Instagram is based on the axiom that a picture is worth a thousand words. It’s the optimal social media networks for businesses to illustrate their story through photos, videos, and other visual images.
With more than 400 million monthly users sifting through billions of images, you have real potential to engage huge audiences with your brand. In fact, Instagram is one of the few social networks where users are completely engrossed with your ad, because each image takes up the entire screen of a smartphone.
That’s why I find it baffling that so many marketers completely overlook Instagram captions. While it’s easy to come up with great visuals, I guess it’s not nearly as easy to come up with fresh and creative Instagram captions that reel in followers.
Frankly, you’re missing out on a terrific opportunity if you don’t take the time to write the best captions to match your visuals. While your images must be engaging to get users to spend time on your post, the captions may be the sole reason to start a conversation and share your post.
The caption for your post is where you can give a voice to your visual content. It’s where you can explain what the photo is about, tell your followers to take action, or crack a joke that makes your content all the more delightful and shareable. That’s why we’re providing these 15 tips to help you write the best Instagram captions:
- Content is crucial—Even the best Instagram images can benefit from a little caption content to drive home your brand. Your caption has to do a lot of the heavy lifting to get users to your website, store or bio page. A great caption adds value to the visual.
- Take your time—Don’t rush the process. Instead, write down a few captions, think about them for a bit, poll coworkers on which one is best, and generally take your time constructing a fantastic caption that will delight and engage your followers.
- Be leery of links—Instagram doesn’t allow for hyperlinks in photo captions or comments. You can write out a link in a caption, but it won’t be clickable. The only place you can post a clickable link is in the bio section of your profile, and you only have 150 characters, so do it wisely.
- Keep ’em short and sweet—Most users don’t want to read a novel to understand your image. General rule of thumb is the more concise the better. Let your image do the storytelling. The caption can certainly provide supplementary information and have value.
- Front-load the important stuff—While Instagram allows substantial text for captions, it’s important thing to note is that captions cut off in users’ feeds after three to four lines of text, when users have to click “more” to see the rest of the caption. So, frontload your captions with the important content or text calls-to-action—and leave any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.
- Get your creative juices flowing—Try not to state the obvious when an image is easy to understand. Use your caption to make your picture or video more engaging, fun and interesting.
- Forget the formality—Formality tends to not translate well on Instagram, which is why you have to be open, conversational, and creative with each caption. Even when you’re stating facts about your company in the caption, you don’t have to be cut and dry with your text. Blend your brand with Instagram’s lighthearted tone that’s authentic, human, personable, and fun.
- Steer clear all those hashtags and emojis—To keep captions simple, keep hashtags and emojis to a minimum or your posts will seem like spam or appear like they are in code. But if you don’t use more than one or two hashtags and use emojis sparingly, at the beginning of a post, they can add some personality. Remember, readers must clearly understand and digest your post within a few short seconds or they’ll move on.
- Include a call-to-action—The best way to increase the shareability of your Instagram posts and engage your followers is to have some sort of call-to-action in the captions. That means using action verbs to prompt people to do something, instead of just passively scrolling by.Here are a few action-based ideas to start you off:
- Ask a question
- Get them to buy something or request a free gift
- Direct people to a link in your bio
- Inspire people to tag their friends
- Invite users to enter a contest
- Use helpful quotes— Everyone loves a good quote, and using the perfect quote can certainly drive engagement when it directly relates to your company.
- Provide details— While your picture might look beautiful and enthralling, your Instagram caption is what will actually help sell products or services. With your caption, you can deliver quick details such as the price, where it came from (what manufacturer), where and when customers can get the product, and why users should buy it. All without a huge marketing spiel!
- When in doubt, go for the pun—”Cleverness is next to godliness on social media,” says The Wall Street Journal. Cracking a joke or finding a smart turn of phrase is always a welcome approach. Experiencing caption writers’ block? Try playing a word association game or brainstorming with a friend.”
- Watch your spelling and grammar—People won’t understand your post or take it seriously, if it’s full of typos, misspellings, and grammar errors.
- Find a signature style…and stick to it—Decide how you want to be perceived and find a caption style and voice to match.
- Focus on your followers— If you want to Instagram to work for you, you’ve got to make sure that you are sharing images and captions that will be appreciated by your followers.
When you want your Instagram captions (and all of your social media efforts) to get the results you’re looking for, talk to the experts at Solamar.