In our last article, we talked about hashtags and how they can provide a massive boost to your engagement. If you read it carefully, you may have noticed that I mentioned the explore page. The context was how you could drive massive engagement to your posts using both hashtags and the explore page to your advantage.
This article will help you understand better what the explore page is, how Instagram chooses posts for it and much more. After reading this article, you should have a firm grasp on what it takes to reach the explore page and why it's so important.
What is the explore page?
Just like in our previous articles in this series, we'll take a quick look at the basics, what the explore page is. Instagram's goal is to keep you for as long as possible on it, to display as many ads as possible. The explore page is, in my opinion, the best defined as a selection of content, best suited to your tastes. The content curator, in this case, being yourself and Instagram's algorithm. So, you're probably wondering how Instagram's algorithm decides what you might like.
It does that based on the posts you engaged with. What this means is that Instagram tries to find posts similar to the ones you already liked or commented on and fine tunes them by whether or not you interact with them once they are on the explore page.
The other way Instagram curates your suggested content is by using the behavior of the accounts you already follow, or like and comment on. It looks for accounts they interact with and shows them to you. The same filtering is present, if you don't with the posts, Instagram will slowly stop showing them.
Why is it important?
Instagram's explore page is not only good for their ad revenue, but it's also very beneficial to you as the user. By now, you understand how Instagram's algo chooses the right posts for you, but does that apply to your (potential) followers? Well, of course, it does. Explore is a huge opportunity for accounts with quality content to gain massive exposure. Like I've said in our article about content creation, content is the single most important thing on Instagram. If you have bad content, you can go back to the article and read it again. Have kick-ass content? Continue reading, please.
You're given the opportunity to get your posts seen by targeted accounts. These are accounts that are already interested in your niche, your content just has to reel them in. You can expect a lot of likes, comments, and new followers upon hitting the explore page.
How to reach the explore page
When it comes to getting to the explore page, we have a couple of options. I want to repeat myself here, just in case:
Getting to the explore page with poor content is not only unlikely, but it's probably bad for your account if it does happen. People will associate your account with bad content, so even in the future, they won't follow you. Keep your content quality on point at all times!
Getting to the Explore page with high engagement
Now we get to the part I spoke about in my previous article about hashtags. When you post high-quality content and add the relevant hashtags, you're setting yourself up for success. Your followers will like your new post and propel you to the Top Posts section of the relevant hashtag feed (because you chose the right hashtag for your page, remember?). After which, you'll receive huge engagement because of the added exposure. The added engagement will fuel you to the top -
and that's the explore page. Here, everything is possible, and your follower gain is bound to skyrocket.
All of this may sound great, but along with top quality content, it requires a bit of luck as well. Instagram doesn't do all this abruptly. Instead, the Instagram algo slowly increases your post exposure from only a couple of your followers to more and more of them. After which, you'll get a chance at the Top Posts section of a hashtag. Succeed there, and Instagram will slowly add you to more and more explore feeds.
If users stop engaging with your posts at any point in this cycle, it will stop, and your post won't be given another chance.
Engagement from popular niche accounts
The other, somewhat easier, way is to receive engagement from large, niche relevant accounts. By doing this, you can avoid the cycle I mentioned earlier and directly hit the explore page of the niche account's followers.
Now, you may be wondering why I said niche relevant accounts. Well, as with the previous case, Instagram never does anything abruptly. It will still start by showing your post to only a small portion of the account's followers. If they react positively, i.e., like and comment, your post will gain more exposure. Once again, content is king, and there is no going around that. But, we have discovered an easier way to hit the explore page. So, how do you go around getting larger accounts to engage with your posts?
Ah, the notorious engagement groups. I think this topic deserves an article of its own and one day I may get around to writing it. However, for today, I'll just briefly touch upon what they are.
Engagement groups are groups where (usually) niche related accounts get together to engage with each other's posts. They're famous for their secrecy and joining one usually requires a certain amount of followers (at least 10k-20k+, usually 50k+). However, there is no reason not to create an engagement group with similarly-sized accounts in your respective niche. Simply dropping them a DM and asking if they're interested will suffice and I'm sure a lot off accounts are looking for the same as well. When you think about it, it's like you're sharing each other's followers and gaining twice the exposure by doing so.
The explore page plays a vital role in any Instagram growth strategy and without it, you're chances of achieving an admirable follower count are small. But, after reading this article, you know the steps your post goes through before reaching it, and you know how and what it takes to reach it. Like always, content is crucial, but you know that and already have kick-ass posts lined up. Until our next article, see you on the explore page!