Who wouldn’t want to get more Instagram likes? We all do! If you’re an avid Instagram user, getting more likes and followers is a really good feeling and morale booster.
If you run a small business or online shop, getting Instagram likes may mean more customers and revenue for your company. If you’re an agency, increasing engagement for your client’s Instagram page might be an important KPI. Either way, there are tonnes of benefits to receiving lots of Instagram likes.
This is exactly why there are more and more Instagram engagement services and bots that help to ramp up the engagement for your page. It used to work a lot better just a couple of years ago, but Instagram algorithms have caught up and they largely frown upon users who buy Instagram likes or use bots to artificially inflate their page’s engagement.
Thankfully, there are actually many ways that you can use to organically improve your Instagram page’s engagement, get more likes and ultimately increase your followings.
How to get Instagram likes fast and free
It won’t be as easy to get likes using methods laid out in this article but it sure beats buying Instagram likes. Increasing the likes, comments and followings on your page organically is the only way to get true, authentic engagement and grow your Instagram account for the long term.
Without further ado, here are 20 tried-and-tested methods that will surely help you gain more Instagram likes:
1. Understand your target audience
Before you start posting, you should know your target audience – consisting of both your current followers and potential followers (who have yet to stumble into your account). If your followers are mostly female and under the age of 30, you might want to post photos or videos that they can relate to. If you find that most of your travel or staycation photos get more likes, then post more of those. And so on and so forth.
Understanding what your audience wants and what may resonate most with them is the key to getting more Instagram likes on your page. What’s the use of posting visuals that you might like but your followers may not appreciate?
The best way to maximise your return on investment (ROI) for all the effort or resources you’ve put into your Instagram photos is to make sure that your audience wants to see them.
It might take time to get to know what works or what doesn’t work for your audience, but it’s worth the effort. Once you’ve pinned down what your followers (and future followers) like the most about your account, you can focus on creating content for that particular direction.
That’s one way to ensure that you don’t see volatile spikes in Instagram likes on your page, and instead, see a more consistent volume of engagement for every photo. This is especially important for brands to “look good” in front of their customers.
2. Create great content
Content is king – it’s cliche but it’s also so very true. Nothing beats good quality photos and videos on Instagram to get more likes and followers. It’s the foundation of growing your Instagram account and increasing organic engagement on the page.
Sure, good content can be a pretty tricky and subjective matter. After all, what looks good to one person might differ from the next. But if your content is compelling enough, it should be able to cut through the clutter, reach your target audience and grab their attention.
The idea is to make your Instagram posts look effortless yet with maximum impact. Once you understand your target audience, the next most important step is to invest more time and resources into creating really good content. Not only will it get you more likes, but it’ll also help to increase a brand’s value in the eyes of the consumer.
Good content is also evergreen. You don’t need any tricks or run big campaigns to get your likes rolling in. Instead, when you share something of quality (or that tickles the fancies of your followers), that is when you get true, organic engagement – and that should be your ultimate goal, whether you’re running an Instagram account for your own business or a client.
3. Curate your posts and have a consistent theme
Have you ever seen a nice photo on Instagram Explore page, get curious and go to the user’s account, only to be disappointed? Standalone posts might look good on its own, but if the whole page is not curated properly, it might look like a mess.
Users who find your account for the first time are quite likely to scroll through your feed to understand what you’re all about. This is where having a consistent theme and look and feel plays a major role in converting that casual browser to a follower. A well-organised theme not only looks good but shows Instagram users that you understand who you are and you have a unique visual personality. That shouts quality and will compel people to engage with your posts more.
Instagram users behave in funny ways. While most of them will usually like an Instagram post in itself, others will sometimes browse your page and like other photos – just because they like how you look and how you’ve visually curated your account.
For businesses and brands, this is even more important. Your Instagram page should carry the same corporate identity (CI) as your brand. Visual consistency plays a crucial role in the eyes of the consumer – it makes you look that much more professional and increases the chances of your customers liking your Instagram posts.
4. Create a unique style
When you have a unique style to your Instagram posts, it shows a side of your personality and makes your account a lot more interesting for people (or customers) to follow.
Your style can be reflected in many ways – your approach to taking photos, how you edit and post-process them, the type of videos you share, and even how your write your captions and reply to your followers’ comments. But most important among them is creating a visual style that is unique to your brand or account.
There’s a lot of noise in the world, and there are no less on Instagram. In fact, more and more content is being pushed on Instagram – up to 95 million posts are uploaded on Instagram every day. And it’s becoming harder to reach a target audience and capture their attention. Which is why it helps a lot to have a unique style which can help to differentiate your brand or Instagram account with others.
Getting more likes on Instagram doesn’t only rely on putting out good posts, but it also depends on whether your follower likes you and the manner in which you present yourself on the platform.
Note: Click here to check out some uber cool advertising agency Instagram accounts.
5. Use a high-quality camera or smartphone
In this day and age, buying a smartphone with a really good camera can be surprisingly cheap (or at least, affordable). So, make sure you have the budget to get a good smartphone with at least an 8-megapixel rear camera. The higher the quality, the better the outcome will be. It’ll also help you to save a lot of time editing.
If you have the time and resources to get a professional camera – either a DSLR or a mirrorless camera – go get one. It can make a world of difference, especially if you also post a lot of videos. Although many smartphones these days can produce photos of similar qualities (on mobile phones) as professional cameras, there are still many drawbacks to taking photos with a phone.
For smartphones, try and get your hands on the ones with the best cameras on the market. It might set you back by a couple of thousand dollars, but if you’re serious about creating really good posts and getting more likes on Instagram, it’ll definitely be worth the investment.
For professional cameras, a mirrorless camera might be enough. It’s easy to use and performs nearly as well as DSLR cameras (which are usually reserved for professional photographers or videographers, and not as user-friendly as mirrorless cameras).
6. Write good captions
Sure, Instagram is a visual platform. But never underestimate the power of words in a space dominated by photos and videos.
A good and appropriate caption often compliments the photos and enhances the value of the post. It can serve as an explanation of the photo (or video) or as an icing on the cake. It helps your followers to not only understand the post better but also to get a sneak peek into your personality and thought processes.
Create a structure for your captions. While some will read better as a series of paragraphs, some captions can be more functional in nature. Don’t be afraid to use numbers, bullet points, or even emojis to make your captions stand out more.
Avoid writing short captions, especially one or two-worded ones. It’s dry and usually utterly boring. Instead, put a bit of elbow grease and do some storytelling through your captions. Keep it at a few paragraphs at maximum, and always be mindful that people will read it from their mobile phones – so, make your sentences short and easy to digest.
Inject some humour, share insightful thoughts or interesting facts about the photo or video that your followers may not know about. It adds more weight to your post and can sometimes be the determining factor behind the Instagram like that you’ll receive for the post.
7. Insert call-to-actions
Call-to-action (CTA) are usually used for ads, but it’s also surprisingly effective when used on social media posts. CTAs are often best to include in your posts and placed at the end of captions. Though for some posts you can even include a very short CTA text superimposed on your Instagram photo.
Having a CTA can help to compel your followers to engage with your post, which sends a positive signal to Instagram algorithms that may indicate that it’s a good enough post to be served to more audiences. When that happens, it increases the likelihood of that post getting more Instagram likes and comments.
CTAs are also a great way to engage and build a sense community, centred on your Instagram page. It’s a way for you to kickstart a two-way communication channel and get your followers to engage with your page (instead of just aimlessly scrolling through their feed). Many brands and influencers do this well, and it might be a good idea for you to give it a try as well.
Here are some examples of CTAs you can use for an Instagram post:
- Share your thoughts in the comment section.
- Tell us what you think about this post.
- Tag a friend and hit the like button.
- DM us now to get the discount code.
- Share this with a friend.
- Tag a friend who might like this/can relate to this.
And here are some compelling power words to use alongside you CTA:
- Sign up
Try to experiment with different types of CTAs to find what works best for your brand. Don’t come across too serious or sales-y, instead, be more casual and approachable.
8. Tag the location that your photo was taken
Studies have shown that Instagram posts that are location tagged receive 79% more Instagram likes than those without a tagged location. It’s one of the ways that many people browse and find other Instagram pages that are tagged with a location that they might be looking into or interested in.
It’s also a smart way to amplify the reach of your posts by geotagging your photos. By doing that, you’ll be serving a relevant post to a relevant audience when they search for that particular location – which then increases the chances of your post getting an Instagram like (or more).
If you run an Instagram page for a brick-and-mortar business with a physical address or for clients that are often on the move, always tag your photo location. Wouldn’t you want free additional exposure to get more Instagram likes?
Note: Similar to hashtags, location-tagged photos are shown in chronological order.
9. Engage with other Instagram accounts
There are tonnes of Instagram engagement services that use bots to automatically like and reply to comments by targeting hashtags, locations or specific Instagram accounts. That’s an easy way to engage with other accounts, but not only is it not free, it’s also very frowned upon by Instagram. And you definitely wouldn’t want to get flagged or potentially shadowbanned.
Instead, the best way to do this is the good ol’ fashioned way – by liking and commenting on other posts manually. It does take time to do this, which is why you should set aside time every day – say around 20 to 30 minutes – and timebox your engagement exercise.
Engaging with other accounts is a healthy way of getting your Instagram user name (or brand) out there. It’s also another way of potentially getting more likes on your Instagram account. When you like someone else’s post, there’s a high chance he or she will go to your profile to check you out and like your posts in return. That is the power of reciprocity.
10. Find the best hashtags to maximize Instagram likes
Among all the methods to get more Instagram likes, using hashtags is by far the quickest and most effective way to maximize the engagement on your page. But it has also been the most abused method.
Unfortunately today a lot of hashtags are inundated with tonnes of bot activities giving unauthentic likes to Instagram posts. Though it helps to increase the like count for an Instagram account, it doesn’t help in getting real Instagram followers who appreciate your content or would be compelled to buy or sign up for anything from you.
The best way to use hashtags is to find niche hashtags. Don’t go for the ones with too many posts tagged to it, and instead find the most relevant hashtags in your category or niche. Stuffing hashtags with hundreds of thousands of tagged photos will be a lot less effective than using more relevant hashtags (or even long tail hashtags) for your posts.
You can find this type of hashtags manually on Instagram, which will take a lot of time and effort. Instead, you can use Keyword Tool for Instagram. This tool helps you to find, identify and generate tonnes of relevant hashtags within seconds. Let’s say you’re running an online store for toddlers specializing in baby shoes. Not sure what type of hashtags you should use? Just key in “baby shoes” in the input field and press enter:
As you can see, a simple search on Keyword Tool for Instagram gives more than 1,000 hashtags for you to choose from! From the results, you can filter and choose the most relevant ones to insert in your Instagram post captions. You can also choose the language of the hashtag that you’d like to find:
This is especially useful if you’re operating from a predominantly non-English speaking market or targeting users from other regions and languages.
11. Encourage followers to “tag a friend” on your post
Similar to engaging with other accounts through liking and commenting on their photos, “tag a friend” CTA is another clever way of attracting more people to your Instagram post. It’s a great way to boost likes on Instagram because this method ropes in friends (or people in the user’s trusted social circle) to engage on the post.
When you encourage your followers to “tag a friend,” it will help to attract other users who might share similar interests with your post, which increases the likelihood of your post getting a like. The “tag a friend” CTA serves several purposes – to get more Instagram likes, comments and amplify the reach of your post.
When the engagement of your post rises quickly, Instagram’s algorithm sees it favourably and will serve more frequently to other audiences within the first 24 hours.
12. Don’t forget to use Instagram Stories (or Instastories)
A lot of people who manage Instagram accounts (either for their own business or for clients) often focus almost entirely on creating and posting content to the main feed. Very few realize the power and usefulness of Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories (or Instastories) can be used to post its own unique content or to announce that you’ve just posted a new piece of content on your main Instagram gallery. It’s also a useful way to make sure that your account stays at the top of mind of your followers since new Instastories will appear at the top of the user’s Instagram app.
Another way of leveraging off Instagram Stories is to engage with other pages by giving a mention or a shoutout. If they like your post, they might even reshare it on their Instagram Story – which then helps your account to reach their followers. If their followers like what they see, they might even head over to your page to check you out, and even like a post or two (or more!).
Rinse and repeat, and you’ll slowly and steadily see your Instagram likes count go up in time.
13. Give shoutouts to your favourite accounts or brands
Mentioning and giving shoutouts to other popular accounts – whether they are influencers, brand pages or celebrities even – is a great way to get engagement going on your page. Provided if you’re not seen as a competitor, you might even get a shoutout in reply from those Instagram accounts that you mention on your post.
Open communication of that sort also looks good in the eyes of your followers, as they see that you’re actively engaging other popular pages and gives the illusion that you’re both connected (although virtually) in the industry.
14. Tag a few (or more) accounts that are relevant to your post
Tagging relevant accounts on your post is another way to amplify your post to people that you’d like to target but may not have come across your account (or brand) before. When your post is tagged, it will appear in the tagged account’s mentions. So, when their followers go to that section they will also see your Instagram post.
Just like tagging your post with a hashtag, it’s a great way to serve your content to an audience that might like your post and potentially get a like in return. To reach the right target audience, make sure that you only tag the most relevant accounts on your Instagram post.
If you manage a page that sells boutique pet supplies, tag influencers that are animal lovers or popular pet-related pages (that do not sell products that are too similar to yours). Or if you’re an influencer in the fitness industry, tag pages that are related to health products as opposed to beauty products. Only tag relevant accounts, and don’t just focus on those with a high number of followers.
15. Run small contests or giveaways
Contests and giveaways are an easy way to get more Instagram likes on your page. It’s also a pretty effective method of getting your page and brand out there to reach a wider audience. Because who doesn’t like free stuff?
Since you’re operating on Instagram, make sure that you run only small contests with very simple mechanics. Meanwhile, for giveaways, it’s best to identify what your followers will most appreciate. Is it gift vouchers? Discount code for a product? Anything goes, really.
To maximise your Instagram likes for your contest or giveaway, do ensure that you include “like this photo” as part of the mechanics. Or else your contest or giveaway might go to waste.
16. Share your post on other platforms to cross-promote
Other than sharing your post on Instagram itself, it might be worthwhile to cross-promote it on other platforms as well – for example, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social platforms that you own.
Among all, Pinterest might be the most suitable as it’s also a visual-first social media platform. It’s a very popular platform in the United States and features tonnes of stunning images, similar to how Instagram works. The chances of finding users on other platforms who also use Instagram is also pretty high.
If they like your post on Pinterest (or other platforms), they might just head over to your Instagram and hit that follow and like button!
17. Post on a regular basis
Predictability might seem boring, but oddly enough it works well for Instagram posts. It also displays a certain “dependability,” where your followers will expect to see your posts on a daily basis. In this respect, consistency is key to maintaining and holding the attention of your followers.
Add that to posting great content, your followers will always be anticipating what you will post next today or tomorrow. This is the key to not just getting Instagram likes but receiving them on a more consistent basis – organically and for the long-term.
Posting consistently is especially important for brands, as it displays a positive image to followers by showing that the brand cares enough to put in time and effort to share content and information with its followers.
18. Upload your photos at the best time of the day
The secret behind a lot of Instagram likes lies behind posting at the right time. Think about it – if you upload a new post after midnight when most of your followers are sleeping, will you get a lot of likes? What about at the break of dawn? Or during school holidays or long weekends when most people are away on family vacations? You most likely will get minimal engagement.
Instead, you need to time your post uploads during the most optimal time – and that is when the chances of most people being online on Instagram is the highest. As a general rule, the best time to post on Instagram is during lunch breaks and in the evening (after working hours). That is when most people actually have the time to scroll through their Instagram feed.
There are many free apps that can help you do this, where it helps to analyse your Instagram account to find the time of the day when most of your followers are online (and most likely to engage with your content).
19. Invest a little in Instagram Ads
Instagram Ads will definitely cost you money, but it’s a quick way to ramp up your Instagram likes. By serving ads through Facebook Ad Manager (to push ads on Instagram), you can narrow down your targeting to the audience of your choosing based on their age, gender, location, and interests.
Although you’ll need to invest a bit of budget into running ads on Instagram, you’ll be able to serve your content to the right type of audience in a very precise manner. You may not have to run ads frequently. Instead, you can time them based on seasonal peaks, shopping seasons, holiday seasons, or leverage on any current hot trends. That way you get to maximise your ad’s reach.
20. Know your competitors
Let’s go back to the first tip of this article, which is to understand your target audience. On the other spectrum, knowing your competitors can also give you a leg up.
When you have a wide and deep awareness of what type of content, promotions or time of day your competitors post on Instagram, you’ll get to see what works and what doesn’t work and apply that to your workflow. It’s also a great way to find content ideas or new ways of creating content for your Instagram account.
On Keyword Tool for Instagram, you can do a competitor analysis by keying in a related keyword or hashtag into the input field. The results will show a list of users that are related to the search term that you’ve just entered:
All you need to do is type in the keyword or hashtag, click “People,” and voila! The results will show you a list of all the user accounts on Instagram and their follower counts that are associated with the keyword or hashtag that you’re searching for. This is an incredibly easy way to sift through your potential competition and check out their profiles very quickly.
These 20 tips in this article are all guaranteed to be tried-and-tested. You may choose to use one or two tips, or even better, try all of them and see what works best for you.
Instagram will get more and more competitive as time goes on, so make the most out of these free tips to make sure that you can outperform your competitors, reach your target audiences and ramp up your Instagram likes. And the best way to do that is to do it organically. Focus on quality, use the right tools like Keyword Tool for Instagram, and grow your Instagram page like a pro.