If you’re not using Instagram to promote your brand or small business, you should be. However, just having an account and posting is not enough.

If you’re not using Instagram to promote your brand or small business, you should be. With over 100 million active users, Instagram is another great platform to increase your consumer base. However, just having an account and posting is not enough. There is an art to increasing likes and engaged followers on this platform.

Here are some ways to increase your brand’s likes and engaged following on Instagram:

Connect Your Facebook and Instagram Accounts

Connecting your Facebook and Instagram accounts is a very simple way to increase your brand’s following; 20% of all Instagram users are also on Facebook. When you connect your accounts, all of your Facebook friends and followers will take notice and begin following you on Instagram as well. Post a status update asking your Facebook following to follow you on Instagram and that number will instantly increase by 5%.

Use Popular Filters

Instagram followers prefer photos with certain filters over others. Here are the 10 most popular filters that you should use:

1.    Normal

2.    Earlybird

3.    Hefe

4.    X-Proll

5.    Rise

6.    Valencia

7.    Amaro

8.    Brannan

9.    Hudson

10.  Lomo-Fi  

Use Popular Tags

Instagram users prefer certain tags over others just like Twitters users do. If you use these tags over others, then your posts are more likely to be discovered. Here are 20 of the top tags on Instagram:

1.    #instagood

2.    #me

3.    #love

4.    #cute

5.    #tbt

6.    #instamood

7.    #photooftheday

8.    #picoftheday

9.    #igers

10.  #iphonesia

11.  #girl

12.  #tweegram

13.  #beautiful

14.  #summer

15.  #instadaily

16.  #instagramhub

17.  #follow

18.  #iphoneonly

19.  #bestoftheday

20.  #igdaily

Like Other Pics

While it may seem like a daunting task, simply “liking” other accounts’ pictures can immediately increase the likes and follows that your brand receives. Don’t just limit yourself to liking pics within the network of accounts that you follow. Go to your explore page and like photos of users that you do not currently follow. For every one hundred likes that you do on random users’ photos and videos, your brand should generate around 20 likes and 5 more users. You don’t have to follow these users for this to work.

Drop a Comment

Instagram users prefer commenting over likes. Every second, the average Instagram user creates 575 new likes versus 81 new comments. However, if you want your brand’s posts to get more likes or comments, you need to start engaging with other users.

Take the time to comment on another user’s profile and that user will be more likely to come back to yours. It has been proven that users will not only comment on your post if you post on theirs, but they are also 401% more likely to follow you as well!

Timing! Timing! Timing!

A post is most active during the first three hours. 46.15% of all comments within the first hour and 69.23% of all comments happen within the first three hours of posting. So, if your brand is not getting traction within the first three hours of posting a photo, it is not likely to gain much engagement after that.

According to the Huffington Post, the best time to post on Instagram is between 2 a.m. and 5 p.m. with the peak time and day being Wednesday at 7pm. According to TrackMaven, the best time to post videos is between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. with posts consistent throughout the week with slight peaks on Thursday and Monday.

In conclusion, in order to grow your Instagram following and have engaged users, you need to like, comment, utilize popular filters and hashtags and post within the peak times of day. While it may sound like a daunting task, these simple steps will increase your brand awareness and lead to increased sales over time.