Being the visual social network that it is, Instagram’s all about getting your content (and thus, your brand) noticed. Climbing the ranks of popularity on this site are determined through “likes” – which function similarly to “points” on a photo, video, or image gallery.
Instagram “likes” are an incredibly simple concept: those who stumble across an interesting post on the platform can choose to leave a “like”, letting the user know their work is appreciated. This is done through tapping the heart icon under the left-hand corner of a photo, or by double-tapping on the photo itself.
It’s a small gesture that’s a fun, convenient way of connecting with other users, who are likely to see your ‘like’ notification and drop by your profile (perhaps leaving a few “likes” on your content, too!). At the same time, it’s an easy way to make somebody’s day; who doesn’t love of the feeling of having your work valued by others?
Why Are Instagram Likes Important?
As mentioned, Instagram “likes” are vital to getting your posts recognized as “quality” content.
All hashtag pages on Instagram have a tab displaying its top “trending” content, determined by the amount of engagement and interaction it’s received. “Likes” are therefore a way of measuring this engagement – the more you have, the more likely you’ll end up in these top trending hashtag feeds, garnering more exposure for you and your brand.
“Likes” also serve as a metric of social proof on the platform. Those running a business on Instagram will especially benefit from flaunting high amounts of “likes” on their content. Potential customers or followers who view them will see this positive engagement, and in turn, are likely to take interest in what they have to offer.
Using Hashtags To Gain More Likes
Acquiring more “likes” on Instagram comes down to boosting your exposure on the platform.
An easy way of doing this is by mastering your hashtag game. Hashtags are Instagram’s way of categorizing their users’ posts, collecting them under their own streams of content to be easily found by the right niches and communities. Studies show that posts with at least one hashtag as about 12.6% more engagement, on average, than posts that dismiss them altogether.
Users can easily add these to their post by using the “#” symbol, followed by a word or phrase that describes their content. (For example, food addicts are likely to label their posts with “#foodie” and “#loveforfood”; others who look for such content on Instagram are likely to visit these hashtags and see their posts.)
Knowing the right hashtags for your niche and keeping up-to-date with active, trending tags are highly effective in getting your profile seen by potential audiences. With the feature to now follow hashtags, including them in your marketing strategy has never been more crucial.
While using community and interest-specific tags are a generally popular method of gaining more organic likes, you may come across a few hashtags that sport the phrase, “#Like4Like” or “#l4l”.
What is #Like4Like (or #l4l)?
The “#Like4Like”or “#l4l” hashtag is widely used on the platform, though unlike most other tags, isn’t exclusive to one online niche or community.
Those who include a “#Like4Like” hashtag on their post are simply indicating that those who “like” their post, will receive a “like” on their content back.
The “#follow4follow” hashtag (also popularly used by many) sports a similar concept – those who follow the user, will be followed in return.
Some users may even drop the “#Like4Like” hashtag in a comment, offering a “like reaction” if the other user does the same for them.
Is The Like4Like or Follow4Follow Hashtag Effective?
This “like”-gaining method is a seemingly harmless one – though may end up doing your profile more harm than good.
While it may bump your engagement up in the short-term, these “farmed” or transactional “likes” aren’t real engagement. They’re simply another notch to add on your like count, and though it may look good, it likely wouldn’t translate into valuable future engagement.
Think about it: users who “like” your content for the pure reason of enjoying what you create are likely to follow your account and “like” even more of your future posts. Those who “like” your content for the mere reason of gaining one back, are likely not interested in any of your upcoming content.
The same can be said for those who advertise a “#follow4follow” relationship – sure, you’ll boost that follower count by a tiny bit, but are they really bound to “like”, comment, and engage with any of your actual posts? Let’s be honest; probably not.
Additionally, sprinkling “#like4like”, “l4l”, or “follow4follow” hashtags all over your captions can look a tad spammy for some viewers, who may be turned off from your content altogether. (It doesn’t help that they’re often associated with spam or fake accounts, either).
This damages the authentic image your brand should be cultivating, by shifting focus from valuable content creation and user connection, to methods of garnering meaningless, empty engagement.
Plus, collecting this fake engagement will do a number on your Instagram Insights. Instead of providing stats on the genuine interests and interactions of your viewers, you’ll be provided with meaningless information on users who don’t actually care.
Gaining Organic Likes Through Instagram Marketing Services
If you’re looking for a quick way of gaining more likes, look no further than Instagram marketing services.
Unlike the “#Like4Like”, “#l4l” and “#follow4follow” hashtags, these services offer real engagement from users who are actively interested in your content and brand.
Below are two of the best services that provide such results: a boost in Instagram likes and genuine, loyal followers.
#Like4Like Alternative #1 – Kenji
Kenji is your new Instagram best friend – a bot powered by artificial intelligence that auto-“likes”content for you, based on the users, hashtags, and locations you specify.
Though bots are known for not having the greatest reputation on the platform, Kenji prides itself in being 100% safe and free from spammy behaviour. Its only goal is to “like” other people’s content, avoiding any automated comments or direct messages that could pave the way for irrelevant or inappropriate interactions.
Users can sign onto the Kenji service for a free 3-day trial – no credit card required. Once they’ve connected their Instagram account, they are then directed to their personal dashboard, where they can list the specific hashtags Kenji will use to find relevant content.
Filtering content by location is also an option for businesses targeting a particular geographic area. Users can additionally specify competitors in their niche, directing Kenji towards their audience base. Chances are, those who follow them are likely to be interested in your content, too.
So How Does It Get You Likes?
With its auto-liking feature, Kenji’s objective is to boost your profile visibility by getting your name seen on the notification lists of other users. By leaving likes on several posts, your brand is popping up on these people’s accounts, and if they’re curious enough – they may just give your profile a visit and leave likes (or even a follow!) on your content, too.
Kenji also guarantees interactions with real, active users, staying away from fake accounts that won’t offer any actual, reciprocal engagement.
Additionally, by placing filters that identify your profile interests, you’re also keeping your “like” interactions within your business’ niche or community. This means getting noticed by users who already have an interest in what you do, leading to a higher possibility of more followers.
As a result, you’re sure to organically grow your account with an actually devoted audience – rather than the empty activity provided by “#Like4Like” (and other related) hashtags.
#Like4Like Alternative #2 – Upleap
If automated activity isn’t really your thing, don’t worry; there are also plenty of marketing services that offer human-powered Instagram management, helping you maintain total authenticity on your account.
Companies like Upleap do just this, providing Instagram users with their very own account manager. Upon signing up (new users are also treated to a free, 3-day trial!), individuals are matched up with their profile manager, who will then ask a series of questions regarding their brand and business objectives.
So How Does It Get You Likes?
Once you’ve defined your target audience, your manager will then get to work interacting with their content, helping you gain more brand exposure.
Just like with Kenji, by engaging with other accounts, you’re effectively getting yourself on the radar of other Instagram users. These people are likely to see your activity and drop by your profile; if you’ve correctly determined the type of audience your after, they’re likely to take interest in your content, leaving you likes – and possibly even a follow.
Your manager will interact with other, relevant users by leaving “likes” on their content and viewing their stories. No content will be posted on your behalf; this is something that remains completely under your creative control, to ensure the maintenance of your brand image.
Upleap’s Instagram managers also take care in engaging with real, authentic posts and active users, ensuring none of your interactions are wasted on fake or spam accounts. This is also a way of keeping any reciprocal engagement exclusive to real, organic users.
Other Alternatives To The #Like4Like (or #l4l) Hashtag
We’ve run through the available services that offer you an organic growth in Instagram “likes” – but there are also plenty of native features and creative methods to help you gain more content “likes” on your account.
#Like4Like Alternative #3 – Using Instagram Ads
If you’re willing to shell out the funds, the Ads feature on the app itself is an easy and effective way of gaining more likes on your posts.
To use one of your posts as an Instagram ad, simply hit the blue “Promote” button under the image or video.
You’ll then be taken through a series of steps to help determine your target audience, ad objectives, and budget. The more spend, the more ad reach you’ll have. With more reach, comes a higher possibility of gaining more likes on your post.
Once you’ve submitted the details of your ad, Instagram will then have to approve your request. When this is done, your content is then shared as a “sponsored post”, delivered to the best and most likely engaged audiences based on your specified metrics.
While you’re paying for more post reach, unlike hashtags like “#Like4Like” and “Follow4Follow”, getting your content under the eyes of real, potential audiences encourages actual, genuine engagement. Those who see your ad will “like” it because they find the content interesting, not because they expect a “like” in return.
#Like4Like Alternative #3 – Join An Engagement Pod
While the interactions you’ll gain from members of an engagement pod aren’t genuine in and of themselves – the resulting boost in content visibility are sure to encourage that organic engagement.
Engagement “pods” or groups are little-known communities on Instagram, designed help users achieve higher content reach and engagement. Members of these groups are committed to liking, commenting, or performing both interactions on each others’ posts, with the aim of having their content recognised as “trending” or “quality” by the Instagram algorithm.
Getting involved in an engagement pod isn’t the easiest quest – many of these are kept on the down-low, with only a limited, exclusive number of members. Those new to the game are recommended to wade through other accounts in their niche, direct messaging those who are likely to be part of a pod (this can be determined by checking out their latest posts, and seeing if the user likes and comments are similar consistent on each).
Alternatively, there’s also a subreddit (r/IGPods) that advertises open spots for members of new Instagram pods.
Because these groups participate in an exchanging Instagram interactions, their process may seem similar to that of “#Like4Like”, “#l4l”, or “#follow4follow” activities. However, because none of these transactions are openly advertised on the posts themselves, this removes the risk of appearing spammy or “desperate” on other people’s feeds.
Giving each other a boost in post engagement will also help increase content exposure, which, as aforementioned, can encourage more genuine likes, comments, and follows.
Ready to Rack Up The Instagram Likes?
Instagram likes are a must-have when building your social relevance and influence on the platform. They’re vital in getting your content on featured on “top” trending hashtag feeds, on Instagram’s explore page, and grabbing the attention of new viewers and audiences. While shortcuts like the “#Like4Like” hashtag might give you that temporary boost of engagement, these alternative marketing investments should do just the trick – with ten-times-better results, and made from real, authentic interactions, at that. Try them now; you may just see your like count skyrocket.
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