How many times have you hopped on your Instagram app, clicked the small magnifying glass at the bottom, and scrolled through the never-ending assortment of new pictures and videos?
Welcome to the Instagram Explore page!
Landing a spot on this important search page should be a frequent goal for any social media influencer looking to find success on Instagram. There are numerous Explore ranking factors you must be aware of, but before we dive into that, it’s also beneficial to understand the new Instagram algorithm. Let’s review a few points shared on Later’s blog.
- Your Instagram Explore feed is now catered more directly to images similar to those you have liked and commented on.
- It produces content shared by other accounts like the ones you both follow and engage with.
- The algorithm now emphasizes more recently shared pictures and videos on your newsfeed to ensure you are keeping up with trending posts.
- No specific media type takes priority in Explore ranking factors, so whether you share a picture or a video, Instagram won’t give either one special treatment.
- If you’re seeing too much content from one particular account, you can now “mute” their posts as you prefer.
These are only a few of the changes that came along with this recent update to the Instagram algorithm. In order to make it onto the Explore page, there are some key steps that must be taken. While there is no way to guarantee you’ll be added to the list, applying these 19 Explore ranking factors will put you ahead of the competition and give you a greater shot.
Your Instagram username is going to be a major part of your social identity. There are some important steps to follow when selecting the name you’ll be using as an influencer.
- Business or Personal? – Instagram offers two options for your account: a business profile or a personal profile. You will want to set up a username that reflects the decision you make by using either the business name or a variation of your personal name. Keep in mind, the Instagram Explore ranking factors algorithm update doesn’t give preferential treatment to either one.
- Keep it simple – Even though Instagram allows you to use up to 30 characters, including numbers, letters, underscores, and periods, doesn’t mean you should make full use of the space. Instead, find a basic username that is easy to remember, but still unique to your brand.
- Target your audience – As an influencer, you want your future followers to be able to find your profile as they search for their interests. Deciding on a targeted username that relates to your content is a great way to pick up organic traffic. You can also use keywords in your profile bio as a means to attract additional views.
The benefits of having a verified Instagram account cannot be understated. It provides your followers and other viewers with confirmation that you are the real deal. An Instagram Verification Badge also means your account is given a higher ranking for searches and on the Explore page.
While many think they need to have a certain number of followers to get verified, this doesn’t factor into Instagram’s decision at all. It is instead based on the individual or brand’s ability to prove their account is subject to impersonation or fake accounts. Build your credibility and improve your account’s engagement by verifying your account.
We have talked about the strategy behind choosing a niche as an influencer on multiple occasions in previous posts. This is all about finding your focus and developing an area of expertise. As an influencer, you will find greater success when you are recognized as an authority within a specific niche.
Though you may feel the best niche to go into is whatever the world finds most popular at the time, we have some advice that may lead you in a different direction.
You shouldn’t choose a niche based on how trendy something is or by the amount of followers other influencers have in that industry. It is always good to be aware of niches that are profitable, but you shouldn’t decide on that basis alone. Here are a few tips to help you choose a successful niche.
- Follow your passion – Social media users are incredibly intelligent and perceptive. If you aren’t passionate about your brand and your niche, odds are they will be able to tell in a split second. Take a look at the interests you already have and develop a brand around something that has meaning to you.
- Keep Learning – Even if you feel like you’re an expert within your niche, you should always be open to gaining additional knowledge within that sector. Never feel like you know enough to skate by. Follow other influencers and blog in the same industry to ensure you are always keeping up.
One of the most important parts of niching down is to always remain consistent with your branding. This includes content, color schemes, and even posting around the same times every day. Find a look that works for your pictures and videos and stick with it.
As you develop a content schedule, ensure you are sharing around the same amount of posts each week and keep them around the same time. This way your followers will always know when to expect new content from you.
Similar to a niche, having a consistent theme on Instagram will set you apart from the competition and help people recognize your content. This doesn’t necessarily mean all your pictures need to look the same, but that you should develop your content around a specific idea. Your theme can be based around a color, storyline, or even a certain camera angle.
There are some great theme ideas out there for you to use as inspiration for your own brand. If you find one you like, be sure to revamp the design and make it your own. Here are a few examples worth following.
Use the tiered Instagram layout to share long, custom images with three posts at a time like @william.wanderlust
Play with a color theme the same way @runnerkimhall uses pastels.
Emphasize white space like @lydiamarceau.
Feature your logo on your posts as @millionaire_mentor does.
Design unique characters to highlight your brand identity like @nearly_complete.
There are numerous designs to choose from as you create your own unique theme. Let’s take a look at a few more ideas to get you started.
- Minimalist – Keep things as simple and basic as you possibly can. Use little more than shapes, lines, and images of your products as a means to promote them.
- One color to rule them all – Cameras and filter apps have incredible features that allow you to highlight just one color within an image and make everything else black and white.
- Dim the lights – Using shadows and minimal lighting is a great way to get some distinct looks in your images.
- Borders – Some may think it takes away from the image, but using a black, white, or colored border can separate your pictures and make them easily recognizable.
Being an Instagram influencer is so much more than simply sharing great pictures and videos. The written content beneath the media is just as crucial to your success. Unless you are already a famous singer, actor, or athlete, sharing a picture with nothing more than a heart emoji won’t be enough to hold onto a strong following.
Your content needs to have substance and be engaging with your audience. Powerful content won’t just get a double tap for a like, but it will urge viewers to drop a comment for you as well.
Now some of you may be worried about your ability to develop strong content because you’re not a writer or struggle with grammar. If this isn’t your greatest strength, here are a few tactics to help you get over this potential roadblock.
- Be yourself – Maybe you’re not a professional writer, but you have a voice and want to be an influencer for a reason. Don’t overthink it too much and simply put down the words you feel mean the most to you. People will appreciate how real you are.
- Hire an editor – If you really struggle with grammar and can’t seem to find a flow, then write what you feel and hire someone to edit it for you. This could be a friend, family member, or professional editor.
- Hire a writer – Some people may be great on either side of a camera, but have no idea how to create effective content to back it up. There are countless social media writers out there vying for your business who can help you find your voice.
If your content could use an extra boost, there are plenty of apps and other software ready and waiting to help you. Here are a few options to help you create engaging content.
- GIPHY – GIFs are immensely popular right now and offer a fun way for people to share a simple thought with a brief replaying video clip or series of images.
- Meme Generator – Memes are the still versions of GIFs. They’re another creative way to share a concept with using video.
- Phrase Generator – This is one you should only use when you’re really struggling to come up with your own ideas. It will automatically generate content for you ranging from catchy headlines to political rhetoric.
- Freelance sites – If you need help with written dialogue, designing a graphic, or other content, you can always hire a freelancer by using sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and even Craigslist.
Hashtags are a key way to help potential followers find your account. You should quickly choose one or two hashtags that are central to your specific brand and use them frequently. But also apply more popular hashtags to your posts, so your content shows up under Instagram users’ common interests which relate to your niche.
As important as it may be to create content that brings like and comments to your account, it is just as vital to like and reply to those comments. As your following grows, people will become more and more excited when you respond and interact with them. For many, it can feel like they’re getting the chance to talk with someone famous.
Engagement is about more than simply a quick reply to your comments though. Take some time to think about what your audience expects from you. If you don’t know, then a perfect engagement tactic is to ask them for advice.
When you ask for suggestions, you will give your followers the opportunity to let you know more about how you can engage, interact, and entertain them. Increasing engagement will be dependent on how well you incorporate their recommendations into your strategy.
There are plenty of things to be said about mastering the art of timing in influencer marketing. This can relate to when you post content during the day, sharing content related to current events, and focusing on your followers interests at specific times of the year. Tools like Social Bond’s influencer post analytics are a great way to see specific audience demographics, which can help you determine the best time of day to post.
Also, keeping yourself up-to-date on current trends and events can provide ideas for content. If you observe any holidays, they are a great time to diversify your theme and attract others who are celebrating at the same time.
Any successful influencer will be more than willing to share the importance of maintaining consistency in every aspect of your marketing efforts. This is key to your engagement progress and showing your followers your interest in them. Don’t leave any stone unturned, or any post without a comment, as you share your pictures and videos.
As your following count rises and the comments begin to stack up on each post, it can be easy to get a bit overwhelmed. While you should engage with as many followers as you can, there will come a time when you won’t be able to reply to everyone. When you reach that point, there are a couple of strategies to help you keep up.
- Schedule engagement time – Set aside a specific amount of time each day specifically for responding to comments. Whether it’s an hour or just ten minutes, this will prevent the feeling of wanting to pull your hair out as you try and respond to everyone.
- Get some help – If you find yourself too busy to respond, then find someone who can communicate with your followers in your voice and tone. This is another way freelancers can come in handy as needed.
When you decide what to post on Instagram, likes and comments are always an obvious goal, but there should be another objective behind it. While post engagement can get you on the Explore page, another beneficial means of organic traffic is getting your followers to share your picture or video with their own followers, friends, and family. This shareable content must be entertaining, have good visual aesthetics, and make a substantial impact on the viewer.
To produce shareable content, you need to take a close look at your target audience’s interests and constantly reaffirm why they are following your brand. One great practice is creating incentive programs that promise rewards to one or more individuals who share or tag a friend in a specific post. People are always ready and willing to join a contest when there is a prize or gift on the line.
Another great tactic is to focus on beliefs that may be common within your target audience demographic. If there is a particular cause your following feels strongly about, then pictures and videos related to that concept will have better engagement and more likely be shared. These mindsets will help you design practical posts that engage your following and make them want to pass your content along.
Learn More About These Explore Ranking Factors
We are always sharing new influencer marketing tips to help you better understand Explore ranking factors, which social media networks to use, and how to make money as an influencer. Be sure to check out our blog to learn about how you can find success in this growing industry.