With 32% of internet users flocking to the Instagram, it’s a necessary marketing avenue.
But Instagram’s become even more important since the launch of the Search & Explore feature.
In this post, I’ll go over how Instagram Search works and how to own Instagram search hashtags.
Since Instagram’s launch in 2010, it quickly earned its reputation as a social media giant in today’s world of point-and-shoot media sharing.
Now, just over eight years later, Instagram has over 800 million users who share more than 100 million photos and videos each day.
All of those users are using Instagram search.
Let’s dive in.
Instagram’s Search and Explore Feature
To step up their competitive edge, Instagram launched Search & Explore to let users see the world as it happens around them with real-time reporting.
Instagram’s CEO Kevin Systrom says “It’s a real-time visual pulse of what’s happening in the world.”
For users, this bold move simplifies discovering photos, but for businesses, you now have another way to get your brand right in front of your targeted audience.
When Instagram first launched this feature it required two updates.
The first was a revamp to the Explore page to support their new vision for instant and effortless image discovery.
Now, trends will surface in real-time to connect users to events and conversations across the globe. Using tags and trending placings, users will experience moments from unique perspectives with visually rich content from information that’s curated with collections.
The second update aimed to dramatically improve how users find exactly what they are looking for with the new Places Search.
With it, users can peer a little deeper into any location on Earth. From restaurants to music festivals, users get an inside look into what’s happening right now.
With new access to people, places, and tags from trending locations all at once, brands have the opportunity to land on the “Top Posts” to skyrocket their visibility on the site. This is extremely important for location-based businesses.
How Does Instagram Search Work?
Instagram Search & Explore individualizes the experience for each user by choosing photos and videos that are liked by people you’re connected with and by current trending posts.
The hashtags used on these posts index and categorize the content to appear in what’s currently trending.
The hashtags are labeled in sections called “Top Posts” near the “Most Recent” posts to show users what’s popular for a specific hashtag or place.
Search & Explore then chooses what you see by linking the trending places and suggested people into different collections by Instagram account or place.
To find what’s trending, users conduct searches to discover what, who, and where are popular on Instagram.
The results generated depend on a variety of factors, like the people you follow, who you’re connected with, and what photos, videos, and posts you’ve previously liked.
How Will Businesses Benefit From Instagram Search and Explore?
Search & Explore not only hands you a way to get discovered, but you can use the feature to fine-tune your own Instagram strategy.
For example, the Discover page will let you see suggested people and places who are already relevant to your brand.
This takes a lot of guesswork out of targeting your audience because the recommendations are based on your Instagram activity. From what we have seen, this is populated largely on your Instagram hashtag and search history.
Brands can use Search by Place to grow their audience by connecting with people in certain geographical locations.
You’ll explore what’s being shared by your location to engage with users while finding the best hashtags for more visibility.
The same feature allows you to discover trending hashtags in real-time to see if current trends relate to your product, service, or brand. If they do, leverage this to develop engaging conversations to build brand trust and loyalty.
Then, use these as inspiration to help develop your own trending posts for users and places that are connected to your business.
Combining these factors will help build to Instagram’s already high engagement rates. The more you develop your engagement, the higher you’ll appear in Instagrams search results.
How to Get Found in Instagram Search: Step Up Your Hashtags
Hashtags are your secret weapon to success when it comes to Instagram Search.
Consider this: only 20% of Instagram posts use six or more hashtags, and 53% of posts use just one. This means you’ll instantly boost your engagement by stepping up your hashtag game.
But remember: it’s about quality, not quantity.
Every post needs to have multiple relevant hashtags that are specific to your audience. To choose the best hashtags, pay attention to what others are using and use hashtag tracking tools like RebelMouse, Tagboard or Talkwalker. Socialmention.com and Twubs are also great places to look.
Remember, you can’t influence an Instagram users search history, but Instagram you control your Instagram hashtags 100%. So take full advantage.
Then, whenever you’re hosting an event, having a promotion, or just need more people to walk through your door, use these hashtags, along with your location, to get in front of more people.
Take a look at the way I used hashtags on my business Instagram.
If I had not used these, I wouldn’t have had 25% of the likes on this post.
How To Get Found in Instagram Search: Share Quality Photos
A great photo says a thousand words – especially on Instagram.
After all, 60% of consumers say they are more likely to consider a company if an image appears with their search.
So, make sure anyone using Instagram Search & Explore finds pictures that accurately portray your brand.
And of course, only share quality pictures. Sixty-seven percent of consumers say image quality is very important when choosing a company.
Also, select your pictures wisely.
Certain aspects get higher engagements. For example, pictures of real customers have a 30% higher engagement.
Also, a high amount of background space generates 29% more likes than those with minimal space, and lighter images have 24%more likes than darker images.
Texture also comes into play with high levels of texture generating 79% more likes.
For even more visibility, geo-tag your photos and connect to the mapping function to make it easier to find your business. Using the right pictures will boost your engagement to encourage more likes and shares.
Use Instagram Stories to Get Found on Instagram Search
With over 400 million of Instagram’s 800 million user base being active daily, it only stands to reason that you want to utilize any feature that targets them on a daily basis.
This is where Instagram’s story feature comes in.
Built on the same principle as Snapchat’s disappearing snap feature, Instagram stories disappear 24 hours after being posted. If you create a story that you are fond of and want it to live on, you can “highlight” that story on your profile page.
You can include lenses, hashtags and stickers to enhance your photo or video stories. Businesses may be particularly interested in the location and poll stickers.
With these you can generate more engagement, and in regard to polls, you can gather some valuable customer data.
Be sure to create unique and engaging quality stories with relevant hashtags. Doing so is essential to getting featured on the coveted Explore page.
The more interaction your story receives, the more likely it is to become featured. This will lead to exceptional brand awareness, engagement and ultimately, conversions.
Post at the Right Time for Instagram Search
As of 2017, there were more than 25 million business profiles on Instagram.
So yeah, you’ve got some steep competition.
But posting at the right times during the day will help promote your engagement and get you in front of your audience when they’re most active.
Later (formerly Latergramme) ran an analysis of over 61,000 Instagram posts to see when engagement was the highest.
They discovered the best time to post is at 2 am and 5 pm, EST. The worst times are at 9 am and 6 pm. Plus, Wednesdays appear to be the sweet spot in the week, while Mondays have the least amount of engagement.
Of course, what works best for your brand will depend entirely on your specific audience. And the only way to know for sure is to run tests and monitor your analytics.
Start by posting at different times throughout the day, spread out over the course of the week, and after enough time has passed do a deep dive into the analytics you’ve gathered to determine what times get the best engagement for your brand.
Create Great Captions for Instagram Search
The captions you create for your posts will drive engagement.
Although there isn’t any apparent connection in the length of Instagram captions that impact engagement, the average caption is 138 characters long, including the hashtags.
Create a catchy and descriptive caption that includes your location and your website’s URL to help with search visibility.
To drive higher engagement, use @mentions in captions for 56 percent more engagement. Combining your location, mention, and hashtags will add 79 percent higher engagement.
Strive to Promote Engagement
It’s pretty simple really, the more likes, comments and shares you get, the higher you’ll appear when your hashtags are searched.
But how do you make sure users will engage with your posts?
Here are some suggestions to help you do just that:
- Create branded hastags and encourage followers to use them. You can then use the search feature to follow up with those who have posted by liking, commenting, or re-posting.
- Search for and follow influencers you would like to collaborate with. Eighty-two percent of conuserms are likely to follow recommendations made by influencers.
- If you have a brick-and-mortar location or are having an event, be sure to use geo-tags to help users engage with your business. Much like branded hashtags, you can then follow up with those who have visited your location.
- Be sure to create and post quality content your followers will want to see
For more ideas on what to post, check out my full article here.
Tools for Instagram Search
- Here is an example of a page on Instagram that was just made for a hashtag. Go ahead and add whatever hashtag you want in place of the current one to see if your content surfaces or to get content ideas. It will show you the top posts on the topic, most recent. not https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/hashtag/
- If you want to learn more about how to search on Instagram, you can learn more here. https://help.instagram.com/1482378711987121
- Findgram is another tool that allows you to search Instagram photos and videos. It is a little more basic than websta.me, but still gets the job done. http://findgram.com/
FAQ on Instagram Search
How are photos and videos chosen for the Instagram Search & Explore?
Though the exact algorithm is closely guarded, Instagram search does state that the results are tailored to each individual user based on the people you follow or the posts you like. It works similarly with video channels, automatically choosing accounts that they you will enjoy based on your previous activity. As such, you will likely see:
- Content similar to what you’ve previously engaged with
- Content with high engagement
- Content from accounts similar to those you follow
What are the best ways to get on the Instagram Search Explore page?
There are a few things you can do to increase your likelihood of appearing on the page. Some of the most beneficial are:
- First, know your audience. Know who they are, what things interest them, and what kind of accounts they follow. These insights will let you know the kind of content that’s already appearing on their explore page so you can better emulate it.
- Use relevant hashtags. According to TrackMaven, posts with nine hashtags have the best engagement.
- Add a location tag
- Publish your posts when your target audience is most active
- Use Instagram Live
How do I select the best hashtags?
One of the best ways to find the most relevant is through Instagram itself. In Instagram Search, enter a search and select “tags”. Instagram will then show results of hashtags related to the word or phrase you searched for, and the number of tags for each one. From that list, you can select the hashtags best for your business. It’s usually best to avoid the most and least popular hashtags (unless you operate in a very specific niche).
Does more engagement make your posts more likely to appear in Instagram search?
Yes. The more likes and comments your post has, the more likely it is to appear on the page. As such, you should do everything you can to boost post engagement, so focus on creating valuable posts and tag all companies and products involved with it.
What are some of the most important metrics for Instagram search?
When it comes to Instagram search analytics are important. You’ll want to pay special attention to:
- Comments – this will tell you how engaged your users are with your posts
- Follower growth rate – tells you the overall growth of your channel
- Timing – tells you when your posts perform the best
- Engaged hashtags – tells you the best hashtags to use
6. How do You Search Locations On Instagram?
To search by location on Instagram click the start icon from the main screen and open the explore feature. You can magnify by clicking on the search tool. You can also add hashtags and the name of the location in the search box.
Wrapping Up Instagram Search
Instagram isn’t going anywhere.
And as the Search and Explore page continues to evolve, more and more people will be using it to find posts relevant to them.
Make sure brand shows up by following the tips avove.
- “The All-New Search and Explore: See the World as It Happens” Instagram Blog
- “Search and Explore” Instagram Help Center
- “Instagram Tips: Using Hashtags” Instagram Blog
- “5 Insightful Instagram Statistices that You Should Know” Social Sprout
- “When Is the Best Time to Post on Instagram?” Tech Times