I want no likes on my photo…said no one ever. Most people post content onto their social media feeds to get that high of a like, comment, or share. It’s a drug. Only once your photo has reached a threshold of likes can you finally relax and go on with your day.

For businesses and influencers operating largely on social media, their goal of building their brand can be helped by getting as many likes and follows on their posts as possible. While you can certainly play around with your hashtags and the time of day you’re posting, nothing will get you more likes like better content. Though everyone’s definition of “better” is different, there are certain attributes that the most highly liked Instagram photos all share. If you’re looking to boost your likes, keep on reading.

Good Captions

I don’t know about you, but an Instagram post loses its sparkle if it’s paired with a garbage caption. No matter how awesome your shot is, if the caption is an overused inspirational quote or reads something like “No caption needed”, “No filter”, or “[Blank] kind of day”, you’ve lost me. Like, I may even unfollow you.

You can totally change the story of a photo with the caption. It can add humor, introspection, or depth. Further to that, it can really show off your personality. If you’re funny, use your caption to express that. Some of my favourite posts are ones that have captions that are unexpected and smart.

Populated Photos

It’s been found that people prefer looking at images with other people in them rather than plain old imagery. I love a good sunset. But put some rad, funkily-dressed people partying in front of a sunset and chances are people will likely be staring at the photo a little longer. While there’s a place for beautiful landscapes and product shots, people just tend to like the lifestyle posts a little bit more- emphasis on life.

If you’re an influencer or a business trying to sell a watch, for example, you’ll be much more successful if the watch is on someone or in the shot with someone rather than just on its own. Using photos that show people incorporating the product into their lives will garner the best reaction as it’s more relatable.

Timeliness

Besides posting photos at a time when your followers are most active, being timely regarding the content of your photos is just as or more important. And this isn’t just in the way you might think.

Being timely is two-pronged. Firstly, you want to have relevance in your posts. Relevance may refer to current events, pop culture, seasons, etc… Make sure what you’re posting is on trend and fresh. Secondly- and this one is a little tougher- you want your content to stand the test of time. While you may want to post a seasonal holiday photo, you don’t want it to lose value once that period has passed. Having your content retain its worth for current and future visitors will give it longevity. This can be done by offering value beyond the seasonality of it. For example, include a funny caption that will still be funny months down the road or a shot with an overall beautiful aesthetic that people will continue to find beautiful, no matter what time of year.

Authenticity and Relatability

The front-runner quality of the most-liked pictures on Instagram is relatability. It’s posts that people can identify with even if it’s not something within their grasp. If you’re a travel influencer, for example, your followers are likely big travel lovers. They may not be able to travel themselves, but they follow you because they love seeing the world through your adventures. The most popular photos are the ones that satisfy that passion in a real and fun way. Whether it’s a photo of you and your bestie jumping off a cliff or a shot of you enjoying pizza in Italy, share what they would love to do themselves.

Ideally, your followers should want to participate in your life. They should want to follow you through all the photos and videos they can get their hands on. The more you can get them to want to be apart of your journey, the more likable you will become.