Followers and engagement

This is How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page

  • 12 Minutes
Discover How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Once and for All (Updated for 2021) For brands on Instagram, discovering how to get on the Instagram Explore Page is similar to landing a Super Bowl commercial spot. Exposure and engagement are

Discover How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page Once and for All (Updated for 2021)

For brands on Instagram, discovering how to get on the Instagram Explore Page is similar to landing a Super Bowl commercial spot. Exposure and engagement are unparalleled.

There is one significant difference, though. While a 30-second Super Bowl commercial costs $5 million, a spot on the Instagram Explore page is free.

The Instagram Explore page may also be more effective for awareness and conversions than Instagram advertising. The audience is highly engaged with the content on the page, after all.

Crazy, right? Well, not so much when you understand the sheer power of the Explore page.

You may think that the Explore page is reserved for the top brands, bloggers, and beautiful people on Instagram. But that’s not true – thankfully. Instagram prides themselves on offering a vast array of content for their audiences, and yours can be featured right up there, too.

Let’s dive into how the Instagram Explore page works and how you can use Sked to increase the chances of your content being featured.

What’s In This Article?

  1. What Is Instagram Explore, And How Does It Work?
  2. Why You Want To Be Featured On Instagram Explore
  3. How To Get On The Instagram Explore Page

Back in the day, the Instagram Explore page used to be referred to as the Popular Page. It was a collection of the best performing content, as judged by general user engagement as well as the Instagram teams.

Today, the Instagram Explore page is curated by you.

It’s a collection of photos and videos that your Instagram activity has aggregated. If you were to hop over to the Explore page right now, you’d likely see your preferred Instagram content reflected in the themes and collections on the page.

Let’s use my personal Instagram as an example.

I follow a lot of accounts that feature fitness, food, memes, and animals. (Typical millennial, right?)

When I switch over to my Explore page, guess what kind of content is reflected? Yep – fitness, food, memes, and animals.

Instagram has designed their Explore page with custom, real-time curation based on your activity and content preferences.

Because of this, Wired has actually dubbed the Instagram Explore page as “the realest place on the web.”

How do they do this? In layman’s terms, the stuff that pops up on my Explore page is content that my friends and the people I follow have engaged with.

Instagram figures that if I’ve taken the time to follow and engage with certain people, then I’d likely be interested in what they’re following and engaging with.

This process creates a certain “networking” effect which expands the power and reach of the Explore page. And Instagram knows it.

It’s clear that Instagram prioritizes their users and wants them to use the Explore page to discover new content. That’s where you come in.

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We’ve already established that the Instagram Explore page is a uniquely-designed place for Instagram users to discover new, relevant content to follow and engage with.

The algorithm behind the page makes it a robust networking and exposure tool for brands and users everywhere.

If Instagram is a part of your business’s marketing strategy, your goal should be to get featured on the Instagram Explore page.

Why? Firstly, your brand will experience targeted exposure that rivals any custom audiences created through Instagram Ads.

Think about it: The content on Instagram Explore is chosen based on your audience’s activity. When they engage with your post, Instagram will place that post in front of their friends and followers.

The bottom line is that you can’t recreate that sort of targeting.

Like I said above, the Explore page offers customized, real-time curation for each individual user.

If your content is shown to a user via the Explore page, that means his or her activity has signaled Instagram that he or she would likely be interested in your content.

Secondly, the Instagram Explore page is a valuable, free addition to your marketing funnel.

Content on the Explore page means new means of brand awareness and exposure. Ideally, users will click on your post to see and learn more, follow your account for more exciting content, and eventually – if you post the right content – convert from followers to customers.

All in all, getting content on the Instagram Explore page can help you boost conversions and make sales – the whole point of marketing on Instagram.

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Getting your content featured on the Instagram Explore page is pretty straightforward, but that doesn’t mean it’s simple.

It’s like clearly seeing the summit of a mountain in the distance but still knowing there’s a long climb ahead.

There are a lot of moving parts to the Instagram algorithm – many of which we don’t know.

So, sadly, there’s no way to hack it. But this should be considered a good thing, because thanks to Instagram’s algorithm, only truly quality content performs well.

Every time you post something on Instagram, your goal should be to provide value, encourage engagement, and connect with your audience. The below strategies provide that extra boost you need to reach the big leagues – the Instagram Explore page.

1) Post great content that your audience likes

Let me guess. You’re rolling your eyes because I’ve said this very point already. Well, I have, and I’ll repeat it – you must post content that your audience likes and responds to.

Not only is that the primary factor in being successful on Instagram, but engagement and interaction is the first step to getting content featured on the Instagram Explore page.

Do me a favor and hop back over to the Explore page. Click on a post and look at how many likes and comments it has.

Probably hundreds or thousands, right? Now, don’t let this scare you away. But do take note that only genuinely engaging Instagram content gets onto the Explore page. That’s how Instagram designed it.

Engagement from your followers will launch your post into the Explore feeds of your followers’ friends, a.k.a. your very targeted, untapped audience. That’s the goal right there.

So, before worrying about posting times, captions, and hashtags, consider the kind of content you’re posting and whether or not it’s relevant and interesting to your audience.

When you’re doing this, it pays to think beyond just plain images and explore ways you can use different filters and effects to make your photos more captivating. If you’re a Sked user, you’ve already got all the tools you need to apply filters, frames, stickers, and text to your photos in the app’s image editor.

And then there’s the attention-grabbing power of dynamic content like carousels and videos. When done well, they’re a proven method of increasing engagement and are a great way help your feed standout.

Need to figure out what kind of content your target audience likes?

Well, next to the Explore page on the bottom of your Instagram account is a little heart. Click on that, then on the top, click Following.

This feed shows you what the people you follow are up to on Instagram. Scroll through to see what photos they like and have commented on. You’ll get an idea of what accounts, aesthetics, and brands they like to engage with – and what content you should be creating.

Also, if you haven’t noticed, the Instagram Explore page can be kind of busy.

Between photos, videos, memes, and the occasional Kim Kardashian selfie, there’s a lot going on. Producing high-quality, good-looking content will catch the eye of people scrolling through their Explore pages.

2) Post at optimal times

Now, let’s discuss timing. You’ve created some stellar content, but when do you post it? The best time to post is when your target audience is most active. This will ensure your post is seen right away.

To help figure out this timing, take a look at your Instagram Analytics page. It should show you when and how often your audience is active. Post your images around that time to see how your audience responds.

Timing is also crucial for Instagram Explore because high initial engagement on a post communicates to Instagram that that post is valuable to its audience.

Posting at the right time will throw your video or image in front of the biggest audience possible, so make sure that you establish optimal times and schedule your content around that.

3) Tag and hashtag

Tagging on Instagram is one surefire way to spread your post like wildfire. For every single image or video you post, make sure you tag any followers, brands, businesses, and locations that are part of that post.

Not only will this educate your followers about what’s in your image and where they can find or learn more about it, but it’ll also drop your post into the Notification page of those you’ve tagged. It can also boost the chances of your post ending up on their Explore pages.

How to Tag People, Products, and Locations Using Sked

You can tag users, locations, and products using Sked when you’re creating a post. Simply upload and edit your photo and then click on the “Tag people” “Tag products” icons and the “Location” box to set your tags (see image below).

Instagram Explore Page - Sked Social

But, don’t stop at tagging. Posting relevant hashtags is just as important, if not more. Studies have shown that posts with at least one hashtag get more engagement.

Instagram hashtags make your brand discoverable by users. Posts tagged hashtags often encourage greater engagement, too. Including industry-specific, popular hashtags in your caption in can help posts end up on the Instagram Explore pages of those who interact those hashtags.

The only downside to hashtags is that they can be difficult to keep a track of and adding them manually every time you post is time-consuming. Our hashtag manager solves this problem though.

You can use it to store and group your hashtags, and quickly add them to your post in the caption or as a first comment without having to remember them or type them out each time.

Tags and hashtags drive engagement and discovery, so if your goal is to end up on the Explore page, don’t post an image or video without one.

4) Interact, and ask for interaction

You’re almost done learning how to get on the Instagram Explore page. There’s just one more thing!

You’ve heard the saying “What you give is what you get.” The same goes for Instagram engagement.

If you authentically engage with your followers and audience on Instagram, they’re more likely to engage with you. And, engagement is the key to landing content on the Explore page, remember?

Engagement doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re a new brand, be patient but consistent. Get on Instagram every day and like, comment, and engage with your audience.

Another way to encourage interaction on your posts is to directly ask for it. As you write up awesome captions for each post, don’t forget to encourage some engagement. This could be asking your audience to like and comment, tag a friend, direct message your post to someone, or even save it for later.

All of these will signal Instagram that your post is valuable and interesting to your audience and will increase your chances of being on the Instagram Explore page.

Other call-to-action ideas would be to purchase your product, check out your sale, visit your website or blog, or just ask a question.

If your post features content from other brands (with their permission, of course), don’t forget to tag and share it with those brands or users.

Merely asking for them to share it with their audiences could encourage them to engage and help boost your post’s activity. A simple like from a major brand could land your post in front of their audience – exposing your content to thousands or millions.

Over to You

Congratulations, you’ve officially discovered how to get on the Instagram Explore page!

Getting content featured on Instagram’s Explore page gives your brand access and exposure to an untapped, targeted audience. This kind of exposure rivals that of paid advertising through Instagram, yet the opportunity is free.

It should be your primary goal to create and cultivate content that gets featured on Instagram Explore.

If you consistently provide value, encourage engagement, and resonate with your audience through your Instagram posts, you’re sure to authentically connect with your audience – and end up on the Instagram Explore page of their friends and followers. And that’s the audience you want to reach.

If you’re looking to carve out hours in your social media workflow, sign up for Sked’s 7-day trial. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.

Photo of Photo of Kyra Goodman

As Head of Evangelism and Social Media at Sked Social, Kyra Goodman is the voice and face behind social media strategy, content creation, community management and organic growth. When she’s not creating scroll-stopping content for her audiences, you can find her travelling the world, trying new recipes, or cozying up with a fiction book. Follow her and Sked @getskedsocial.

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