The Instagram popular page, AKA the Search and Explore tab, is a place where you can see all of the best photos of Instagram.

Have you ever wanted to be on that page yourself?

Maybe you want to get on there just to score a lot of likes on a photo that are very proud of.

Maybe you are a marketer and you want to get your business or brand out there.

Maybe you are having a contest with your friends to see who can get the most likes.

Whatever the reason, you want to get your picture on the Instagram popular page and you want to know how to do it.

This article will show you different ways to get on the Instagram popular page using different strategies.

Note, there is no guarantee that you will get on the Instagram popular page, given that the criteria can change without notice. However, if you follow these steps, your likelihood of scoring your spot on the list increases.

According to Instagram, this is the purpose of the Instagram popular page:

Search & Explore shows you photos, videos and people that you might like. We’re always working to update the types of posts and people you see in Search & Explore to better tailor it to you. For example, we may show you photos and videos liked by people whose posts you’ve liked and/or posts that are liked by a large number of people in the Instagram community.

A notification will appear in Activity if your post appears on Search & Explore because it’s trending in the Instagram community. You'll also get a push notification if you have notifications turned on for Instagram.

Hmm, it looks like these are tailor made to you and your activity in Instagram. However, if your photo is trending in the Instagram community at large, you are more likely to make it to the Instagram popular page.

There are some general things you should be doing in order to position yourself to get on that page. Here are some tips.

Getting on the Instagram Popular Page: The Basics

How do you optimize your account so that you are positioned to start bringing in some serious Instagram traffic?

Read on.


1. Let your account age a bit.

Accounts have to be a certain age. The exact age is not confirmed, but think of it this way: a brand new account, even with a huge spike in followers and likes, will not make the popular page.

Here's why.

Normally, when an account is new, there is not a lot of activity on it. It takes time to get consistent photos going and it also takes time for an account's following to grow (except for celebrity accounts).

If an account spikes in a huge amount of followers, nearly simultaneously, it could mean someone has purchased fake followers from fake accounts.

You may be tempted to do this, but don't. Don't even think about it. If Instagram is anything like Facebook, it can get your account banned, closed or sandboxed.

In any event, fake followers are useless to you, because they don't engage with your photos. This brings us to the next point.


2. Get a lot of likes from a lot of people.

This is where fake accounts won't cut it. You need people, preferably Instagram fanatics, who are even more preferably your fanatics.

Every little “like” is a vote for that photo. People are saying, “Hey, this is really cool or interesting, and I took the few seconds to like this photo, you should check this out!”

Get enough of these likes, fast enough and you can be catapulted into the popular page.

You definitely want active, adoring fans who like your photos.


3. Take amazing photos.

By amazing, I mean they are beautiful, colorful, hilarious, adorable, thoughtful, inspiring, relatable, or whatever else works for you and your followers.


If you need some hints, check out the popular page. Study what's trending, what is popular, what people say in the comments, etc.

Seeing what is already on the Instagram popular page can help you get there.

Taking amazing photos will help you get the likes that you need to boost you there.

In a nutshell:

Amazing photos + seeing what's trending + applying it to your own account = Better likelihood of hitting the Instagram popular page.

Ask people to like your photos and give shout outs to people. You can do this.


4. Master the art of hashtags.

Here is a quote from Buffer that can help you get on the Instagram popular page:

Instagram is another hotspot for hashtags, and the good news for those who love to extensively tag photos is that there doesn’t seem to be a saturation point.

Interactions are highest on Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags.

A rule of thumb could be: Don’t sweat your amount of Instagram hashtags.

The best part about this recommendation is that the data comes from a set of users with 1,000 or fewer followers—a group that likely includes small businesses and those just diving in to Instagram. In other words, hashtags could be your best bet for growing a fast following on Instagram.



From Dan Zarrella

At the same time, don't go overboard with hashtags. You can use apps like Iconosquare to look up hashtags that have huge followings. They also give you a long list of related hashtags to use, besides telling you how popular they are.

Play with the tool, experiment with engagement and hone down what works. Don't forget to test new ideas to see if you could be doing better.


5. Time it right.

Let's face it – if post a photo when your followers are still in bed in the morning, your photo will not get as much likes as it would if you posted early afternoon, or perhaps after dinner, or on Sunday nights.

It just depends on when they are on.

Generally, your followers are probably on at the same time you are online, especially if most of you do the same things (like go to college, business owners, parents of kids in school, etc.).

Point is, post when they are most likely to see it, get a ton more likes, quicker and skyrocket towards that Instagram popular page.

Your account is now more optimized for reaching the Instagram popular page. Now what? Get more followers.


How To Get More Followers On Instagram

– So that you can get even closer to getting on the Instagram popular page. –

You just don't want any followers on your account – you want actively engaged fans. They will come around and like your photos. Assuming you put out likable content.

Here are six ways to help you build pipelines of followers into your Instagram account.


1. From Wishpond:

Make an Instagram tab on your Facebook page – this enables you to instantly share your Instagram photos to your Facebook Fans.

2. From Postano:

Displaying Instagram on your website is a great way to tie your social media efforts into part of a cohesive digital strategy, as well as promote your Instagram account and get more follows, likes and comments.

3. From The Social Skinny:

One very effective tactic is to run an Instagram contest. When done correctly Instagram competitions can give you a welcome follower boost and some great exposure for your product or brand.

4. From Tint:

If you expect people to engage with your posts, they expect the same as well. That means engage, engage, and engage with other’s photos. The more active you are, the more exposed your username/account is to the owner and the owner’s followers. I’ve found myself go to people’s Instagram account and follow them because they liked a photo of mine.

The main rationale behind that is if someone liked my photo, I feel my work is appreciated and want to show my gratitude back by following them.

5. From Post Planner:

You can get more Instagram followers by using popular hashtags to get your posts in front of more users.

But don’t go overboard.

Only use hashtags that are relevant to your photos. For example, when posting a photo of food, don’t use the “scenery” hashtag just because it’s popular.

Sometimes businesses try to create their own hashtags, which usually doesn’t work. If your business doesn’t have a huge following, just use popular hashtags like #tbt, #photooftheday and #love to promote your posts.

According to Webstagram, here are some of the most popular Instagram hashtags:


6. From Heyo Blog:

What made Instagram so popular so fast?…..Filters. They give each photo a unique sense of beauty, and they make each photo so personalized. By making your photo inspirational, breathless or memorable, people will be more likely to engage with your photo, and want to follow you because they want more beautiful photos.

7. From Katie Miles Live:

Instagram marketing is much more than just posting a picture.  And it’s not just a place to showcase your products and services either. It’s a powerful way to have a personal and emotional connection with consumers who are interested in your brand or products.  Instagram marketing is to draw the attention and interest of your audience so that they can engage or follow your brand.  You’re building your own brand awareness this way.


25 Ways to Get Highly Engaged Instagram Followers

25 Ways to Get Highly Engaged Instagram Followers

How To Get More Likes On Instagram

Finally, now that we have a good basic Instagram account, and we have followers coming in from all different places, it is time to build up those likes.

You have to work for those likes, it would be nice to have shortcuts.

But, it will take some time to build. How fast you build is up to you:

1. How much time you spend getting new followers.

2. How attractive you can make your photos.

3. How much traffic you can build outside of Instagram and drive to your account.

4. How much you spend implementing.

5. How flexible you are to changing trends.

It seems like a lot, but you can easily do all of this simultaneously. Many people do. If you are active on social media, you probably watch trends, share viral content and get people talking.

If not, you have something to work on.

Let's dive into getting more likes on Instagram.



1. Take GREAT Photos.

Instagram is starting to be saturated with insignificant photos that offer no real creativity. That's great for you, because that means you can stand out even more. Check out Southern Curls and Pearls about taking Instagram photos. Great pictures, awesome tips and they can help you get into the Instagram popular page.


2. Get on similar Instagram accounts.

Why follow your competition? To learn from them. You can also follow complementary accounts, (if you sell flowers, follow someone who sells vases. Follow your most similar fans. You will learn so much about what people love about your photos and what they want to see.


3. Like, like and like. And comment.

This cannot be understated. Use Iconosquare to see what people are using hashtags that are similar to what the theme of your Instagram account is. When you like and comment on other people's accounts, consistently and grow that following, they are more likely to come back and like your photos. Some will become regulars and will encourage their friends to follow you as well. Liking other people's photos is one of the most powerful ways to get likes on your own account.


4. Don't bleed the feed.

From Rebecca Coleman:

Don’t bleed the feed: don’t post 5 pictures in a row of the same thing. When I go to a dinner, for example, I’ll take photos of each course on my regular phone’s camera, and then create a collage of the photos using Diptic or Picframe afterwards and upload that to Instagram.

There you go! All the tips and tricks, gathered from different places on the internet, as to how to get on the Instagram popular page. Like I said, there is no guarantee that you will make the popular page with these tips; however, you can better your odds, over thousands of other accounts, by following these tips.


To recap on getting on the Instagram Popular Page:

Optimize your Instagram account by putting out great content, attracting active users, and get them to like your posts. You want to get as many likes in a short amount of time as possible to rise to the Instagram popular page.

Do you love these Instagram popular page tips?

Comment below, tell me what you think.

Lawrence Tam

Funny dude who grew up in Houston, and retired from Mechanical Engineering at the age of 33. Has 3 kiddos and happily married and marketing full time since 2012. Check out how I've been using Instagram to build my business by using the power of Instgram #hashtags - Free tips here Click Here.


Vanessa Pierre · December 27, 2016 at 6:12 pm

Amazing post so insightful.

Tom Lincoln · December 13, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Love this post and the infographic rocks!

Nicole Mae · July 18, 2016 at 4:21 am

Quality article and definitely has me thinking about marketing in different ways. Thanks!

William Wood · March 3, 2016 at 12:53 am

I haven’t really started using Instagram yet but this is a great tutorial. Very robust. Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

    Lawrence Tam · March 4, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    it’s a good starting point to get your feet wet with instagram marketing 😉

Leslie Lane Peabody · March 2, 2016 at 11:13 pm

This is a FABULOUS blog! This tips are GOLD and should be saved and used often! Thanks for bringing such great content ALL THE TIME! I save all your posts!

    Lawrence Tam · March 4, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    thanks! looking to make everyones time on facebook WORTH them coming over and hanging out at my site

Michael Kidzinski · March 2, 2016 at 1:04 am

Great instruction for everyone who wants to use instagram the right way. I did know a little bit about it but now it makes a lot more sense for me 🙂

    Lawrence Tam · March 4, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    awesome!!!! glad I could help in your instagram knowledge

valerie jampolsky · March 1, 2016 at 6:52 am

Lawrence thank you so much for all your detail on how to get on the instagram popular page. Wondeful step by step..

    Lawrence Tam · March 4, 2016 at 10:15 pm

    it’s like the holy grail…. of mobile free traffic 😉

Nadia · February 29, 2016 at 9:03 pm

It is awesome arsenal of tips and knowledge you shared with the world, thank you Lawrence for value content.

    Lawrence Tam · March 4, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    thank you for coming by! hope it has helped you in your instagram marketing journey.

yukiko iino · February 29, 2016 at 7:59 pm

This is so rich and inspiring, Lawrence. I haven’t done much with Instagram and now I feel I view you one of a few authority sites and reliable sources to follow. I’d have to come back and study this article. Thank you so much!!!

    Lawrence Tam · March 4, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    I’m getting better with Instagram daily and I hope to share some more cool goodies as times goes on.

Rob Skinner · February 29, 2016 at 6:48 pm

I need to book mark this blog so that when I’m ready to jump into this area I can use this as a jump start…very detailed, very informative and as usual very useful…Thanks Lawrence

    Lawrence Tam · March 4, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    YES! anytime I can build an article that is “bookmark worthy” then I know I’m getting to my goals of helping MORE people make more online.

rmatthewe · February 29, 2016 at 10:55 am

Great Tips as always Lawrence!

Alecia Stringer · February 28, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Thanks great tips. Consistency is what always works in all the social media platforms.

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