How To Get More Likes On Instagram – Ultimate Guide 2018

Introducing the ultimate guide to get likes on Instagram…

Double taps, hearts, faves, whatever you want to call it, likes are main form of currency on Instagram and have been the driving force for users putting out great content for a long time. I mean, there was no feeling more satisfying than reaching 11 Likes on Instagram when you first started out and seeing those names under your post turn to a number, or how about the first time you hit triple digits and amassed over a 100 or more likes on Instagram? Oh so satisfying!

Instagram has transitioned over time from being a place to share your selfies, cat snaps and food porn – it’s now more than that. For many, Instagram is a tool used to promote businesses or brands, engage with audiences and be a platform for creatives to showcase their talents. As these paradigms shifted, engagement rates became even more important and were vital for users to harness the true value of Instagram.

Now when the ‘gram was first born, likes were a pretty abstract thing. We understood what it meant on an intrinsic level, but only later on we got to know the true engagement power a double tap holds. The formula was apparent, create amazing content in the hopes of amassing dozens and dozens of likes, those likes will spread your content through other user’s feeds and maybe into the explore page, which by effect will get likes on Instagram, more followers and push your content in-front of the eyes of hundreds and thousand of users.

Just when we all thought we had it figured out, something happened…enter the Instagram algorithm led feed, which turned the whole gramming world inside out. Changing users’ feeds in order of what Instagram thinks users want to see. Now the game has changed quite literally, and likes are more important than ever before in driving up engagement rates and keeping your content cycling through the algorithmic feed.

We have compiled the ultimate guide to get likes on Instagram, housing all the tips, tricks and insights you need to know to get the most likes on the content you post! This guide will be updated regularly with new methods and advice as the world of Instagram changes. Without further ado, let’s get right into it!


#1 Content Rules Above All 👑

#2 Hashtags #️⃣

#3 Photo Tag 🏷️

#4 Instagram Engagement Groups 🤝

#5 Publishing Posts At The Most Active Hours ⏰

#6 Posting Consistently Is The Best Thing You Can Do 📅

#7 Hosting A Contest Or Giveaway 🎁


#1 Content Rules Above All – That’s Why It’s King 👑

Right, the first thing we want to tell you is not a tip or a trick but rather a rule. As cringeworthy as it is to throw around cliche phrases, I can’t stress this enough: content is king on Instagram! (If I had a dime for every time I chimed that one). The most popular accounts on Instagram are those that produce the very best high quality content. You can clearly tell they spent time and effort in generating ideas and creating, and for their efforts they reap in the rewards of Likes and Engagement. Of course what makes good content is a very abstract question, and there isn’t a silver bullet answer to this however we do have some guidelines for you to follow.

  • Find a niche for your account & don’t be a jack of all trades, that’ll confuse your followers. People want to know what to expect when they follow you.
  • Upgrade that camera. If you’re still using your phone to create content you might want to level up your game a little. If you haven’t got the latest smartphone with the best specs, you might want to invest in a dedicated camera
  • Themes are good. Many popular account will have a general colour scheme or theme running throughout their page. Each piece of content complements another as they all share a similar palette.
  • If you’re stuck for ideas look out for upcoming trends and shape your content around it. Trending topics will get more engagement and attention.
  • Another important piece of advice is to be consistent with your content schedule, however there is such thing as overkill. Don’t spam your followers, keep a level of exclusivity to keep your followers excited for the next post.

Now we’ve laid the foundations for creating amazing content, let’s think about the magic pixy dust known as hashtags that will boost your engagement.

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#2 Hashtags #️⃣

Hashtags are huge pillars in the social world, helping boost your content to select audiences you want to reach and get likes on Instagram. Not too long ago, you could litter your caption with dozens of generic #picoftheday hashtags and reel in tons of likes, but Instagram is clamping down on spam and the algorithm is more developed than ever, meaning those strategies no longer work.

So what is the best strategy to use when hashtagging to get likes on Instagram? For an in-depth guide dedicated to Instagram best practice check out our All-In-One Guide To Instagram Hashtags 

  • Hashtag Research:

You’re going to want to find out the best hashtags available relating to your post, there are specific tools out their to help you find hashtags such as Hashtagify, RiteTag and others. These tools are great to check the strength of a hashtag and other hashtags that are similar. Other methods we recommend is manually finding content from other accounts that are doing well, and check the hashtags they’re using. Trial and error is important, always try new hashtags and see how they perform for you. The best hashtags will drive engagement immediately and help you get likes on Instagram. Overtime you’ll find yourself pooling together a list of the hashtags you find to be most effective, be sure to save this golden list in your notes somewhere and regularly update with new hashtags you find.

  • Shadowbanning

Imagine you spend hours creating the perfect piece of content, conjure up the wittiest caption, send it out to the world, only to be shadowbanned by Instagram for using a spammy hashtags! Instagram went on a cleaning spree this year, removing bot accounts, fake followers and even banning spammy hashtags. Using just one of these hashtags in your set post resulted in the post being “shadowbanned” and hidden from hashtag searches, having a crippling effect on engagement. As of now it’s not clear how Instagram decides on which hashtags are spammy, but there are tools online to check if your posts has been shadowbanned by inputting the post URL. Another indication of a shadowbanned hashtags is recent posts not appearing in the hashtag search. Ultimately you want to be careful with which hashtags you use, and make shadowbanning apart of your hashtag research.

#3 Photo Tags 🏷️

The general tricks we’d suggest with hashtags is to use a mixture of general and niche specific hashtags, in order to spread the reach of your content to be best possible audiences. But we all know how hashtags can boost engagement, (if you don’t you should check out our all in one hashtags guide) however there’s a little known trick with tags on photos that can boost engagement.

This is a hot take so get your note pad ready. Did you know tagging relevant accounts in your post has the potential to boost engagement? Whilst tags don’t function the same way hashtags do, they do serve a greater purpose. A top tip straight from Hopper HQ is to tag your content with accounts in the same niche. For example if you’re a photographer, you might want to tag your photos with big UGC IG accounts that curate posts and have loads of followers. This will have a profound effect on how the Instagram algorithm views the relevancy of the content. Tagging the post will increase the likelihood of the post appearing on the explore page of that tagged accounts followers, increasing your overall reach, impressions and potential for engagement.

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#4 Instagram Engagement Groups 🤝

For many users, Instagram Engagement Groups (or Pods) are a thing of mystery. However engagement groups can be an amazing strategy to get likes on Instagram and increase your engagement! In a nut shell, an Instagram engagement group is a group of users who agree to commit to liking and commenting on each others’ posts – a basic ‘like for like’ policy but with genuine users and fellow business owners supporting one another’s marketing efforts. Once a user uploads a post, they will share it with the rest of the group via a direct message group, and all participants in the engagement group will immediately like and comment on the post. Your post can literally go from 0-100 likes in minutes (depending on the number users in the engagement group). The fact users interact with the post immediately after it’s been posted also gives a big thumbs up to the Instagram algorithm, helping your content to get likes on Instagram faster – more on this in the next section!

To find out how you can join an Engagement Group, the different types of groups and how you can start your own, check out our full comprehensive guide: Increase Organic Reach On Instagram With Engagement Groups!

#5 Posting At The Most Active Hours ⏰

As a result of developments to the Instagram Algorithm, one of the most important factors to get likes on Instagram is posting at the time where your audience are most active! When your post gets engagement quickly, it tells the algorithm that its a good piece of content and is therefore likely to be shown in more user’s feeds and even appear on the Explore page if you’re lucky.

The best time to post on Instagram is frequently debated, with many businesses and influencers declaring a set date and time to deliver optimum engagement. However, at Hopper HQ we help manage thousands of Instagram accounts, and understand that the best time to post will completely vary depending on the user and target audience.

So how do you find out when your followers are most active?

The good news is you came to the right place! As we built the ultimate Best Time To Post On Instagram tool which connects to Instagram Business accounts and assesses audience data and average post engagement to decipher the best hours to post to get likes on Instagram! You’re welcome…

Explore the data behind your Instagram account.

Find the best time to post on Instagram

Track your follower growth overtime

Understand your post engagement


#6 Posting Consistently Is The Best Thing You Can Do 📅

The penultimate strategy we recommend to get likes on Instagram is to be consistent with your posting activity! There’s not a set guideline to how often to post on Instagram, but remember that consistency is more important than frequency. By staying consistent with your Instagram posting, your audience will become accustomed to the regularity of your content, and in turn, you will be perceived as a reliable, authoritative and attractive brand.

“But posting consistently is too time consuming! I can’t keep up”

The demand of posting frequently can be highly time consuming, and result in marketers running out of content! The way around this is to plan and schedule your Instagram content in advance. Having the ability to create weeks’ worth of content in one go, upload them into a content calendar and schedule them to go out automatically days/weeks/months in advance is the ultimate solution to this! At Hopper HQ you can schedule photos and videos across multiple Instagram accounts and we post them automatically for you – helping you to maintain posting consistency and get likes on Instagram!

Plan & Schedule + Consistent Publishing = Success

Schedule your Instagram posts.

Fully automated posts. No phone required.

#7 Hosting A Contest Or Giveaway 🎁

Our final tip for getting more likes on Instagram involves you giving something back to your followers. Running a contest or a giveaway is a fantastic way to drive engagement to your account and guarantee you get likes on Instagram! Contests and giveaways provide your followers with an incentive to like, comment and share your content, as the chance to win a prize is considered as a fair value exchange. If you plan your contest or giveaway strategically, you’ll not only get likes on Instagram, but you can also encourage your followers to repost your content to spread awareness – increasing your following too!

“How do I run an Instagram contest?”

Well firstly you need to decide on the prize or giveaway, and you should make this decision based on the niche of your account and the interests of your followers. For example, if you’re a brand you may want to giveaway one of your products, or if you’re a foodie account you could giveaway a voucher for dinner. The possibilities of prizes are genuinely endless, but it’s important to choose something that your followers will want.  There’s essentially five steps to creating an Instagram contest and these are as follows:

  1. Define A Clear Theme
  2. Choose An Appropriate Prize
  3. Create An Entry Method
  4. Choose An Appropriate Prize
  5. Spread The Word Like Crazy

For a full step by step guide check out our full article: How To Run An Instagram Contest – A 5 Step Guide.

Parting Words 👋

Follow these steps to get likes on Instagram and watch your profile skyrocket! If you have any questions let us know in the comments. Happy posting! 🙌

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Free for Hopper HQ customers • Updated October 2017

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