How to get on the Instagram explore page

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Getting your photo on the Instagram Explore page may seem like a daunting challenge, but it's not as hard as you may think. There are a few strategic ways that you can get your content up there.

But before I delve into those tips, let's clear something up.

The Explore page is NOT the Popular Page

If you find yourself confused, don't worry - you're not alone!

Up until 2012, the Explore section of Instagram was called the Popular page and it featured the most liked content from across the network - think Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift. There really wasn't much of a chance for every-day users to get noticed.

Then came the Explore page, which has evolved over the past few years. The Explore page is designed to help everyone gain more exposure.

Now, the Explore and Search sections of Instagram are tailored to each user. Posts are selected automatically based on things like the people you follow or the posts you like. You may also see video channels, which can include posts from a mixture of hand-picked and automatically sourced accounts based on topics Instagram thinks you'll enjoy.

Why you want to be on the Explore page

Getting on the Instagram Explore page will help you attract more of your target audience, simply because the algorithm is based off each individual's interests.

Sure you might get heaps of likes, comments and follows - but the overall effect can actually impact your blog or your business. By getting your Instagram posts on the Explore page, you could be driving more traffic to your blog, website or online shop, driving not only awareness but enquiries, sales and loyal followers!

Ready to stop messing around and start attracting your dream audience on Instagram?

Download The Ultimate Instagram Checklist.

So how do you get featured?

1. Post content that your target audience will love.

First of all, you have to create content that your target audience will love! The best way to do this is to 'listen' to what your audience is doing on Instagram. 

Do your research! Follow your customers to see what sort of content they're posting and engaging with.

And experiment! See which of your current posts are performing the best, and which posts are total duds. Revise your content strategy by dropping the duds, and filling your schedule with the posts that have been proven to work.

2. Write a killer caption, and be sure to include a call to action.

You should view every post to your account as an opportunity for your followers to engage with you. With very few exceptions, every single post I add has an opportunity or invitation for some kind of audience interaction. I do this by including the call to action in the post description but some people do it by putting text over the top of an image.

Don’t mistake this to mean you should ask your followers to do something for you every time you post. This is important. Engagement doesn’t mean “buy our thing, “give us your email” or “share our account with everyone you know.” It’s much lighter than that.

You’re asking them to do something that makes them feel good, helps them to engage with their friends, or reaffirm their beliefs or goals. In other words, engagement should be something they enjoy.

Most of the time, this will be as basic as asking people to “double tap” if they agree, asking them to tag a friend to share the post or their own thoughts about it.

3. Tag, tag & tag again!

Make sure you tag all of the brands that are featured in your image. If an account with a large following interacts with your Instagram post, then it has the potential to spread to hundreds of thousands of other people.

For example, if a large account like ASOS likes or comments on your photo, it can show up in the Explore page for all of the people who follow and engage with the ASOS account.

So a good way to get that large account's attention is to tag them in your post. By simply @mentioning them, your post will likely get lost in the mix of hundreds of mentions. But if you tag them, then it's much easier for the brand to scroll through its tagged photos - and come across yours!

4. Use the right hashtags.

Love them or loathe them, hashtags are key to your strategic Instagram plan. But instead of commenting a word cloud of generic hashtags (for example, #love #picoftheday #tbt #friends #instagood #beautiful, etc), find hashtags that aid in telling the story of your Instagram brand.

If you're a creative entrepreneur, try @risingtidesociety 's #communityovercompetition or @gritandvirtue 's #gritandvirtue or @sheislight's #sheislight.

If you're a photographer, you might want to use, and engage with the #artofvisuals #visualsoflife #justgoshoot.

There are endless hashtag communities.

In conclusion, the more engagement you get on your post - in the form of comments and likes - the more people will see your post. It's a ripple effect!

Ready to stop messing around and start attracting your dream audience on Instagram?

Download The Ultimate Instagram Checklist.