Over 13% of all the people on Earth are on Instagram.
That’s a serious number of people sharing pictures of their lunch each day.
Of course, Instagram photos are valuable for many different reasons. Your IG channels aren’t just there for your entertainment. They’re also a source of guidance and information. What’s more, Instagram is also an excellent place for brands to communicate with their customers. This year (2019), the channel is expected to generate about $11 billion in revenue.
The question is, how do you get the most out of your Instagram photos?
If you want your content to shine on one of the world’s biggest social media platforms, you can’t rely on #Selfies and cat pictures for long. Eventually, there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in need of some Instagram photo inspiration.
Fortunately, Instagram makes it incredibly easy for users to find the content they’re looking for with the impressive “Search and Explore” section.
Today, we’re going to show you how you can use Instagram Search to your advantage.
How to Use the Instagram Search Function
Let’s start by covering the basics of what you can expect to find on the Instagram search and explore pages. You’ll find the “Search” function by tapping on the magnifying glass icon on your Instagram toolbar. When you tap on it, you’ll be able to search for:
- People with the @ symbol followed by a name
- Locations with location #Hashtags
- Topics with regular #Hashtags
You can search through the entire Instagram database, but you won’t be able to search for keywords by categories on the desktop site. A workaround option is to add # or @ to the keywords before you begin looking for Instagram photos.
When you tap on a person’s username in your search results, you’ll be delivered to their profile page. On the other hand, if you click on a hashtag or location tag, you’ll be brought to the section for that tag, where you can browse through all the content that used the tag before.
The explore section is located beneath the search function, and it’s designed to help people discover the posts they may be interested in, based on previous IG activities.
How Is Content Chosen for Instagram Explore?
According to Instagram, content for the Explore page is chosen based on the kind of material that you browse and enjoy when you’re using the app. As with most algorithms, data is king for Instagram, and the platform aims to tailor the content they serve to each user with personal data. The algorithm collects and displays content that:
- Has a history of high engagement
- Is similar to what users previously engaged with
- Comes from accounts similar to those the user already follows
Over time, the intelligent computers behind Instagram begin to recognize patterns in what users engage with, and they show content based on those formulas. As Instagram continues to gather more information about its users, the Instagram Explore page becomes increasingly intuitive.
In fact, in 2018, Instagram completely redesigned their Explore page to include a wide range of categories intended to help you find the Instagram photos that you want to see most. The app now relies on artificial intelligence to organize and deliver suggested content. The currently available topics include:
- For You
- Science and Tech
- TV and Movies
Understanding the New Instagram Explore Page
Announced at the Facebook Developer conference, the most recent Instagram Explore page started slowly, and was only available to a few users.
Today, anyone can access the updated Instagram Explore experience. To browse a category of photos that are relevant to you, simply tap on one of them within the Explore tab. Each of the result pages is still formatted with the three-tile rows in a square format – just like the traditional Instagram Explore page. The environment looks and feels very familiar.
All of the new categories include Instagram photos and related hashtags at the top of each section -except for the “For You” tab. This section comes with no hashtags. If you’re not interested in a specific category at all, then you can mute it by pressing and holding the section you don’t want.
Using Search for Instagram Photo Inspiration
Instagram Search and the Explore features give users an excellent opportunity to find the photos and videos that matter most to them. With these solutions, you can make sure that you’re seeing all the content that’s relevant to your life, your business, and your personal brand.
One of the most common reasons people want to learn how to use the “Search and Explore” feature, is that they need to find Instagram photo inspiration when their ideas for new content run dry. Instagram Search gives you an easy overview of some of the most popular pictures available for hashtags relevant to your industry.
You can also use the Instagram Explore page to keep on top of the trending content in your sector. Staying ahead of some of the most popular tags and ideas means that you can deliver popular content to your audience, and potentially boost your chances of IG success.
If you can use your Instagram photo inspiration to create more engaging content, then people will be more likely to follow you and listen to what you have to say. For organizations looking to improve their growth on Instagram, it’s worth committing some time to Instagram search.
Of course, to do that, you’ll need to get the hang of hashtags.
How to Handle Hashtags When Searching for Instagram Photos
The hashtag is easily one of the most important and famous features on Instagram. It’s also the heart and soul of the Search and Explore strategy. If you want to find content on Instagram or make sure that your material is seen by others, then you need to understand hashtags.
When it comes to looking for Instagram photo inspiration, there are three golden rules to follow to ensure that you’re finding the right images:
1. Search for Relevant Hashtags
Using the right hashtags to search for Instagram photos ensures that you find content that will give you the best possible inspiration. After all, the chances are that you’re not just looking for material to pass the time – you’re looking for something valuable you can share with your friends and followers.
There are endless hashtags out there for almost every industry. With that in mind, it’s best to do some research before you start hunting down the right content. Remember, don’t just stick to the most popular trending tags either. Getting niche with your searches can help you to find more engaging Instagram photos. For instance, instead of searching for #Fashion, try #BohoFashion:
2. Use Related Hashtags
Related hashtags were introduced to the Instagram Explore page last year in 2018. Although they seemed like a relatively small update at first, they’re a huge benefit for people who want to make the most out of their Instagram photos. If you’ve been struggling to think of terms to search for to get your inspirational fix, the related hashtag section will give you plenty of guidance.
Simply scroll to the top of the page and click on a tag that seems interesting to find a whole new section of Instagram photos to browse through.
3. Follow Relevant Hashtags
Another major update to pay attention to if you want to make the most of Instagram search and explore? The ability to follow relevant tags. Instagram introduced the option to follow your favorite hashtags in 2018, and it’s one of the many ways that the profile is helping users to discover posts that relate to their needs. When you find a tag that seems to deliver the best Instagram photo inspiration for you and your followers, keep track of it. All you need to do is:
- Tap the magnifying glass at the bottom of your screen
- Tap on Tags
- Choose the hashtag you want to follow
- Tap Follow
How to Fix Your Instagram Explore Tab
If you’d prefer to spend less time searching for Instagram photos, and more time creating fantastic content, then you might decide to take advantage of the Instagram explore page. The explore function takes some of the stress out of looking for ideas on Instagram, by presenting you with the content that’s most likely to be relevant to you and your audience.
Unfortunately, the explore page doesn’t always work the way we’d like it to. If you’ve only recently started to clean up your Instagram strategy, then your explore feed may be packed full of content that you’re not interested in anymore. However, you can take some steps to fix up your Instagram photo inspiration feed.
Options to try include:
1. Using Instagram a Little Less Aggressively
There is such a thing as spending too much time on Instagram. If your social media obsessions have completely taken over your schedule, then you might be giving the Instagram algorithm a hard time. After all, it’s hard for the bot to figure out which posts you like the most if you’re constantly liking and sharing new things.
Tap on the head and shoulders icon in the lower-right corner of Instagram’s app to enter your profile and click on Following. Here, you’ll be able to see all the endless accounts that you’ve loved over the years. When you have an hour or two to spare, browse through and remove any of the accounts that you don’t care about as much anymore.
Additionally, remember that you don’t necessarily need to double-tap every photo you like. Reserve your hearts for the people who deserve them.
2. Adjust Your Account According to Follower Needs
If you’re having a tough time deciding which accounts you should follow for the best Instagram photos, here’s an idea. Click on the heart icon at the bottom of your Instagram app and then on the Following option. Here, you’ll be able to see a glimpse of who the people on your follower list are following. Think about the kind of content that seems to appeal to your customers and fans.
Get rid of anything from your follower list that doesn’t seem relevant to you or the image you’re trying to create for yourself. If you still want to check that content out in your spare time, you can always create another separate Instagram account.
If you’re using your Instagram photos to gain attention from customers for your company, we recommend having a separate business and personal account.
3. Ask for Algorithmic Adjustments
Finally, the last way to clear up your Instagram explore page is to tap on any images that don’t interest you and scroll to the bottom of the post. Here, you’ll be able to see why Instagram decided to show you that image. It might have been because of a hashtag or account you’ve followed before. This will give you an insight into how you need to change your behavior going forward.
While you’re in amongst the data, tap the ellipses on the upper right of the image. This is the section you click on if you want to share Explore photos with friends or send messages to Facebook. You can also use this tab to select “See Fewer Posts Like This.” Your request tells the Instagram algorithm to reduce the number of photos it sends you in that specific category.
Importantly, it takes a little while before your requests will make a significant difference to the algorithm, but it’s still worth a try.
Go and Explore Your Instagram Photos
There you have it – your complete guide to the Instagram search and explore pages, and how you can use them to find the best Instagram photos. Using the tips we’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to make sure that you always get the best suggestions when you’re hunting for Instagram photo inspiration. What’s more, you may even improve your chances of staying one step ahead of the competitio