We live in a world where pictures are uploaded, “liked”, commented on and shared about nearly every aspect of our lives. At some point, through algorithms and the influx of images feverishly blurring through our streams we need to find a way to capture people attention, especially when there are prizes and contests to be won.

A common trend in social media is linking people’s pictures to disseminate a companies name or brand out through the never-ending network of social media and what better way to do this is through contests.

Increasing your followers both through Instagram as well as Facebook takes a bit of time but can be well worth your efforts in achieving a higher percentage of likes and comments that will help in achieving that end goal of winning an online contest.

Just like Twitter and other social sites, Instagram users prefer certain hashtags over others. And if you use these tags within your photos, they are more likely to be discovered by other users. Here are the top 20 tags on Instagram:

1. #love
2. #instagood
3. #me
4. #tbt
5. #cute
6. #photooftheday
7. #instamood
8. #iphonesia
9. #picoftheday
10. #igers
11. #girl
12. #tweegram
13. #beautiful
14. #instadaily
15. #summer
16. #instagramhub
17. #follow
18. #iphoneonly
19. #igdaily
20. #bestoftheday

Timing is crucial to capturing your audience. According to Quicksprout and an article written by Neil Patel, Monday at 5 pm PST is the best time to post a photo and are most likely to get the most amount of comments and likes on your photos. The second most popular time to post a photo is either on Wednesday or Thursday at 3 pm PST.

Also, a photo is the most active during the first 3 hours. 46.15% of all comments happen within the first hour, 69.23% of all comments on a photo happen within the first 3 hours. So if you can’t get traction within the first 3 hours of posting a photo, it is probably not going to gain traction down the road.

The amount of engagement in which you can personally give to other fellow social media buffs will also assist in your number of followers and likes. Make sure you take the time to genuinely follow someone and like or comment on his or her pictures, it will mean a lot.

This being said, I am in a contest in which I am currently in and trying to gain “likes” organically through my friends, family and social network. If you click here (Facebook picture) and here (Instagram picture) you can “like” my picture and give me a boost! Also please retweet this post! Thanks!