How to get likes on Instagram

These are the 5 rules I follow to grow my Instagram account Only By Land.  Unless you are Selena Gomez or Christiano Ronaldo you’ll have to put in some work to increase engagement on your Instagram too.

Upload original, unique and good quality photos

Instagram knows the difference between a detailed and a blurry image.  Instagram knows when you have plagiarized an image from someone or somewhere else.  For this reason upload a clear, original image.

To make your image unique I’d recommend using a filter.  I use Adobe Lightroom to edit all my photos before uploading them to Instagram.  Another method I use to make unique Instagram photos is to shoot using a fish eye lens.

Choose the right sized hashtags for your Instagram account

You can use 30 hashtags with each image you upload (60 if you upload 30 as a comment first).  If you have a small Instagram account it’s virtually impossible for you to be trending for a popular hashtag, for this reason I would not use the popular hashtag.  When you write a hashtag in Instagram you can see how big the hashtag is.  If you are uploading a photo from Holland it’s unlikely you’ll be trending for #Holland.  In this case I would search for smaller similar hashtags such as #visit_holland or #discover_holland.  These alternative hashtags are very small and perfect for a smaller Instagram account, trending for these would get you a small amount of likes.  Whatever hashtags are suitable for your photo, be inventive and search out the hashtags suitable for your account size too.

Like other photos from your genre

Maybe you’ve put a few pictures on Instagram, you’ve chosen your hashtags carefully, you’ve seen worse pictures with a thousand likes.  But your photo gets a few likes in comparison.

To immediately get more likes, do a hashtag search for something in your niche, my niche would be similar hashtags to these;

  • #travel
  • #photography
  • #travelgram
  • #travelphotography

Like as many of the photos as you have time to, the more you like, the more people will come to your profile and like your photos.

Don’t forget to like the photos of your followers too, this can increase your Instagram engagement too.

There is a less time consuming way to like other peoples photos by using software.  You can buy a lifetime license for Following Like software for $69.  This software will like photos for you under the hashtags you choose and you will receive the benefits of using this software instantly.

Join like for like groups

There are a couple of Facebook groups that offer like for like Instagram exchanges.  This method will get you genuine likes, probably between 100-300 per photo per day.  You like the photos of other members in the group and they like yours, it’s very simple.  Two groups I am a member of are;

  • The Travel Instagram Engagement Group #Travelgram Posse
  • Instagram Travel – Collaborate With Other Travelers to Grow Your Instagram

These like for like Facebook groups are for the Travel genre only, if you are posting pictures of another genre I’d recommend you search Facebook groups for your genre.

Instagram pods are another method of like exchange.  An Instagram pod is a chat group within Instagram where you share your photo and the other members of the group like and comment on your photo.  If you are posting regularly on Instagram it is highly likely you’ll be invited into an Instagram pod.

Do not buy likes, Instagram class this as spam.

The Follow Unfollow Game

The best method of all to increase your Instagram engagement is the follow unfollow game.

Firstly, other users will start to follow you, do you follow them back or how do you react?  Personally I ignore anyone who follows me and let them unfollow me, they’re not true fans.  True fans like and comment on your photos!  The reason you don’t want to follow these users back is because the maximum amount of users you can follow is 7500 and you want active followers.

Who should you follow in the follow unfollow game?  After uploading an image on Instagram I look for a recent photo similar to mine and open the list of people who have liked it.  I then follow people in this list but no more than 100 people per hour.  It’s important not to follow too many people at once or you could receive a 24 hour follow ban.

To unfollow the users who didn’t react to you following them you’ll need to download an App on your phone.  I use Unfollowers, search for it in Google Play.

The maximum amount of users you can ever follow is 7500 so what happens when you reach your limit?  At this point you’ll have to search for ghosts, ghosts are mutual followers who never like your photos, the Unfollowers App can search for ghosts.  I recommend simply unfollowing ghosts and if they unfollow you back that’s OK because there was no engagement between you anyway.

Do not buy followers, Instagram class this as spam.


Recap on my five methods to increase Instagram engagement.

  1. Upload original, unique and good quality photos
  2. Choose the right sized hashtags for your Instagram account
  3. Like other photos from your genre
  4. Join like for like groups
  5. The Follow Unfollow Game

What methods do you use to increase your Instagram engagement?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

2017-04-22T13:05:57+00:00 December 26th, 2016|How to make money from blogging|3 Comments


  1. Christopher Mitchell April 29, 2017 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Yeah I think these are all pretty spot on, and this is much of what I abide by as far as good practice in growing my Instagram account, @travelingmitch.

  2. divsi May 12, 2017 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Good one! I have been following most of these and my account seems stuck at 9 k 🙁 I wonder what is wrong, maybe my engagement with others is lacking or its the hashtags.

  3. Kellyn June 4, 2017 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    This has been so helpful, thanks for sharing. I’ve been on Instagram almost 9 months. I didn’t know all this.

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