May 12, 2023
There is no one Instagram Explore Page. The Explore Page is a living, breathing embodiment of your personal interests. The Explore Page is similar to the TikTok For You Page in that way. Instagram selects content presented on the Explore Page according to what people you follow, what content you like, and who you engage most with on Instagram. This process runs on machine learning and is always improving. Most of this content is by users you have not seen before.
The Algorithm uses the following signals to fill your Explore Page:
Main takeaway: You can count on the Explore Page algorithm to favor content with the most engagement.
Getting onto the explore page will earn you more engagement and reach, more followers, and even more conversions if you include the right CTAs. Discoverability and brand awareness are coveted opportunities for brands seeking Instagram growth. Users see inspiring content on the Explore Page, they follow, and eventually, they become loyal customers. Getting on the Explore Page leads to organic growth and is key to building a loyal audience on Instagram.
The Instagram Explore Page features Reels, just like the rest of the content formats. The number of Reels featured on your Explore Page depends on how often you interact with Reels, as well as how often those you follow interact with Reels.
The Reels Feed is like the Explore Page (or TikToks For You Page), designed just for Reels. It has the same scrollable format as the TikTok FYP.
The more engaging your content, the better chance you have of getting on the Explore Page. This means you need to make your content as engaging as possible.
Engaging content starts with an intimate understanding of your target audience. Comb through your analytics to identify factors that improve your engagement. Narrow down the ideal tone, content format, aesthetic, captions, etc. that yield the best engagement.
Video is generally more engaging than static content, as it auto-plays in Explore. Carousels generally garner high engagement as well. But the best strategy is the one informed by your own audience’s behavior. Experiment with content that is highly valuable so that your audience will share and save your posts.
Instagram as a whole is designed to foster connections. While much of the app’s features focus on facilitating connections between creators and their existing audiences, the Explore Page is specifically designed to drive first-time interactions between users and creators they’ve never met before, but will likely resonate with.
With this and the importance of engagement in mind, interacting with your existing community as much as possible signals to the algorithm that your audience perceives your content as valuable and provides signals that lay the groundwork for Explore Page recommendations.
Examine how you typically interact with your community and look for ways to level up those interactions.
Interactive IG stories are a great way to ignite conversation in the DMs. Don’t sleep on polls and question stickers as a way to grow your audience. The more time you spend engaging with the audience you have, the more likely you will receive an extra boost from the Explore Page.
If your Instagram DMs aren’t so flooded that they’ve become a hot mess beyond repair, spend some extra time replying to your loyal followers.
Post captions that spark conversations in the comments, then join the fun. Replying to comments makes your audience feel connected, drives future engagement, and feeds the Explore Page confirmation that your community is active. When you engage with current followers, you will likely end up on the Explore Page of those they follow.
Sidenote: if you’re familiar with LinkedIn lingo, think of it like this– the more you engage with your first connections, the more likely your content will be recommended to your second and third connections).
#1 Strategize With Tags
A good tag is like a ticket into a new pocket of Instagram users. Use them strategically to land on the Explore Page of your future loyal followers. You have three types of tags at your disposal: geotags, hashtags, and account tags.
#2 Account tags
Used to tag other Instagram users in your post or comment, account tags can be a pretty effective method for getting in front of a fellow Instagrammer’s followers.
Account tags are used when another account is featured in your post. For instance, you tag an account if you took a picture with a fellow creator/brand/friend, mentioned them in your caption, or are featuring their products.
Tag accounts with followers who fit your target audience so that any content shown on the Explore Page is shown to users who will resonate with your brand.
Hashtags can be a little portal into a niche community on Instagram. Like this one for #milkyskin:
Lauren Lee uses this hashtag all the time– it aligns with her brand (milky skin skincare recs) and helps get her content in front of more like-minded #milkyskin lovers on the Explore Page.
Geotags will get you in front of users interested in whatever location you tag. So if you take a pic at the Nashville Farmers Market, for example, your content might pop on the Explore Page of someone who frequently interacts with or posts content related to the market.
Don’t add tags if there is no association with your post. The last thing you want is to look out of place and spammy. Instead, think about what tags apply while mapping out your content calendar for the month. Wear clothing from brands your audience loves. Collaborate with users whose audience overlaps with yours. Pull hashtags that align with your content and brand. Visit locations that your audience may already be interested in.
The trick here is to be strategic from the start. To be natural and effective, your tagging strategy needs to start during the brainstorming stage before the content is produced.
At the end of the day, getting on the Explore Page means pleasing Instagram’s algorithm. Using platform features like Stories, DMs, and Tags to boost your engagement and reach are best practices, but they won’t get you very far if you don’t prioritize authentically understanding and connecting with your audience. Always remember to keep your community at the center of your Instagram strategy.