In recent years, Instagram has stolen all the limelight from Facebook. The platform has become more than a place to share photos and videos. It is also a space where content creators and companies can generate business.

The best showcase within Instagram (used by 50% of users) is the Explore tab. This is located in the magnifying glass icon. In it, the service shows you the content of accounts you do not follow that match your interests. In addition to being targeted according to the user’s activity, this content is selected by the algorithm for being relevant and quality.

Many benefits can grant you to appear on this golden throne— the magnifying glass of Instagram— so let’s explain what you can do to get it.

How the algorithm works

Before looking for what to do, you need to understand how the algorithm selects the posts that make it to the magnifying glass. The Explore tab is unique to each user, i.e., Instagram personalizes the content.

The social network shows you a wide variety of accounts similar to your tastes. And how does Instagram know what you like? Based on which accounts you follow, what type of posts you interact with often, and which posts you stay on the longest.

One smartphone with the Instagram Explore tab open and another with a white cat reel on the screen

Considering the large amount of content that arrives on the social network daily, the question is how exactly the algorithm prioritizes some accounts over others. Although it is not known for sure, some research points to the following factors:

  • What you follow and like: According to the user’s likes and followers, it will show similar posts.
  • Video content: In general, videos generate more interest than images.
  • Stories with little text: Stories that include elements such as GIFs or stickers can earn points. The same is not true for those in which a lot of text is added.
  • Reposted content: Instagram does not like recycled content.

Five tips to reach the magnifying glass

Now that you know what Instagram likes and dislikes, let’s take a look at how to target your content to attract it.

1. Share engaging and valuable content

Instagram likes quality content, and so do your followers, so you have to give it to them. To perform an initial audit, check which type of content has achieved the most interactions and which has achieved the least.

In addition, always try to ensure that what you post has two qualities— to be useful to your followers and to attract their attention. In the case of images, add captions that invite them to be read.

Remember: it is not only important that the content is visually attractive but also that it contributes something.

A smartphone with various Instagram profile options on display and another with follower statistics

2. Choose the best time to post

Think about how much new content is posted every minute on Instagram. It is not difficult for your post to fall into the ostracism of an overcrowded feed. The key is to post when your followers are most likely to see it— something the algorithm loves.

The best time to post may vary depending on your location and the target your followers belong to. The best thing is that you can find out about this from the app with Instagram Insights.

These statistics show your followers’ age range and the moments of more activity. If, after posting something, you receive a lot of interactions, the algorithm will understand that it is worth being seen by more users.

3. Post in all formats

There are different strokes for different folks and content formats for different users. Therefore, it is very important to diversify your posts and keep track of what your audience likes the most.

Also, keep in mind that Instagram prioritizes some types of content, such as Reels, so if you work with them, you will have more chances to appear recommended in the magnifying glass. Also, remember to add subtitles, as many people watch videos without sound.

Smartphone with Instagram Explore tab open

4. Use hashtags and tags

On Instagram, both hashtags and location tags help you get more reach. In fact, in the Explore tab, users can search by hashtag, location, or topic.

Posts with hashtags get more engagement than content without hashtags. But it is not a question of overdoing it but of doing it right. The maximum allowed by the social network is 30 hashtags per post, but we do not recommend including so many, or you will confuse the algorithm and achieve the opposite effect.

The key is to use one to three hashtags at most. These should be well chosen and fit the context of the post in which they are included.

5. Interact with users

Instagram loves to create communities, so the more active your followers are within your posts, the more likely Instagram will be to recommend your profile to more people.

How do you get users to interact more with your content? Well, in addition to posting things that interest them, respond to all comments and direct messages. You can also encourage participation by asking simple questions, polls, and voting. For the latter, Instagram stories are the best format you can use.