Instagram marketing is all about the visuals. The quality of your images will be the differentiating thing in terms of getting Instagram followers, getting them excited about your brand and what it is about, and showing off the human side of your brand.
However, hard work does not end once you have taken that beautiful picture and edited it to perfection. The caption of your post is where you could give a voice to that visual content.
Write good Instagram captions explain what the picture is about, tells your followers to take action, or cracks a joke that makes your content all the more delightful and shareable.
When you consider the caption on your Instagram posts as an afterthought, you are losing out on a chance to engage and delight your followers in ways you could with just a visual. Here are 8 tips to help you write good Instagram captions.
How to Write Good Instagram Captions
1. Write several drafts first.
Ever thought of the perfect joke after it was a bit too late to tell it? We have all had the same feeling once we come up with the right Instagram caption once we have already published the post.
The lesson? Do not rush the process. Instead, write some ideas for captions down, sit on them for a bit, poll coworkers on which one is greatest, and generally take your time.
You may be asking yourself at this point, “However are not timeliness and chronology important on Instagram?” They could be, depending on the subject of your post. For instance, professional Instagrammer Patrick Janelle says he uses Instagram as a type of chronological journey of his activities and lifestyle. He likes to post in real time to document what he is doing at a given moment.
However, thanks to the impending Instagram feed algorithm change, the level of interaction your posts receive will soon matter more than chronology. Soon, our Instagram feeds will be ordered to show the moments Instagram thinks we will care about the most. The visibility of your posts in your followers’ feeds will depend on the number of Likes and comments a post has, your relationship with the user posting, and other factors.
That is why it is necessary to take your time constructing a good caption that will keep your followers around, delight them enough to share with their friends, and encourage them to interact with your content.
2. Front-load the important stuff.
The maximum character count for an Instagram caption (2,200 characters) is basically a formality. However, the necessary factor to note is that captions cut off in users’ feeds after 3 to 4 lines of text.
That does not mean you need to keep your captions super short so users could see 100% of it without having to click on “more.” Instead, frontload your captions with the vital content or text calls-to-action — and leave any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous info for the end.
Here is an example of an enticing, front-loaded caption from coffee-based skincare firm Frank Body:
3. Include a call-to-action.
The best way to extend the share potential of your Instagram post and engage your followers is to have some kind of call-to-action in the captions of your images. That means utilizing action verbs to prompt people to do something, instead of just passively scrolling by. We found that verbs generate more shares on Twitter than nouns and adjectives — the same could be true for Instagram.
Here are some other action-based ideas to get you began:
Ask a question.
Encourage people to comment on their own experiences. You may be able to draw on these experiences to shape your Instagram strategy moving forward, or to come up with new content ideas. To extend engagement and delight your followers, even more, reply to users’ answers to make it like a conversation.
H&M: “All you need for a weekend get-away. Where would you go?”
Lorna Jane: “Be you, everyone else is taken. Today’s inspo inspired by our leading lady @ljclarkson – how are you finding your BELIEVE today?”
Direct people to a link in your bio.
Clickable URLs are not allowed anywhere except the single “website” box in your bio. That is why optimized Instagram profiles update that URL regularly to point to their newest blog content, YouTube videos, products, or offers — and then refer to that link in their Instagram captions.
For instance, are you running a contest, or need to improve subscribers to your blog? Just change the link, and then post an image that mentions the new link in its caption.
Pro tip: Use shortened links that include UTM tracking codes so you could see how much of your traffic came from your Instagram page.
To change the link in your bio, go to your profile page and click on “Edit Profile.”
Then, simply insert the URL of your selecting into the URL box.
Invite people to tag their friends.
Encourage your followers to share your post with friends by inviting them to tag their friends. Here are some examples of fun, clever methods brands have asked followers to tag friends.
Frooti: “It is scrabbling day! Tag some friends you would like to play with.”
H&M: “Planning for a luxe escape with your bestie? Tag your travel partner in crime!”
HubSpot: “Coffee with coworkers make Friday mornings that much brighter. Tag your office coffee buddy – and better yet, take a break!”
Invite people to enter a contest.
Contests are good for growing engagement and brand exposure on Instagram.
Simply invite people to post their own photos and tag them in the caption utilizing a hashtag, as BuzzFeed Tasty does below.
Think about including the contest’s official rules in your caption for folks who’re, and even a link in your bio.