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How to Get More Likes on Instagram

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  • How to Get More Likes on Instagram

Each social media platform has its own form of social currency. Whether it’s likes or reblogs/retweets, these user interactions offer a concrete way to quantify that your content is resonating with people. And earning this social currency is probably the biggest task of any social media marketing department.

Yes, Instagram Likes aren’t guaranteed leads or conversions, but building that reserve of social currency is important in myriad different ways. Before we get into how to get more likes on Instagram, let’s investigate their real-world effect on the Instagram platform and, in turn, your presence on Instagram.

Importance of likes

Simply put, Likes are the metric for a post’s success on Instagram. Not only does a high number or proportion of likes tell you about the effect of your content on your audience, but it also serves as a signal to new audiences that your content is actually valuable.

This is one of the biggest reasons for trying to gain more Likes. By garnering a high number of Likes on your posts, stories, or reels, newcomers to your account can begin to see your brand as having high social cachet or authority within your field. And that instantly makes your content worth something—maybe even worth their hard-earned money.

Of course, since Likes are a currency, there must be a way to spend it, right? That’s effectively what you do every time you share your content—your brand is staking its reputation on the value of the content itself.

At the end of the day, social media marketing is about turning this social cachet into conversions, and Likes are the way that gap is bridged.

The Instagram algorithm explained

Your Instagram Likes aren’t just for show, either—they have a very real effect on the Instagram platform. The Instagram algorithm and real time Instagram statistics uses your Likes as a way to position your brand within the network.

Broadly speaking, the more a user is likely to spend time viewing your content or interacting with it, the higher your posts or videos will be placed within their feed. The main ways Instagram measures a user’s interaction is through Likes, comments, saving the post, going to the poster’s profile, and overall time spent on content. So, getting people to engage with your content via Likes, comments, or saves is crucial to them seeing more of it.

The bottom line is this: create content that your audience is going to engage with, and Instagram will, in turn, prioritize displaying your content to them. You can tell a story, show your daily routine, share a product demo video or post a vlog to get more Likes and keep your community engaged.

So, before you post anything and “spend” your social currency, consider three questions:

  1. Will the brand’s audience be incentivized to Like or comment?
  2. Is there enough content for a user to consider saving the post to return to later?
  3. Are you including a call to action directing the user to go to your profile?

Knowing all this, we can now move on to our actionable tips to garner more Likes on Instagram.

Target your audience correctly

An incredibly common pitfall is to either try to reach an incredibly broad and unfocused audience, or go way too specific and reach mediocre numbers.

How to Get More Likes on Instagram

Will everyone appreciate Østmo Boots’ passion for power tools? Probably not, but the audience in their specific niche absolutely will.

Source: Østmo Boots

If you really know your audience, you’d be surprised at how specific you can get with your messaging once you know their likes, dislikes, and challenges. And don’t get us wrong, having all that information is absolutely necessary.

But you still have to play the numbers game—more eyes on your content means more chances for them to engage with it. You have to both try to be specific with your content, while appealing to a broad enough audience that you’re getting the raw numbers you want.

This is especially important if you’re running an ad campaign of sponsored posts on Instagram. You want the Goldilocks effect—not too broad, not too narrow. If there’s next to no chance of someone actually engaging with your content or listening to your message, then that’s simply wasted effort on your Instagram advertising.

The key is to not only know your audience, but also your own goals. Tailoring your content to your specific niche is good, but don’t go so far that newcomers to your brand will feel completely excluded.

Engage with others

Instagram is, first and foremost, a social network. And that entails engaging with the real-life people behind each screen name.

Yes, there are real people with feelings, opinions, and lives behind those profiles. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about that. So we’re going to give you the number one rule for interacting with people on social media: Remember the human.

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Ikea Philippines going the extra mile and forging a personal connection; they even use emojis for extra effect.

Source: Ikea Philippines

Actually be social, don’t just dispense content. While content marketing is a great thing, and incredibly effective, that kind of aloof mentor quality does not necessarily entice people to engage with your content with Likes.

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Bananafingers puts in the work—if the user’s question had gone unanswered, do you think they would put in the effort to drive all the way to the store?

Source: Bananafingers UK

It takes a lot of legwork, absolutely—it can take up hours out of the day to Like the comments on your posts, or to reply to everyone that you can. It’s a conversation, so you can’t let it be one-sided, especially if you’re engaging with potential customers. Once your audience sees that there’s a good chance you’ll actually listen, they’re incentivized to engage with your content in the ways you want—and in ways the Instagram algorithm wants.

Hashtags are great, but use them judiciously

You know the posts—the ones that are just stuffed full of hashtags, too many to even count sometimes. They’ve become a running joke on the internet, but there’s a reason why it’s done. Hashtags are key to getting the right eyes on your content.

But too much of a good thing can end up being detrimental to actually achieving your goal of getting more Likes, comments, and saves.

Once again, you want the Goldilocks fit—not too many hashtags, and not so few that nobody sees your content at all. You also can’t be too broad in your approach—using a tag like #food means your post only spends a second or two at the top of the list, then it gets lost in the sea of other content. Nor can you be so specific that the hashtag sounds like a joke.

The sweet spot seems to be 8 to 12 hashtags that are really relevant to the content you’re putting out. Moreover, you can also come up with a branded hashtag and encourage people to create user-generated content for you.

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GMBN pare back the hashtag count so that their deals reach the audience most likely to actually purchase.

Source: Global Mountain Bike Network

Encourage comments

This tip isn’t about explicitly asking for engagement (we’ll cover that later, don’t worry). It’s more about the type of content and captions you’re writing for each post.

Have you ever talked with a really great conversationalist? Do you notice that they have a way of speaking that actually invites you to respond and give your own opinions?

There’s one secret to that, really—asking open-ended questions. If you’re following a content marketing strategy, it can be easy to get caught up in educating your audience and providing value. But let’s not forget that your audience also has their own opinions and thoughts that also have value.

Knowing that, a fantastic way to get people to engage is to simply include an invitation to comment in your caption—the open-ended question. If everything you’re asking is simply answerable by “yes” or “no,” there’s very few places that the conversation can go from there.

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Pigeon Tree Crafting excels at starting a real conversation with their audience—here using topics within the same niche, but not their core focus.

Source: Pigeon Tree Crafting

Ideally, what you want is for an emergent, organic exchange to happen within the comments section. Yes, like we said earlier, it’s going to be a lot of work—but the great thing is that the comments section is open to everyone, so if you’re good at cultivating the conversation, everyone is encouraged to chime in. Once your audience is engaging amongst themselves, you have the beginnings of a real community. When that happens a social media engagement tool might come in handy in order to manage all the comments and messages from one place.

How does this have an effect on your Instagram Likes? Well, it’s pretty rare for people to actually comment before Liking a post—think of the Instagram Like as the first thing someone does when they feel incentivized to interact with your content. If you can get them to comment, odds are they’ve already hit the Like button.

Don’t forget about Instagram Stories and Instagram Live

Instagram Stories and Instagram Live are two of the most powerful tools are your disposal to get more Likes. Yes, ephemeral content like this doesn’t have a permanent record of Likes on display—but where it excels is at getting to the top of your followers’ Instagram home page.

With how Instagram works, getting the attention of your audience with Stories or Live is the first step, and then you can direct their attention elsewhere—to a post, or to the link in your bio. It’s a tried and tested strategy.

Sometimes all you even need to do is share your latest post as a story—it’s a couple of seconds of work at most. If you want to take a more in-depth approach and produce content that is meant to accompany your post, all the better.

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Okayama Denim hits you with an engagement double whammy: they share their post as a story, and include an external link.

Source: Okayama Denim

This is especially effective in taking advantage of the FOMO effect; if you have special deals, promotions, or contests you want to run, an Instagram Story to direct your audience to your post is one of the best things you can do. Time-limited deals are a great driver of engagement. Another way is to have partners promote your products by reposting your content on their pages.

Include a CTA (Call to Action)

Sometimes, getting Likes from your audience can be as simple as asking for them—as politely as possible, of course. Whether it be in your caption or in your visual content, asking for Likes (so long as you aren’t pushy or desperate-sounding) is a solid strategy.

The key here is to tie the action to getting input from your audience. Frame your request as people adding their voices to the conversation—and don’t forget to encourage people to comment, as well.

“Leave a Like if you agree” is surprisingly effective, and you can edit the wording to fit whatever conversation you want to start. A CTA is one of the most powerful ways for you to get engagement, so be sure to mix up your requests—instead of just asking for Likes, you can direct users to tag friends, click links, and so on.

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It’s a simple CTA, but the potential for a new audience is huge.

Source: Ikea Philippines

The only caveat, like we mentioned before, is being too pushy with your CTAs. Once in a while is fine, but a CTA in every post can become overbearing pretty quickly. Make sure that you’re consistently giving your audience valuable content first, then employ the CTA around a third of the time.

Final thoughts

You’ll notice we didn’t even mention much about your content itself—and there’s a reason for that. We’re already assuming that you’ve been able to lay the groundwork for getting more Instagram Likes by having varied organic content that is valuable to your audience.

At the end of the day, your content needs to be able to speak for itself—all we’re doing here is going the extra mile to grab your audience’s attention and persuade them to engage. If you don’t yet have a great Instagram aesthetic, or you don’t have a regular posting schedule and tons of planned content to fill it, heck, if your brand name sounds too common, then you’ll have to get those down pat first.

One thing we can say, though, is that putting in that work is absolutely worth it. If you have a great foundation coupled with our tips today, you’ll be pulling in more and more Instagram Likes in no time.

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