The Science of Instagram: How to Get More Followers and Likes

Instagram isn’t just for teenagers anymore. With over 150 million users, Instagram has become a major social network. And brands such as Victoria’s Secret and Forever 21 have already piled up millions of Followers and Likes.

Much of their activity can be nailed down to a scientific method that any business, big or small, can emulate. In this article I’ll show you the science of Instagram: How to get more Followers and Likes. I’ll run through a number of actionable strategies that I’ve seen work for industry leaders on Instagram

Here are the six best ways to get more Followers and Likes on Instagram:


1. Promote your Instagram Photos on your Facebook Page and get more Facebook likes

Facebook is a great platform for sharing photos. The bigger News Feed allows for big, high-res images. You can turn Facebook Fans into Instagram Followers by posting “Instagram Exclusive” teasers on your Facebook Page with a link to check out all of the exclusive content on your Instagram account.

There are also some great apps that allow you to showcase your Instagram photos on your Facebook Page. It will appear in a Tab, as you can see below on Nasty Gal’s Facebook Page.

Another great way to utilize your Facebook Fanbase to drive more followers and likes is by running an Instagram contest in a tab on your Facebook Page. It’s a great way to introduce Fans to your Instagram account and get them sharing with their friends. I’ll discuss how to run an Instagram contest in detail in Instagram Contests below.


2. Promote on your Website

Your website is the place that gets the most traffic of any of your online properties. So the homepage of your website is the best place to promote your Instagram account to get more followers and likes.

Nasty Gal entices people to post Instagram photos, tagged with #NastyGal, with a banner on the homepage of their website. Check it out below:


Include Instagram content in your Email Newsletter

If you’re like most businesses, email is a big part of your online marketing. Weekly email newsletters that include great content that your customers value is an easy way to keep customers engaged over time. And you can use to drive new followers and Likes on Instagram from your subscriber list by including photos from Instagram in your emails.

Sephora does a great job of creating engaging newsletters . Each one is jam-packed with useful content from each of their social channels, including Instagram. This includes tips and guides on new cosmetics, make-up application and fashion styles, as well as exclusive content from behind-the-scenes of their brand. Check out this recent excerpt below:


Instagram Contests

An Instagram contest is the most powerful way to get more followers and likes. By providing a small prize like a gift card to your store you can entice tons of people to follow and talk about you on instagram.

One type of contest that drive new Likes and Followers is a “Like-to-win” contest. Just ask participants to like your post (by double clicking on it) and follow you. This can get you lots more followers on Instagram, without asking much from potential customers.

Here’s an example of a “Like” to Win Instagram contest:

1. Drinkwel makes multivitamins for people who drink. They host weekly Instagram contests. They are very simple, and average over 60 participants per draw. They ask contestants to double-tap their product image, and follow them (double clicking the image will ‘like’ the photo). They draw one winner randomly, and notify them through an @mention and ask for their email to send further details. Their prizes are their products.


Comment on and Like other People’s Photos

Interacting with other users on Instagram is the best way to get them interacting with you.

Find users who post similar images and videos as you and comment on or Like them. This is especially powerful if you’ve posted similar photos to the ones you comment on or like. The user who posted the photo will check out your account after they see the interaction and will reciprocate more if they see photos similar to their own. And if they like your style they’ll be more inclined to follow you to see more similar photos.

You can easily find great photos to comment on and like by searching for hashtags similar to the ones you use. Another way you can do this is by exploring which hashtags are used most by your current followers. This will make it easier for you to expand your reach with that audience.


Use Popular Hashtags

Hashtags are the top way people find new photos on Instagram. Look at the most common hashtags that your target audience uses in your photos and start adding them to your own. You can also find out which ones are trending to add hashtags that are popular now. Check out to find out which hashtags are trending.

Here are 17 of the top hashtags on Instagram:

  1. #love

  2. #instagood

  3. #me

  4. #tbt

  5. #cute

  6. #photooftheday

  7. #instamood

  8. #iphonesia

  9. #picoftheday

  10. #igers

  11. #beautiful

  12. #instadaily

  13. #summer

  14. #instagramhub

  15. #follow

  16. #igdaily

  17. #tweegram


Use Popular Filters

Similar to using popular tags, users prefer photos with certain filters over others.

Here are the 10 most popular filters you can use:

  1. Normal

  2. Earlybird

  3. X-Proll

  4. Hefe

  5. Rise

  6. Valencia

  7. Amaro

  8. Brannan

  9. Lomo-fi

  10. Hudson

You can also see which filters are trending on


Share Customer-Centric Photos 

Your content should be customer-centric, always! When posting to Instagram, think before you hit the ‘Share’ button- what value does this add to my customers life? How do they benefit? Why would they be interested? How can I make this relevant to my followers? Always be thinking of your product/service in terms of benefits for your customer and in turn, always be focusing your marketing content on those benefits too.

The best photos to choose are those that show your product in use, which is free advertising with a helpful co-sign from the follower who posted it. This keeps users interested in checking your profile to see if their photo gets chosen or to see if their friend’s photo does.

Aritzia organizes it’s user-submitted photos with the hashtag #myaritzia. As you can see below, they recently reposted a shot of a follower in Italy, wearing one of their dresses and jumping for joy in a nature setting.

Aritiza is so enthusiastic about encouraging their followers to get involved, they even put it in their bio! Pictured below, it reads: “The Official Artizia Instagram. Show us what you’ve got by tagging your #ootds with #myaritzia and you might just get”. Aritiza is a great example of the mindset that companies on Instagram should have, which is a focus on encouraging follower participation.


Combine Multiple Images

Post multiple images, combined into one. You can create them through apps like Diptic. Such kind of images get 20% more likes and 25% more comments than images that single ones.

By combining multiple pictures, you encourage likes, comments, and ultimately, get more followers. Make sure it is a great picture/story though — great content is key!

Written by Nick Steeves

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