Instagram now has over a BILLION active users. Understanding what hacks you can use to stand out from the gargantuan crowd is more critical than ever.
When I say “hacks”, I don’t mean bypassing Instagram’s security, logging into other people’s accounts, or any other Matrix-esque kinds of hacking.
I mean proven tactics that anyone on Instagram can do to get the absolute best results as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The hacks below are categorized according to how directly they contribute to getting more followers and post engagement (Likes, comments, Saves, shares, etc.) on Instagram.
Level 1: Likely won’t grow your Instagram but will make your life easier
Level 2: Not directly aimed at getting more followers and engagement but more likely to get you more followers and engagement than Level 1
Level 3: Likely to directly result in more engagement and followers
Note: Before you angrily ask “How is “Use videos” a hack??”, understand that the hack itself is explained more in-depth within each body of text.
Level 1 Instagram Hacks
Pin Stories to the top of your Instagram page
If you have an Instagram Story that you really want to emphasize and point people’s attention to, you can pin it the top of your page as an Instagram Highlight.
Unless you remove it, an Instagram Highlight will stay pinned to the top of your page.
Follow these steps to create a highlight:
- Turn on Auto-Archiving (Instagram profile > Settings > Privacy and Security > Story Controls)
- Tap ” + Highlight” at the top of your Instagram profile
- Choose Stories from your Archive that you want to pin to the top of your page as a highlight
- Create a title and choose a cover photo for your Highlight
- Tap “Add” and you’re finished
Just like how you follow a specific user on Instagram, you can also follow a specific hashtag.
This is an easy way to see what posts are being posted using the hashtags you’re targeting, what posts are being posted using your own branded hashtags, and other kinds of posts that might be helpful to your content strategy.
For example, if you notice that a certain kind of post is being posted over and over using a specific hashtag that gets a lot of engagement, you can incorporate that into your own content strategy.
Turn off your public activity
“Why didn’t you Like my post? I saw you were online when I posted it!”
If you don’t want people to know what you’re doing, when you’re online, or generally see the details of your Instagram activity, you can turn off your public activity using the instructions below.
Hide annoying ads
If you keep getting irrelevant ads on your feed, you can actually tell Instagram to stop showing you those specific ads.
Rearrange filters in order of importance
If you use filters, you’re likely using certain filters more than others.
To make your life easier, you can organize your filters according to how often you use them (i.e. the most-used filters at the top of the list).
Here’s how (according to Hootsuite):
- When posting a photo or video, go to Filter
- Scroll to the end of your filters and tap Manage
- Press and hold the three line icon next to each filter on the left-hand side of the screen to rearrange the order of your filters
- Check or uncheck the circles next to each filter on the right-hand side of the screen to hide or unhide filters
- Click Done to save your settings
Save and organize posts
If you’re just randomly saving posts without any organization, you’re making it more difficult than necessary to go back and find specific posts.
To make it easier, you can organize your Saved posts in filters.
That way, you can quickly go back and find specific Saved posts without any hassle.
Follow the images below to organize your Saved posts.
Clear your search history
Nobody’s perfect. We all have searched things on Instagram that we wouldn’t show anyone else.
If you’ve been on a particularly embarrassing streak, fortunately you can clear your history in a jiff.
Just tap the the in the top right corner of your Instagram page and follow the instructions below to clear your history on Instagram.
Filter photos you’ve been tagged in
Not every post you’re tagged is going to be flattering.
If you want to control what tagged posts show up on your profile, you can do that using the instructions below.
Never accidentally Like a post again
Liking a post that you didn’t mean to Like can be an innocent mistake with little to no repercussions.
It can also end relationships.
If you want to cover your bases, you can let your Instagram feed load and then turn on your phone’s Airplane mode.
This way, as you’re scrolling through your feed, even if you accidentally Like a post, it won’t actually show up as a real Like.
Filter comments on your posts
If you constantly get spammy comments on your posts from the same people, you can filter your comments so that those comments are automatically blocked.
Instagram automatically filters obviously offensive comments, but you can also choose to filter comments based on:
- specific words
Watch the video below to learn how:
Hide your posts without deleting them
If you still have posts from when you first joined Instagram that make your absolutely cringe, you can easily remove them from the public eye without fully deleting them.
Just find the post you want to remove, tap the three dots in the right corner and tap “Archive”.
Hide posts and Stories from certain people
If you don’t want specific followers to see your Stories, first you have to tell Instagram who you want to be able to see your Stories.
You do this by creating your “Close Friends” list.
Create your “Close Friends” list by going to your Instagram page, tap the in the top right corner of your page, tap “Close Friends”, and add the users that you want to be able to see your Stories.
Once you have your list, when you create a new Story, you will have the option to post to “Close Friends” instead of just your public Story. Choose this option to hide your Story from everyone but your Close Friends.
Option 1) One way to hide your posts from people is by making your profile private.
To make your profile private, tap the in the top right corner of your page, tap the “Privacy” option, and turn “Private account” on.
Once your profile is private, you can then decide who you want following you, and therefore who you want to see your posts.
Option 2) A harsher way to hide your posts from specific people is to “Block” them.
This guarantees that the people you block won’t see your new posts.
To block someone, just go their profile, tap the in the top right corner, and tap “Block”.
Stop seeing posts and Stories from specific people
If you don’t want to see posts or Stories from a specific person, you can temporarily (or permanently) “Mute” them.
When you Mute someone, you will no longer see any new posts or Stories they publish.
To mute someone, just tap the three dots at the top of any of their posts and select the “Mute” option.
You can also do the same for Stories. Just tap and hold the profile picture of anyone you want to mute at the top of your feed and select “Mute Story”.
Save Instagram Live videos
You can save Instagram Live videos that you host by simply tapping “Save” in the top right corner after ending your live stream.
The video will be saved to your phone’s camera roll.
Keep in mind that you can only save videos immediately after you finishing streaming.
Zoom in Instagram Stories with one finger
Open up your Instagram Stories, start recording with one finger, and slide up and down the screen with the same finger you began recording with to zoom in and out.
If you want to promote someone else’s post in your Instagram Story, all you have to do is go to the post you want to share, tap the paper plane icon under the post, and tap the “Share Post to your Story”.
Almost as important as what you say in your post captions is how you form your caption.
If you cram all your information into one thick text block, you’re making it harder for people to see the important information.
To make the different elements of your captions more visible, you can use line breaks (space between lines of text).
If you just leave spaces between your lines of text in your captions, you’ll notice that Instagram automatically deletes your spaces. This leaves your caption looking clumped together.
To make actual line breaks, you have to add a “.” between your lines.
Here’s how that would in a real caption:
Find me at 1234 place street this Saturday in Hollywood!
Look forward to seeing you there!
Recreate Portrait mode in Instagram Stories
iPhone users were treated to Portrait mode in “year” that allowed them to take photos that looked eerily similar to photos taken with professional DSLR cameras.
While it’s not exactly the same, Instagram’s Focus mode offers essentially the same thing as the iPhone’s Portrait mode.
To access it, open your camera in Instagram and swipe along the bottom of the screen until you get to “Focus” mode.
Once there, just allow Instagram to find a face and take the photo.
Post Instagram Stories longer than 15 seconds
A single video in your Instagram Story can be a maximum of 15 seconds.
However, you can stitch multiple videos together to create the illusion of a longer video.
If you have several different video clips, all you have to do is post those videos to your Story one after the other.
But if you have one video that you want to split up into 15-second clips, then first you have to split up the video. Fortunately, there are tools like this one to help you do that.
If you want to plan your Stories ahead of time, you can also use a free scheduler too like AiGrow.
Create your own hashtag
Hashtags are one of the main ways that people discover content on Instagram.
It makes sense then that you create your own branded hashtag.
When you have a branded hashtag, people can include that hashtag in their posts, which makes it easier for other people to discover you.
Plus, if you’re trying to become an influencer, you can use the number of people using your hashtag as a symbol of your brand’s reach.
Level 2 Instagram Hacks
Promote your website
Instagram is a great way to drive traffic to your website.
You can include a clickable link in your bio and then use your posts, and DMs to point attention to that link.
For example, you can use a tool like AiGrow to automatically send DMs to new followers. In the DM, you can welcome them to your Instagram page and direct them to click the link in your bio.
If you want to track the traffic going to your website from Instagram, you can also use a trackable link with a service like Bitly.
This way, you can easily see how many people are clicking on your link and adjust your Instagram strategy accordingly.
Note: you can also include links in your Instagram Stories if you are a verified business account with at least 10,000 followers.
Emphasize important posts with more post real estate
You can emphasize an important post by chopping it up into equal parts and posting each piece on after the other in the right order.
This essentially turns your post into a large puzzle. More importantly, it makes it appear much larger on your page.
There is no limit to how many spots you can take up with one post, but the most common number is 9.
By chopping up your post into nine equal pieces and posting them one after the other, you are creating a post that takes up nine spots where regular posts would go.
Here’s how that looks on your page:
Post to your Instagram Stories from your camera roll
When Instagram Stories first came out, you could only add videos and photos that you recorded live to your Stories.
Since then, Instagram has allowed people to add videos and photos to their Stories from their camera roll.
There are two ways to access your Instagram Stories:
- You can open the Instagram Stories by dragging the whole page to the right.
- You can click on the camera icon on the top left of the screen.
Once you’ve accessed your Stories, swipe up to see content from your camera roll.
From here, simply choose any photo or video that you want to publish in your Instagram Story.
Sure, filters are fun to use and can make your posts pop, but there are actually more important reasons to use filters.
As found by research conducted at Georgia Tech and Yahoo Labs, posts with filters are 21% more likely to get viewed and 45% more likely to get comments.
Here is a breakdown of the most effective filters according to Track Maven:
Post instructional content
One of the biggest factors that the Instagram algorithm takes into consideration when deciding what posts to show on your feed is relationship. All this means is that Instagram prioritizes showing you posts from people that Instagram thinks you are close to.
It determines this by who you interact with and how often you interact with them.
For example, if constantly Like and leave comments under Person As’ posts, then Instagram is going to prioritize showing you posts from Person A.
With this in mind, you want to create content that are likely to make people stay for long periods of time and leave comments.
One great way to do this is with instructional/educational content. This is due to the kind of response that someone is likely to have to an instructional post compared to a more selfish post.
Unlike a straightforward selfie or butt photo, not everyone is going to understand a piece of educational content the first time they hear/see it. Therefore, a natural response to a piece of educational content is to ask for clarification.
Clarification in the eyes of Instagram translates to more comments, and comments are one of the two most important kinds of engagement on Instagram (along with Shares).
Examples of educational content on Instagram
View this post on Instagram
This video above is a great example of an instructional recipe post.
It encourages more time on post and post engagement in three ways:
- The post is a video (it takes longer to watch a video than see a single photo)
- It explains the recipe instructions quickly (while the speed isn’t annoyingly fast, it is fast enough to require a rewatch)
- There is no running caption (encourages people to leave comments requesting written clarification)
All of these things encourage the viewer to stay longer on the post and engage, which tells the Instagram algorithm to prioritize showing your posts to the viewer in the future.
Makeup tutorials are an easy way to post about yourself while teaching people at the same time.
The video above shows just enough so that viewers can learn just from watching the video, but leaves enough out so that people are encouraged to leave comments for more details (products in the video and where to get them, techniques, etc.)
Plus, while it’s not the focus of the video, she includes a song in her video but doesn’t say what the song is. This results in a number of comments from people asking for the name of the song.
While little details like this shouldn’t be the main focus of your posts, it’s worth saying that they can result in more engagement.
Capitalize on trending topics
Taking advantage of popular trends is an easy way to get more eyes on your Instagram content.
This can be as simple as posting about a recent political scandal, or as complicated as an internet challenge like Drake’s car-side dancing video.
If something is popular enough, you’ll hear about it regardless. If you want to make sure you’re always up-to-date, however, here are three tools you can use:
- Hashtagify (shows the most popular hashtags being used at a given time on Instagram)
- Twitter Worldwide Trends (even though it’s for Twitter, the topics are bound to carry over to Instagram in some fashion)
- Google Trends (shows popular topics being searched on Google at a given time, which inevitably carries over to Instagram)
Send DMs from your desktop
Instagram still doesn’t fully allow people to send DMs from their desktop.
Fortunately, there are tools like AiGrow which provide an email-esque experience for Instagram DMs on your desktop.
You can send, receive and overall manage your DMs from your desktop.
Plus, if you want, you can also automatically send DMs to new and current followers, as well as groups of people on Instagram using specific hashtags or located in certain areas.
One use-case for this is welcoming new followers to your Instagram page. Whenever someone starts following you, you can automatically send them a DM welcoming them to your page and directing their attention to a link in your bio or your most recent post.
Watch the video below to get a better idea of how AiGrow works:
Upload to Instagram from your desktop
Similar to DMs, there is still no fully-integrated solution for uploading posts from your desktop to Instagram.
Again, AiGrow comes to the rescue with its desktop scheduling capability.
With Aigrow’s scheduler, you can:
- write your caption
- include your hashtags as a comment (and research popular hashtags from right within the tool)
- schedule days, weeks, or even months ahead of time
- post the same post across multiple Instagram accounts (using different variations of the same caption to avoid being flagged)
Plus, you can also schedule your Instagram Stories.
Scheduling your posts and Stories ahead of time guarantees that you don’t miss a day of posting, which has been shown to generate more Likes than just sporadically posting.
What is more likely to get someone to stay on your post longer: a single photo or a 30 second video?
Most of the time, someone is going to stay longer to watch a 30 second video than they are a single photo post.
So while the act of posting a video itself won’t help automatically get your post in front of more people, it will make people stay on your posts for longer periods of time.
And as explained above, the longer that people stay on your posts, the more likely that they will continue to see your posts high up in their feeds.
But don’t overdo it
Below is how long different kinds of Instagram videos can be:
- Regular post: at least 3 seconds and up to 60 seconds.
- Story post: up to 15 seconds.
- Instagram Live post: up to 60 minutes.
- Post from a non-verified IGTV account: up to 10 minutes.
- Post from a verified IGTV account: up to 60 minutes.
Just because you can post an Instagram video up to a minute long on your feed or up to an hour long on Instagram Live doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Consider the infographic below (Image):
Image from HubSpot.
Hubspot found that Instagram videos with the most comments, and therefore the most engagement, were in-fact 25 to 30 seconds.
To be exact, videos that were 26 seconds long resulted in the most comments.
And from what we know about the Instagram algorithm, comments and shares are the most powerful kinds of engagement a post can receive.
Studies have shown that simply tagging your posts with your location can get you 79% more engagement on your posts.
While it sometimes makes sense to geotag at specifically as possible (if you are a local business, for example), tagging your posts with more general, popular locations can help get more eyes on your posts.
For example, if you upload a post from Naples, Italy, using the geotag “Italy” instead of “Naples, Italy” might help get you more engagement than the other way around.
Although, popular locations like this can sometimes become over-saturated, making it hard for your post to stand out. Plus, even though fewer people might be searching for the location, it might be easier to rank as a Top Post for a smaller location, resulting in more eyes on your post overall compared to a more popular but more saturated location.
Experiment with popular locations and smaller locations to see what produces the best results for you.
Follow the same steps above describing how to find worthy hashtags to target to find what locations you should be tagging your posts with.
Or follow the steps shown in the GIF below:
Like above, you can also use AiGrow to automatically engage only with people in your targeted locations.
Make your Instagram shoppable
While you used to have to send customers outside of Instagram through a link in your bio (or, in some cases, your Stories) to actually buy your product, now you can advertise specific products right within your posts with product tags.
They work just like regular tags, only they are connected to your Facebook store’s product catalogue instead of specific users. When someone clicks on a tag within a post, they are brought right to a screen where they can buy that specific product.
To find out if you’re eligible to make your Instagram shoppable in the first place, you can take this test created by Facebook.
Plus, Instagram recently rolled out its new in-app checkout for its shoppable posts.
This means that when you click on a product that is tagged in a post, you no longer will be taken out of Instagram. You can click on the product and make the purchase from right inside of Instagram.
Note: While this feature is only currently available for major retailers like Nike, Burberry, Uniqlo, and some larger internet-native brands, like Kylie Cosmetics, Outdoor Voices, and Warby Parker, Instagram plans to make the feature available to more retailers down the road.
UTMs (aka Urchin Tracking Modules), among other things, allow you to track how many people click on a specific link and where they’re coming from.
On Instagram, the two main uses for UTMs are bio link tracking and influencer tracking.
For example, if you attach a UTM to a link in your bio that leads to your website, you can then track on a monthly basis how many people are coming to your site from Instagram.
If one month you notice a 500% increase in the number of people coming to your website from Instagram, then you know that you’re Instagram strategy is working.
However, if this number drops off or is thes same as last month, you can begin tinkering with your Instagram strategy to try to push more people to your website.
This is unfortunately only available to verified business accounts on Instagram with at least 10,000 followers, but if you fit this criteria, then you should definitely be including links in your Instagram Stories.
Remember – 500 million are now reportedly using Instagram Stories on a daily basis.
Tell people to turn on Post Notifications
Just because someone follows you doesn’t mean that that person is going to see every post you upload.
Instagram’s algorithm is a complicated beast. While it’s better at making sure that as many of your followers see your posts as possible, it’s still not perfect.
Some of your followers are inevitably going to miss your posts on their feeds. Missed posts mean less Likes on those posts.
To make sure that your followers see as many of your posts as possible, encourage your followers to turn on Post Notifications.
When someone turns on post notifications for a specific Instagram page, that person will get notified every time that specific Instagram page uploads a new post.
See the image below to see how to turn on post notifications.
Include in your post captions, comments on your posts, Stories, and DMs and CTA to your followers to turn on post notifications.
You can even go so far as to upload a post asking your followers to turn on post notifications. In the post, you can clearly show how they can do that.
Run a “Like-to-Win” contest
There are a million ways to host a contest on Instagram, but one kind of contest that works especially well to generate more Likes is the “Like-to-win” contest.
Here’s a super simple contest formula you can use:
- Think of something valuable you can offer to your followers
- To enter the contest, ask people to Like your three most-recent posts
- Pick three random winners at the end of the month
Of course, what you offer as a prize is going to change from person to person.
If you are a business you could offer free product as a prize, if you are a popular influencer you could offer a free shoutout, and so on.
Run a “Tag-to-enter” contest
While this kind of contest won’t directly generate more Likes, it will inadvertently help you get more Likes.
It does this in two ways:
- Every time someone tags another person in your post, that means more potential eyes on your post. The more people that see your post, the more people will potential Like your post. Plus, because the person being tagged is essentially being invited to your post by someone they know, the likelihood that that tagged person will Like your post is even higher.
- Every time someone tags someone in your post, that equals another comment on your post. Comments, like Likes, are a form of engagement. The more engagement you get on your posts, and the quicker you get that engagement, the more likely that you will rank as a Top Post for the hashtags in your posts. When your post ranks as a Top Post for a hashtag, that means that when someone searches for that hashtag your post shows up first. Depending on the size of the hashtag, ranking as a Top Post can potentially mean millions of more eyes, and therefore Likes, on your post.
Even if you aren’t running a contest, asking people to tag their friends in your posts also doesn’t hurt.
Whether you look at a post on your feed or on someone’s Instagram page, there’s a good chance that part of the post’s caption is going to be cut off.
It’s important to keep this in mind when you create your captions and make sure that all the important information that you want people to know is at the beginning of your captions.
Some examples of important information that you should put at the beginning of your captions:
- Times and Dates
- Contest Rules
- Calls-to-action (CTAs) (“Click the URL in my bio!”)
This way, no matter how people see your posts, you can rest assured knowing that people can see the information you want them to see.
Posting your hashtags as a comment serves two main purposes:
- Bump in engagement rate
- Cleaner-looking captions
Bump in engagement rate
Your engagement rate is an indicator of the percentage of your followers who care enough about what you post to leave some sort of engagement (usually in the form of a Like or comment).
In other words, your engagement rate shows how many of your followers care about what you have to say.
When you post your hashtags as a comment, you essentially gain one more comment to count towards your engagement rate.
It’s obviously a very a small contribution, but it is something.
When you post hashtags as a comment, you free up a lot of space in your post captions.
The more space you have in your post captions, the more clearly you can convey essential information (CTAs, locations, dates, times, websites, etc.).
Use engagement groups
Like the Post Notifications point above, Instagram engagement pods (or Instagram engagement groups) are another way to get more Likes, comments, Saves, and Shares on your posts.
Unlike notifications, however, engagement groups are a guaranteed way to get more post engagement.
Engagement groups are groups of people on Instagram who agree to comment on, Like, and generally engage with every post uploaded by a group member.
To give you an idea of how simple pods are, here is an example of how a three-person Instagram engagement Like pod would work:
- Person A uploads a post and shares it with the group
- Persons A and B Like Person A’s new post
- Person A returns the favor and repeat the process whenever Person A or B upload a new post
This way, in addition to the regular post engagement you might get on a post, you get the guaranteed additional engagement from your Instagram pod group members.
Take into consideration the fact that some pods have thousands of members and this can mean thousands of additional Likes, comments, Saves and Shares on your posts every time you post.
The easiest way to find an Instagram engagement pod that fits your needs is to join a platform like AiGrow.
It currently has over 200 active Instagram engagement pods catering to all page sizes and niches. Plus, whereas most pods require a lot of manual maintenance, AiGrow’s pods are completely automated.
Once you join your pods (there is no limit to the number of pods you can join), all you have to do is upload your posts through AiGrow’s free Instagram scheduler.
Once your post is live on Instagram, all of your pod members from all of your pods will automatically engage with your new post. This way, you don’t have to worry about leechers – people who receive Likes from other people but don’t like other pod members’ posts.
Plus, in addition to the engagement you automatically get from your pod members, you can also use your pods to exchange ideas with like-minded people in your community (i.e. how to get more Likes on Instagram).JOIN 200+ INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT PODS
Use multiple accounts
There are many reasons why someone might choose to take advantage of multiple Instagram accounts:
Test drive multiple niches
If you have multiple interests and don’t know what one kind of Instagram page you should create, creating multiple accounts is a great way to gauge where to invest your time and energy.
For example, let’s say you create three accounts: one about travel, one about cuisine, and one about pets.
After a month, you notice that your pets account is growing much faster than your other accounts.
With this data in mind, you decide to drop the travel and pet accounts altogether so that you can invest fully in your pets account. You’re also thankful that you no longer have to drain your bank account on expensive meals and trips to keep all of your feeds alive.
Target multiple product audiences
If you are a business offering multiple products or services, multiple Instagram accounts are a way to cater to each product audience equally.
Let’s say you are a sports company with products for hockey, football and basketball.
Because of this, you want to attract people interested in these three sports to your page.
However, not everyone interested in football is going to be also interested in hockey or football. If someone interested in hockey lands on your page and sees that your last three posts have to do exclusively with basketball, there’s a good chance you’ve just lost a potential follower.
It is these types of scenarios that justify creating multiple Instagram accounts for each audience that your products cater to.
For example, consider Nike:
Nike has its main account, and then several niche accounts specializing in the different products and services offered by Nike.
Support one main channel
This point is along the same lines as the point above, but when used correctly, you can use multiple Instagram accounts to support and direct attention to your main Instagram account.
Keeping with the same example above, if you are a sports company with many different products related to different sports, you can use the power of your audience-specific accounts to direct attention to your main, more general business page.
There are a few ways you can do this:
- include a link in your bio leading to your main Instagram account or website
- direct attention to your main account in the captions of your posts
- welcome new followers of your specific pages with a DM and link to your main account with a clear CTA (use a tool like AiGrow to automate this process)
For example, consider this supporting account for Instagram automation tool AiGrow:
At the time, we had just released a new engagement pod feature on our tool. So in addition to linking to our website, we also linked to another Instagram account that appealed to a specific audience that would be interested in our new feature.
Target multiple locations
If you are large enough that you have a global audience, you can use multiple Instagram accounts to cater to different groups of your audience depending on where they’re located.
Consider Nike as an example:
Nike has a main Instagram page, as well as a number of smaller, location-specific accounts.
Not only does running location-specific accounts make it easier to connect with specific groups of your audience, but it also gives you more freedom in terms of the type of content you can post.
For example, a small running group completing a marathon together in Los Angeles might not be a big enough event to post on Nike’s main channel, but it’s perfect for Nike’s Los Angeles-centric account.
Find your optimal posting frequency
According to Instagram, the Instagram algorithm doesn’t necessarily penalize people who post too much.
Combine that with the fact that the algorithm also prioritizes showing you the most recent posts uploaded by people you follow, and you’ve got all the incentive you need to start posting more.
However, don’t go crazy and start posting 100 times a day. Instagram has also said the algorithm may “switch up” content if you post too much.
Posting too much could also start to annoy your followers, which could negatively affect the number of Likes you get on your posts.
The point is to not be afraid to experiment with how frequently you post.
Here’s an easy experiment to try: upload more daily posts every week for two months and monitor how your Likes are affected.
- Week 1: post twice a day
- Week 2: post three times a day
- Week 3: post four times a day
- Week 4: post five times a day
- Week 5: post six times a day
- Week 6: post seven times a day
- Week 7: post eight times a day
- Week 8: post nine times a day
After the eighth week is finished, go back and look at the number of Likes, comments, shares, and/or views your posts received week after week.
Did posting three times a day produce more Likes than posting twice a day? Did posting nine times a day produce fewer likes than posting eight times a day?
With a simple experiment like this, you can find out how many times a day/week/month you should be posting for the most possible Likes on your Instagram posts.
Make your life easier and schedule your posts ahead of time. Click the button below to get a free Instagram desktop scheduler.GET YOUR FREE SCHEDULER NOW
Respond to comments as quickly as you can
If people are going to take the time to leave a comment on your post, you should respond to them as quickly as possible.
Not only does responding to comments quickly look good in the eyes of your followers and potential new followers looking at your posts, but it also works with the Instagram algorithm to improve your chances of ranking as a Top Post for your hashtags.
- Instagram’s search results algorithm looks at size of engagement and quickness of engagement when deciding which posts to rank as Top Posts
- Comments count as a form of engagement. Your own comments in response to someone else’s comments don’t carry as much weight as a regular comment, but they still count.
- If 100 people comment on your post within the first hour of posting and you respond to all of them, your post now has 200 comments within the first hour of posting.
- You may not have ranked as a Top Post for your hashtag with 100 comments, but with 200 comments Instagram might now show your post as a Top Post.
Plus, now that Instagram is experimenting with removing Likes, keeping your comments high one way to maintain a visibly high engagement rate on your posts.
The only problem is that responding to every single comment left on your posts can take a lot of energy and time.
To benefit from responding to every comment without having to invest the time or energy to respond yourself, you can use a tool like AiGrow.
You can create more than 100 custom comment responses that will automatically post whenever someone comments on your latest post.
Take advantage of User-Generated-Content (UGC)
Imagine having an endless supply of on-brand content to post on your Instagram page with little-to-no work required on your part.
This, when used correctly, sums up User-Generated-Content (UGC).
Here are three common uses for UGC:
- Influencer marketing
- Community repost pages
- Building “social proof”
People trust their friends way more than they trust faceless businesses.
This is why a lot of businesses on Instagram pay popular people (called influencers) in specific niches to advertise products to their followers.
Often times, after an influencer posts the content advertising a businesses product on their own page, the business will then repost that sponsored content on their own page.
Potential customers visiting the business’s Instagram page then see hat popular people are vouching for the business’s product, which makes the decision to the follow the business’s Instagram page and buy their products easier.
Community repost pages
Believe it or not, many people have built successful Instagram pages without posting a single piece of original content.
These types of pages are called repost pages.
For example, a common type of repost page is the pets repost page. On this page, the owner features posts of pets from all over Instagram.
This type of page works so well because it helps the owners of the posts being reposted grow their own pages.
If a repost page with 30,000 followers reposts a picture from an Instagram page that only has 50 followers, there’s a great chance that some of the people seeing the post on the repost page are going to go visit and follow the original poster.
The easiest way to create a constant supply of posts to be repost is to ask people to either tag you or include your branded hashtag in the posts they want to be reposted.
Building social proof
As a business on Instagram, you don’t always have to pay people to post about you.
You can also incentivize customers to post about their experience with your business by offering the chance to win money, free product, shout outs, and/or other forms of reward.
This way, in addition to having posts from popular influencers in your niche on your page, you can also have a constant supply of posts from customers.
The more posts you have of satisfied customers on your Instagram page, the more social proof you build for your brand. People can visit your page, see all of the posts from satisfied customers, and make the decision to follow you and/or buy from you more easily.
Use albums for more engagement
Picture three posts with three people looking at them.
Each person only Likes one post out of the three of them, leaving one Like on each post.
Now imagine those same three posts in an album. Even though each person only Likes one post out of the album, because the album counts as one post, that post now has three Likes instead of one each.
This matters because the more engagement that you get on your posts, the more likely your post is to rank as a Top Post for its hashtag.
Ranking as a Top Post for your hashtag, especially if the hashtag is popular, means way more visibility for your posts from non-followers, which means more traffic to your Instagram page, which means more engagement on your posts and more followers for your page.
Use Emojis for more engagement
It’s been said before, but the emoji is one of the fastest growing languages to ever exist.
So much so that one experiment by WordStream founder, Larry Kim, found that emojis get more engagement than content without emojis (11.06% for content with emojis vs. 8.82% without emojis).
Another study conducted by Quintly, in which 20,000 profiles with 6.2 million posts were observed over the course of 2016, found that posts with emojis had a 17% higher engagement rate than posts without emojis.
With this in mind, use emojis in your posts to get engagement on your posts.
Use lighter colors (specifically blue)
Research shows that posts with lighter colors, particularly blue, receive more likes than darker colors by a factor of 24%.
Splash some blue and/or lighter colors into your posts and see if you notice a bump in Likes.
Studies also show that Instagram posts that include human faces get 38% more Likes than posts without faces.
That’s about as clear as it gets. Make sure you include as many human faces in your posts as possible.
Level 3 Instagram Hacks
Use Instagram Insights
Think of Instagram Insights as your Instagram coach.
It can tell you what’s working about your Instagram page, what posts are performing the best, what day and time you should be posting to reach the most possible followers, and other key metrics that can help your overall Instagram strategy.
While you do need an Instagram business account to access Instagram Insights, setting up a business account is very simple and doesn’t really even require you to have a business.
Read the rules according to Instagram and then follow the steps shown below to convert your Instagram account to a business account.
If increasing the number of Likes on your posts is your main focus, then there is one area of Instagram Insights that should really focus on.
Under the “Content” tab in Insights, scroll down to “Posts” and tap “See all”.
See the GIF below to see which area:
Here, among other metrics, you can see which of your posts produced the most:
- Engagement (total of all possible types of engagement)
With this information, ask yourself:
Does a specific kind of post always produce more Likes than any other kind of post? A specific color? A portrait? Lots of edges and angles?
If the answer is “yes”, then prioritize creating that kind of post to get the most Likes possible for your posts.
Do what your competitors are doing (but better)
Viral trends aren’t the only things you should be looking to for inspiration.
You should also look to other Instagram pages in your community that are doing well for post ideas.
Obviously, you don’t want to upload the exact same posts they’re uploading, but you do want to understand what they’re doing that is getting them Likes.
Here are some questions you should be able to answer:
- What posts are they uploading that are getting the most Likes?
- What about those posts is unique?
- What time were those posts uploaded?
- What day of the week were they uploaded?
- How often do they upload new posts?
While these are good starter questions to ask yourself, the more comprehensive you can be and the better you can understand what is bringing your competitors success, the better you can optimize your own Instagram page for more Likes.
Use CTAs for more engagement
Imagine handing out flyers to people in a mall.
Most of the time, people walk right by you without taking a flyer.
But occasionally, for whatever reason, someone actually takes a flyer.
Apart from asking them, why exactly they take a flyer is mostly a mystery to you, but you do know one reason why: because you simply asked them to take a flyer.
Even if you only 1/10 people take a flyer, if a thousand people walk by you that means an additional 100 take your flyer that wouldn’t otherwise have taken it if you hadn’t asked them.
Relating this back to Instagram, if a thousand people see your post with a caption asking to Like the post, and a hundred people Like the post because you asked, that’s an additional 100 Likes that you wouldn’t have gotten if you didn’t ask.
How to ask for Instagram engagement:
When you do include a CTA (Call-to-Action) in your captions or DMs, it shouldn’t be as one-sided as “Leave a Like!”
This kind of CTA offers no value to the people looking at your posts. To convince people to actually engage with your posts, you need to propose it in a way that benefits them as much as you.
Here are some good examples of CTAs to include in your captions to get Instagram engagement:
- Encourage followers to tag their friends
- “Tag three of your friends in this post for a chance to be featured!”
- Ask easy-to-answer questions
- “What are you wearing today?”
- Point them to your bio (or wherever you want their attention)
- “Click the link in the bio for more info!”
- Ask for suggestions
- “Going to Tokyo next month – what are your must eat sushi places?”
- Create anticipation ”
- I can’t wait to show you what we’re dropping tomorrow! Stay tuned!”
The examples above are framed in a way to also benefit the people leaving the Instagram engagement.
While your followers are going to see your posts regardless (although not all the time as a result of the Instagram algorithm), the main way that non-followers are going to see your posts is through hashtags.
The hashtags that you use are going to change from person to person. This is because, generally speaking, the kind of people who are going to Like fitness-related posts is going to be different than the kind of people who are going to Like car-enthusiast-related posts.
Once you understand what hashtags that people who are likely to be interested in your kind of Instagram posts are using, you can use these hashtags in your posts. That way, you know that your posts are getting in front of people who are likely to actually be interested in your posts.
The more targeted your hashtags, the more likely that interested people will see your posts. The more interested people that see your posts, the more Likes you will get on your posts.
No matter what kind of Instagram page you have, you can use the following steps to find out what hashtags you should be targeting:
- Think of three main keywords related to your Instagram page and search them on Instagram
- Go the “Tags” tab in the search results and write down all the major hashtags (more than 50,000 posts) that result from your search
- Explore each of these hashtags one-by-one and scroll horizontally across the related hashtags for more ideas
Or just watch the GIF below:
You should then use these hashtags in your posts.
Engage with the right people
Take the research you did above for what hashtags to include in your posts and engage with people using those hashtags.
The idea is that when you engage with people using these hashtags, they’ll see your engagement, check out your page, see that you’re similar to them, and ultimately follow you and Like your posts.
Follow the steps shown in the GIF above and start engaging with people using the hashtags that come from your research. People using these hashtags are more likely to follow your page and Like your posts than just engaging with random posts.
What does “engage” mean? It means Like and comment on their posts, follow their pages, and send them DMs.
You can either do this manually, or, to save you a lot of time and energy, you can use a smart automation too like AiGrow. Click the button below to try AiGrow for free.TRY SMART AUTOMATION FOR FREE
Post when your audience is online
We learned above that Instagram takes into consideration how recently a post was uploaded when deciding what posts to show to people.
The Instagram algorithm will show you a post that was uploaded yesterday sooner than it will a post uploaded three days ago.
This is why it’s so important to understand when your audience is online.
If your audience is online at 4PM every day but you are uploading at 8AM, you are allowing seven hours for the other people that your audience follows to upload their posts.
As a result, your post gets pushed down the feed by all the other, more recent posts.
While the best time to post on Instagram is going to be different for everyone, Instagram Insights makes it easy to see when your audience is online, and therefore when you should be posting.
To find your Insights, just tap the three horizontal lines in the top right corner of your Instagram page, or tap “View Insights” below any one of your posts to view your Insights.
Under the “Audience” tab in Instagram Insights, scroll down to the very bottom. Here you can what days of the week, as well as which hours during each day, your followers are online and active.
Look to see when the majority of your followers are online, both days of the week and specific times, and make sure you are uploading posts on those days and at those times.
For example, if your Insights tell you that the majority of your followers are online Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12PM and 6PM, make sure you are uploading posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6PM and 12PM.
While this data only shows when your followers are online, there is a good chance that it also applies to people who aren’t following you but are likely to be interested in your page.
In this sense, by posting when your followers are online, you are also increasing your chances of getting your posts in front of likely new followers.
Whether it’s current followers and potential new followers, the better you can get your posts in front of your audience when they are online, the more potential engagement you can get for your posts.
The more people that engage with your posts, and the more consistently they engage, the more likely the Instagram algorithm will make sure those people continue to see your posts on their feeds.
Getting your posts in front of likely new followers is also related to how targeted your hashtags are, but we’ll talk more about that later.
Use smart automation
Automation can go very wrong on Instagram, but it can also go very right.
With the right automation tool, you can be drawing thousands of interested people to your Instagram page every day.
For example, with a tool like AiGrow, you can automatically engage with thousands of people every day based on the hashtags they use, who they’re following, and where they’re located.
When these people see you’ve followed them and Liked and commented on their posts (all of which is automated by AiGrow), there’s a good chance that they’ll then check out your page, Like your posts, and follow you back.
Plus, you can automatically send new followers DMs thanking them for their follow. In this DM, you can also direct them to turn on post notifications and to check out your most recent posts.
See the video below to see smart automation in action:
Try it completely free for five days by clicking the button below.TRY SMART AUTOMATION FOR FREE
Make it as easy as possible for people to see you
Occupy as much space on Instagram as humanly possible.
This means that, in addition to regular posts on your feed, you should also be posting to:
- Instagram Stories
- Instagram Live Streams
500 million people are using and watching Instagram Stories every single day, brands are finding upwards of a 10x increase in views on IGTV since Instagram’s recent update, and Instagram Live sends a notification to all followers who haven’t turned off Live notifications when you start streaming.
Plus, Instagram Stories and Live Streams occupy the most valuable part of the Instagram feed – the very top banner.
Someone may miss a post you uploaded to your feed, but they might see your Instagram Story. And if you use your Instagram Stories to highlight your recent posts, Stories can work to direct people back to your Instagram page to see posts they may have missed.
Familiarize yourself with the Instagram algorithm
The Instagram algorithm is like a Rubik’s cube. There are a near infinite number of possible combinations, and if you don’t have specific instructions you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to solve it.
Now, no one completely understands how it works other than Instagram, but from what Instagram and other experts in the field have told us, here’s what we know:
There are essentially two layers to the Instagram algorithm behind your feed.
The first layer, according to Instagram, is more important than the second layer and consists of three factors:
Instagram prioritizes showing you content that is similar to what you have viewed in the past. They use your past interactions with posts and potentially image recognition software to accomplish this.
Example: if you look at posts of dogs more than anything else, Instagram will prioritize showing you posts of dogs.
Instagram looks at how recently a post was uploaded.
Example: a post that was uploaded yesterday will be closer to the top of your feed than a post uploaded a week ago.
Instagram prioritizes showing you posts from people you are close to. It determines your relationships with people based on your interactions with them.
Example: if you consistently Like and comment on a specific person’s posts, that person’s posts will be closer to the top of your feed.
The second layer of the Instagram algorithm, although not as influential as the first layer, is still significant.
It also consists of three factors:
Instagram prioritizes showing you what it considers to be the best posts since your last visit to Instagram.
Example: a post that was uploaded between you closing the app and reopening it will show higher up in your feed.
The more people you follow, the more Instagram will show you posts from different people.
Example: if you follow 1,000 people, you will see less posts from any specific person that someone following 10 people.
The longer you spend on Instagram, the less relevant posts you will see.
Example: if you spend five minutes on Instagram and your friend spends two hours, you will see posts that better fit what you want to see more than your friend will.
Hashtag Search Results
When you search a hashtag on Instagram, you will see two results: Top Posts and Recent Posts.
Top Posts for hashtags are generated based on two factors:
- Amount of engagement
- Quickness of engagement
Amount of engagement
Instagram prioritizes showing posts that have more engagement than other posts using the same hashtag.
Example: a post with 10,000 Likes and 200 comments is more likely to show up as a top post that a post with 500 Likes and 100 comments.
Quickness of engagement
In addition to amount of engagement, Instagram also looks at how quickly a post receives its engagement.
Example: a post that gets 10,000 Likes and 200 comments within an hour of being uploaded is more likely to show up as a Top Post than a post that gets 10,000 Likes and 200 comments within a day of being uploaded.
The Explore Page algorithm shows you posts based on two factors:
- Posts you’ve liked
- Posts liked by people whose photos and videos you’ve liked
Posts you’ve liked
This is one self-explanatory – the Explore Page will show you posts similar to posts you have already Liked.
Example: if you Like a lot of NFL-related photos, the Explore Page will show you posts related to the NFL.
Posts liked by people whose photos and videos you’ve liked
When you Like a post, the Explore Page will show you posts Liked by the person who uploaded the post you Liked.
Example: if you Like Person A’s post, the Explore Page will show you posts liked by Person A.
By understanding how the algorithms behind your feed, search results and Explore page, you can produce the best possible results with the least amount of energy on Instagram.
To go further down the Instagram algorithm rabbit hole, read our comprehensive guide here.
Stay up-to-date with new features
Similar to staying up-to-date with algorithm changes, not knowing all that Instagram has to offer in terms of features is potentially missing out on features that could generate more Likes for your posts.
For example, as talked about before, not using something as simple as filters on your posts is potentially missing out on Likes (see the section “Use filters” to understand the positive effects using filters can have on your post engagement).
Not using Instagram Stories or Live Streams takes away opportunities for people to discover your Instagram page, not encouraging people to turn on Post Notifications limits the number of followers that actually see your posts, and so on.
Subscribe to Social Pros to stay up-to-date on all features and algorithm changes released by Instagram.
Engage with people who are engaging with your competitor’s posts
If someone Likes a post from someone who posts similar content to your own, there’s a good chance that that person will also Like your content as well.
Follow these steps to find competitors:
- Search a keyword related to your Instagram page in the Instagram search bar
- Tap the “People” section
In this section, you can see the most popular Instagram pages in your niche.
You can then explore these competitors one-by-one, record the usernames of the people Liking and commenting on their posts, and engage with the content of these people.
Alternatively, to save a tremendous amount of time and energy, you can also use a smart automation tool like AiGrow to automatically engage with followers of your competitors for you.
Just provide the names of the competitors you want to target, hit “Start Growth”, and AiGrow will begin Liking, Commenting, DMing, and Following the followers of your competitors.
Here’s a video showing how AiGrow can help you target competitors:
The idea is that these people will then see your engagement, check out your Instagram page, see that you post similar content to someone they already follow, and ultimately follow you and Like your posts.
Try AiGrow for free by clicking the button below.
See what your followers are Liking and commenting on
Alongside Instagram Insights and your competitors, you should also be looking at what your followers are Liking and engaging with.
The better you can understand what kind of content your followers enjoy, the better you can tailor your own content strategy to catch your followers attention. The better you can do this, the more engagement you will get on your posts.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to see what your followers are engaging with.
With Instagram open, just tap the heart on the bottom of your screen and then tap “Following” in the top left corner. See the image below for a better understanding.
There you have it! 60 Instagram hacks you can start using today to get more followers, run a successful business, and generate more engagement on your posts on Instagram.
Know of any Instagram hacks not explored above? Share your wisdom in the comments below.