Ask HN: What, if anything, will come after Facebook for human connection?

Based on all these headlines, people seem to be ‘catching on’ or ‘burning out’ of Facebook. I have been for awhile but I’ve almost given up hope as to anything taking it on directly or challenging it’s market position. At this point, it’s like trying to supplant Windows.

What are your thoughts? I don’t have much to say, I just want to read and reflect.

How to Use Instagram Search & Explore to Boost Your Instagram Marketing

Instagram places a big emphasis on search and discovery of content. It’s one of the few social media platforms with a Search and Explore tab in its app.

Being featured in the search results or in Instagram’s Explore section can be a great way to boost your success on the network with added exposure and the chance to reach new users who may not have otherwise seen your content.

There are also several other ways you can use Instagram’s Search and Explore for your business – finding the best hashtags to use, engaging your fans, and finding influencers to collaborate with.

In this post, you’ll learn all the ways you can use Instagram’s Search and Explore to help your business success on Instagram.

Instagram Search & Explore - A Complete Guide for Businesses

What you’ll learn about Instagram Search for your business

To make reading easier, this guide has been broken down into five chapters, each detailing a way of using Instagram Search or Explore for your business.

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How Instagram Search and Explore works

Let’s first understand what you can search and explore on Instagram. Tap the magnifying glass icon to go to the Search and Explore tab.


Instagram Search

Simply tap on the search bar to start searching. You can search for the following:

  • Top (i.e. all of the below)
  • People (i.e. Other users on Instagram)
  • Tags (i.e. Hashtags)
  • Places (i.e. Location tags)

You can search using the Instagram website, too. The only difference is that you can’t search for keywords by categories (e.g. people or tags) on the website. A workaround is to add @ or # before your keywords when you are searching for people or hashtags respectively.

Here’s how Instagram determines your search results:

The search results you see are based on a variety of factors, including the people you follow, who you’re connected to and what photos and videos you like on Instagram.

When you tap on a username in the search results, you’ll be brought to the user’s profile.

When you tap on a hashtag or a location tag, you’ll see photos with the hashtag or location tag. There’ll be nine top posts followed by all the photos starting from the most recent photo.


Instagram Explore

Below the search bar is the Explore section. This section helps you discover posts you might like based on your Instagram activities, according to Instagram.

Posts are selected automatically based on things like the people you follow or the posts you like. You may also see video channels, which can include posts from a mixture of hand-picked and automatically sourced accounts based on topics we think you’ll enjoy.

Now, let’s take an in-depth look at how you can use Instagram’s Search and Explore feature for your business.

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How to get featured on Instagram’s Search and Explore

Being featured in the search results or in the Explore section of your target audience can help to expose your brand to people outside of your follower base. You could also get more engagement on your posts and gain more followers.

To get featured on Instagram’s Search and Explore, try these four ideas:

1. Add a location tag and (nine) hashtags

For your posts and stories to appear in a search result, you’ll need to add a location tag or hashtags to your post.

To add a location tag to a post, tap on any of the suggested locations while you are composing the post. If the location you want to tag isn’t suggested, tap on Add Location to search for your preferred location. If you can’t find your location, you can create one.

Adding location tag to post

To add a location tag to a story, tap on the sticker option and then the location tag sticker.

Adding location tag to Instagram story

To add a hashtag to a post, simply type # and the relevant keyword, such as #landscape, #ootd, or #igfood.

Adding hashtag to post

To add a location tag to a story, tap on the sticker option and then the hashtag sticker. Or tap on the text option and type a hashtag. Instagram would recommend relevant hashtags as you type.

Adding hashtag to Instagram story

You can add up to 30 hashtags per post but TrackMaven found that Instagram posts with nine hashtags perform the best in terms of engagement.

TrackMaven Instagram Hashtag Study - Instagram posts with nine hashtags perform the best in terms of engagement

To find the best hashtags to use, you could try tools like Focalmark or Display Purposes. In the next section, you’ll also learn how to use Instagram Search to find the best hashtags to use.

2. Time your posts

When you tap into a search result, the latest post will appear first (apart from the top posts).

Most recent posts

To optimize your posts for Instagram search, you’d want to publish when your target audience are most active (when they are scrolling through Instagram and searching for posts).

This way, there’s a greater chance of your post appearing near the top of the search result when your target audience is finding photos and videos on Instagram.

If you have anInstagram business profile, you can find the day and the hour of a typical day when your followers are the most active, in your Instagram Insights.

Buffer's followers activity

If you do not have a business profile on Instagram, you can use free Instagram analytics tools like Union Metrics’ free Instagram account check up or WEBSTA to find your optimal posting time.

(We’re making an assumption that your followers’ activity is representative of your target audience’s activity, which I think is a safe assumption to make.)

3. Create great, relevant content

In a search result, the top nine posts take up the most prominent space.

Top posts

According to Instagram, the top posts are selected based on its popularity (i.e. engagements such as Likes, comments, and shares). So the best way to have your posts in the Top Posts section is to create great, relevant content that your followers will engage with.

(I thought it might be worth mentioning again that you’ll need to include a location tag or hashtag in your post for it to appear in asearch result.)

Here’re a couple of tips for creating content that could become a top post:

  • Use high-resolution photos: We noticed that high-resolution photos on Instagram tend to get more Likes and comments.
  • Use a niche hashtag that your target audience follows: As there is less competition for the hashtag, there’s a higher chance of your post making it to the Top Posts section.

4. Go live

Instagram features the top live videos in the Search and Explore tab.

Featured live videos

Admittedly, having your live video featured on the Search and Explore tab might be much harder to achieve than the other tips above. But it’s definitely worth a try!

The featured live videos are the ones that are trending due to the number of viewers, engagement, and proximity to the user’s location.

Here’re some ideas on how you can use Instagram live video:

  • Office hours or Q&A sessions
  • Launches and announcements
  • Take people behind-the-scenes
  • Interviews, collaborations, and takeovers
  • Experimental content

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How to use Instagram Search to find the best hashtags

Including hashtags in your post or story increases the engagement level.

Including the right hashtags ensures that your post or story appears in your target audience’s search results or Explore section.

Here’re two ways of using Instagram Search to find the best hashtags to use:

1. Instagram Search results

When you enter a word or a phrase in the search box and select Tags, Instagram will show a list of hashtags related to the word or phrase (i.e. search results).

For example, a Korean restaurant owner could search for korean food and find the relevant hashtags in the search results:

Finding the best hashtags through Instagram Search

Instagram will also show the number of posts for each hashtag. That tells you how popular that hashtag is.

Allen Harper, a photographer who wrote about Instagram hashtag use, suggested avoiding vastly popular hashtags.

Some hashtags are vastly more popular than others; however, popularity doesn’t always translate to effectiveness. For example, you’ll notice that #photooftheday, #like4like, #instagood, #iphoneonly, etc. are extremely popular. Unfortunately, since so many users throw these similar tags on their images, it means that their photos are buried in the pool within seconds and become virtually undiscoverable.

They are also tags that are nonspecific to any field or niche. In other words, what few people may be browsing these pools could likely overlook your photo because it’s not necessarily what interests them. In addition, the popular tags usually have a lot of bots/spammers that use this tag on images-you’ll earn yourself a lot of spam comments on whatever photo you posted with said tags.

I’d also avoid using hashtags that are infrequently used as it likely means that few people are interested in the hashtags. You can check the frequency of use by searching for a hashtag and seeing how often there’s a post with the hashtag.

That said, a hashtag could have few posts also because it is used only by a niche community. This makes it a great choice if that’s the community you want to reach. So it’s best to check out the posts with the hashtag before deciding if it’s suitable for your post.

2. Related hashtags

When you tap on a hashtag search result, Instagram would suggest related hashtags near the top of the app.

For example, a running shoes shop owner could search for runner, tap on #runner, and see these suggestions:

Finding the best hashtags through related hashtags

From there, she could explore the related hashtags and check out how popular the hashtag is and how frequent it is being used. Sometimes, Instagram suggests related hashtags that don’t show up in the search results (method one above). So if you can’t find a hashtag you’d like to use with method one, try this method.

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How to use Instagram Search to engage your fans

Your fans could be posting about your business on Instagram without tagging your account. Because they didn’t tag your account, you might not find out.

But, if they are using your branded hashtag or your location tag, you can still find those posts and comment on them.

1. Engage fans who use your branded hashtags

If you have created hashtags for your brand and encouraged fans to use them, it’ll be great to follow up and interact with their posts or stories.

The common ways of interacting with such user-generated content are:

  • Liking it
  • Commenting on it
  • Re-posting it
  • Featuring it on a website

For instance, Alpenglow suggests its usersinclude #alpenglowapp in their posts and it’d repost their photos.

How to Create Your First Kissmetrics Campaign

With the launch of Campaigns this month, we have given our users incredible flexibility to create any automated, behavioral emails they can imagine. If you already have sophisticated behavioral email programs up and running, thengood newsyou don’t have to read any further.

However, if you are just getting started with your behavioral messaging programs, this post should really help. The goal is to highlight some basic email campaigns that will serve as good starting points for your behavioral programs.

How to Organize Your Behavioral Email Campaigns

A good way to frame your potential email campaigns is by using your business’s growth funnel.

If this represents the major steps of your growth funnel, you should plan to have behavioral email campaigns for each of these steps the goals of each being to try to get people to the next step. Eventually, you will have multiple campaigns for each step in the funnel (because you are likely breaking down each step into more granular elements), but as a start this serves as a very good framework.

And that’s just how we’ll organize the suggestions in this post. See below for sample campaigns and specific emails for each step in this growth funnel.

Specific Campaigns

Acquisition campaigns


These are emails built to turn hot prospects into actual customers. Obviously, you can’t email people for whom you haven’t captured an email address so for these campaigns, you will be targeting those prospects who have become engaged enough to provide you with an email whether that be by signing up for your newsletter, downloading an ebook, or signing up for a free trial of your product.

Once you capture that email address, you can start driving those prospects toward purchase. Here is an example of a specific message you can send in this phase:

Email: Need help deciding? email

This email is designed for people that have shown a high-level of interest in your marketing site and seem on the verge of making a decision.

Video of setting up these rules:

Activation campaigns


Once a user signs up and begins to use your product, they enter an activation phase. The goal of any email that you send during this phase is to guide them through initial setup and usage. Many times, you will be trying to get a user from signup to first value. For example, Facebook is famous for trying to get users to invite 7 friends in 10 days because that is what they know will lead to activation and long-term engagement.

Some people might call emails during this phase ‘onboarding emails’ which is fine. We prefer to tie the messages to a goal of activation, but either is fine. Typically these emails will come in a series (or a ‘drip’) based on (a) when a user signs up; and (b) what activities they have or have NOT completed. An example, 3-email, drip might look something like this:

Email: Welcome email

This email is sent upon a new user signing up. The goal is to introduce the user to your product and/or help them take their first step toward activation. This is a very important email not only does this email help to get your users close to becoming active with your product, but it also introduces them to your brand. In many cases, this will be the first time your users will have received an email from your company.

Video of setting up these rules:

Email: Follow-up 1a after user successfully takes next step in activation

If your Welcome email is successful and your users take the next step in your activation process (this could be by creating a profile, adding a friend, connecting data or whatever is the important next step for your product), you will likely want to send an email to get them to the next step.

Video of setting up these rules:

Email: Follow-up 1b to users who did NOT successfully take next step

For those new signups that DON’T make it to the next step, it is important to give them a reminder a little nudge to get them beyond a simple signup.

GIF of setting up these rules:

Of course, these activation drip campaigns can (and should) be much longer than this example. The length and nature of your activation campaigns will be dependent on your product and the specific steps your users will need to take in order to become activated.

Ongoing engagement campaigns


Once you have activated users, the next challenge is to keep them fully engaged so that they stick around for a long, long time. Ongoing engagement emails go beyond just simple activation messages and work to get your users engaged with all your important features.

A typical email for ongoing engagement would be a feature release announcement.

For any feature announcement, you shouldn’t settle for just one email. You should always schedule follow-up messages both for users who have tried the feature and for those who haven’t. You could even have a third group of users who just kicked the tires (i.e. those users who only used the feature once).

Video of setting up rules:

Video of setting up rules:

Ongoing engagement email campaigns will be your main channel for communicating with your existing customer base. Doing this effectively using actual product usage to target them in a relevant way is essential for driving continued loyalty and engagement.

Re-engagement campaigns


Yes, it’s true. Every software product has inactive users. It’s just a reality.

Which makes re-engagement campaigns an essential part of any messaging program. The goal of re-engagement campaigns is to you guessed it re-engage customers who have potentially lost interest and become inactive with your product.

There are many different approaches for re-engagement campaigns. Some companies use these emails as a last-ditch effort to try to show an inactive user the value of their product; others use discounts or other offers to entice people back; others try to get inactive users on the phone with a sales or customer success rep; and others accept the loss and use a re-engagement email as a way to gather feedback from an inactive user (in a somewhat subtle way to try tore-engage them).

You should choose an approach that works best with your product, but whatever you do, don’t ignore re-engagement emails. It’s very important that you leave customers even those ‘on their way out’ with a positive experience. Their reasons for leaving may have nothing to do with your product. Yes, there is a small chance they will be back but there is a significant chance that they will talk to future potential customers of your product.

Spend time building out good re-engagement campaigns. Your immediate conversion rate will be low, but they will pay off in the long run.

An example re-engagement email:

Reward emails

Reward emails are an oft overlooked, but highly effective emails. Unlike win-back emails that target users when they are inactive, reward emails target users when they ARE active. In fact, they are designed to reward users based on their activity. Reward emails are meant to make the recipient feel good about their activity. They should generate a shot of dopamine, generating positive feelings toward your brand.

Reward emails can be triggered based on specific activity, like using a feature for the first time; or based on time, like an anniversary. When used effectively, reward campaigns can be some of the most engaging programs you will run. We highly recommend building some reward campaigns into your engagement plans.

Next Steps

We hope this post has helped offer some ideas for starting points for your engagement email programs. The next step is simply to start buildingand start shipping. All the emails described here are completely possible with Kissmetrics Campaigns. You can find more details on building your first campaign in this help doc, but it should be very straightforward.

Go forth and engage!

About the Author: Derek Skaletsky is the Head of Product and Services at Kissmetrics.

The Navy is sticking with its high-tech aircraft launching system, despite Trump’s call to go back to ‘goddamned steam’

USS Gerald R. FordUS Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni

The Navy is moving ahead with electromagnetic launchers on its new aircraft carriers despite President Trump’s assertion that the service return to “goddamned steam” catapults, the service’s acting secretary said Wednesday.

Sean Stackley said the carrier Gerald R. Ford could be delivered to the Navy this month with the newly designed launcher, and that the ship’s design and construction are driving down costs for the next carrier in the pipeline, the John F. Kennedy, which also is designed with the new launcher. The Enterprise is slated for delivery with the launch system in the late 2020s.

The Navy has budgeted $580 million for the Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, or EMALS, in 2018 as part of its carrier replacement program, according to a budget unveiled Tuesday.

Stackley said he had received no order from Trump to replace the systems.

“You must have seen paperwork that I haven’t seen,” he told the Washington Examiner. “The only thing I’ve seen is the [president’s] statement in the press.”

The Navy declined to comment this month after Trump criticized the “digital” launching systems as too expensive and complicated in a Time magazine interview.

“You know the catapult is quite important. So I said what is this? Sir, this is our digital catapult system. He said well, we’re going to this because we wanted to keep up with modern [technology]. I said you don’t use steam anymore for catapult? No sir. I said, ‘Ah, how is it working?’ ‘Sir, not good. Not good. Doesn’t have the power. You know the steam is just brutal. You see that sucker going and steam’s going all over the place, there’s planes thrown in the air.’

Donald Trump military gunRichard Ellis/Getty Images

“It sounded bad to me. Digital. They have digital. What is digital? And it’s very complicated, you have to be Albert Einstein to figure it out. And I said – and now they want to buy more aircraft carriers. I said what system are you going to be – ‘Sir, we’re staying with digital.’ I said no you’re not. [You’re] going to goddamned steam, the digital costs hundreds of millions of dollars more money and it’s no good.”

The development of the electromagnetic launch system has been rocky and still has kinks to be worked out, according to some analysts. But Stackley said the decision has been made from the Navy’s perspective.

Around 2010, the service reviewed its original design decision and looked at returning to steam catapults as well as the expected benefits of EMALS, Stackley said.

It determined the newly developed launch system was still the most affordable option, he said.

The EMALS is also a key component of the Ford-class carrier design because it requires a smaller crew, takes up less space and is able to launch aircraft more quickly than the traditional steam catapults.

Stackley said he is available to present the details of the Navy decision to Trump if requested.

“I look forward to the opportunity to present the traits that supported the prior decision to determine what the path is going forward,” he said

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