How to Boost Your Brand Using Instagram’s Explore Page
Instagram has a whopping 800 million monthly users around the globe. In Australia, approximately one third of the population uses Instagram regularly. This means that Instagram should be a priority for marketing your product and services, as calls to action from Instagram usage generates a lot of activity. Due to the authenticity of influencers and the power of pages, you can efficiently persuade people to shop or take up your services through the platform. You need to keep in mind that Instagram works on the basis of what engages people, not only what they press the ‘like’ button for. The images shared on Instagram vary hugely from Arabic calligraphy, to model trains, to slime, and even heated political propaganda.
So, being popular is not just the key, but also driving the right followers is important for success. Of course, you need new followers to widen your reach. The best way to achieve this in Instagram is by getting into the ‘Explore’ page section. With more than 50% of Instagram accounts using the ‘Explore’ page every month, it is a powerful way to reach new customers and engage more followers in your niche. An Instagram account with 60% activity is good to go for marketing your product and services as most of the calls to action are generated from it.
What is the Explore page on Instagram?
In the Instagram app, pressing on the magnifying glass icon will bring you to Instagram’s Explore page. Here, you can face your prospective audience up close and personal with the opportunity to receive an incredible amount of additional engagement. Actually, what the Explore page really does is curate personalised content based on your likes and interests. It’s not based on what you follow, exactly, but rather, the people you engage with. So, the chances are higher in showing up on the Explore page of whom you follow.
The ‘popular page’ was the predecessor of the current Explore page. Explore evolved from displaying what was trending to now being based on specific interests of each account. It depends on what you have liked in the past, and takes insights from monitoring how you interact with your connections. We also need to note that it is synchronised with the amount of usage of the application.
How does it work?
It works with a common machine learning method known as “word embedding”. The system studies the order in which words appear in text to measure how related they are. Similar to the logic that with the word “fire”, “alarm”, “truck” are associated, Instagram uses this concept to find out how related two accounts are.
Instagram makes recommendations to you by firstly looking at accounts that you have previously engaged with. These are called “seed accounts”. Next, Instagram identifies accounts that are similar to those seed accounts using AI to determine what degree they are related to each other. The system narrows down options to 500 pieces of content, based on what you have previously engaged with. Instagram then displays the top 25 pieces of content ranked by how likely you are to engage with them.
Having your brand display well on the Explore page will render you new connections and expand your potential market. If your business is displayed on someone’s Explore page, that user has shared interests in what you do. You can easily sell new products and pioneer social media marketing with over 95 million photos coming up on individual Explore pages each day. So, for an extended audience reach, the Explore page should be where you want your business to be.
How to get there?
Engage with your followers
Instagram Explore depends on what other people in your network are interested in, right? So, research what your customers are looking for. Real engagement comes with authenticity, so aim to build authentic relationships. Slowly but surely, an organic following will swarm in. However, having millions of followers does not necessarily mean lots of sales. Maximise the customers who are interested and engaged, by making sure you reach out to anyone who comments on or likes your posts.
Tag it like you mean it
Instagram is a powerhouse of social media with its scope of discoverability and reach. Users’ needs will decide the probability of getting your content onto the Explore page. Firstly, decide on the topic of your post and whatever niche you are reaching for. Remember to use promotional tags. Be sure to include your relevant location in the geotag so it can relate to trending topics and engage the local audience. You can grab in local users by adding location to every Instagram story, as Instagram also curates based on location.
You can achieve more engagement with at least one hashtag per post, but using more tends to work better. For any Instagram strategy, it takes a little trial and error to find the sweet spot, but a higher number of hashtags increases the potential for maximum exposure. That being said, some argue that too much cleverness in hashtags is a no-no, and advise to be cautious not to include more hashtags than text content. Keep it simple when it comes to using hashtags, don’t go overboard with everything under the sun added as tags in your text. Instagram limits users by allowing a maximum of 30 hashtags per post to the main page, and 10 hashtags within the Stories function.
Sure, we all always hope that our post will go viral. One tip is that creating content with fun phrases will help your post become a hit. Plus, it will increase the chances of being found by being specific and relevant.
When the clock hits matters
The success of your marketing depends on user behaviours. If you are up to date with their movements online, you can channel this data into action by always catering to your users’ needs. According to a research study by Sprout Social, 50% of Instagram users follow companies. Make sure you’re using a business account to make use of your Insights page. Here you can find out time periods when your audience is most active. Various external websites can also provide a more comprehensive breakdown of audience engagement.
The best timing for your post will depend on your target audience, industry preferences, and business. You need to test, analyse and pinpoint the best time to maximise your results on Explore.
Instagram provides you with a shortcut with its Insights page. All you have to do is to switch your account to business account. Gain insights on your audience, including the time they are online and using the app. Moreover, demographics data including gender, age, location, likes will help you integrate your content accordingly.
You can also track engagement of each post, how your past posts worked, you can get to know which time works the best. Moreover, analyse your competitor’s post to understand the timing, type of content. Use scheduled posts to set up a series of ongoing content, helping you focus on tracking, and optimise posts instead of bringing new content everyday.
People’s activity depends on their daily routine and mood. According to the study by Sprout Social, it is advised that you can reap high engagement at 5 am from Tuesday to Thursday as people check their phones when they wake up. Around 11am on Saturdays will be a good catch as people will swipe their phones after brunch or a lazy morning, or when they are just hanging out.
When it comes to posting on Instagram in Australia the best time to post images is 10 PM on weekdays to target the US audience. For targeting Australian Instagram users, the best time to share is at 5 AM on the weekdays and 11 AM on weekends.
On a general notion, here is the best time to post on Instagram during the week, according to an article in Hubspot.
You can gain more traffic for your Instagram post during this time of the day, generally.
Call your audience to action
You can ask followers to double tap on a photo to like it. Or, better still, use your caption to ask questions through which you can initiate conversation. Social media is for discussion, right? Try to gain feedback from your fans by asking them to tag friends in the comment box. Be careful to balance it, not to annoy your audience though. Spread your network map by starting contests and giveaways. As you gain more likes, comments and good interactions, you are building brand loyalty. The chances of gaining more followers and engagements are higher when you share photos and videos.
Reign in the honour of influence
The words and images of a strong social media influencer should never be taken lightly. Influencers are crucial in Instagram. Synchronise your efforts with influencers for the reciprocal benefit of both them and your business by cross promoting posts, for example featuring each others’ brands on each other’s feeds.
If you’re heading down this route, maintain a healthy and professional relationship with them. Users engage with influencers’ posts frequently, and their brand recommendations earn more trust. Be wise whenever you choose influencers. Having a lot of followers is not always the most important thing, but somebody with connection to your brand and company ethos certainly is. Find micro or nano influencers in your niche to target a smaller and more specifically motivated audience (with an added level of human connection).
Utilise video content
Videos have a tendency to perform better than photos on the Explore page. Due to consumers’ shifting preference towards video content and the auto-play feature on the Explore page, videos hold audience engagement for longer periods of time. Upload and utilise short but high quality videos that tell a story to get featured on the explore page. Alternatively, add motion to still content using boomerangs, motion filters and animations to bring your photos to life. Movement in pictures can capture the audience’s attention. Along with videos, these tend to rank higher in the Instagram algorithm.
Tag your products
Enabling product tagging in your Instagram settings to start tagging products. Tagging products on your posts will enable your brand to start appearing on the Instagram Shopping Channel on the explore page. The shopping channel provides a smooth way to browse a range of products within Instagram, providing a great way to showcase your products. Maximise these customers looking to effortlessly shop through instagram while browsing beautiful content.
You can really boost your Instagram with smart social media marketing. It takes work, but being proactive is the best way to get discovered with Explore.