Social Media Tips

How to Get Featured on Instagram’s Top Posts

February 15, 2017

Getting featured on Instagram’s top posts is easier than it seems. A few weeks ago, a photo I had posted was trending and made it to top posts in several hashtag groups. As someone who’s interested in reaching an audience for my blog through my IG posts, the top grid is prime real estate.

I am no way tooting my own horn (even though it did feel kind of great) but this circumstance made me realize two things:

You don’t need a big following or a ton of likes to be featured in “Top” posts

Here’s the thing : I posted a “selfie”

Yup. I’m guilty of employing window lighting to create a flattering selfie (thanks mother nature!) . Yet, this long overdue selfie only garnered about 110 likes.

Which isn’t that great compared to the some of the top contenders next to me who exhibited anywhere from 1k–100k likes

instagram marketing

So what gives?

I garnered lots of visibility on my post by posting at what I like to call “late night infomercial hours”

instagram marketing

Sham or Scam? Still a mystery to this day..

If you own cable television you know that late night infomercial hours (12 am- 3 am) are when the night owls come out to play .

Or better yet, when people are either :

A) Asleep

B) Binge watching on Netflix

Why on earth would you post then? By posting at a non peak hour,

You’re allowing your post to gain traction throughout the morning hours when people are getting up for work.

You’re basically avoiding the “rush hour traffic” when all the accounts with big followings infiltrate IG.

Let’s leave the traffic jams on the roads and not on our social media pages

What you’re also doing is posting at peak hours in other time zones.

Say for example you post at 12 am EST, that’s 9pm PST, which is when most bloggers are more than likely scrolling on their phones and not uploading content.

It’s a Win/Win

Side Note– As much as I posted a selfie (which I hadn’t done in awhile), I didn’t use spammy hashtags like #instalike #follow #likeforlike to seek validation and attention for my post either.

With my usual introspective voice, I tied it in with a favorite quote from a recent read of Designing Your Life:

designing your life

What I also did, was use a mixture of low/ medium volume hashtags .

Exhibit A : Low volume Hashtag = <1k

Instagram popular posts hashtags

I wonder if the authors actually searched their own hashtag..

Exhibit B : Medium Volume = 25-250k

instagram marketing hashtag grid popular posts

In the end, Instagram is all about fair game and doesn’t care how big your following is, or how long you’ve kept your spot at the top.

They’ll give it to a newer post if it gains enough activity.

You don’t necessarily need to post a flattering selfie to bump your way to the top.

Case in point, here are two other posts I had created and posted around the same time using similar sized hashtags:

flaylay style instagram

designing your life

You’ll notice how the hashtag volume is on the lower side. While I didn’t gain tons of engagement (likes,comments) I gained enough to make my way to the top.

If your priority is to gain visibility to your IG profile, then I highly recommend opting for lower volume hashtags with high activity.

Not only will you get the chance to your post featured, but it’ll provide you a window of opportunity to get your page noticed.

Key Takeaways :

  • Post late night-early morning
  • Use a combination of low -medium volume (but active) hashtags
  • Avoid high volume hashtags, your content will be buried amongst the brands with big followings

Has your photo ever been featured in Top Posts?

Any tips you’ve tried that made your post appear at the top? Share your comments below!


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  • Reply Joey Cathey March 18, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Great article! We’re currently planning our foray into Instagram, so this is super helpful!

    • Reply Andrea March 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      Thanks Joey! Glad you found the article helpful 🙂

  • Reply Kat March 20, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Interesting insights! I’ve found 2am EST is a good time to post because Europeans are waking up while some North Americans are browsing Instagram before bed.

    • Reply Andrea March 20, 2017 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks 🙂 Ditto! I’m normally passed out before 12:30 am or else I’d be posting around 2 am as well haha

  • Reply TalksWithToni March 20, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    This was very informative. Trying this out asap!!!

  • Reply Everything You Need to Know About Why You're Being Unfollowed On Instagram • Today I Learned May 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm

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