February 9, 2023

Getting More Likes for Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

Getting More Likes for Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re utilising Instagram marketing for your business, which matters more: followers or likes?

This is a tricky question. Gaining more followers will naturally increase the reach on your posts and help you to establish more relationships with potential followers, which is obviously important.

Likes matter a great deal, too, however. If your engagement rates are high, it indicates that you are creating content that your audience wants to see, meaning that your marketing is having the kind of results you’d hoped. High engagement can also land you higher in the feed thanks to Instagram’s algorithm, which can turbocharge your efforts even further.

Engagement rate will be one of the most important metrics that you watch while marketing on Instagram, and getting users to hit that small heart button should be a priority. In this post, we’re going to look at fourteen different ways you can get more likes for Instagram so you can boost your engagement rate and get more out of your marketing.

1. Start by Liking Their Content First

Want to get likes on your content? Try by reaching out and liking other people’s content, first. Social media is always a two-way street; sitting in isolation and waiting for people to come to you isn’t typically the best way to go.

You may not want to start liking your customer’s content; that’s ok. A safe bet here is to you reach out and like content from influencers and other profiles of businesses like yours. Comment on their posts, and you do so, go beyond a quick “Nice!” and aim to write something a little more substantial. If you build up the people around you, they’ll want to build you up, too.

2. Create Emotional Content

Sharing pictures or videos that resonate emotionally with your audience is sure to get you more likes on Instagram posts than normal. Use your images, videos, and captions in conjunction to deliver a powerful punch and create whatever emotional impact you’re going for.

“Emotional” doesn’t have to mean “sad.” Excitement, nostalgia, a sense of adventure, anger, and just plain happiness all count, too. If you’re able to make your followers feel something when looking at your content, they’re more likely to react. It will also create an emotional connection in relation to your brand, which is always an advantage in marketing.



Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 9.05.27 am

Enrolments closing soon. Now is the time. Don’t miss out!

3. Use Vibrant, Thumb-Stopping Images

Instagram started out as a picture-sharing platform, and the visual element still carries a lot of weight on the platform. Using high quality, vibrant, beautiful images are sure to stop users in their tracks while scrolling through their feeds and get them to pay attention. And the longer you can get them to hover, the more likely they are to click that like button.

On Instagram, there are a few image best practices you can use to get results. The image above demonstrates  most of them, including:

  • Have plenty of background. Unlike Pinterest, Instagram users want to see more background in an image. It’s easier for the eye to focus and it looks more pleasing.
  • Feature blue-tinted images. A study from Curalate found that users respond more to images that had blue or cooler colors as the dominant hue than those with red as the dominant color.
  • Use diverse textures in your images. It feels more alive, and it will automatically draw the eye in. The example above has a great contrast between the grey/blue colour, and the blurred natural green in the background.

4. Have a Sense of Humor

Everyone likes to laugh, almost as much as they like free stuff. If you can get a chuckle out of your followers (or even just a smile), you’re likely to a like, too.

Your sense of humor should be tailored to fit your brand and your audience. You also don’t need a punchline, or a big elaborate joke. The key here is sense of humor, especially when it’s not directed at anyone else except maybe you. Being a little goofy is all you need to get the impact you’re looking for.

5. Offer Value

If you can give your followers something they need, they’ll be responsive. On Instagram, you can offer value by sharing information openly. In many cases, you’ll see this take the form of video tutorials that can show anything from how to care for a product to how to make a delicious recipe.  

It can also mean sharing facts or information outright, as seen in the example above. This is an effective strategy for a lot of B2B businesses or “non-glamorous” B2C businesses. If you don’t have hyper-visual products or services, you can use this tip to build an engaged and loyal following– and of course plenty of likes!– on Instagram.

6. Add Video To Your Feeds

Keeping your feeds diverse will help ensure that users stay engaged. No one wants to see different versions of the same post over and over again forever; shaking it up with different types of post formats and styles can help with this.

Video has high performance, and having that public video view counter showing up on your posts can also give you a ton of social proof that will get other users to stop to watch and hopefully engage, too.

When you’re using video on Instagram, keep the following in mind:

  • Keep it short. Don’t try to hit that maximum time limit if you don’t need it. Thirty seconds of video or less is typically the sweet spot.
  • Add closed captions. If you have any voice-over narration, add closed captions. This can bring users in, and also offer valuable context in case they’re unable to listen to the sound for any reason.
  • Use your description to tell users why they should watch. Sometimes the video will catch a viewer’s eye, but they look to the description to tell them what it’s about and whether or not they should watch. Answer that “why” question immediately.

7. Share User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is a sure-fire strategy that will help you get more likes for Instagram. Plenty of users love to see that you value your community, and seeing posts from other customers offers a lot of additional benefits, too.

There’s a good chance that your UGC will look different from the branded content that you typically put out, which can help to grab user attention. It also feels more personal; it was created by real, authentic people who just wanted to share their great experience. Since UGC often shares an amazing experience and goes just beyond the product, this can make a big impact and can make users inclined to like the post.

When sharing UGC, it’s typically a good idea to ask for permission from the original poster, or it’s clear that they’ve given permission for the image to be shared. This is particularly true if it involves their home, personal life, and especially their children in any way. People will almost always say yes, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.



Screen Shot 2018-11-06 at 9.05.27 am

Enrolments closing soon. Now is the time. Don’t miss out!

8.Boost Organic Posts

Instagram Ads are typically used by businesses who want more sales, but if you boost already-existing organic posts, it will send your reach skyrocketing and help you get a lot of likes quickly.

You will need to pay to get these results, but even $15 on high-performing posts can give you a lot of likes. Boosting important posts and getting plenty of social proof that comes to live on your profile can be a worthwhile investment both immediately and long-term.

Instagram now even tells you which posts are performing well that you should boost:

9. Post Images Featuring People

Smiling faces– whether they belong to you, your employees, your customers, or even models– can do a lot to get you more likes for Instagram posts. We’re all naturally responsive to a happy face, and it adds that personal touch to your profile that a lot of followers want to see.

Science backs this up, too. A 2014 study found that Instagram pictures with faces in them were 38% more likely to get likes than those without them, and 32% more likely to get comments.

10. Keep Your Filters Consistent

While you want the actual content in your gallery to be diverse, having a unified, branded look to the majority of your content can actually aid you in your quest for more likes on your posts.

Having a consistent look to your feed will help with brand awareness and make your posts look more intentional.

When you’re choosing your filters, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Filters that add warmth can receive a warm response in return.
  • Filters that add contract can result in striking images that stand out in the mind.
  • Avoid filters that reduce saturation and make the picture blurrier.
  • Choosing to use no filter is perfectly fine. If you’re selling physical goods, it’s probably a good idea to skip it so people can see the product accurately reflect in your post.

11. Stick to Simple Captions

Big, long captions can be overwhelming on a visual platform. Simple captions, therefore, are more likely to be read. The majority of your captions should be relatively short and easy-to-read. Save the longer ones for posts that really need it.

If your captions are going to be on the longer side, that’s ok, but make sure that they’ve still got that “easy-to-read” quality down. Use simple sentence structures, and break up ideas into different paragraphs. Treat it like you would a blog post; it should be easy to scan and get the point without needing to bust out the reading glasses.

12. Have “Like to Win” Contests

If you need a big boost in likes for Instagram marketing, contests are a good way to get them. These posts won’t yield sustainable results outside of the lifespan of the campaign, but they can help you get the momentum that you need moving forward.

These contests require users to like a specific post in order to be eligible to win. You can leave it at just that, but if the prize is valuable enough (and it should be), you should ask for a few more actions, too. You can require that users follow you in order to win, and to also leave a comment or to tag a friend. If you use contest software, you can even ask them to securely share information like their email address or phone number.

13. Be Authentic

Even though you want to keep things professional, your followers will build relationships with people, not necessarily brands outright. You can make this possible by showing the human, authentic faces behind your business.

Be real with your followers. This doesn’t mean airing your dirty laundry or fessing up to reputation-ruining mistakes, but it does mean that you should be as transparent as you possibly can. In the example above, a local artist made light of a chaotic morning and a human moment we can all relate to before promoting where you can find her to purchase. It comes across as less salesy than if she omitted the story to begin with, and it’s endearing in a way that will earn more likes (and possibly more sales, too).

14. Expand Your Reach with Hashtags & Posting Times

Your followers aren’t the only ones that can like your posts, so expanding your reach as much as possible will increase the number of likes you can get, too.

Your best bets for increasing reach will be to use the right hashtags and to gain momentum in the algorithm. You can learn more about the former here.

When it comes to peak posting times, there is no one right answer because everyone’s audience is different. That being said, posting at optimal times in order to get an initial boost in visibility will help you right when your posts go live. Because this will vary depending on your business, check your Instagram insights to see when your audience is most active.

Posting right in the height of your follower’s active periods will be a good place to start testing to see what works for you.


Keeping your engagement rate up on Instagram should be a priority if you want to see results on the platform. Having plenty of likes for Instagram content will indicate that your content is high value and relevant to your audience, which is necessary if you want to build relationships and use the platform to sell. It will also give you momentum in the algorithm, and it of course provides powerful social proof that tells other people that your content is worth checking out.

Ana Gotter

Ana Gotter

Social Media Marketing Specialist

Ana is a strategic content marketer specialising in business, finance, and marketing writing, though she's worked across a range of industries. She works from her home in Orlando with her three dogs.

Instagram 2024 Growth Checklist

✅ Turbocharge your followers, engagement and views
✅ Comprehensive checklist with over 150 growth tactics

Make 2024 your best year yet! 👇

Ready to accelerate your business with social media marketing?