If there’s one thing on social media that makes everyone happy, it’s getting more likes and more followers.
So you’ve created an Instagram account. You’re excited about sharing some awesome photos or videos that you’ve taken that reflect your brand (whether it’s your personal brand, or managing the account for your business), and you are enthusiastic about earning some love from fellow Instagram users. After connecting your Instagram and Facebook accounts, you’ve seen your following grow—maybe you have around a hundred or so followers, but then it plateaus. It’s around this point in your Instagram game that you might think, “Man, this is impossible.”
Well, today, I have some good news. We’ll go over a few pretty simple ways to get your Instagram account some major cred in the form of likes and followers.
Bonus: Download our Instagram Master Tactics guide to discover three Instagram marketing ideas and how to put them into action.
Here are 8 ways you can get likes and followers on Instagram
#1: Have a theme
Many successful Instagram accounts have a certain theme that carries throughout each of their photos. Ask yourself, just what is my thing? This could mean you are completely location based, like NYC-based photographer @alice_gao. Or maybe you are a small restaurant that wants to highlight its delicious menu—if that’s the case, find inspiration from @tattebakery.
Whatever your thing may be, stick to it. Your followers want to see consistency, and in turn, will trust your account for meeting their expectations. Just think, if you’re following a high-fashion account, you’d probably be thrown off by suddenly seeing an image of a blueberry muffin!
#2: Post awesome content
The key to getting more followers and likes on Instagram is posting really amazing content. For followers to continue coming back and double-tapping your photos, they need to be confident that you will be consistently putting up high-quality photos and interesting captions. However, giving your audience what it wants to see doesn’t mean you have to post the same kind photos over and over again… let’s be real, it can be a bit boring. Switch up your angles and subjects while keeping true to the brand you established in #1.
#3: Tell a story with your caption
After taking a killer photo, editing it, and getting it ready to send out, it can be easy to let the caption slip. But don’t fall into the trap! Captions are an incredibly important element of your photo. Telling a story with your captions gives your followers a little bit of insight into you as an expert, and the context of the photo. The best combination though, is having an amazing photo and a great caption to go along with it. Photographer Alex Guiry not only tells a story with his stunning photos, but gives his audience a behind-the-scenes narrative that leaves them wanting to see and hear more.
#4: Stick to a schedule
It’s important that your followers know when to expect a new photo. As we discussed before, consistency and rhythm is key. A lot of this will be based on how much content you have to post. If you find yourself swimming in beautiful images and begin posting daily, you’re going to have to keep it up by queueing up a photo for each day. Setting up a content calendar for your Instagram account will do wonders for keeping things organized, and this can really make a huge difference for your follower and like count.
The last thing you want is to update your account once a day or once a week, and then disappear for weeks. While taking a break from social media might not seem like a big deal, it will get in the way of building a loyal following and community.
#5: Engage with followers
Your followers want to know that there is a real, live person behind the amazing photos on their feed. What better way to show them that you aren’t just an Instagram obot than by reaching out and engaging. It’s a great way to let them know that you appreciate their comments and their likes.
How about checking out some of their accounts as well, and sharing the love by liking any photo that catches your eye? This doesn’t mean going and like-spamming your followers’ accounts, but building a relationship by acknowledging their talent and presence on Instagram in return for their appreciation of your photos.
#6: Hashtags… But not too many hashtags
Lately, hashtags have been seen as one of the best tools to help get more views on your post. While it’s a great way to have your content seen by users who aren’t following your account, it’s not always the best strategy for getting more loyal followers. Using broad hashtags such as #love or #dog won’t get you as much exposure as you’d hope, because these photos are quickly buried by more recent photos from other users. By using more unique, targeted hashtags (#dogsofinstagram) that speak to the theme of your account will do far more good than using a ton of broad ones. While using hashtags is a great way to reach strangers, they should be relevant to the content you are posting. Using too many hashtags may seem like you just trying too hard. Find the perfect balance by using two or three hashtags that define what your photo is trying to convey.
#7: Branded hashtags
Branded hashtags are becoming a major thing on Instagram. Many brands are leveraging branded hashtags to engage with a theme relevant to their audience. Brands encourage their community to tag their own photos with the hashtag, whether the product is featured or not. By creating a branded hashtag, you can create serious brand loyalty between you and your community. Your brand will benefit by increasing your exposure to new customers, and your customers will benefit from the love they see from your brand engagement. It’s a great way to motivate the Instagram community to engage with your brand, and showcase some user-generated content on your brand’s page.
#8: Use the Explore tool
Using the Explore tool opens up your feed to new and exciting photos that you most likely wouldn’t have found on your own. By engaging with users that are outside of your following (through likes and comments), you are getting a whole new level of visibility for your account!
Want to get your photos onto the Explore page? There are two factors that can influence your chances: the amount of engagement a photo gets in likes and comments, and the amount of time it takes to get that engagement after the photo was first posted.
When you actively comment and reply to your followers, you are creating an engaging conversation, which will help increase the amount of comments on your photo. This positive reinforcement alone means you have a higher chance of having your photo featured on the Explore page.