Ever wonder why your beautiful sunset-and-sailboat pic got only 13 likes, while your decent (but admittedly messy) DIY project got 78? It’s not magic, people. Here, seven easy ways to get the most out of your posts.

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Be a Liker

Let’s be honest: You notice every single person who likes or comments on your posts—so it stands to reason that others do the same. Liberally dole out the love and you’ll be more likely to get positive feedback in return.

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Use Sparing but Relevant Hashtags

The pound sign followed by a short phrase is a great way to categorize your post and bring in new viewers who might be searching for content. Go with a few simple and pertinent hashtags(for example, #sprinkledoughnuts, #brunch, #instafood) and put aside the long and rambling ones (nobody’s searching for #IfIWereAFoodIdBeAChocolateDoughnutWithSprinkles).

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Post in the Early Morning or Evening

You may be having the time of your life on the dance floor at 3 a.m., but you won’t get any likes if you post after most of your followers have gone to bed. Same goes for the middle of the workday and dinnertime. Wait for high-traffic phone times (morning and early evening are typical winners) and you’ll be more likely to get better engagement.

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Use Brighter Filters

You’re more inclined to like a photo when you can actually see the entire composition, so use filters and settings that increase exposure as opposed to darkening the image.

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Post One Pic and Move On

We get it: You got 17 great shots of your 3-year-old niece. But posting multiple photos in a row (or even in a day) dilutes the overall wow factor and leaves news feeds cluttered. Pick your favorite and save the rest for Facebook.

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Go For High-Contrast Images

Common sense, people. The better the background and more focused the subjects, the more appealing the overall photo. Your goal is to catch the viewer’s eye, so make sure Fido really stands out by tapping on your phone screen to auto-focus the camera or staging him in front of, say, a cheery yellow wall.

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Keep It Real

Sure, 500 likes would be a big confidence boost. But—and forgive us for getting all sappy—if you love the photo, don’t worry about outside validation. Authenticity is a great marker of an image’s success and will honestly garner you more engagement in the long run. So just keep doin’ you, girlfriend. The double-taps are sure to follow.

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