How to Gain Free Instagram Likes (Because They Still Matter) (1/2)

Gain Free Instagram Likes

How do you gain free Instagram likes on your posts?

Ask not what your Instagram audience could do for you, however, what you could do for your Instagram audience.

Consider this way: how could you make your Instagram posts more likable?

Because the aim on Instagram is to show your greatest side by sharing content that people value. It takes work, however, when you are ready to up your game, we have 22 tips to get you began.

But wait, Instagram is hiding likes now. Do they still matter?

The answer is yes, of course. When you are on Instagram, likes matter as much as ever.

Maybe even more, since some creators are reporting that followers are hitting that heart button less, now that likes are hidden.

(If you missed it: in April 2019, Instagram began experimenting with not showing the number of likes a post has received (AKA ‘like counts’) in the feeds of Canadian users. In July, Instagram expanded the test to include Australia, Italy, Brazil, Ireland, Japan, and New Zealand.)

While you could still see how many likes your posts get, you could not see anybody else’s numbers. The idea is to make the whole experience healthier and less competitive for users. Instagram explained: “We wish your friends to concentrate on the images and videos you share, not how many likes they get.”

However whether we could see Instagram likes or not, the Instagram algorithm continues to work as it always has, according to the platform.

So how does that affect brands that depend on Instagram success? Based on one survey of Canadian Instagram influencers, when asked what the worst thing about the change was, 41% reported that it has resulted in lower engagement. (The runner-up for worst thing: 16% said that the change has confused brands, who’re reaching out less.)

On the plus side, 37% of influencers in the same study reported that not seeing other posts’ likes, and never worrying about their own public counts, leads to “less pressure” to perform, and opened up their creative flow.

However, whether you are feeling the pinch or feeling the love, likes are still a key measure of success, engagement and reach on Instagram.

Here are the best methods to get people to tap that heart button.

How to gain free Instagram Likes: 22 smart methods to gain free Instagram likes

1. Post incredible photos

Lest we forget that photography was art before it was a marketing tool, all of us have to own up to the truth that sometimes our taste exceeds our skill.

On Instagram, there is no room for “good enough” shots. Time to level up.

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1. A man stands in front of a large ship grounded by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines, on 18 April 2014. Five months after the typhoon, although many businesses and services were functioning again, electricity and housing continued to be the main issues. Many residents were still living in temporary housing conditions due to "No Build" areas preventing them from rebuilding their homes. 2. A group of men relax and drink Tuba (coconut wine) on a table off the beach in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines, on 20 April 2014. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the Visayas region of central Philippines, on 8 November 2013. It was the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record, claiming over 6,200 lives and displacing more than four million people. My story from the direct aftermath was awarded 1st Prize in the General News, Stories category of the 2014 World Press Photo Contest. After covering the direct aftermath, I spent the next year returning to Tacloban over multiple trips to document the recovery and rebuilding process in the community. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Hi, my name is Chris McGrath (@cmcgrath_photo) and I’m a staff news photographer with Getty Images (@gettyimages) based in Istanbul. This week I’ll be sharing some singles and stories from some of my past and present work. I was awarded 1st prize in the General News, Singles category of the #WPPh2019 Photo Contest for my image ‘The Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi’. Follow the link in bio to find out more about the winning story.

A post shared by World Press Photo Foundation (@worldpressphoto) on

Whether which means taking a photo course to grow your eye or devoting some budget to upgrading your equipment, figure out what the pros do differently than the hobbyists.

2. Use the right hashtags on your posts

On Instagram, more than other social media platforms, every hashtag you utilize has the potential to open that post—and your brand as a whole—up to the whole new audience. Give your hashtag technique some thought:

  • Don’t be too broad (i.e., #dog) however, do not be too niche (i.e., #labradoodlesofgreenpoint)
  • Use an effective number of hashtags (studies say that posts with 9 hashtags get the most engagement)
  • Put them in the right place (i.e., in the comments)
  • Think about making a branded hashtag

Hashtags require a deft touch because one look could inform your audience whether you are savvy or desperate.

3. Use hashtags in your Stories and bio, too

It’s true that Stories do not directly earn Instagram likes, and neither do bios, however, utilizing hashtags strategically in both is a free method to develop your reach to new followers.

Pro tip: If you wish to keep things pretty, you could hide the hashtags in your Stories.

4. Figure out who your audience is

Have you finished your target market research? More than that, have you differentiated your Instagram audience from your social media audience as a whole?

In order to know what your audience likes, you should know who they’re.

5. Tag people and brands, when relevant

You get what you give away, as the saying goes, and that goes for attention, too. Whether you are tagging a collaborator, a new acquaintance or your childhood hero, the goal is to highlight how much you value them, and share that value with your audience.

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@katherineschwarzenegger in our Mist Legging.

A post shared by MICHI (@michi_ny) on

Of course, if this means their audience is more likely to see your value as a result, all the better.

6. Write better captions

Writing great Instagram captions sounds obvious. The tough part is determining what’s good for your brand. It’s going to vary, of course. (See #4, above.)

For example, in terms of captions, shorter actually is not necessarily better. When you are a semi-disgraced influencer such as Caroline Calloway, maxing out your 2200 characters to detail the ins and outs of a convoluted personal narrative over dozens of posts may assist you to maximize a PR surge.

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I feel like that photo of Meghan Markle’s father at a FedEx just before her wedding. Unfortunately I am not Meghan Markle in this similie, but her toxic sociopathic father! Is this what you came here for, new followers? He staged those photos and I took this selfie for my Instagram. Does that make me toxic? Is this proof that I have no control over my storytelling on Instagram? Is there a difference between “can’t stop” writing about myself on Instagram because I’m addicted to it and “won’t stop” because I find meaning in it and I refuse to quite just because other people don’t like the things I create or me? I honestly don’t know. I feel really weird right now. I just walked into a FedEx in downtown Manhattan and googled myself so I could print out a copy of Natalie’s article to read for the first time today with my therapist. I mean WHAT? this is an odd day. When I pulled up the news results for me I saw that this story had already been picked up by Jezebel, Business Insider, Cosmo… Even the New Haven Register. Last night my name was trending at third on Twitter in the United States. I don’t know what today will hold. It’s barely 11 AM. But I’ve already been awake for hours. I got up at the crack of dawn to go to pilates, spin class, and the sauna. Someone gave me wise advice last night and said: Whatever you do tomorrow, EXERCIZE. That one hour will affect the other 23 hours of your day. So I made it two hours because I wanted to push myself and now my mind is feeling loose and light and bright. After therapy’s done I’ll beginning writing my response to her essay. I have some things to say.

A post shared by Caroline Calloway (@carolinecalloway) on

Meanwhile, when you are the de facto spokesperson of a global movement, such as Greta Thunberg, your audience does not need lots of explanation before you call them to action.

7. Geotag your location

More than just a humblebrag about your excellent taste in gastropubs or coworking spaces, geotagging your location is a method for more people to find and like your pictures.

Meanwhile, when you are a brand with a brick and mortar location, geotagging is particularly useful as you build up a sense of community with your regulars and… potential regulars.

Just keep in mind to ensure your physical coordinates are correct so that you appear on the map.

Gain Free Instagram Likes

8. Post consistently

As a brand on Instagram, you do not want to annoy your followers, however, neither do you want to make them feel ghosted. A content calendar is a good tool to help you plan out the number of posts essential to keep people’s attention, without losing quality.

However, instead of dropping everything to post twice a day, we recommend utilizing a social media management tool that allows you to schedule Instagram posts. That method, you could save time by blocking out a few hours a week to assemble your posts, and spend the rest of the time relaxing and watching the Instagram likes roll in. (Or, you realize, doing everything else on this list and running your business.)

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