How to get free (and real) likes on Instagram

Whether you’re growing a personal account or trying to reach a specific audience for your business, you could benefit from learning how to get more likes on Instagram. Sure, you may have dabbled in Google search about buying likes, but there are ways to gain likes on Instagram without cheating. 


So how do you get more likes on Instagram?

When it comes to getting more likes on Instagram, increasing your engagement is the name of the game. Last year, Instagram announced it was cracking down on “inauthentic activity.” Instagram deleted likes, follows, and comments from third-party apps and services used to increase an account’s popularity. 

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Instagram’s algorithm also changed in 2016. Instead of seeing posts based on the timeliness, users now see posts based on how much they engage and interact with the account. That means increasing your engagement with current and potential followers is more important than ever. 

In this guide, we’ll go over specific strategies to get more likes on Instagram through the process of organic growth. Here are 10 tips on getting free likes on Instagram. 


1. Use local hashtags

Before anyone can start liking your photos, they have to find you. And the best way to do that is by using hashtags. 

Hashtags on Instagram each have a page now. You can access that page by either tapping on a hashtag when it's used in a caption or by searching for it on the Explore page. Users can also follow hashtags, which means posts with those tags will show up in their feed. Whether you can get to the top of a hashtag page depends on how much you're engaging (A.K.A. commenting, liking, and following other accounts) on the platform. 

While there are a million different things you could be tagging, it's good to start with local tags first, because people who live in the same area as you are more likely to connect with your page and like your posts. This step is especially crucial for local businesses. 

Here‘s how to find and use local hashtags:

  1. Go to Instagram's Explore page. 
  2. Type in your city's name. 
  3. Select the tags that are most relevant to your account. 
  4. Add them into the caption of your post. 

2. Use interest-based hashtags

After reaching people in your area, the second group you want to target are people interested in your account's content. For example, if you're mainly posting beauty routines, you'll want to reach other people interested in makeup and skincare. If your account doesn't have a strong, singular focus, you can search for hashtags based on each post. 

Here's how to find and use relevant hashtags:  

  1. Go to Instagram's Explore page. 
  2. Type in a keyword related to your post. "Coffee" is a good example. 
  3. Select the hashtags that make the most sense for your post. 
Screenshots: How to gain Instagram likes with relevant hashtags

3. Don’t be a hashtag spammer

Hashtags are great tools to get more likes on Instagram — but only if you use them correctly. 

Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post and 10 hashtags per Story. If that sounds like a lot to come up with, don't worry. You don't have to use 30 hashtags, and it's best to use ones that are relevant to what you're posting. 

You also want to make sure you're varying your hashtags in your captions and not using the same combination of tags on every post. Changing them up not only makes them more relevant, but also puts you in front of multiple new audiences, increasing your chances for getting more likes. 

Screenshots: Using Instagram hashtags sparingly

4. Tag other accounts

Another way you can get your content in front of the right eyes is by tagging other accounts. Doing this will make you more visible not only to that account, but also to its followers. 

The key to this is making sure that you do your homework first — only tag relevant accounts that would be interested in your posts. 

Here's how you tag another account in your photo: 

  1. Pick 2-3 accounts you'd like to tag. It's good to choose accounts that have a larger following than you. 
  2. Follow those accounts. 
  3. Upload your photo and write the caption. 
  4. Tap Tag People. 
  5. Tap on the photo and search for the account you want to tag. 
  6. Tap Done and post the photo. 
Screenshots: How to gain likes by tagging other people

5. Follow new accounts regularly

If you want to get a lot of likes on Instagram, then you need to make sure you're interacting with new people on a regular basis. 

Go to your Instagram's Explore page and type in a hashtag you've used. Browse through the photos on that page and find new accounts to follow. You could also follow the hashtag, so that new accounts come into your feed every day. However, you still have to go to the account’s page to follow their posts directly. 

Then keep it up! Make it a habit to follow and interact with a few new accounts each day and watch your engagement soar. 

Screenshots: Follow new accounts to increase your Instagram likes

6. Interact with your followers 

It's not enough to follow new accounts — you have to engage with them as well. Like and reply to comments. React to your followers' Stories. Comment on photos of new accounts you've followed. 

Instagram pays attention to accounts that engage in an authentic and real way. So don't overuse generic comments like "Great photo!" or "Awesome!" Instead, come up with real, useful comments and responses that show you're paying attention to the content and not just trying to increase your following.  


7. Post consistently

All this engagement and interaction is excellent, but it means nothing if you post something new once a month. If you want to increase your likes on Instagram, you have to post regularly. 

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to post a photo every three hours or even every day. There’s no magic number. It’s all about consistency. Determine a posting schedule that works for you and stick to it. 


8. Don’t buy Instagram followers

As tempting as it might be, buying followers on Instagram is a sure way to keep real people from interacting with your page. 

For one, it hurts your engagement rate — which is what Instagram uses to determine which accounts get on the Explore page or the Top Hashtags page. And if Instagram catches you buying followers, they could purge your account of fake followers. That will reduce your following count, and you'll have spent all that money for nothing.

Bottom line is, cheating won't help you get any real likes, and it can do your Instagram more harm than good. 


When it comes to getting more likes on Instagram, there are a lot of services that promote quick fixes. But if you want to grow your Instagram authentically, you have to be engaged. Act like the real person that you are, and the real likes will come. 

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