Let’s face it – Instagram is pretty popular right now. In fact, among the top three most popular social networks existing out there. With more than 700 million users, it is clear that people love visuals, and are ready to press “like” whenever a great one appears in their feed.
However, Instagram is more than just visuals. It is all about engagement, and if you learn to master it, you will be able to grow your follower base and increase your conversion. A lot of that engagement is driven by captions.
Today, we are showing you the real value of Instagram captions and teaching you how to craft it like a true pro, engaging every single follower out there. So…
Instagram Captions Are Like What?
Great Instagram captions shares these three things:
- Your brand’s voice and personality;
- A way of interacting with the audience and enticing them to take action;
- The right balance of characters, emoji and hashtags.
Obviously, this doesn’t mean that great Instagram captions should have a said amount of emojis and hashtags. Instead, you can play around with them as with any piece of solid web copy. The main thing is that it should be easy to grasp and speak directly to the target audience.
In order to help you in that matter, we are listing a guide with tips.
The 12 Things You Need To Know Before Crafting Instagram Captions
A good Instagram caption for your profile won’t just come from nowhere. You have to know what your audience likes – and most importantly – how to communicate that to them.
(Get to) know your audience
Putting yourself in the shoes of your followers is one of the best ways to get to know your audience, their needs and desires. If you are a brand, your audience is most likely your existing or potential customers, based on their demographics and other related information. The better you know your audience, the easier it will be for you to engage them in your Instagram marketing strategy.
Ask yourself questions like ‘how old are they?’ or ‘what do they like?’ and you will have answers to this question. As soon as you do that, figure if the caption you intend to use will be understood by them, whether it needs more (or less) emojis or context to the photo.
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Build a strong voice
Every brand has a voice. It is what separates us from the mass and what makes a brand memorable. Building a voice is a cornerstone of every social media marketing strategy and typically consists the qualities and values that the brand wants to embody.
The best way to build a strong voice on social networks is to use adjectives that describe your business in order to refine it. For example, if your brand is hip and modern, your voice should be similar – tailored to the audience using it.
The idea is to find the voice your audience best understands and drive maximum engagement.
Know the right length
The line between a short and a long caption on Instagram is really tight. That is why you should always aim to find it. Not everyone wants to read long captions, and sometimes the short ones do not convey the right information when accompanied by a photo. That is why you should keep it brief, but never compromise on giving context when you need to. If the post speaks for itself, on the other hand, only a few words are good to accompany it.
Know where the most important words should go
There is one rule when it comes to the most important thoughts in your Instagram caption – they go at the beginning of the caption. Obviously, no one wants to be left reading until they find them, which is why you should convey your key point or call to action right away.
Another important thing worth noting is that your posts should always hook the reader in and give them enough reasons to tap ‘like’, ‘comment’, ‘more’ or just follow you if they still haven’t. And yes, leave the mentions and hashtags for later (at the end of the caption)
Edit and rewrite
Editing and rewriting content is not wrong at all. It takes some time to craft a good Instagram caption, especially if you are new to this or your message is too long. Great copy is always told in less words than you may think of. Also, it is humorous or inspirational.
So, make sure that you use less words to describe more, and always cut out the ones that don’t have a strong value or meaning.
Throw in hashtags (wisely)
Using hashtags is not only cool – it can help you build a brand or even better – build a message worth spreading. As one study says, a post with a hashtag is 12.6% more likely to be opened by users on Instagram. So, make sure to use your hashtags – but only when they are relevant to the photo you are posting.
Another thing worth noting is that hashtags can also do wonders when they are ‘hidden’, either in the first comment or buried beneath periods and line breaks. This way, they are only visible to users when they tap on ‘See More’.
If you want to get more comments on your photo, you should ask questions. And even though this is one of the best rules for Instagram marketing, it is still a no brainer. If you want maximum engagement, try making the questions you ask as neat as possible.
For example, you can ask a question that needs Yes or No to entice your audience to comment, or maybe test their skills through a game or post an open-ended question (one that reads like you don’t expect an answer).
If you want to entice your audience and show that you care for them, asking for tips or recommendations in the caption space is also nice.
Shout-out with @mentions
Featuring other Instagram users in your post is great, especially when it comes in your capture. Make sure to @mention them and let your followers know who are you referring to. This way, you will compel that user – and their followers – to also engage with your content.
Does that mean free followers with only one trick? Absolutely.
Use CTAs (call to action) to encourage engagement
The best way to drive engagement is by obviously inviting people to leave their comments. Whether it’s your new product in the line, a trend or a service you are announcing, make sure to weigh in with an opinion clearly and directly.
Your message can go with something like ‘Post your suggestions and we will pick the best name for our service’ or something like that. The idea is to solicit engagement – however, make sure your audience wants to do that. If you are not sure about that, throw in a contest with a prize and the engagement will be hopefully better.Use emojis (without a single doubt)
We get it – you are a big brand.
But in the 21st century, even big brands use emojis on their social media networks. Remember, the idea is to be social and use the right things to engage your audience. Emojis are undoubtedly a great way to capture attention and draw the reader’s eye in. Also, they add a bit of personality to your caption and give your voice a friendly character. Even if you opt out for using emojis only in your caption, you are good, but the best case scenario is where they are used with phrases or a couple of words.
Try using quotes (on captions and on images)
There are a lot of quotes you can use, but the best are left for the pros. That being said, the cliched inspirational quotes are not always the answer to engaging your fans on Instagram. Instead, you should focus on the ones that are specific to the post. If it’s an interview with a person or a cover of someone’s story, quoting them can also be a great idea to be more personal. This is the key to user-generated content.
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Schedule your posts for the ‘peak times of engagement’
It’s true that there are periods throughout the day when you can make most of your posts and get the most likes, follows and comments. Once you come up with the best caption that goes along with your picture-perfect post, it is time to publish it. But when do you publish it?
Well, the most important part here is your audience and the region you are covering mostly. If you are a national business, for example, you may want to stick to your time zone and the hours that are comfortable – usually the first-time-in-the-morning posts and afternoon commutes of your audience.
Thanks to tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, you can upload an Instagram photo, write your caption and schedule the post for whenever you want.
The Best Ideas And Concepts for Instagram Captions
At this point, you probably know what makes great Instagram captions. But what’s that like in practice?
We are rounding up some of the best examples of Instagram captions, their main concepts and ideas below:
You have probably seen the ‘check link in bio’ posts a lot of times on Instagram. This is a great way to redirect your users to the landing page and show them more information on the topic.
For brands, the behind-the-scenes concept is of great use when showing how the products or services are made and engaging fans to know more about your brand.
Informative and educational:
Not every post has to be hip and fun. Sometimes, your Instagram captions can be full of compelling facts about your product, service or company initiative. However, make sure that the information is 100% correct and intriguing.
Used a lot by brands who publish recipes and step-by-step cooking lessons, the idea of this concept is to be useful and simple in order to optimize the best caption.
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Jalapeño & Bacon-Stuffed Burger Paired with @GoldPeak Sweet Tea #Sponsored ⠀ ⠀ INGREDIENTS:⠀ 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced⠀ 2 oz cream cheese⠀ 3 slices cooked crisp bacon, crumbled⠀ ½ cup grated cheddar cheese⠀ 1 ½ lbs ground beef⠀ Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper⠀ 4 slices cheddar cheese⠀ 4 split hamburger buns⠀ To serve:⠀ Green leaf lettuce⠀ Sliced tomato⠀ Thinly sliced red onion⠀ ⠀ STEPS:⠀ Combine jalapeño, cream cheese, bacon and shredded cheddar in a medium bowl.⠀ Place ground beef into a large bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Divide into 8 pieces and flatten into thin patties. Add a dollop of the bacon cheese mixture to the center of 4 of the patties, then cover each with another patty and flatten. Pinch the edges to seal the patties closed.⠀ Heat a cast-iron grill pan to medium-high heat. Grill burgers on each side for 4–5 minutes for medium doneness. Immediately top with a cheese slice. Place burger between two buns and top with lettuce, tomato and onion.
If you decide to give away a prize to your followers, make sure to use a caption that clearly sums up the rules of the content, explains the audience how to enter and what are the rewards.
This is a great way to link to your other social profiles and capture the audience on multiple networks. Typically, it is used by brands that encourage fans to check their other social profiles for a closer look on the photo (or story).
Instagram has a generous character count, which can definitely be used to tell a story. Make sure that the story is impactful and it clearly showcases the subjects of the images in the full meaning.
If you need more information or want to know how to perfect your Instagram captions writing skills, there are always tools like Caption and Hemingway app that are designed to swipe out all the needless words in your text and help you simplify the content.
A Final Word
In the end, Instagram is all about engagement. Whether you play by these rules or invent a new set of ones, you are good as long as you keep the ball rolling. The best sign of Instagram captions is obviously – engagement and conversion.
So, if you see that your followers are hitting likes and writing comments more often than they did before – congratulations – you have learned how to put these strategies to action.