When it comes to Instagram–one of THE most visual content social platform-photos and videos must be eye catching and engaging. But hey, don’t underestimate the power of great written captions! What lies beneath the visual content you post is equally important. In this article, I’ll be sharing 5 insightful tips on what we need to do to write great Instagram captions.
When you’re prepping content to post on Instagram, you might be focusing all your brainpower on the kind of visual content your audience might want to see, and end up writing your caption as an afterthought.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the quality of your visual content has to be eye-catching to your audience. That’s how you get them hooked. But, with a great Instagram caption, you can do so much more.
Great captions give you the perfect opportunity to keep your audience engaged, sets you apart from the crowd, and it’s an avenue for you to use your voice.
With the main theme of social media revolving a lot around connections and authenticity these days, using your written captions can help you let your voice shine and brand personality speak for itself.
“Captions are where you can share your message and foster human connection. You want them to stop for your picture and stay for the caption.” advises Deanna Dunn, Instagram expert and Skillshare instructor.
Plus, Instagram captions hold a lot of power to influence and inspire others to act and this has something to do with a call-to-action, which we’ll dive into later.
One of the most important things to nail down first is to know who your audience is. Imagine this, if you don’t know who you’re talking to, you might be sending out a message to someone who can’t even resonate with you, your brand or content. That’s not what you want.
Knowing your audience is important in how to write your Instagram captions because some audiences prefer long, detailed captions whilst others may not. Moreover, when you know who your audience is, it will help you to craft a more effective message that is targeted for your audience.
So before you begin writing Instagram captions, take some time to think about what your brand stands for and who your audience is. What are your core brand values and how are you going to communicate that? What does your audience like?
Once you’ve got that nailed down, you’re more likely to succeed in reaching an audience that’s relevant to your brand and business.
When it comes to Instagram captions, it involves some trial and error too! So, I would recommend spending some time to test out a few options to see what will work best for you. As long as your captions are consistent with your brand voice throughout.
Start with a killer first line! The Instagram caption limit is 2,200 characters, which gives you ample space to add context to your posts through your captions. However, it’s important to note that it does get cut off at the 125 characters mark. This means that if you have written three to four lines, Instagram will automatically hide the rest of the content with a “more” link. That’s why you need to have a strong opening that is engaging so that your audience is interested enough to read beyond the first line.
One of the best practices is to include the important stuff like context and calls-to-action in the front of your caption and leave any hashtags or other extraneous information to the end.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Milk Makeup (@milkmakeup)
A post shared by Milk Makeup (@milkmakeup)
Other ways of hooking your audience is to intrigue them, either with an insightful thought, some hard-hitting facts or an exclusive offer or by evoking an emotional response. They could look like “Double tap if…” or “You might think you know everything about…”. Remember, the goal is to pique your audience’s interest, so keep that caption punchy and attention grabbing. This way they’re more likely to read your whole caption and engage with your post.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Google (@google)
A post shared by Google (@google)
After writing a good caption, albeit a long one, it’s always helpful to break it up by adding line breaks to shorten your paragraphs. You want to keep your captions simple and easy to read to best engage your audience.
There’s no right or wrong way to break your text up. You could shorten it by adding line breaks in between or even by adding emojis into the mix. Just try to keep your audience in mind, what would they think of your caption–yay or nay? This will help to keep you on your toes before publishing the post and caption on Instagram.
A call-to-action prompts your audience/users to take some specific action. It’s in the name. In fact, by adding a simple call-to-action into your Instagram caption, you can drive engagement on your post, your website, and more.
The aim of having a call-to-action is to inspire your followers to take action. It could be as simple as “Double tap if you agree” or asking a personal question to encourage more comments on your post.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tarte Cosmetics (@tartecosmetics)
A post shared by Tarte Cosmetics (@tartecosmetics)
Alternatively, if you’re running a contest or giveaway, a call to action can be in the form of a numbered list; instructing your audience to like, tag a friend and repost in order to enter. Remember tip #2 and mention the contest/giveaway in the beginning of your caption to captivate their attention from first glance!
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Supergoop! (@supergoop)
A post shared by Supergoop! (@supergoop)
Another way of leveraging your Instagram calls-to-action is to share your value proposition with your followers! Let them know what they have to gain from following your call-to-action. For example, “tune in to my upcoming live stream to learn how to…” or “join our nationwide contest so that you can win…”. Adding a simple reason for why your audience should follow your call-to-action will encourage them to do so. It’s the icing on the cake.
On the other hand, we’ve also got the very commonly used “link in bio” call-to-action. This is where it’s handy to call out to your audience to visit your website via the link in your bio or a specific URL.
There really are a variety of ways to incorporate your calls-to-action, so have fun exploring! Encourage your audience in different ways and you’ll soon find what works best for them and you.
Emojis are a great way to add a fun flair to your Instagram caption. If you’re not using them for call-to-action, it can definitely be used to showcase your personality for fun and doing things differently.
You could add the emojis in the beginning of your caption for a pop of colour, or even choose to replace whole words with an emoji. I personally like to incorporate a little cheeky emoji or two into my Instagram captions because it’s a fun addition to have!
View this post on Instagram A post shared by Later: Visual Social Marketing (@latermedia)
A post shared by Later: Visual Social Marketing (@latermedia)
All the content you post matters and captions are no exception. There’s a quote by Leo Burnett that goes like this: “Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” and I love that. That’s what engaging written content is all about and the same goes for Instagram captions!
It’s important for us to hone our voices well and leverage the space Instagram provides to use it. Instagram captions are a great avenue to communicate two-way with your followers, share your personality and really tell others what you’re all about. Regardless if you’re using Instagram for business or personal use, it’s definitely worth leveraging.
These five tips are designed to help boost your engagement on Instagram, and hopefully help you connect with your followers and audience better too!
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