How To Grow Your Instagram and Boost Your Marketing With Search and Explore Tab
Instagram has developed its Search and Explore tab a lot over the years. From being a place for just hashtag-content and location check-ins, it has now become a place where recommended profiles to the person who are visiting the Search and Explore page are displayed, top posts are showcased, and top posts are showcased.
The Search and Explore page is today something much larger than just hashtags and check-ins. Today, it is a place that can help you grow your page a lot and increase your reach if you just end up there.
That’s why, in this article, we’ll teach you How To Grow Your Instagram and Boost Your Marketing With Search and Explore Tab, by ultimately getting your account showcased there.
However, apart from getting exposure once displayed there, the Search and Explore tool is a great tool for a bunch of other activities such as finding your target audience or finding the best hashtags to utilize.
What is Instagram Search And Explore and how does it work?
First off, we need to know what the search and explore on Instagram is, and how it works.
The S&E tool is found by tapping the magnifying glass at the bottom left of your screen once inside the Instagram app.
Here, you will be presented with a bunch of different sections. First off, a search bar at the top of the screen. Right below that, Instagram profiles with a colorful ring around their profile pictures, A”Top live” circle, Stories made at the location you are at, “Videos you might like” and finally posts recommended for you.
This is what is called the Explore section.
Now that we’ve gone through the Explore page, let’s take a look at the Search page.
What is the Search tool in Search and Explore?
Before we can know How To Grow Your Instagram and Boost Your Marketing With Search and Explore Tab, we should know exactly what it is and does.
As mentioned previously, the search bar on Instagram was not a lot to cheer for back in the days, however, Instagram has constantly made new updates and improvements, and now, the feature is very sharp. The best of all is that you can get a ton of exposure from it.
To access the Search tab, simply tap on the search bar that you see at the top of your screen once inside the Search & Explore.
First of all, you’ll be presented with something called “Top”. Here, your latest searches with the Search bar will be displayed. Based on your previous searches, you’ll also be presented with some recommended profiles. However, if you wish to remove the recommended profiles, you can simply hold on the profile that is recommended and then tap “Hide”
As you can see above, there are 4 sections in the search bar. Firstly, there is “Top”, as we just discussed. Secondly, there is “People” which is the place where you can search for Instagram profiles. When searching for a profile, you can search for both the username (if you know the username of the account you’re searching for), or, you can search for the name that they have written in their profile.
Thirdly, you have “Tags“, also known as hashtags. Hashtags are a way to categorize content on Instagram based on keywords you’re using with a # symbol in front of them. For example, if you post an Instagram post of a tennis court, an appropriate hashtag would be #Tennis, so other people interested in tennis can find your post.
When using hashtags on Instagram, you can only use a maximum of 30. While it is discussed how many should use for optimal reach and engagement, 30 is the maximum amount of allowed hashtags, so why not use them all.
You can add hashtags on two places to your post. Either directly in the caption or in the comment section. However, adding 30 hashtags in your caption might make your caption look very spammy and busy, so if you want to do so, you need to have a slightly different approach. By adding five dots in a row and then adding hashtags. This lets you separate your tags with your caption and make it more readable.
For example, here’s a good example of how you can put your hashtags in the caption (and what hashtags you can use” if you’re posting an alcohol/drink’s post:
Lastly, we have the “Places” bar.
In the Places bar, you’ll be presented with a “Near current location” bar that you can tap and then get suggestions on places to search for based on your current location. When making a post on Instagram, you can add a location to your post, so people who aren’t followers of you can search for that location and then see your post.
To add a location, simply tap “Add location”. Either search for a location or tap on one of the locations that will be recommended.
How can you actually use this?
As you can imagine, ending up on the Explore page will give your page a ton of exposure, but to end up there, we need to understand how you can do that.
This is what Instagram says about that matter:
There are two ways you can end up on Search and Explore, however, those two ways have something in common. They both demand you to share content. If you don’t share content, how should people find you?
Once you’ve created great content that’s worth a place in the Search and Explore, then you can use the other methods of getting your content seen on Search and Explore.
A fairly new feature to the Search and Explore page is that stories now can be found through hashtags and location check-ins.
If you’re new to Instagram stories, it is photos and videos that are posted to your page (and are to be found when tapping your profile picture) which are displayed for 24 hours. When the 24 hours have surpassed, your stories will vanish.
By using check-ins and hashtags on your Stories, you can get your Stories displayed on the Search and Explore section and in that way get lots of exposure, new followers, and possibly even conversions.
The great thing is that when you are using hashtags and locations for your stories, you get your content displayed in the Explore section of your target audience.
With your Stories, you can use both hashtags and “Places” to do so.
However, only content tagged with a location sticker, hashtag sticker, or underlined hashtag will appear in the associated Stories. Instagram reported to TechCrunch that users who do add these stickers or hashtags to their stories will not make their posts eligible for the so-called “Compiled stories” which adds all the stories that people have made using a certain hashtag or location into one big story, so you can see the same thing/place from different perspectives. By clicking the ‘X’ on your Stories view counter, you can remove your story from the compiled story, however, this article is all about getting your content seen there, to get more exposure, and we’ll go more into that now.
How To Grow Your Instagram and Boost Your Marketing With Search and Explore Tab:
1. Add a location and hashtags to your story
When you have created a story, you have the option to add text, stickers or location. This is what will get your story displayed on the respective Compiled story and give you exposure. This is the only way to get your Story seen in the search result.
To add a hashtag to your story, you can either just tap on the screen and write your keyword with the # symbol in front of the hashtag you want to add or do it with a hashtag sticker. When using both hashtag methods you’ll also get suggestions of hashtags you might want to use.
To add a location to your story or add a hashtag the other way simply slide up on the screen.
Here, you can choose either location or hashtag. If you choose a location, you’ll get a variety of different suggestions based on where you are located, but you can also write your own location in the search box that is available.
Let’s say that I choose the location “New York” and post my Story, the story will be visible for everybody searching for New York in the “Places” tab on Search and Explore.
If you add one or more hashtag in your Story, your story will be displayed when people search for the hashtag(s) you’ve used, as long as you have an open Instagram account and not set it to private.
Let’s say you use the hashtag “Ferrari”, people who search for the hashtag Ferrari in the Search and Explore will be able to find your story.
This was how you get your Stories features in the Search & Explore, let’s carry on with how you ca get your posted content featured in the S&E. Note that getting your regular posted content featured on the search & Explore is a low more difficult since you can’t just add hashtags and a location and then expect to end up on the Explore page. There’s much more to it.
However, if you succeed in getting your post there, it will be very fruitful.
2. How to get your content on the top posts of hashtags
When searching for posts on hashtags and locations, you’ll soon realize that there are two sections that the posts are divided into.
In the first section, there are 9 posts. Also known as “Top posts“. In the second section, there are “Most recent” posts.
The “most recent posts” is the place where everybody’s content will be displayed, as long as you’re using the respective hashtag or location check-in, depending on what you’re searching for.
In the “Most recent posts”, the posts which have been posted recently will be featured at the top of that section. However, if it is a crowded hashtag or location, your post will very quickly lose ranking and become replaced with other posts that are using that hashtag or location. This means that very quickly, the hashtag/place which you used will only let you reach a broader audience in a matter of seconds or minutes, then, nobody will find your post.
With “Top posts” however, it’s a completely different case.
This is what Instagram says:
“At the top of some hashtag and place pages, you may see a section called Top Posts above Most Recent. Top posts appear on trending hashtags and places to show you some of the popular posts tagged with that hashtag or place.”
The posts Instagram puts in the “Top posts” are selected based on popularity such as engagement, likes, and comments. Of course, if you have a small Instagram page with only a few hundred followers, you won’t be able to compete with accounts who have several million followers.
However, there are some tricks you can use to better your chances.
Target hashtags and locations that aren’t as crowded
Broad hashtags and locations are often very crowded, which means that posts are being posted all the time, using one of the two, hashtag or location.
Because these have a lot of “traffic” and the competition is high, only the accounts that are large, and we’re talking accounts within the million followers+ category, will end up there.
Some large pages are actively targeting these hashtags because they know how much exposure it will give them, and some are using hashtags to categorize their content better, however, unless you don’t have a large account, your efforts are better spent elsewhere.
And that “Elsewhere” is less crowded hashtags and locations.
If you have a smaller account, there is no point in trying to compete with the big guys of the “Top post” location.
Therefore, you’re better off targeting hashtags and locations that you actually have a chance of ending up on the top posts.
A great way to see how high the competition is to see how many posts have been made using that hashtag. Unfortunately, you can’t see how many posts have been made with a certain “places check-in” However, large cities and tourist attractions such as New York and Los Angeles obviously have a lot more posts than Nottingham, for example.
To see how many posts have been made with a hashtag, simply search for the hashtag, click on it, and take a look at the number slightly to the right of the “Most Recent”. You can also see how many posts there are in the list of hashtags when searching.
It is also great to use locations that are extremely specific to your target audience because this lets you reach only your target audience, which can lead to conversions.
For example, if you’re selling golf equipment, a good strategy is choosing a golf club as a location of your post.
Create content people will engage with
As we mentioned earlier, the way to get your post on top posts is to get a lot of engagement, which is likes, comments shares etc.
By posting content that people tend to engage with more, you can increase your engagement and also increase your chances of ending up on top posts.
A tip is to make your images brighter. Studies show that brighter images get 592% more likes than the darker ones. So either begin taking pictures with a slower shutter speed or, when posting your image on Instagram, tap “Edit” and then “Brightness”
This lets you increase the brightness of your image.
Share content at the optimal times
Because you want to receive the highest engagement possible, sharing content at the times when your audience is most active is a must for increased engagement.
If you have set your Instagram account to a business account, you also get access to Instagram Insights, which tells you when the optimal hours for you is.
To check your Instagram Insights (if you’ve activated it), tap on the symbol in the top right corner of your profile, which looks like this:
After that, scroll down to “Followers”
Here, you’ll be able to see which times stand out. And if you tap on “Days” instead of hours, you can see which days perform the best.
With the information you got, you should now think about when you should post for the highest engagement.
Don’t post blurry photos
If you take a look at the top posts of any hashtag or location, you’ll be able to see that most of them are high-quality images. Quality images tend to get higher engagement and therefore also ends up in the top posts section more regularly than blurry and low-quality images.