The image itself may be the focus — and most important aspect — of your Instagram post, but the caption is an integral part of the success of your post and should never be overlooked.
An effective caption can boost engagement, encourage action, allow users to see the image with a different perspective, or explain aspects of the image that may be unclear from just looking at it. An ineffective caption, on the other hand, can discourage users from engaging with the post, confuse them, or even deter them from following your account. In other words, a caption can make or break your Instagram post.
So, this section will examine tips and ideas for writing a good Instagram caption to ensure that you are making the most of your captions and utilizing their potential to increase your posts’ engagement. Here are some ideas for what to include in your caption:
1. Ask for comments on your photos and videos. This is a simple way to encourage engagement — simply ask your followers what they think of the post, what their opinion on that topic is, or tag a friend who might enjoy that post.
Ask questions that open up the conversation in the comments; this will likely lead to a high engagement rate. For example, Oreo posted the following picture of their Birthday Cake flavored cookie and told followers to tag a friend with a January birthday in the comments.
This not only encouraged engagement from the brand’s followers but prompted them to share the post with other users, allowing the post to be viewed by an exponentially larger number of people.
2. Ask questions about your brand or products. You could ask your followers if they have tried a new product that you’ve released yet, or if they have used one of your products today. For example, if you have a seasonal product range, such as the holiday drinks at Starbucks, ask users if they’re excited for them to become available or which one is their favorite.
Asking followers to comment on their favorites is a great way to not only encourage engagement and market your products, but also encourages positive comments, rather than possible negative ones. You could also ask your followers an opinion-related question such as “What would you wear with these shoes?”
3. Direct users to the link in your profile. If you are utilizing the clickable link in your bio by updating it to current or relevant content, let your users know in the caption that you’ve added a new link. For example, say something like “To learn more, click the link in our bio.”
This is especially beneficial if you are posting a photo or video of a product and want to encourage followers to purchase the product — you can provide a shoppable link in your bio and write “To shop this product, follow the link in the bio” in your caption.
4. Offer additional insight or supporting data. This is probably a no-brainer; the caption is the perfect place to provide your followers with more information on the content of the photo or video, supporting data, or unique insight that they might not know otherwise. For example, if you post a photo of some industry leaders or members of your team, you will want to include the names of those people in the caption and more information about who they are and their accomplishments.
5. Encourage action. If your image features a product, you can encourage users to purchase the product by saying something like “Go and get your hands on one of these today!” and then provide additional information such as the website to visit to purchase, the price of the product, etc.
You can also encourage followers to take action by donating if you are a non-profit, or to attend a brand or industry-related event. For example, you could post an image of your team setting up the event, or a shot of the venue, and say “Join us today at 5 pm for interesting conversations, important connections, great refreshments, and more!”
6. Use “fill in the blank” sentences. A good way to encourage engagement with your post and you’re your followers the opportunity to offer their own insight is to use a fill-in-the-blank sentence such as “My favorite way to start my day is ______” under a photo of someone enjoying your product in the morning. Followers can then comment on their own personal morning routines in the comment.
This will allow followers to associate your product with their morning routines without being too forward or aggressive with your marketing.
Some tips for writing an effective caption:
1. Keep them fairly brief. Lengthy captions that seem to drag on can be very off-putting to Instagram users and could prevent users from following your account; it could even cause them to ignore the caption altogether and thus reduce the chances of them liking or engaging with the post. The best route to increase chances of engagement and overall account followers is to keep your Instagram caption short and to-the-point so that users can quickly grasp your message without having to spend a considerable amount of time reading the caption. If you’re looking to grow your followers fast, you always have the option to get cheap instagram followers.
2. Limit your hashtags.
I blogged about how to find the best Hashtags for Likes for Instagram here. We will cover hashtags in-depth in just a few sections, but a good tip is to have no more than three to five hashtags in your caption. If you want to use more, it may be a good idea to include them in a comment right after you post the image, rather than in the caption itself so that they do not appear unless the user clicks on the comments, but still allow your post to be searchable by those hashtags.
3. Grab your reader’s attention. As with any form of writing, captions are most effective when they immediately grab the reader’s attention in the first sentence. Otherwise, if the first sentence isn’t eye-catching or does not pique the reader’s interest, they may stop reading and skip the rest of the caption — or the whole post altogether.
4. Stand out. Try to make each caption unique and relevant to your brand, particularly for posts that have common or trending content that could easily be lost in a sea of similar posts. For example, on a holiday post, try to post something beyond “Our company wishes you happy holidays!” and aim for a holiday greeting that is unique to you or incorporates elements of your brand.
For example, a company that sells coffee could say something like “Nothing says ‘Merry’ like celebrating good company over a hot cup of delicious coffee. We hope you are enjoying one with your loved ones today! Happy Holidays!”
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