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Why Do Likes Matter? Measuring Engagement on Instagram

If you are struggling to get more likes on Instagram, you aren't the only one. Since Facebook took over, there have been many algorithm changes on the photo sharing platform, which mimic the changes that Facebook's reach has undertaken. A recent study has found that Instagram post interactions have decreased by at least a third, in the past year. Comments and likes are down by about 27%, and videos are down an average of 39%. What does this mean for you, exactly? Well, it means that you need to rethink your Instagram marketing strategy in order to increase your engagement again, which in turn will generate more likes and visibility to your posts.

Understanding Instagram engagement

With the newest algorithm, the more followers you have the more your engagement will fall. It seems that Instagram accounts that have between 1000 and 100,000 decreased by approximately 25%, whereas those that have more than 100,000 get penalized even further, with a decline of almost 40%. There are more Instagram users now than there has ever been, which of course results in more posts across the whole network. However, it's still worth noting that Instagram still provides a higher engagement for brands, than any other social network available. It's just that it's getting a little harder to it achieve the same success, compared to a year ago. As the platform gets more competitive, you will have to fight for your interactions a lot more, as well as trying to catch people's attention faster. That being said, the more engagement your posts get, the more likely they are to be shown to those that follow you. So while everyone initially may not see your post, as long as you are posting good quality images, you should still have good results. Of course, there are ways to “cheat” the system, but we will get onto that in a moment.

How to get more likes on Instagram in order to increase engagement?

As we already elaborated on, the new Instagram algorithm, similarly to the Facebook page algorithm, favors posts that have the highest engagement. This means that likes and comments have never been more useful than they are now. The more you have, the more people will see your post. Here are a few things you can do to instantly start boosting your post engagement.

Use a like exchange service

This is pretty much the fastest way to get through this new algorithm. By using like exchanges, like Like4Like as an example, you will be able to instantly boost your latest images with likes from real Instagram users. This should give you the bump that you need in order for other people to start naturally engaging with your post. Using a boost, as well as following the other tips that we have outlined below, will absolutely guarantee the best engagement possible.

Strategic hashtag use

Even if you have a decent following, that doesn't mean you should stop using appropriate hashtags for your posts. Those who use at least one well-targeted hashtag will have an average engagement increase of at least 12%. Hashtags are a great way of targeting new audiences and will allow your posts to be viewed by as many different Instagram users as possible. This doesn't mean spamming 30 of the most popular hashtags on every single post, as most people aren't going to be browsing through the #hot category. Try to find hashtags that are obviously niche specific, but still have a significant amount of users. If you are completely stuck, find other people who are in your niche or similar, and check out the hashtags that they use.

Use good call to action captions

Don't just post your image without adding any context to it. Writing a well thought out caption can be a key component into making people engage with your image. These captions can help spark discussions, as well as make people tag their friends in the comments too, which will, of course, create a viral effect. The best way to write a call to action caption is to either get your followers to tag their friends who might be interested in the post or to ask your followers a question. For instance, if your profile is to promote a fashion blog, you could post a photo of some shoes with the caption of "would you wear these? If not, tag a friend that would!". Make sure that your call to action is one of the first things that people are able to read on the post, so be sure you put it higher than where you place your hashtags.

Posting at peak times

Although the new algorithm will stagger what posts you are able to see on your timeline, depending on its engagement, it is still imperative that you post your images during peak hours. This is because, without a sudden burst of engagement during the first hour of the post, your image will likely not snowball enough to gain additional views and engagement later on. Therefore, by posting during hours where you believe your target audience is mostly online, you can maximize your chances of natural engagement.

Run a legitimate contest

Running a free giveaway contest is one of the oldest marketing tactics, but it works, especially with social media. This method incorporates all of the tips above in order to maximize engagement and trust. Get your followers to comment in order to participate in the contest, as well as getting them to tag their friends. This is also a great opportunity to create your own unique hashtag, which will allow you to dominate your own sub-niche. If don't have a completely trusted profile, then boosting your post likes with a like exchange, that we mentioned previously, is even more crucial. Not only will this help your initial engagement, but it will also make others more likely to participate, as they can see that many other people have already liked and engaged with the post.

Final thoughts

While algorithm changes are a nuisance, and sometimes a necessity, there will always be ways to get past them. What is important to remember, though, is that consistency and quality is key, especially in Instagram marketing.