How to Get More Instagram Likes – The Dos and Don’ts

 

Professional Instagram marketers will tell you that they can usually tell in the first five minutes whether an Instagram post will perform well or not – whether that post will fly, or die.

The Instagram algorithm favors posts that get a lot of likes and comments quickly, and it shows those post to more of the account’s followers, and potentially in the “top posts” section of hashtag feeds.  By contrast if you post a lot of images that get very few likes, your account may be throttled back by the algorithm, and your future posts shown to fewer of your followers.

So yes, that post you’re about to post matters, in fact EVERY post matters.

the importance of likes for the instagram algorithm diagram

In this blog post we’ll unpack the mystery of what makes Instagram posts fly instead of die.  We’ll go in-depth into some of the most viral Instagram posts from Tailwind members over the past month, and some of the least viral, to uncover 11 actionable tips that you can use to get more likes on your Instagram posts.

Why Would You Want to Get More Instagram Likes?

Likes (and comments) feed the Instagram algorithm.

  • If a high percentage of the people who see your post like it, Instagram will show it to more of your followers.  A virtuous circle.
  • If you consistently get low engagement (likes and comments) on your posts then your subsequent posts will show for less of your followers, and likely get even less engagement.
  • The speed at which you accumulate likes is an important factor in the Instagram algorithm, and may be the deciding factor in whether one of your posts shows up in the “top posts” section for a hashtag.

Comments are important to the Instagram algorithm too.  You can find out how to get more Instagram Comments in our companion blog post.

How to Get More Instagram Likes

The Do’s

  1. Capture natural beauty
  2. Allow your audience to project themselves into your images
  3. Create a sense of wonder
  4. Rally support
  5. Stand for something
  6. Be funnier (than usual)
  7. Tell a story
  8. Enlist the right celebrity for the job
  9. Anthropomorphize (attribute human personality to something that isn’t human)
  10. Ace the trend
  11. Do the (seemingly) impossible

How to Get Fewer Instagram Likes

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t be abstruse (overtly complicated, like that choice of word)
  2. Don’t take the focus off your audience
  3. Don’t let the mundane look mundane
  4. Don’t appear impersonal
  5. Don’t be a downer (womp womp)
  6. Don’t make liking into a moral choice (Can I “like” divorce?)
  7. Don’t break the illusion (keep it aspirational)
  8. Don’t make your appeal too specific
  9. Don’t make your visuals overly complicated
  10. Don’t worry if your promotional posts get fewer likes (they will)
  11. Don’t stray too far off message

We condensed 12 months of research on Instagram into under an hour for this Instagram Marketing 101 webinar. If you’re looking to learn everything you need to know about Instagram marketing in under an hour, you’ll love this webinar.

Awesome Examples from Tailwind Members:

1a. Capture Natural Beauty

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @southernliving got +57% more likes than their average post

On the road again 📷@alx.martin #SLFall

A photo posted by Southern Living (@southernlivingmag) on

1b. Don’t be abstruse (overtly complicated, like that choice of word)

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @southernliving got nearly half as many likes as their average post

And so it begins 🏈 #FootballSeason #MySouthernLiving 📷: Regram via @theoldtry

A photo posted by Southern Living (@southernlivingmag) on


2a. Allow your audience to project themselves into your images

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @brides got +70% more likes than their average post

2b. Don’t take the focus off your audience

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @brides got fewer than a third as many likes as their average post

Groom style = looking dapper, in your bow tie, on the dock 🚤 | 📷: @joyymichelle

A photo posted by BRIDES Magazine (@brides) on


3a. Create a sense of wonder

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @designmilk got +84% more likes than their average post

3b. Don’t let the mundane look mundane

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @designmilk got nearly half as many likes as their average post


4a. Rally support

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @jamienotis got +102% more likes than her average post

4b. Don’t appear impersonal

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @jamienotis got three and a half times fewer likes than her average post

My person: @doughehner …and my sweet fur babies, of course. 🐾 🙌❤️😘

A photo posted by Jamie Otis (@jamienotis) on


5a. Stand for something

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @glossier got +102% more likes than their average post

“Never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”—Hillary Clinton

A photo posted by Glossier. (@glossier) on

5b. Don’t be a downer (womp womp)

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @glossier got two thirds as many likes as their average post

#art Alyson Shotz, “Law of Motion”

A photo posted by Glossier. (@glossier) on


6a. Be funnier (than usual)

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @theeconomist got +106% more likes than their average post

6b. Don’t make liking into a moral choice (Can I “like” divorce?)

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @theeconomist got around half as many likes as their average post


7a. Tell a story

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @ohreverie got +121% more likes than their average post

7b. Don’t break the illusion (keep it aspirational)

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @ohreverie got one seventh as many likes as their average post


8a. Enlist the right celebrity for the job

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @randomhouse got +247% more likes than their average post

8b. Don’t make your appeal too specific

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @randomhouse got hearly half as many likes as their average post


9a. Anthropomorphize (attribute human personality to non-humans)

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @the_pug_diary got +389% more likes than their average post

9b. Don’t make your visuals overly complicated

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @the_pug_diary got fewer than half as many likes as their average post


10a. Ace the trend

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @kelleynan got +285% more likes than her average post

10b. Don’t worry if your promotional posts get fewer likes (they will)

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @kellynan got fewer than half as many likes as her average post

Kelley Nan was kind enough to comment on the disparity between the engagement on these two posts: “The bar cart was posted with a goal to generate affiliate sales while the full room shoot was a resurrected photo from last year’s Christmas during the holiday transition. Not much Christmas decor had been shown yet so people seemed to be more excited. In general terms, I know when I post a full room shot, it is going to do better than when I post a close-up. But, if I am promoting a sale or specific product, I do typically do closer shots. The higher the engagement, the more Instagram “shows” the photo, too. The full room view had so much engagement early on that it had a reach of 353K (3 times my followers).”


11a. Do the impossible (like making paleo look delicious)

This Post Got Likes

This Instagram post by @paleoglutenfreeeats got +1119% more likes than their average post

11b. Don’t stray too far off message

This Post Didn’t Get Likes

This Instagram post by @paleoglutenfreeeats got two thirds as many likes as their average post

Watch your Analytics

Watching what posts are working for 100,000+ different brands and bloggers is fascinating, but you can learn as much by keeping a close eye on what works for you. Use an analytics tool like Tailwind Instagram Analytics to quickly learn what your audience responds to.

If your #Instagram post gets likes fast it'll fly not die. Here's 13 tips to get more likes.Click To Tweet

 

Related Posts

How to get more Instagram comments

How to get more Instagram followers

How often should I post to Instagram?

This one Instagram hashtag strategy works for anyone

Video: How to Get More Likes on your Instagram Posts

 

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About David Christopher

David is Tailwind's Director of Marketing and Growth. He is a former journalist who wrote for The Times and The Financial Times, a marketing agency co-founder, founder of Confluence digital marketing conference, father of two, and early morning writer. He grew up on The Isle of Wight in England and lives in Oklahoma City.

One thought on “How to Get More Instagram Likes – The Dos and Don’ts

  1. December 15, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    This is definitely helpful and a great reminder. Thanks for the info! Best, Summer