Instagram is primarily a visual platform, but its posts have an entire area of real estate that can serve to increase traffic to your website, your number of Instagram followers, and even your sales. A strong visual on Instagram can make users “slow their scroll” and stay locked on your post, but a carefully thought out caption can do a lot more heavy lifting in terms of marketing and sales.
Strong copy in your caption can shape your brand’s story and personality, which in turn helps your followers realize they need what you’re selling. In short: Instagram captions can help elevate your company’s social media success—and that can improve your bottom line.
Writing compelling Instagram captions tips
Instagram captions can be as long as 2,200 characters and can contain up to 30 hashtags. Like most marketing strategies, the copy in your caption is about quality over quantity. It can be short and snappy or feature longer, more in-depth text. As long as your post adds value or is interesting, people will read it.
The first sentence
Instagram shortens your caption after three to four lines, so include important details in the beginning. Only the first sentence or so will be seen in a user’s feed, so make sure your first sentence is compelling or asks a question and don’t put your call to action at the end.
Call to action or questions
Each post should have a purpose and intention, so lead each one with its specific goal and let that goal dictate the call to action. What do you want followers to do: visit website, shop, share a post, enter a contest, snap photos and share using a specified hashtag?
The key is to encourage engagement in order to create a sense of dialogue and conversation. Encouraging engagement also increases the likelihood your post will appear in other users’ feeds as a “recommended account” to follow.
Whether it’s new information, a chance to enter a giveaway, an opportunity to connect with other followers by commenting on the post, or a dose of inspiration, your caption should add something to the user’s life. Make an effort to be intentional with your posts and avoid posting for the sake of posting. A user will sooner unfollow your account because they feel your posts aren’t adding value than because you aren’t posting daily.
Write like a human
Authenticity matters most. In content and captions, put your real self out there and write as you speak. You may want to be strategic and intentional, but you also want to come across natural and like a friend to the user.
Emojis in caption
Sprinkle in emojis to add some extra flavor and animate your captions. Relevant emojis placed at the end of sentences or paragraphs can also serve as “bookends” and aesthetically break up long strings of copy.
Emojis are also a great way to direct readers to take a certain action, such as clicking the link in bio. But if you use emojis, make sure they match your tone of voice and branding.
Hashtags in caption
Instagram hashtags are a key way to make your posts searchable, so be sure you leverage them properly. They function like keywords, as they have tracking and searching capabilities.
So how do you know which hashtags to use? Aim for a mix of branded, community, product, and other relevant trending hashtags.
Inform your content by taking note of the hashtags your competitors, your audience, influencers, and industry leaders use.
Attracting and repelling
Having your brand identity locked down will guide the words and tone you use. And since you can’t be everything to everyone, your branding likely will attract the right clients and repel the wrong ones.
While being strategic is key, this is also an opportunity to show off your brand personality. So, make sure you’re combining your brand’s unique point of view with Instagram’s more lighthearted tone. The message is the medium, after all.