Remember when Instagram used to be about nothing more than just millennials sharing their favorite photos with their friends? Well, it didn’t take long before companies started seeing the massive revenue-generating opportunities that the platform offers.
Instagram is now officially under the Facebook group, boasting a global monthly following of over 1 billion active users (and counting).
In fact, even just a cursory look at recent Instagram statistics reveals that:
- Its active membership shares an average of 60 million images a day;
- As of 2014, Instagram’s average brand engagement was 58 times greater than Facebook’s; and
- Users trade over 1.6 billion likes per day, on average!
Let’s focus on that last statistic, though: the massive number of Instagram hearts that active users exchange on a regular day.
Get Instagram Likes (Whether or Not You Can See Them)
Recently, news broke out that Instagram will begin hiding like counts on users’ profiles. (As of this writing, only a handful of users from Canada are experiencing this new feature.)
As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained during the recent F82019 (Facebook Developer Conference): “As you scroll through your feed, there are no like counts. You can see who liked a photo or video, you can tap through to see [the list], and if you have the time you can add them all up yourself.”
Apparently, the initiative to start hiding the like counts on Instagram profiles is the company’s way of reminding users about what truly matters, far more than the race to get more likes: sharing “authentic content.”
And while this move is admirably and certainly done with the best of intentions in mind, sharing authentic content and racking up likes aren’t and shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.
Regardless of whether you’re a brand, influencer, or a regular ol’ user, it’s immensely satisfying to see Instagram users giving you some well-deserved social validation through likes. As long as you don’t focus solely on getting likes, you shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to get more of them.
That said, figuring out how to get more Instagram likes is easier said than done. Fortunately, we’ve put together a quick 7-point guide specifically for that purpose.
Point 1: Improve Your Instagram Profile for Likes (and Free Instagram Followers, Too!)
The first thing you need to know about how to get more Instagram likes is that the phrase “first impressions last” absolutely applies here.
With a well-designed and well-curated feed, you are bound to attract other users. Leave a lasting impression on the collective consciousness of your Instagram audience by making your feed “like-worthy” and “follow-worthy.” In other words, aim to make your feed communicate just how cool and awesome you are, in the most artistic and aesthetically appealing ways possible.
Imagine your Instagram friend deciding to randomly check out your account to get some updates on you, or a potential new follower stumbling upon your account after a random hashtag search led him or her to it. Your posts and your Stories say a lot about you and give the people viewing your profile a better idea of who you really are. More importantly, this will also help them decide whether or not you’re worth following and engaging with.
💡 Related Post: Your guide to downloading Instagram videos
Thus, you need to make sure that you put sufficient thought and planning into every aspect of your Instagram profile. Among the things your profile absolutely needs are a decent (and recent) profile photo, a brief yet focused Instagram bio description, updated Stories, and the best photos you can use for your highlights folders. This is particularly important if your Instagram account represents a brand or business.
The general idea behind all of this is to make sure that you capture everyone’s attention. Figure out the identity and branding you want to project on Instagram, and tailor your profile accordingly. Know exactly who you want to get those coveted Instagram hearts from, and dress up your account to reflect their priorities, preferences, and interests.
Point 2: Better Captions Translate to More Likes for Instagram Posts
While it is true that your popularity on Instagram hinges significantly on the quality of the photos and videos that you post, the way you write captions plays a big part in it as well. Indeed, the quality of your captions can mean the difference between grabbing your target market’s attention and missing out on engagement.
Captions allow you to expand and elaborate on the stories that you tell through your images and videos. With an effective caption, you can make your random selfie or scenic photograph much more like-worthy in the eyes of your followers.
Take advantage of the fact that Instagram captions don’t have to adhere to a specific character limit. (Remember, though, that you cannot post links in the captions — you can only do so by adding links to your profile bio.) It isn’t so much about the length of the caption as it is about the quality of the writing.
Keep in mind, though, that you don’t have to write an entire novel’s worth of words just to make your post attractive to your target audience. Brevity is the soul of wit, after all — and in many cases, less is definitely more.
Make sure that your caption encourages engagement. Questions are always a great place to start: They tickle the reader’s fancy, grab his or her interest, and even give him or her something to relate to. Mentioning your followers will also work. Just make sure, however, that whatever you tag your followers in is relevant to their interests!
Adding just the right number of relevant hashtags to your caption will help it gain more attention, as your post will start showing up in searches involving said hashtags.
Point 3: How to Get More Instagram Likes? Send Them to You
More often than not, it’s the little details that end up having the most significant impact on our Instagram posts.
Case in point: By putting your location on your Instagram Stories, you’re bound to attract more attention from people who are either located in the area or interested in engaging with posts about the area.
Adding an appropriate location sticker or hashtag to your Instagram Stories lets people stumble upon your profile more easily. They will, of course, be more likely to follow you (and thus, “like” your updates). Instagram geo-locations and hashtags enable anyone with the time and patience to look for them to see your posts.
Whether your Instagram account is for a single person or an entire brand, it pays to think like an influencer. If you happen to be at a major event — say, at a party, product launch, or conference — or taking a well-deserved vacation at a picturesque location, be sure to take photos and tag them appropriately!
Visiting your Instagram Explore page will show you the live story for whichever location you’re in. The good news is that by adding a location story to your Instagram story, your story will get the chance to be added there as well, thereby boosting your profile by showing your story to more people. You’ll get notified by Instagram if your story is added to a location page — and again, this can only happen when you use the right location sticker. (Alternatively, you can hide hashtags in your Stories by changing the font size and color of the text, or even covering the hashtag with a sticker.)
Point 4. Show Your Human Side
What prompts people to follow Instagram accounts and like their posts? More often than not, it’s the element of having something they can feel a connection with. After all, it’s called “social media” for a reason.
We’ve all heard that piece of wisdom about giving your brand or business a human face. And while it may sound like the most cliche piece of advice in this day and age, it is no less true now than it was way back when Instagram debuted.
As a matter of fact, statistics show that Instagram posts with faces — and yes, that includes selfies — get 38 percent more likes than posts that don’t have that crucial human element.
So if you’re an influencer (or an individual trying to get more engagement), don’t be shy about posting your face. If you’re representing a brand or business, shine the spotlight on your people — your hardworking employees without whom your operations would be impossible — whenever you post about your activities and events.
Your brand should project the image of being more than just a stone-cold, soulless corporate entity. Reach out to your target audience and form a meaningful bond with them in the most effective way possible: by showing them that indeed, you’re human, too.
Point 5. Utilize Other Platforms
You might find this next point to be a bit strange, but there’s actually some solid reasoning to back this up.
Look beyond Instagram to get more people to follow your profile and engage with your posts. Make sure that your other digital media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, and even your own website) display the link to your Instagram profile and encourage your contacts to follow you there as well.
Cross-promoting is an effective, efficient, and inexpensive strategy to steer your Facebook friends or Twitter followers in the right direction. With any luck, you’ll encourage them to follow you on Instagram after seeing and assessing the kinds of things you post on other social media platforms.
You can even extend this strategy outside of the social media realm. Find ways to promote your Instagram page during other activities (such as mentioning your Instagram handle when you’re delivering a lecture before a large crowd, or sending a message with your Instagram link in the signature.
Point 6. Consistency is Key
If you want your audience to care about you and the things you post, you must make sure that they’ll never forget about you.
Develop a clear identity and establish your credibility by consistently posting and sharing quality content. As mentioned earlier, asking questions and responding to comments are great ways to engage with your audience. That also requires a certain level of consistency and discipline.
When you take great pains to ensure the consistency of both the quality and frequency of your posts on Instagram, you remain true to your branding and create reasonable expectations in the minds of your audience,
Yet another integral element to this is learning how to post at the right time. Take note of when most of your followers are online, and ensure that you’re creating and sharing posts during that time. This matters so much that Instagram even confirmed the role this plays in determining how posts on the feed are ordered.
In other words, know your audience, and let your audience know you.
Point 7. Give Instagram Likes to Get Instagram Likes
The Golden Rule applies to most, if not all things in life — and the quest to get Instagram likes is certainly no exception.
By now, you should already have a clear understanding of how much Instagram values and prioritizes engagement. That goes both ways, though; it certainly cares about how other users engage with you on your profile, but your behavior towards others definitely matters as well.
Whenever you start browsing your Instagram feed, try to be more generous with your likes and comments. (A note on comments, though — make sure you think things through before you say anything, as you certainly don’t want to come off as an individual or brand that’s arrogant, ignorant, or generally unpleasant to deal with.)
Show that you’re interested in becoming a member of the community you want to capture the attention of, and figure out how you can present yourself or your brand in a manner that emphasizes both your capacity to give and your general likeability. Sooner or later, that will transform into engagement (and those precious Instagram hearts you’ve been longing to get).