Would you like to increase your engagement rates on Instagram? Do you want to get more likes on your Instagram posts?
The biggest currency on Instagram is Likes. When you get more likes, your Instagram post will move higher in user news feeds. Gaining more Likes will also help ensure your future posts get more exposure, as the platform's algorithm works to show users more of what they've previously shown an interest in.
More Like can provide an array of other benefits too, like more followers and traffic, as people will check out your entire account if they like what you share. If planned properly, Likes can become an important component of your overall Instagram strategy.
In order to help you take advantage of these benefits, I've written this guide on how to get more Likes on the visual-based social network.
Here are six tips.
1. Share images that work
Images are probably the most important part of your Instagram strategy, so let’s start with them.
As you're sharing an image to get more Likes, think about what drives your followers to Like posts. Look at your old posts and analyze them, see which ones got the most Likes.
If you have a new account, or haven’t posted much in the past, you should check out your competitors’ accounts and see what they're posting. Once you have some insight into the types of images that get Likes, you can create similar ones and share them.
There are generally two types of images you want to share in your main Instagram feed - photos and designed images.
If you're sharing the photo by itself, you can just add a filter and it'll be ready for publishing. A study from Track Maven found that for maximum interactions you should use the Mayfair filter, or not add one at all (as posts without filters perform second best).
But if you're sharing a pre-designed image you should consider adding some overlay text, like a quote or a fact, or something entertaining that will get you more likes. Entertaining and useful content generally performs well.
An example of a company that shares both photos and designed background images is Canva. If you visit their account you'll see several photos like the above, which offer testimonials from their users.
Canva also shares designed images, like the above. It’s good to vary between photos and designed images.
2. Use call to actions and hashtags in captions
If you want likes, ask for them.
Social Bakers found that tweets got retweeted more when people asked for retweets.
Hence, if you want more likes on Instagram, you could consider asking for them too.
You can do this by adding a simple message like ‘Please like this post’ in the caption. Placing it as overlay text on the image can help too.
A company that regularly publishes engaging quotes, and asks people to like them with a message in the caption, is Foundr. They've used this tactic to get a lot of likes, which has helped them get over a million followers too.
The aforementioned study from Track Maven also found that posts with eleven or more hashtags got the most likes on Instagram.
So you should add at least eleven hashtags every time you publish. You can add more, but be careful not to add more than fifteen, as your post can end up looking spammy.
If you're sharing something popular, you can use some hashtags from this list of 100 best Instagram hashtags for likes. They work great for posts on general topics.
If your posts belong to a niche, you should use a tool like Hashtagify to find relevant ones only.
3. Schedule at best times
Track Maven found that posts published between 10 PM and 3 AM get the most interactions.
There are several reasons for this, but one key thing to keep in mind with this data is that engagement rates are higher when competition is low. Fewer people posting between 10pm and 3am means there are fewer posts competing against yours, which can then see them get increased attention. More attention, as noted, can mean higher overall exposure - but you do need to experiment with this and see if you're reaching the right audience.
With some experimentation, you can find the optimal posting schedule for your business. To maximize this, you should consider scheduling your post using a good Instagram scheduling tool (I've listed the 7 best Instagram scheduling apps here).
4. Reshare on other networks
If you have a following on other social networks, it would be wise to re-share your Instagram posts onto these social networks.
Cross-sharing like this will lead your followers to your Instagram account, thereby getting you more likes.
Instagram lets you automatically share posts to Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter when you publish. It's not always effective, as the posts are displayed differently on each network based on image and character restrictions, etc. But it's another avenue worth investigating.
5. Like others posts
Neil Patel randomly liked photos of people he didn’t follow on Instagram, and found that for every 100 likes he made he got around 21.7 likes and 6.1 follows back. This strategy continued to work even if he didn’t follow these people in response.
This strategy is dependent on your business goals, but it can be worth going through the popular Instagram feed and the feeds of popular hashtags, and Liking posts you find entertaining or useful - or from profiles which are related to your business.
This will help you gain both Likes and followers, which can further expand your reach.
6. Run like and tag to win contests
Like to win contests are an easy way to drive engagement.
For this type of contest, all you need to do is post a picture on Instagram and ask people to like the post to take part. As this is an easy process, plenty of people will likely do so, particularly if your prize is good. If your engagement is suffering, this is an easy way to boost it.
For stronger results, run a Like and tag to win contest, in which you ask people to not only like the post, but also tag someone they know in the comments. Some of the tagged people will also Like the post and tag someone else.
A Like and tag contest will increase both likes and comments.
Drinkwel has run plenty of 'Like to Win' contests on Instagram because they work. In the above example, they asked people to Like and follow them to take part in the contest. They also mentioned that users get a 2nd entry if they tag a friend.
They made the prize a bottle of Drinkwel. This ensures that only relevant people will Like their post and follow them.
These are some of the best ways to get more Likes on your Instagram posts. You should try them all out - start with the first five, as they won’t take up too much time. The last one - running a 'Like to Win' contest, will take a little extra time. It requires some planning, but is still relatively easy to run.
Hopefully these tips can help you boost your Instagram game in 2018.
A version of this post was first published on the Social Marketing Writing blog.