Explore page can be your ticket to virality and possibly result in a windfall of new followers - so how can you get your posts there? Read on as we explore what Instagram’s revealed so far about the Instagram Explore page algorithm and how you can apply what we know to prime your content for placement there.
Wait wait wait… so what exactly is the Instagram Explore page again?
As we outlined, the Instagram Explore page curates content based on your individual preferences within the app. For instance, if you tend to follow a lot of makeup accounts, Instagram might place makeup looks from artists you don’t follow on this page. Meta selects content that is both similar to the content you already interact with or follow, as well as content from accounts that are similar to the ones you engage with as well - it’s for this reason that everyone’s Instagram Explore page is completely unique. The page is an amalgamation of pretty much all the different content types Instagram currently hosts, so this includes photos, carousels, Reels and even the odd Guide or two. Other features like Stories and Effects are excluded from this page (although Effects has its own browsing pages).
So with all the recent fanfare about Instagram users wanting the chronological feed back, without the litany of suggested and sponsored posts, why would there be any reason for users to head to a page with more suggested content? The answer lies in the Explore page’s main function - search! Whenever you’re looking for a particular account, post, tag, location or more, the search bar is found at the top of the Instagram Explore page. The search function within the app also allows you to add filters to your search to better narrow down the results.
So, how do I get on the Instagram Explore page?
As much as we’d love to say ‘just make good content’ and get on with our day, we know it’s not that simple.
When thinking about how to create content with the aim of getting on the Instagram Explore page, optimise for engagement - what type of post can you create and what value can it provide that will result in immediate interactions with the content once it goes live? Instagram’s algorithm has long looked at the first few moments after publication to assess how it will rank your content, which is why there’s a lot of focus on “best times to post” when it comes to the Instagram game. If you can come out swinging right out of the gate, posting valuable content at a time when lots of your followers are online, you give yourself the best chance to succeed with this metric.
Stuck on what makes something “engaging”? Don’t be afraid to browse the Instagram Explore page to get some ideas for your own brand. Do you notice any patterns in content types? Are the recurring posts DIYs, or maybe infographic swipeys? Think about how you can apply these same formats or frameworks to your own brand and products or services.
Don’t forget, Instagram has its own built-in free advertising tool - hashtags. Think strategically about the best hashtags for your content; you want to find something that has a high search volume but a low amount of posts, so you have less to compete with in that search ranking (just like SEO!). For this reason, don’t bother with anything too general. Hashtags like #makeuptutorial might not yield much - if any - meaningful reach, but a hashtag like #bohomakeup is more specific and speaks to an audience with intent.
Lastly, one of the most powerful tools Instagram has released for increasing your viewership is its Post Collaboration feature, where you can list another account as a co-creator of your content. Once the other account accepts your collaboration request, the post will appear on the feeds of their followers as well as yours and appear on their grid as a post as well.
If your co-creator has a similar amount of followers to you, that’s effectively doubling your content reach! Making use of features like this will give your content a much better chance than usual of harnessing engagement in those crucial few minutes right after posting, telling Instagram that this particular post is of high value and - fingers crossed - deserves to be spotlighted on the Explore page.
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