Unlike Facebook, Instagram is a platform that allows businesses to grow its social presence without having to pay for exposure. Instead, Instagram has been created to allows users to discover and explore content and users that they may not have heard of before; building organic engaged communities online. When utilised correctly, the features of Instagram can help you to organically grow your business presence online and reach more people in your target market. So let’s talk search and explore on Instagram.

What is search and explore?

The search section of Instagram can be found by tapping on the magnifying glass icon on the bottom of your Instagram app. When you click into the search bar, you will find 4 search options:

  • People – other accounts on Instagram
  • Tags – hashtags
  • Places – location tags
  • All – all the above

If you then tap a username during a search, you will be taken to that account profile. When tapping on a hashtag you will be taken to a feed which collates all images that have used that hashtag in their post. When tapping on places you will see a feed that collates all images that have added the location tag to their post.
These views will automatically be filtered by most recent posts. The exception will be the top nine posts, which will be the nine most popular posts using that particular hashtag or location tag.

The search section of Instagram can be found by tapping on the magnifying glass icon on the bottom of your Instagram app; it is what appears underneath the search bar. This content is a collection of videos and images that Instagram thinks that you are interested in based on your activity (likes, comments, follows).

How can I be featured in the search and explore section?

Use hashtags that are relevant to your target audience and industry. To add a location to your post, or story, simply begin typing “#” followed by the keyword you are trying to target. For example, as a real estate agent in the Sydney CBD area you may wish to use the hashtags ‘#realestate’ and ‘#SydneyCBD’. We cannot stress how important it is to use relevant hashtags so that you are reaching the right audience, otherwise your Instagram marketing efforts are wasted on reaching people who will see no value in what you provide, and therefore not engage in your services.
Instagram allows you to add thirty hashtags to your posts, however, a study by TrackMaven found that posts with 9 hashtags performed the best in terms of engagement.
Avoid using hashtags such as ‘#f4f’ “#likeforlike” and “#love”. These hashtags have a high useage with no engagement or specific target demographic. You will need to conduct hashtag research to find which hashtags will work for you.

Adding a location tag to your posts and stories will mean that you will appear in the results for when someone is searching within an area. Without a location tag, you will not be found if people are searching in your area.
Again, when adding location tags to your post, ensure that the location is targeting the area that your business is targeting. If your business is not bound by a specific demographic, then use the location of your business. It is also important to note that you do not need to have a picture of a location of particular place to add a location. Location tags can and SHOULD be added to all posts.

Timing is everything when being seen in the search results section of Instagram. As mentioned earlier, the posts are shown in chronological order so if you are not posting when your target audience is online, you are missing the opportunity to be seen. If you have a business account for Instagram, then you will be able to use the analytics section in Instagram to see when your audience is most active. This should determine the timing of your posts.
If you have built up your Facebook audience effectively, then your audience activity should reflect the behaviour of your wider target audience.

Featured in top 9 posts
Instagram has said that the top 9 posts features in search results are those which are most popular– likes, comments, shares – there are a few things that you can do to help appear in these top 9 blocks:

  • We find that high resolution images perform the best on Instagram;
  • We have found that quotes also garner a high engagement response;
  • Niche hashtags that your audience follows give your post a higher chance of being seen and engaged with.

How can you leverage search and explore to engage your fans?

Engaging with the relevant hashtags and locations for your business will increase your reach and awareness amongst your target audience. Check these hashtags and locations regularly commenting on posts, thanking people for visiting your area and thank them for engaging your services.

Need help with your digital marketing?

Chronicle Republic Communications is a boutique Sydney marketing consultancy for real estate, property and interiors professionals. We specialise in social media, content marketing, email marketing, blogging, search engine optimisation, social media advertising and much more!

If you are looking for social media for real estate, property or interior design our digital marketing experts can help you bring your brand’s story to life.