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Writing perfect Instagram captions

Why are Instagram captions important?

Instagram marketing’s focus has always been good looking content or visuals. If your content looks good, then your brand’s job is almost done. How can your brand compete with so many other accounts out there which produce equally good photos? The captions make all the difference – it helps gain followers, increase engagement and show the tone of your business which shows that there is a human element behind all the content.

The caption of your post is where you can give a voice to that visual content and elevates the quality of the post in terms of engagement. A good caption is the key difference between your followers scrolling past the content or pausing to comment on your funny caption.  A caption can deliver the mood of the campaign and post and this can be a very helpful tool. It is vital that you reserve time to construct a good caption that can make or break the difference between engagement rate soaring or not. This has the potential to keep your followers around, share the content with their friends, and can act as a prompter to engage with your content. 

Structuring your caption

Since the focus is to write brief captions that capture the follower’s attention, write brief captions. 

If you are having trouble writing a caption, basic structure to follow would be –

  1. Opinion/ Explanation

  2. Question or a CTA

  3. Hashtag

Steps to constructing a perfect caption

Captions are a huge opportunity to build a stronger relationship with your audience and here are some tips on how to construct them.

  1. Knowing what your audience likes

Based on what your brand offers, customize the tone of the captions. It does not make sense for a company that sells SAAS to write funny captions with emojis on its content. And it does not make sense when an entertainment brand adopts a serious tone for their captions. Fluctuating between tones can confuse your audience.

Ask yourself these questions before constructing a caption –

  1. Will my audience understand this reference?

  2. Are emojis and netspeak appropriate to use here?

  3. Is the content not taboo enough to have a funny caption?

  4. Can I engage my users with story-telling through this caption?

Pages like Humans of Bombay engage with their users solely through captions and detailed storytelling.

Another great example of utilizing captions well – Durex India. While their content usually has a funny, thought-provoking message, the brand never fails to add a caption that asks a question to its audience thus increasing engagement.

Add a Call-to-Action

A good Instagram caption with an effective call-to-action (CTA) is one of the best ways to encourage your followers to comment on your posts. And that means even more engagement on your account.

Redirecting your audience to your bio (only clickable links), asking questions, asking your followers to tag their friends in their comment section are some of the most used examples of adding CTA to Instagram captions. This method can incite new followers to join your page. But do note that the brand cannot ask the audience to tag their friends without any incentive. Why would the new Instagrammers who come be interested in your offer, and stay on your profile? One great way is to add such CTAs with a contest or short game.

Licious conducted a campaign adding the right CTAs with clear instructions in the caption.

A direct approach would be to add a call to action for sales. In a brand’s product reveal, ask your followers nicely to try your new product or service and share their experience in the comments. Using actionable, and not passive words can encourage your followers to react and engage. This also gains brownie points with the Instagram algorithm.

The caption’s length

Instagrammers are known for their less attention span scrolling through the platform fast. While captions are of various lengths – from a word to really long story-telling formats, if you are doubtful then keeping it brief is always a safe call. Allow the content to speak for itself and the caption should be a catalyst for engagement.

Since the caption’s first 3 lines only appear in the preview, avoid instances of “Read More” unless your caption has a really compelling story. If you want your entire caption to display, Instagram recommends using 125 characters or fewer.

PRO TIP: Adding “giveaway,” “contest,” or “challenge” as the first words of the caption can capture follower attention.

Copywriting – Edit and choose the kind of caption

Creating several drafts ahead of posting is a good idea. This will give the marketer options before posting the content. This can help them choose the most relevant caption.

Types of captions to consider for your content

  1. Follow the link

  2. Informative (Includes modes like storytelling, opinions, etc)

  3. Instructional (Product release is the perfect receptor of such captions)

  4. Contests and captions

  5. Minimalist (if your content speaks all, then add a minimalist caption to convey a quick message)

More pro tips

– Check and recheck grammar and spelling (Wrong grammar can denote low-quality content)

– Instagram is an informal platform, so let your brand be funny and informal than usual

– Use emojis in the captions, if relevant. Do not overuse them.

Using Hashtags

Hashtags are vital drivers for finding an engaged audience for your brand’s content and also for raising brand awareness.

Top reasons why your brand should start growing your hashtag strategy immediately

  1. Categorizing Content: Instagram is effectively better optimized for users to search and discover your post through Instagram hashtags.

  2. Content Reach: Specific hashtags may give you fewer potential impressions than broader hashtags, but they also provide inroads to coveted qualified traffic.

  3. Cross-Channel Content: Brands can develop a strategic cross-channel presence with universal hashtags.

Devote a hashtag for a campaign which could help with the final analysis.

Use the free tools online to generate top hashtags 

Why do you need help with Instagram hashtags? Well, using hashtags is quite tricky on Instagram; the platform’s algorithm will penalize you if your tags are repeated from one upload to another. You can’t use the same hashtags from one post to another.

Screenshot 2019-09-18 at 4.27.00 PM.png

Hashtag generators, like All Hashtag, come in handy for avoiding a faux pas like this. Hashtag generator tools liven up the hashtags you use and give you insight into top trending and live hashtags that are best suited to your brand’s content.

Also, tools like Grammarly and Captiona can be handy for caption generation.

Has your brand given the focus it needs to give to captions? How invested is your brand into hashtag marketing? What is your strategy? Do let us know below in the comments section or visit our websiteFacebookTwitter or Instagram pages to reach out to us.

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