Want more engagement on your Instagram posts?
You’re not alone, and in this post, I’ll show you how.
Truth is, there are plenty of ways to collect likes on Instagram.
You can create easy engagement around things like contests and giveaways, or cross post your content to increase the eyes on your posts.
But the real goal isn’t to gain a singular like. You want to build a community of followers ready to like every post you put up.
Here are a few ways to do that.
Use High-Quality Photos
We’ll start off easy.
It should go without saying that better quality photos yield more engagement, but you’ll still find many who don’t abide by this Golden Rule of Instagram.
Brands, in particular, have a certain reputation to hold, and you don’t want that reputation to be for sloppy photos.
While this doesn’t mean you have to invest in all the latest high-tech equipment, it does mean paying attention to things like lighting and whether or not your camera is in focus.
If you’re going the Story route, a little editing can go a long way.
How to Get More Likes on Instagram: Use Local Hashtags
Location hashtags are a great way to get more engagement.
Because it’s tied to a specific group and place, people will often get the feeling they’re engaging with an entire community, making it more likely that they’ll like or even comment.
Using local landmarks or places of interest in your hashtags will almost always earn more likes from those in that particular community.
It’s especially useful for those running a local business or trying to reach a local audience; locals will often search for hashtags that relate to their area or landmark and could put your brand on their radar.
Use Niche Hashtags
Bigger isn’t always better.
In fact, the more specific you can get with hashtags, the more engagement you’ll receive. So instead of focusing on broad terms like #dogs, drill down to specific breeds.
Just like keywords, you’ll find that the broad, popular terms are often too hard to make a dent in. Your hashtag will likely get drowned out by bigger brands using the same ones.
But to find your best niche hashtags, you’ll need to do a little research. Tools like Hashtagify.me will find popular keywords, what their related keywords are and how much traffic they receive on a daily and monthly basis.
This is particularly useful for finding hashtags that are currently trending.
Once you’ve loaded the site and typed in the hashtag you’re looking for, you’ll be given the terms overall popularity, recent popularity, month trend and week trend. You can also scroll further down to find a “Popularity Trend” graph.
These insights will help you find any spikes in popularity and help you time your strategy to include the most relevant hashtags at the right time.
Find the Hashtags Influencers are Using
Influencer marketing on Instagram is huge.
So huge, that interest in influencer marketing has risen more than 90x since 2013.
And anyone that can claim the status of “influencer” is clearly doing something right.
Part of that? Finding the right hashtags to reach the right audience.
Your job is to find those hashtags.
This can be done pretty easily. Type a keyword related to your industry into the search bar. For example, “fitness.” Then under Tags, select one of the popular hashtags and find a top post.
Once in the post, scroll through it to find the other hashtags being used. This will help point you towards other relevant and effective hashtags in the same industry or niche.
You can also use Hashtagyify.me here to identify hashtags influencers are using.
Use The Right Number of Hashtags
We’ve talked a lot about hashtags.
So hopefully, you’re beginning to see how important they are to use – and to make sure you’re using the right ones.
Another thing to consider? The number of hashtags used.
You don’t want your post to look too crowded or appear spammy, but you want to include enough to reach as many people in your target audience as possible.
So what’s the magic number? According to TrackMaven, it’s nine.
Not only that, but they also report that longer hashtags tend to perform better.
How to Get More Likes on Instagram: Use Stories
Stories have been a mega-hit on Instagram.
Since their introduction, the feature has quickly grown to over 150 million users.
Part of the popularity is due to the Stories fleeting nature; after 24 hours, they disappear completely.
While users can’t like Stories directly, many brands have reported increased engagement overall after including them in their strategies.
It will increase your presence overall, as well as give your Story the opportunity to appear on Instagram’s Explore page. But to do so, your Story will need to be incredibly engaging.
Use them to take viewers behind-the-scenes, promote new products and their uses, host quick how-to’s, or bring your brand story to life in a creative way.
Want to up the ante? Try using Instagram Stories ads.
7. Post at the Right Times
Timing is everything when it comes to social media.
To get as much engagement and likes as possible, it’s important to study the habits of your audience.
If you’ve had your Instagram account for a while, you should be able to take a look at your analytics to try and determine any emerging patterns.
Which posts have performed best? Were they posted at similar times? You can also look at other social channels to get a general idea of when your audience is most active.
There have been plenty of studies published on the best times to post, with most agreeing that Mondays and Thursdays are the best days, and the best time to post is between 8-9am.
Generally speaking, non-working hours will likely see higher engagement. And because no one wants to be posting post work, employ the use of a tool like Buffer or MeetEdgar to schedule your posts in advance.
Ask For the Like
This one may seem a bit obvious, but bear with me.
Including calls-to-action (CTAs) throughout marketing materials is a tried-and-true way to increase the likelihood of the desired action, and Instagram is no different.
Take this study from Social Bakers. They analyzed a large sampling of Twitter posts and found those that asked for a retweet received 73 on average, while those without a CTA received only 2.
Granted, that was Twitter, and we’re talking Instagram. But the principle remains the same, and the drastic differences in the numbers speak for itself: including a CTA produces results.
Now, this doesn’t mean throw out an arbitrary “like this if you love chocolate!” caption. With Facebook’s recent crackdown on engagement bait, it’s best to steer clear of any obvious like spam.
Instead, encourage followers to click through to links or tag friends through relevant posts and topics. The increased engagement will likely translate to more post likes in the future, and if someone’s tagging a friend, they’ll probably like the post first anyway.
How to Get More Instagram Likes: Like and Engage Other Photos
It’s better to give than to receive, right?
Okay, when it comes to Instagram, not exactly. But it does help your account in the long run.
One of the best ways to find the right kind of followers is to reach them on the channels they’re already using.
Find some of the popular posts in your niche and leave relevant comments. As people begin to notice your name, they may be drawn to your profile. Even targeting your competitors can be a good way to form partnerships in the future.
You can find these the same way you found popular and niche hashtags. Find the people who are following the hashtag or a related one, and target their posts.
The same goes for influencers. Like and comment on their photos, especially if you have plans of starting an Instagram influencer marketing campaign.
Beyond that, the Instagram algorithm likes active users, and will reward your diligent activity with increased reach.
And the more people you reach, the more likes you’ll get.
Pro tip: Don’t just like and leave. We’ve had much more success when we’ve consistently liked 3 or 4 photos and ended with a follow. It will give them multiple notifications from you, and let them know you’re interest is genuine.
Use All of Instagram’s Features
Instagram isn’t a one-trick pony anymore.
It’s expanded its offerings from the simple photo post, and as a result allows brands to post more engaging, unique content.
Oh, and Instagram also likes accounts that use all of its features, and could once again give you an advantage in obtaining the almighty reach.
Those features include:
- Carousel posts – while these used to be available exclusively for ads, you can now use them for any post, allowing you to string together multiple photos or videos in a single post
- Polls in Instagram Stories – polls have always been an easy win when it comes to increasing engagement, but now brands can use them in the popular Story format as well. They operate by letting you ask your followers to choose between one of two answers. “Yes” or “no” are displayed by default, but you can customize the answers as you choose. As fans vote, you’ll be notified and see exactly who voted, and the poll and its results will disappear with the Story after 24 hours.
The new features shouldn’t replace your traditional posts, of course, and shouldn’t be overused. But they are a nice way to vary your content, which your followers will more than likely appreciate.
Wrapping It Up
Getting likes on Instagram is like creating engagement anywhere else: it requires time, research, and most importantly, the needed effort to see it through.
Some of the above are Instagram staples; others require a bit more know-how.
But in the end, they’ll get you the likes you’re looking for.