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How to Hack the Instagram Explore Page

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 praying 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 plastering a billboard right outside the home of your target customer. In simple terms, it gets you face-to-face with your prospects.

The Instagram Explore page is a marvel of real-time content curation. It’s different for every user, and it’s a phenomenal resource for your company, because whenever one of your followers like something that you post, your content has a better chance of showing up on the “Explore” page of their followers, creating a chain-reaction of brand reach.

Since Instagram now hosts about 800 million monthly users, and 60% of those are active with the platform every day, knowing how to hack 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. Back in the day, the popular page wasn’t quite as trendy as the social media network had hoped because it didn’t cater to the individual interests of each user.

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 Instagram Explore 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.

Step 1: Develop the Right Kinds of Followers

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. If you check out the Instagram FAQ on “Explore,” you’ll find this:

Simply put, Instagram decides whether to showcase your content, based on how relevant it is to the people following you.

That means that you need to know exactly what your customers are looking for when they’re browsing their Instagram feed.

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

Step 2: Press Play on Instagram Live

There’s about 250 million people using Instagram Stories each month. That’s a pretty significant market for any brand to access. Since live video is emerging as a popular way to share experiences (particularly among younger audiences), it makes sense to play with this new form of content when you’re trying to generate new interactions with your customers.

Instagram highlights the top live videos on theExplore page, which can be easier to access depending on how new you are to the platform. The good news is that video will still give you incredible exposure while helping you to engage your followers.

instagram live explore page

Not sure what to publish? Try some of the following ideas:

  • Upcoming sales and announcements
  • Q&A sessions or interviews
  • Behind-the-scenes explorations
  • Collaborations and takeovers
  • Event insights

Step 3: 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 about 12.6% more engagement than their counterparts.

Hashtags give Instagram users a fantastic way to find content that speaks to their needs. When you use a hashtag, you can access better engagement, and therefore improve your chances of appearing on the Explore page.

Just remember, hashtags shouldn’t be “too” promotional. Combine branded tags with locations, trending topics and fun phrases.

Step 4: Post the Right Content 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. If you don’t have a business account, check out some of the best times to post on Instagram.

best time to post on instagram graph

Step 5: Communicate with Your Instagram Followers

Social media is all about being “social”. To improve your chances of appearing on the Instagram Explore page, you’ll need to take that concept to heart and do everything you can to boost engagement with your audience.

Try to ask 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.

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 and expand your reach too.

Step 6: Borrow Some Influence

Finally, while you could always simply tag influencers in your post to improve your reach on social media, it’s generally a better idea to build authentic connections with people that your customers care about. Instagram is an incredible place to build connections with authority brands in your network because you can always include their items or quotes in your posts!

A few ways to get started include:

  • Sending direct messages to brands
  • Following new companies
  • Mentioning brands and influencers when you highlight them in your content

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.

In no time, you should find yourself boosting your bottom line, without spending a penny on ads. Now, how’s that for spectacular social marketing?

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Sprout Social

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