While Instagram is a visual platform, your work isn’t done once the photo is edited and styled. It’s easy to forget that captions also provide a valuable space for you to show off the personal side of your company and deliver a tone of voice to your images. Instagram posts that perform well are often accompanied by well-scripted, carefully-considered captions that suit the tone of the image, whether that’s serious, humorous or heartfelt.
If you’re just adding in a caption at the last minute because you feel like you have to, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to engage with your audience and build your follower count. Here are some tips on how to create the perfect Instagram captions, that will help your followers take action on your site or share your high-quality content because they’ve found value in it. All of the following tips can be used in both organic and paid social ads campaigns.
🎰 Draft several options
It’s rare you’re going to get it right first time, so it’s a good idea to come up with a few different options for your post. Try not to rush the process too much by giving yourself time to think of how you want to word it. You might even find it useful to run the options by some members of your team to see which one works best. Instagram’s algorithm shows us the posts it thinks we want to see the most, so if you’re trying to build engagement and visibility, the relationship with your users and the comments it receives are important. For this reason, it’s worth taking the time to craft a caption that really speaks to your audience and encourages sharing.
😆 Keep a light-hearted tone
Each social network has a tone that suits it best – LinkedIn is best suited to more serious topics and jargon-heavy copy, for example, while Instagram is better for light-hearted, fun topics that help towards creating an authentic appearance. Think about how you want your posts to come across and try to be consistent in that tone and messaging throughout your profile. It can also be useful to think of ways to get involved in upbeat, cheerful subjects or trending topics that perhaps aren’t an immediately obvious fit for your brand but will help you to show a more carefree side. When it comes to Instagram, utilising hashtags related to awareness days throughout the year tends to be the most popular trend.
🙌🏼 Make use of emojis
Along the same lines as the previous point, emojis are a fun way of lightening the mood of your posts and adding a touch of personality to your writing. And, it’s not just for the playful brands – even serious companies utilise emojis from time to time. Try playing around with where you place the emoji in your caption too, such as putting it right at the beginning to grab the attention of the reader. Emojis are a useful way of having your brand come across as more genuine and personable, which can help followers feel more of an attachment to you.
# Limit your hashtag use
Hashtags unite users into one stream of conversation, so providing your account is public, you can expand your reach by using them. However, only use around 4 hashtags in one post as it can look spammy to include a stream of irrelevant hashtags just to get more followers to see your post. Also, remember that you don’t have to use them if it doesn’t feel like a natural fit – the hashtag should flow in the caption, not feel tacked onto the end out of necessity. Just remember to put the hashtags at the end of your post, so that if your caption is too long to be fully readable in the user’s feed, you won’t be cutting off any important information or messaging.
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Today is #TimeToTalk day and this year is all about the ingredients to get everyone talking about mental health. Whether a cuppa with friends or a stroll on the beach, head on over to @mindcharity and @timetochangecampaign for more ideas of how to get the conversation started ☕️
If you’re in need of using more hashtags, simply add them to the comment section instead so that user don’t find your caption messy and hard to read.
‼️ Put the important stuff at the beginning
Instagram’s maximum character count for captions is 2,200 but the really important thing to remember is that the captions cut off after three or four lines of text when displayed in a user’s feed. You don’t have to keep them short, but if you want to get more click-throughs from users, it’s important that you front-load your captions and put the juicy details at the beginning to encourage more engagement. Leave any superfluous information or hashtags for later on so that if the caption does cut off, you are making the most of the space you have.
📲 Don’t forget the call to action
Call to actions aren’t just for your website. They provide a lot of significance in your social media posts as well, and Instagram is no exception. Make use of action verbs in your captions to inspire users to do something beyond just scrolling past, as verbs tend to have a better result than nouns or adjectives. This might be something along the lines of ‘share your story in the comments’ or ‘double-tap if you enjoyed this post’, or, maybe you can ask your followers questions relating to your topic. In encouraging people to add their views or opinions, you not only increase engagement, but you might also find that it sparks ideas for future content.
💨 Brevity is sometimes the best option
If you’re experiencing writer’s block and can’t think of a way to write a paragraph-long caption – or the post simply doesn’t warrant it – don’t feel the need to push it to the limit every time. If in doubt, keep it brief and succinct. As long as your caption suits your tone of voice and matches your brand, there’s no harm in letting the visuals do the talking. This can also be a helpful reminder in the early stages of developing your Instagram profile when you’re not quite sure what your tone of voice is yet or how you want to come across to your audience. Brevity will give you the chance to still post regularly and provide valuable content without feeling like you have to have everything set in stone straight away – it will give you the opportunity to evolve your style and personality as you go on.