Followers and engagement

This is How to Get on the Instagram Explore Page

  • 16 Minutes
For brands on Instagram, discovering how to get on the Instagram Explore Page is like landing a Super Bowl commercial spot. Exposure and engagement on the page are unparalleled. There is one key difference, though. While one 30-second Super Bowl commercial costs $5 million, a spot

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

There is one key difference, though. While one 30-second Super Bowl commercial costs $5 million, a spot on the Instagram Explore page is completely free. But that’s not to say it doesn’t take some work getting there!

Yet the Instagram Explore page may also be even more effective for awareness and conversions than Instagram advertising. After all, exposure is high and the audience is highly engaged with the content on the page because it’s curated specifically to match their interests.

Crazy, right? So, it’s definitely worth your while to try to get featured on the Explore feed.

You may think that the Explore feed is reserved for only the top brands, influencers, and viral content creators on Instagram. But that’s not true – thankfully. Instagram prides itself on offering a vast array of content for their audiences, and yours can be featured right up there, too.

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

What Is Instagram Explore, and How Does It Work?

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 specifically for you, according to your preferences.

It’s a collection of photos and videos that your Instagram activity has aggregated. If you were to hop over to your Explore feed 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 Instagram accounts that feature fitness, food, memes, and animals. (Typical millennial, right?)

When I switch over to the Explore tab, guess what kind of content is reflected? All of the above.

Instagram has designed its Explore page with custom, real-time curated trending content based on your activity and content preferences.

Wired has even dubbed the Instagram Explore page as “the realest place on the web”, because of its relevancy.

But how does Instagram create this highly personalized feed for each user? Well, in layman’s terms, the stuff that pops up on your Explore page is content that your followers and the pages you follow have engaged with.

Instagram figures that if you’ve taken the time to follow and engage with certain people, then you’ll probably 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 feed. And Instagram knows it.

It’s clear that Instagram prioritizes its user experience and wants users to hop onto the Explore feed to discover new content and new users to follow. In turn, this helps brands reach new audiences and gain new followers. That’s where you come in.

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 Explore feed makes it a robust networking and exposure tool for brands and users everywhere. Think about it – Instagram releases new features all the time, but the Instagram Explore feed stays pretty much the same.

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

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

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 to 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.

How to Get On The Instagram Explore Page

By now, we’ve established that getting your content featured on the Instagram Explore page should be a consideration when it comes to your Instagram marketing strategy. After all, what do you have to lose? Even if you don’t end up on the Explore feed, at the very least you will be working towards increasing your engagement and improving your content, which is never a bad thing.

Landing a spot on the Explore feed is fairly 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 fully understand.

So, sadly, there’s no way to hack it. But this should be considered a good thing, because thanks to the Instagram Explore page algorithm, only quality content reaches the Explore feed.

Every time you post something on Instagram, your goal should be to provide value, encourage engagement, and connect with your audience.

The below strategies can provide the extra boost you need to reach the big leagues – the Instagram Explore page.

1) Post great content that your audience likes

You might be rolling your eyes right now because we’ve covered this very point already. Well, let us 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. Every piece of content you post should be relevant and interesting for your audience.

To see if your content is up to scratch, head to the Explore tab on your Instagram business account. 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, valuable, interesting content gets onto the Explore feed.

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

So, before worrying about posting times, captions, and hashtags, consider the type 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 images. The Instagram app has evolved drastically over the last decade – have you evolved your social media marketing strategy to match?

First of all, there’s the attention-grabbing power of dynamic content like videos. Video content is far more prominent on Instagram these days, including Reels, Instagram Stories, and IGTV videos. When done well, videos are a proven method to get high engagement and a great way to help your Instagram feed stand out.

If you don’t have the capacity for video content just yet, try Carousels and explore all the ways you can use different filters and effects to make your photos more captivating. If you’re a Sked Social user, you’ve already got all the tools you need to apply filters, frames, stickers, and text to your photos. Just use the app’s image editor and schedule your posts in advance – too easy!

Need to figure out what types of posts 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 Followers.

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

Also, if you haven’t noticed, the Instagram Explore page can look kind of busy. Producing high-quality, good-looking content will catch the eye of people scrolling through their Explore feed.

Want to know what’s working on your Insta feed – and what’s not? Use Sked Social’s advanced reporting functions to check post performance. This will help you refine your content strategy. Otherwise, how will you know what to keep posting?

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 engagement on a post from the start 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.

Sked Social’s advanced Instagram analytics show you exactly when your audience is online. The more followers you have and the more you post, the more accurate this data will be. Over time, you’ll be able to optimize your posting schedule and ensure maximum engagement for your posts.

Best time to post on social media Sked Social analytics tool

3) Use hashtags and other tags

Tagging on Instagram is one 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. Even if that’s only 5 Instagram accounts, that’s 5 extra users looking at your post, as well as their followers who check the “tagged” posts tab on their page. It can also boost the chances of your post ending up on their Explore feed.

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” and “Tag products” icons.

Once that’s done, you can select the “Location” box to add your location tags (see image below).

But, don’t stop at tagging the post itself.

Posting relevant hashtags is just as important, if not more. Studies have shown that posts that use hashtags at least once get higher engagement.

Instagram hashtags make your brand discoverable by users. Including industry-specific, relevant hashtags in your caption or the second comment of your post can help posts end up on the Instagram Explore pages of those who interact with those hashtags.

The only downside to hashtags is that they can be difficult to keep a track of. Adding them manually one by one every time you post is time-consuming.

Sked Social’s hashtag manager solves this problem. You can use it to store and group your Instagram 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 high 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

Good news – you’re almost done learning how to get on the Instagram Explore page! 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 high 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 be 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 to Instagram that your post is valuable and interesting to your audience. This 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 may 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 of Instagram users.

If you’re launching a new product or simply want to give your page a boost of reach and engagement, you could also try hosting a giveaway. Giveaways are easier than you might think.

They typically run for a short time (say, a week or so) and all you need is an engaging creative for your post and an entry mechanic to choose a winner. That might be answering a question, tagging friends, or simply commenting with an emoji underneath the post.

The prize also doesn’t need to be of a high value, but it does need to be large enough to entice lots of people to enter!

In the giveaway below, the clothing brand Whitefox has done a collaborative giveaway. That means that, due to the entry mechanic, both brands will be able to tap into each other’s followers and expand their reach.

@ White Fox Boutique Instagram giveaway post

5) Try using influencers

If you want to supercharge your content, try using influencer marketing. Influencer marketing can be a great way to produce high-performing posts. If you repost the influencer content created during the campaign, you might be able to boost your engagement and increase your likelihood of scoring a place on the Explore feed.

Most Instagram influencers know exactly what their audiences are looking for, and can deliver the kind of unique, eye-catching content that can get you on the Instagram Explore page.

But before you get started with influencer marketing, you need to create an all-encompassing influencer marketing strategy.

You need to work out what your objectives are. In this case, it would be high-quality content as well as high reach and engagement.

Once you’ve established your goals, you’ll need to select Instagram influencers who actually align with your brand, not just users who have approached you in the past. As an example, for a beauty brand, a comedian as an influencer might not be that relevant unless they’re trying to tap into a new market.

Choose Instagram influencers who:

  • Are cost-effective
  • Are relevant to your audience
  • Have a similar audience profile (ask to see their page stats and demographics) and have followers in your country
  • Have worked with at least one brand before
  • Produce high-quality content

Once your campaign is complete, use the influencer’s best-performing posts on your own page. This will give your Instagram account a boost, and will hopefully get you closer to landing a spot on the Explore feed.

Over to You

Congratulations, you’ve officially leveled up your Instagram marketing strategy and 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.

If you’re already dabbling in Instagram marketing, 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 once you understand what makes your audience tick, you’ll 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. This can save you at least 5 hours every week. It doesn’t just work with your Instagram account – link it up to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more!

Plus, if you’ve already tried to get on the Instagram Explore feed but you’ve had no luck, you can use Sked’s advanced reporting functionality to see what’s working – and what’s not!

Photo of Photo of Kyra Goodman

Kyra is a Junior Marketing Manager and "Spicy Meme Master" at Sked Social who loves to create content. Born and raised in Hawaii, her favorite things are traveling, yoga, beaching, coffee and baseball. Connect with her on twitter at @kyra_n_goodman.

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