Writing an engaging Instagram caption is no simple feat. Social media scrollers have a limited attention span, so fitting everything you want to say into a brief, easily digestible few sentences can seem impossible. Fortunately, Instagram puts a heavy focus on visual imagery, so the captions come second in importance to a high quality, eye-catching image. However, a great caption can go a long way in encouraging engagement, which is really important for getting your post noticed by others. Here’s how to write that elusive caption:
TIP #1: Hook them with a strong first line.
If your opening line isn’t immediately attention-grabbing, don’t expect people to stick around and read the rest. Remember, Instagram is an imagery-based app, therefore people are going to focus less attention on text and more on the picture in front of them. In addition, the way Instagram is formatted makes it so that users have to click on the caption in order to read the entire thing, so the first line will be all that’s visible to them.
TIP #2: Include a call to action (CTA).
A call to action is a key ingredient to encouraging engagement from your followers. A CTA is usually something like:
“Double tap if you agree!”
Ask a question and tell your followers to respond in the comments.
Ask followers to tag a friend. (“Tag a friend who needs to see this!”)
Drive visitors to your website by encouraging them to follow the link in your bio for a discount or to purchase an item of interest to them.
TIP #3: Add line breaks for readability.
Most people are going to be turned away upon seeing huge walls of text sandwiched together in your caption. To make a lengthy caption easier to read, break it up into sections (thoughtfully, of course). This will captivate your audience’s attention much longer, as well as increase their ability to comprehend the message.
TIP #4: Use a consistent tone.
Make sure you’ve established a tone for your brand, and be consistent in using it. For example, you don’t want to use this language in one post:
“Hey girlies! Looking for the perfect itsy bitsy teenie weenie tiny polkadot bikini? Well you’re in luck, because our SUMMER SALE is sure to make a splash. Use discount code SUMMER2020 on our site for 20% off!”
And then this one in the next:
“When you shop at XXX, you are treating yourself to the finest quality that money can buy. Wrap yourself in luxury with our new summer collection.”
The language in both of these captions completely clashes. The first one is casual, bubbly, and fun, while the second is more reserved and formal. Pick a tone and stick with it. A seasoned copywriter should be able to crank out captions that fit your tone perfectly.
TIP #5: Use clever hashtags.
Hashtags are extremely important in getting your post seen by Instagram users. But you don’t want to throw in a bunch of random tags and hope it sticks somewhere. You want to use hashtags that your target audience will likely be using to search for things within their circle of interest. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, don’t use popular sports-related hashtags just because they have millions of followers. In fact, it’s actually smart to have a good mix of popular and not-so-popular hashtags. By using the tags with less posts and less followers, you have a much better chance of your post appearing in the “Top” section.
When using hashtags within the content of your caption, try to incorporate them into the message itself. For example, “How’s your #Summer going? If you’re looking for the perfect #swimsuit for this season, check out the new styles on our website!”
However, try not to overdo it with too many hashtags within the body of your caption, otherwise you risk looking spammy.
Writing good captions is an art form
...that gets better only through practice. A good caption is snappy, concise, but effective, and you’ve really only got one line to get it right! But it’s something that comes easier with time. Follow the tips we shared above, and you’ll be a master-captioner in no time!