Social media, which didn’t even exist a few years ago, is going through some growing pains. Facebook is facing high-profile criticism. Psychologists are concerned that the competition for likes on Instagram may have a negative effect. To avoid emotional trauma for some users, Instagram now gives brands the option of showing the likes on a post or turning them off.
The key for brands to understand is that likes are still important behind the scenes. Just because you can turn off the likes count on your public feed doesn’t mean likes don’t matter anymore to Instagram’s algorithm.
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Showing public likes may be optional, but pursuing likes is still a necessity for brands. Take a look at the key strategies for engagement, content, and how to get Instagram likes to build an engaged following.
Strategy Is Key to Get Instagram Likes
The key to getting Instagram likes is posting content that people want. We can’t assume we know what people want without doing some research. How do you know what people will enjoy if you haven’t defined and researched your audience – your people?
Your IG strategy is part of your overall marketing strategy that includes identifying your target audience. Research your audience, competition, and potential collaborators. Think about which accounts your ideal audience follows on Instagram. Like and interact with those accounts, too.
Who is your main competition? What kind of content are they posting? Do you recognize any trends? What hashtags do they use? Answers to these questions offer clues as to what’s working for your competitors.
Some accounts follow a strict style guide to create a uniform look. Fonts, filters, and image graphics stay consistent. While it is good for brands to have the basics of branding, some top influencers say that having an authentic, relatable feed is more important than having everything match perfectly.
Too much “on brand” content can be tedious. Social media is about human connection. Humans are not perfect. Show your brand’s human side. Take into account your brand and audience expectations. A beauty blogger’s account will have a different look than an adventure travel wear company.
What accounts would be valuable cross-promotion partners? Cultivating cross-promotions can be a great way to get more likes and grow your Instagram audience and audience beyond your initial niche.
Who can you cross-tag? Your followers have varied interests. People appreciate brands with more than one dimension. For example, instead of posting weekly about paid tour details or package trips, a travel company could tag artists, influencers, clients, or a series of restaurants in the destination country.
Contests help you get more Instagram likes by requiring “liking” a post and following an account to enter. Contests are labor-intensive, so be sure you think about your strategy. Your giveaway needs to be desirable and aligned with your brand so you attract the right people. You don’t want to get Instagram likes from people who only signed up for a chase to win the prize and won’t engage with you after that.
Build Engagement for the Instagram Explore Page
Instagram’s Explore page boosts visibility and drives more likes and followers for your account. Instagram chooses what to share on the page based on the brand account’s engagement metrics. If you want to have a chance to make it onto the Explore page, work on your engagement.
Create highlight sections with exciting themes for your audience. Save stories to the highlights so followers can binge-watching your highlight themes.
Create a poll in your story to boost engagement. Posting an interesting survey once a week gives people a reason to check in with you regularly.
Share and comment regularly with accounts that complement your business. The Instagram algorithm keeps track of what accounts interact with each other. This may lead new followers to like your content, too.
Host or Conduct a Takeover
Letting someone else post to your account for a few days is called “hosting a takeover.” This can be a fantastic way to get your content in front of someone else’s fans and give them exposure to yours. You can also approach a strategic partner and ask them if they would consider letting you take over their account for a few days too.
Paid ads are an obvious answer to how to get more Instagram likes. If you don’t have a full-on ads strategy or the budget to do paid promotion all the time, try a shorter run. You can use ads for specific promotions, such as a contest or other give-away.
Hashtags are a vital strategy for increasing organic reach and getting more Instagram likes. Hashtags help you get more Instagram likes because they give the algorithm a hint about who would most enjoy seeing a post. Hashtags are searchable and help people find your posts, too.
The bottom line is this: If people don’t see or can’t find your post, they can’t like it, right?
Choose a brand hashtag – create and claim a few hashtags just for your brand. The simplest one is your company name. You can also create a hashtag CTA for promotions, like Lays #DoUsAFlavor or Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke.
You can use up to 30 hashtags. Some sources recommend 11 maximum; some say to use all 30. More important than the quantity is quality, of course.
Choose distinctive hashtags. Don’t rely on common words like #puppy, #sunrise, or #grateful. The problem with common hashtags is there are too many posts that have that tag. The tag also continues to show up on millions of more posts daily. Your post will have a hard time rising to the top.
For example, it’s a nice reflection on humans that the top hashtag on IG is #love, with 1.8 billion tags. However, using #love on your post just means it will drown in the content ocean of all that #love.
Where to Put Hashtags on Instagram
There are several options for where to put your hashtags. You can put them in your post, at the end of the post, or in the comment section. Hashtags in the caption clarify context, but too many are distracting and make the post hard to scan.
Most people prefer to keep the post clean and put hashtags in the comment section. A compromise is to add the most important hashtag or two at the end of your caption copy.
Brand hashtags or promotion-specific hashtags are good ones to highlight in the post itself. Then you can put the rest of your hashtags in the comment section.
Now that you have some strategy guidelines for getting more Instagram likes let’s look at content ideas.
Content Strategies for Increasing Instagram Likes
Marketing on social media is a bit like making friends.
We try to catch the eye of our ideal companions who don’t know us yet. Then we want to convince them to stick around and get to know us better. Finally, some of them will become good friends for years.
Notice that it’s only the last phase where people trust you enough to stay with you. One big mistake brands make is trying to sell too often on Instagram.
The goal is to build the relationship, not ask followers to buy something from you several times a week. Selling posts look like ads, and nobody likes ads on social media.
Think about this analogy when you consider your visual content. Your post is an invitation. Does your audience want to be wowed by incredible photography? Colorful graphics? Video teasers with words on a screen?
Don’t forget to leave a call to action (CTA). It can be as simple as “tap the heart if you agree!”. You can get creative with your CTA’s too. Other CTAs ideas include “check out the link in the bio,” “tag a friend who needs to see this,” or “post an emoji in the comments.”
Posting the image is step one. If the image is like the invitation for your new friends, the caption is the coffee date to go to the next level.
Good captions evoke emotion and have a point. The key is that your audience can relate to your content. This means they feel you understand them and what they are going through. Influencer Chalene Johnson grew her audience beyond her base of fitness and marketing by posting humorous, relatable content about her ADHD.
What is going on in your audience’s real life? Posting about holidays or current events makes your brand seem current, fresh, and likable.
Actionable tips attract attention from viewers looking to solve a problem. If you help someone with solutions or do something better, they will like more of your posts.
Humor can help you get more Instagram likes, too. People love to share jokes and memes that make them laugh. Are there insider jokes only your audience would understand? That kind of humor lets them know you “get” them. It builds community, too. Finally, humor associates your brand with a positive feeling, so it’s a win-win situation.
Brush up on your storytelling skills. Stories increase engagement and are likely to get more Instagram likes. Behind the scenes (BTS) content is popular for telling your brand’s “inside story.”
Research proves that curiosity can drive engagement. Tease an outcome, and people will stick around longer. Try using the carousel feature on Instagram to tell a short story over a few text slides. Post a teaser image to your IG story with a link to the post. Grab attention by sharing popular content from a bigger account to your story and include a slide that links back to your post.
Instagram started as a photo platform, and static images are still the most common. Video is a way for your content to stand out in the feed. Be clear about the video’s message. Create a cover image with a title that describes the point of the video. Summarize the video content in the caption for people who prefer to tread. How-to and behind-the-scenes videos are popular on Instagram.
The main thing to remember for content is that even though Instagram is a visual platform, the image or video you share is only the first step. Creating compelling captions is just as crucial if you want to increase your likes on Instagram.
Instagram Posting Best Practices
Creating a checklist of best practices increases consistency. When you are consistent, your posts show up in people’s Instagram feeds regularly. That leads to more likes on Instagram, too.
Posting best practices include:
- Be social! Tag other accounts relevant to the post
- Post consistently at the right time of day
- Post content from followers and colleagues, linking back to their account
- Share others’ mentions of you in your story with a thank you and link back to them
- Like and comment daily on aligned accounts
- Use strategic hashtags
- Put hashtags in the comment section to keep your captions readable
- Tag the post location, especially for brick and mortar businesses
- Include a CTA in every post
- Use lots of emojis
- Post an IG story at least once a day
Depending upon your business and brand, you can customize your best practices to reflect seasonal and promotional goals.
Instagram Is a Business Powerhouse
Even with TikTok’s meteoric rise in popularity, Instagram is still a powerful social media platform for most brands. Remember to keep your content relatable and positive. Let your audience know that you understand them. Don’t sell to them very often.
To get Instagram likes, treat your followers like a new best friend. You’ll earn their trust and grow your Instagram account into a thriving social media home base for your brand.