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What are Instagram likes?

In case you’ve been living under a rock, Instagram likes are little “points” that an Instagram post or profile can accrue when someone “likes” the content being displayed. It’s relevant for purely feel-good reasons, sure, but it’s actually quite important for anyone looking to build an Instagram influencer platform or otherwise promote their brand using the Instagram app. It’s a great metric to track your general popularity or success.

In a nutshell, Instagram likes are one of the things that the Instagram algorithm uses to determine who gets shown to the wider world, who has an easier time sharing their content, and many other things. In this way, Instagram likes are somewhat similar to SEO-optimization metrics that websites use to rank highly on Google search-ranking algorithms.

Getting more likes has always been important if you want your Instagram profile to be effective, popular, seen, you name it. It’s not just about validation on a digital app; it’s a real resource you need to collect to make it as an Instagram star.

Doesn’t Instagram hide likes now?

You might’ve heard that Instagram has begun hiding likes across both the main app and other extensions of the platform. Does this mean that Instagram likes no longer matter?

Not at all. Instagram likes matter just as much as ever; they’re just no longer displayed on profiles or Instagram posts. This means that petty competitions between influencers or posts no longer matter to the same extent, as there isn’t a single number demonstrating which one is more “popular” than another. This is a good thing since Instagram likes aren’t necessarily a great indicator of popularity over your content quality in the first place. It’s ultimately just a measure of how often people are inspired to hit a heart button on a particular post.

Some Instagram creators have said that their followers are liking posts a little less frequently now. But what this really does is make every “like” that much more important for the aforementioned Instagram algorithms.

In this way, getting as many likes as you can (even though you can’t see them) is even more critical than before. Since you can’t see the likes that other people have, you no longer need to feel like you’re trapped in a race for likes. You can just focus on getting them for yourself.

23 ways to get free Instagram likes In 2020

It’s never a good idea to pay for Instagram likes, either in the short-term or long-term. Instead, there are plenty of ways you can gather “free” (i.e. earned) Instagram likes; let’s break them down one by one. Here are 23 ways to get free likes to your Instagram.

1. Use like exchange services & communities

Free to use platforms like will allow you to redeem free Instagram likes to your photos in as little as a few minutes. By exchanging likes with real people in the community, Likezoid will allow you to expand your reach and unlock your full potential on Instagram.

2. Post on time/when your followers are looking

Posting whenever you feel like it isn’t a sound strategy. Instead, you can get more likes by building up an audience. One of the best ways to build up an audience is to post at appropriate times (i.e. when your target audience is most likely to be browsing Instagram in the first place). For instance, if you’re a young college-attending adult with similar followers, post in the morning, evening, or when the sun goes down, not 1 o’clock in the afternoon when everyone wants to take a nap.

3. Speaking of followers, figure out your audience early

If you have high hopes for what Instagram can bring to your platform or brand, you should figure out your audience and religiously pursue their approval. Don’t bother trying to appeal to anyone and everyone. Make sure your profile and stories stand out by targeting your ideal audience. You’ll get plenty of real likes this way if you do it correctly.

4. Post consistently

Just as it’s important to post on time, you must keep up a consistent posting schedule. People are more likely to tune into someone’s content (whatever that form may be) if they can rely on it showing up on time every day or week. Having a sporadic posting schedule will make it harder for you to gather a consistent user base or hard-core audience of fans.

5. Use geotags

Geotags can be a great way to let people know where you are and help them feel more grounded in your life or content. Plus, geotagging is a way you can build up a sense of community with locals in your actual hometown or meet up with fans who happen to be close by in the real world. Further, it’s a good way to cross-promote with real-world businesses if that’s part of your platform.

6. Write great captions

Another great way you can dramatically increase the quality of your content is to write good captions. Lots of novice Instagram influencers focus only on the visual part of their platform. But captions can add context to an image and bring people smiles (or to tears). It’s a great way to collect more likes for the same piece of overall content (but don’t beg for likes!). Remember that shorter captions are almost always better than longer ones, and will allow you to reach a larger audience easily.

7. Tag people and brands smartly

Tagging people and other brands can be great ways to cross-promote or to get the attention of important folks. But it’s important that you do this only when relevant. Don’t tag people or brands just to get attention; instead, use tagging to highlight how much you value people or brands, and use this to share valuable and entertaining content with your audience.

8. Ask people to tag friends, too

Depending on your audience in your personal voice, it might be a worthwhile strategy to ask people to tag their friends. Still, be careful when implementing this strategy, as it can feel a bit tacky or overused if you implement it too often.

9. Take the best photos you can

Obviously, Instagram is a visual-based platform. Those who do best on this platform take fantastic pictures whenever they can which rake in a huge number of likes. Hone your artistic skills and photographic sensibilities and make sure that every picture you post is as good as you can make it. This means taking relevant and well-shot photos that your user base will enjoy, instead of copy/pasted or cookie-cutter photos that could have come out of anyone’s profile. This is especially important for business owners looking to hit the “Explore Page”.

10. Use hashtags often

Hashtags are some of the most valuable tools you have in your kit; don’t ignore them. You should be putting hashtags on most or all of your posts and in your stories and bio. It doesn’t matter that stories don’t earn Instagram likes. All that matters is that you tie all your content together and make posts or stories easy to find according to relevant hashtags. Profiles that are easy to browse are more likable in more ways than one.

11. Use hashtags correctly

Just as it’s important to use hashtags often, it also matters that you use them correctly. It’s important to use high-quality hashtags on your Instagram account. Don’t just slap hashtags on every post you make or whenever you get the chance. This comes across as desperate or needy, and it can fill your captions with lots of junk that will turn people off of liking your posts.

Used properly, hashtags can be an effective strategy to spread your content and get it in front of eyes that matter or keep you relevant among other influencers/brands. This can also help you get free Instagram followers, and saves you having to buy Instagram followers.

12. Be trendy… but smart, too

You’ve gotta stay on top of various trends in the social landscape. For instance, if a well-known holiday is coming up, it makes sense to create some content that’s perfectly tailored for your audience and your brand when the day comes around. This doesn’t mean you have to go all-out, of course. But remaining relevant as the days go by is crucial for your success, and relevant influencers and brands are the ones who end up getting the most likes.

This being said, try not to appear as though you jump on every bandwagon that passes by your notice. If there’s a trend that doesn’t fit with your platform or natural interests, let it go.

13. Run a contest

Instagram allows you to run contests (like-to-win contests, to be exact). These are great ways to involve your audience in your content. Promise them a prize that’s attractive, but keep it specific and relevant to your core audience rather than something general that freeloaders would like as well. Whatever happens, be sure to stick to your promise; trustworthy Instagram influencers earn more likes than those who flake.

14. Post content made by users

User-generated content can be extremely fun and attractive to followers because of its perceived authenticity. It’s also a good way to show gratitude to your loyal fans. If they make you something and send it to you, use or wear it!

15. Cross-promotion is your friend

Instagram influencers and brands can help one another through cross-promotion. This is a really good strategy if your niche is a little inundated or if the competition between you and another influencer may be leeching likes from one another. Cross-promotion benefits everyone and helps fans connect with one another, strengthening your brand or niche as a whole. All parties involved will probably get likes as a result.

16. Host a takeover

Takeovers are prearranged cross-promotional opportunities that allow different influencers to temporarily take over each other’s accounts. This is a great surprise for both groups’ followers and audiences and can result, as above, in every one meeting each other and having a great time. Just be sure to do this team-up strategy with someone who is like you and who you think your audience will like, as well.

17. Like and comment on the posts of others

The posts that other people make are just as important as your own. To that end, make sure you’re liking and commenting on the posts of others when you aren’t working on your own stuff. This is good for your own enjoyment of Instagram as a platform, but it also prevents you from appearing self-centered in the eyes of your audience (who are most likely to like your posts in the first place).

18. Get on the explore tab

The Explore tab is a great way for new people to find content creators or influencers that they’ll stick with over the long-term. If you can get your brand or profile on the Explore tab, you’ll almost certainly nab some additional likes just from the sheer exposure. To do this, work on your engagement rate as much as possible.

19. Offer behind the scenes content

Most fans of Instagram influencers/brands don’t want overly polished stuff; they want the details of your life or behind the scenes content. Offer this to them and you’ll be drowning in likes, especially if the details you reveal are interesting or enticing. Just be sure not to offer them content that’s too behind the scenes. Keep things casual but not messy.

20. Do your research

Although cross-promotion and working with your competitors is a good strategy, you should also be doing research and figuring out what your competitors are doing in terms of content, hashtags, and more. Don’t be afraid to copy winning strategies in your pursuit for more likes. This can also help you identify trends so you stay relevant, as the social landscape is constantly shifting.

21. Don’t be afraid to ask for opinions

It could be a good idea to ask directly for opinions from your audience or from other influencers by posing a question in one of your posts or stories. You can even conduct informal audience polls using Instagram’s platform. This is a great way to gauge audience sentiment and figure out what kind of content you should make next in order to maximize the likes you will learn.

22. Test different content

As you cement yourself in the Instagram landscape, it might benefit you to test out different types of content so your audience doesn’t get bored and stops liking your posts. It’s a good idea to start out slow when it comes to new content types, like videos or black-and-white photos. By doing this, you can gauge the interest of your audience and calibrate accordingly. Fresh stuff normally gets likes over time.

23. Paid advertisements

Okay, okay, so this is technically paying for likes in a certain sense. But you can still sequester some of your Instagram funding into an ad budget in order to grow your Instagram profile. This isn’t actually buying likes; it’s buying visibility in the hope that people will like your content and like your posts as a result. This might be trickier to accomplish when you are just starting out, but it’s something you can likely take advantage of once you have a solid user base and consistent income.

Getting free likes on Instagram

All in all, there are lots of ways you can still gather free Instagram likes in this day and age. Although you can’t see your likes anymore, they remain an important part of your Instagram data, so they should always be at the forefront of your mind as you develop your profile and grow your brand. Good luck!

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