Not getting enough likes on Instagram in the first place is bad enough. But when you’ve been getting plenty of likes only to see things taper off, it can be even more frustrating. Which begs the question – why am I suddenly getting less likes on Instagram?
It’s a question asked by a lot of people on a regular basis, for which there are many possible answers. It could be a content quality issue, your Instagram account may have been flagged for spam, or it could simply be that those who were previously liking your posts have left the platform.
Either way, it’s important to get to the bottom of the issue as quickly as possible. Whether running a personal account or a business account, likes play a key role in influencing the Instagram algorithm. Not to mention, determining how credible and appealing your posts look to other Instagram users.
Reasons for Getting Less Likes on Instagram
A decline in likes could be attributed to any combination of factors. Though in most instances, a significant slowdown in likes may be the result of one or more of the following:
1. Bots Getting Shut Down
First up, Instagram declared war on spam accounts and bots some time ago. From time to time, Instagram carries out a major purge on inactive accounts, and those are set up purely for promotional purposes.
This, therefore, means that if the likes you were getting previously came from these bots and/or promotional accounts, they may have been shut down by Instagram. In which case, there’s nothing you can do, other than set your sights on getting more organic likes from elsewhere.
Instagram shadowbans users by restricting the visibility of their content, making it practically impossible for anyone but their followers to see their posts. If your hashtagged content does not appear on the Explore page of anyone but your followers, you may have been shadowbanned.
As for why shadowbanning is a popular ‘punishment’ rolled out by Instagram for breaching its terms and conditions. Buying fake followers, publishing low-quality content, posting anything degrading or defamatory – anything Instagram disapproves of could get you shadowbanned.
3. Not Utilizing Relevant Hashtags
It could also be that your choice of Instagram hashtags simply doesn’t work anymore for your target audience. Or perhaps, that you’re overusing hashtags to such an extent that your posts are coming across as spammy.
Accompanying every post with 30 hashtags simply for the sake of it is a bad idea. As is jumping on board with every trend that comes along, irrespective of its relevance to your target audience. Hashtags should be used in moderation, and should in all instances be of genuine relevance and value to your target audience.
4. Change in Instagram Algorithm
Instagram regularly updates its promotional algorithm – the automated system that showcases and recommends specific posts. The algorithm is designed to give maximum exposure to the latest posts of the highest quality in any given niche or subject.
If the performance of your output suddenly declines for no apparent reason, it could be due to an algorithm update. If this is the case, the only thing you can do is work on the quality and value of the content you publish. If it doesn’t appeal to the Instagram algorithm, it’s unlikely anyone will see it (or like it).
5. Lack of Interaction with Audience
Publishers who interact and engage with their audiences are always more attractive than their silent counterparts. If you want people to like your posts and engage with your content, you need to do the same in reverse.
Check out their posts, leave likes, write comments, reply to their comments, and so on – anything you can do to demonstrate interest and engagement. Let them know you appreciate them and they’re far more likely to show their own appreciation for you in return.
6. Poor Captions
Captions can be just as influential as the images they accompany. They may like what they see, but it’s all for nothing if they don’t like what they read. Captions provide the perfect opportunity to transform every image you publish into a meaningful story.
Plus, it’s worth remembering that captions can also be used to request feedback, comments and likes. A strategically positioned CTA here and there really can make all the difference, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.
7. Poor Content
Of course, it goes without saying that poor-quality content isn’t exactly a magnet for likes. An incredible 95 million images and videos are shared on Instagram every day. There’s just too much competition to get away with content that isn’t of consistently flawless quality.
Hence, the first thing you should do is consider whether the quality of your content is up to scratch. Are you still focusing enough effort on the quality of your posts, or have you allowed standards to slip (as many creators do) over time?
8. Not Posting at Peak Times
Posting at peak times means posting when your target audience is at its most active and engaged. Your job is to figure out when this is and to ensure your posts are timed accordingly. Again, be mindful of the fact that the Instagram algorithm is programmed to give maximum exposure to the most recent posts in any given niche.
Don’t post at random times, under the assumption they’ll see and like your content eventually. Even the most current content quickly becomes yesterday’s news on platforms like Instagram. Remember – you’re competing against 95 million daily posts from other publishers worldwide.
9. Not Posting Consistently
Consistency on platforms like Instagram means avoiding lengthy gaps between posts. It also means getting into the habit of posting at specific times on specific days, so your audience knows exactly when to tune in for something new.
This is something that ties in with posting at peak times, which begins with a careful look at Instagram Insights. See how posting at different times affects engagement, then schedule your posts for these times on a consistent basis. If preferred, you can always use a scheduling tool to automate the process.
10. Lack in Promoting Content
Last up, taking every opportunity to promote your Instagram feed externally is essential. Each time you post something on Instagram, let your other social audiences know about it. Driving traffic from external platforms can be a real game-changer, enabling you to leverage the audiences you have built up elsewhere.
While promoting your Instagram feed, be sure to remind those who check you out to leave alike. If they are yet to do so, encourage them to follow you. Don’t wait for them to take action of their own accord – tell them exactly what you want them to do.
How to Get More Instagram Likes?
Figuring out why you are losing likes is fine, but what can you do to start getting more likes? If your goal is to stack up as many likes as possible as fast as possible, what should you focus your efforts on?
Again, the importance of high-quality content cannot be overstated. But if you are completely confident in the quality of your output, the following could help you get more likes:
1. Use the Right Hashtags
As already touched upon, you need to use hashtags that are right for your content and your audience. Every hashtag has to be relevant to the post it accompanies and of genuine value to your followers. Use hashtags sparingly, prioritizing quality over quantity.
2. Appeal to the Instagram Algorithm
Everything you can do to influence the Instagram algorithm will work in your favor. Examples of these include putting out a steady stream of quality content, taking the time to interact and engage with your followers, remaining active on the platform, leaving likes, writing comments, and so on.
Quality captions complete with SEO-friendly keywords can also help make your posts easier to find.
3. Post User-Generated Content
Last up, user-generated content can be pure gold for stacking up likes. It can also be just the thing to keep your output fresh and engaging, while at the same time lightening the load for yourself. Not only is USG hugely engaging and influential, but it is also 100% free of charge and readily available.
Hence, bringing it into your Instagram strategy really is a no-brainer. For more tips, tricks, and advice on getting more likes on Instagram, check out our in-depth guide here.
Getting fewer likes on Instagram can be disheartening, but doesn’t have to spell disaster. It could simply be that your content strategy needs a couple of minor tweaks, or that you’re not targeting the right people at the right times. Either way, taking action at an early juncture holds the key to a rapid resolution.
Getting more likes on Instagram is mainly about putting out content that genuinely inspires, amuses, educates, or entertains. If your content is as good as you think it is, it should attract all the likes you need organically.
Otherwise, one or more of the issues above could explain why you are losing likes. By identifying the most likely cause, you’ll be in a much better position to do something about it.