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How to get featured on the Instagram explore tab

When it comes to algorithms on Instagram, the jury is often out as to how some posts generate a plethora of likes and comments, while others can be left behind in the tumbleweeds. As such, brands and individual influencers are always testing, searching for the perfect balance between frequency of posts, usage of hashtags and the finest photos that photography can buy. Yet, when it comes to the Instagram Explore tab, this is a whole new ballgame.

The Explore page is a tab that shows some of the most engaging content you can find on Instagram at any given time. Whenever you click on the Explore tab, you’re suctioned into content like nobody’s business, getting lost in the photos and videos that are available. Yet, what makes them so engaging? And how do these users and brands end up on the Explore tab, undoubtedly generating hundreds more views on their content than others?

Having your content featured on the Explore tab can set off an effect like no other. That’s why we’ve pulled together our tips on getting your content displayed on this page. Although Instagram has never released the ‘secret sauce’, so to speak, we do know that this tab focuses heavily on user connection and engagement.

Here are 5 tips to help your brand get content on the Instagram Explore tab

1. Invest in building your following

If you take a look at the Explore tab right now, you’ll very likely see content that you or your connections have already engaged with. For example, we see content that our followers have liked or commented on, which in turn displays this content in the Explore feed.

This means that you should pay a great deal of attention and focus on building your following. Increase your connections, interact with your followers and grow your likes.

To grow your likes and overall following, you need to strategically plan your Instagram content. Creating engaging captions, beautiful photos, and use of hashtags will help build your foundation, while using tools and interacting with a new audience will help widen your growth potential.

Investment in building your following doesn’t always have to come with a significant price tag, so be sure to allocate for human interaction and engagement.

2. Plan your Instagram schedule.

Posting at 2:00AM local time won’t engage a following, though releasing content at 8:00AM will. You want to always maximize your chances of your photos and videos being viewed, which means you need to plan your Instagram schedule according to your target audience and customer persona.

For example, if you are a public company who operates on the New York Stock Exchange, you will want to share content during hours of public trading. If you are a retail store, you may want to share content during store hours, perhaps in the lunch hour or early afternoon as your target customers are on lunch breaks or getting off of work.

Planning your Instagram schedule will enable you to be much more focused on creating great, engaging content - content that could end up on the Explore tab.

3. Take advantage of trends.

If you take a look at what’s on the Instagram Explore tab right now, you’ll notice that some content is related to current event and trends - what’s in the media, political events or celebrations. Of course, you want to ensure your own Instagram feed is focused on your individual self or your brand, though tapping into trends every once in a while will help increase your potential engagement and overall interest from a new audience.

4. Selfies are all the rage.

Do you see how many selfies are on the Instagram Explore tab right now?

It’s not a coincidence that photos with faces get 38% more likes than those without. And these photos don’t need to be selfies, per se, though they should have faces within them. If you’re a brand with an office presence, consider sharing photos of life in your office - from lunchtime adventures to introductions of individuals on your team. If you are a restaurant brand, you can show happy patrons enjoying their meals.

Selfies really are all the rage, in that they perform better than lifestyle or other photos. It’s no coincidence that there are a great number of people photos and videos on the Explore tab.

5. It’s all in the art of the caption.

When it comes to Instagram’s algorithm, we know that Instagram looks at what is recently trending - by that, they look at how fast your photos and videos can gain likes and comments. If your photo has been active for 30 minutes and has only gained a half dozen likes, it won’t be raised into the beauty of the algorithm; however, if your photo or video has generated hundreds of likes in those 30 minutes, your photo will be lifted into a higher presence on user Instagram feeds - and could end up in the Explore tab.

Although Instagram has not released their algorithm for the Instagram Explore tab, we do know that the content on this page depends on overall engagement, interaction and trends. As you prepare your Instagram strategy, determine if your content will generate interest for your audience. If the answer is ‘yes’, you could very well find yourself featured on the Instagram Explore tab.