What makes up your typical Instagram post? A good looking photo and a caption of text to go with it. But because of the visual-centric nature of Instagram, more often than not, you’ll find that the captions of many Instagram posts are left by the wayside.
But in fact, your captions play an important role in the overall content of your Instagram page.
How? Captions provide context and additional information about the photo or video you’re posting. A picture says 1000 words but it doesn’t say everything!
So how can you make sure your captions actually add to your image and don’t become worthless lines of text?
Here’s 8 of our best tips on how to write good captions!
Tip 1: Start with a great opening line
If you’re using Instagram on your phone – and you most likely are – then you’ll know that only a small portion of captions are shown on your Instagram feed. That’s why it’s super important for your captions to start off with a bang!
Put everything you want to say in the first couple of lines. If your caption is outlining a special sale you might want to open up with the discount you’re offering.
Front-load your captions with the most important information and you’ll find your engagement will go up as a result.
Tip 2: Include a call to action
Depending on the goals of your Instagram strategy you’ll want your audience to do something after seeing your posts. You might want them to go to your profile where a clickable link will drive traffic to your website. Or you might want to grow your followers by asking them to tag their friends in your post.
Either way, you’ll need a call to action (CTA) which encourages people to do so.
Popular CTAs can include things like ‘don’t miss out, head to our website’ or ‘find out more – link in bio’.
Discover more Mario by clicking on the link in their bio! Source: @nintendoaunz
If your goal is to grow engagement and build relationships with your followers, try asking them a question to encourage them to leave comments and share their opinions.
Tip 3: Use emojis and have fun
Captions don’t need to be so rigid and serious. Have some fun with it! As long as the language you use aligns with your brand voice (more on that later) don’t be afraid to address your audience casually and jokingly.
Emojis are perfect for this! Emojis have the same equivalent as body language. They add a splash of colour and personality to your captions so be sure to use them when you can!
Good emoji use goes a long way. Source: @starbucks
Just always keep in mind not to go overboard with your emoji use (nobody likes an emoji spammer) and not to step over the line if you are writing casual and witty captions.
Tip 4: Don’t forget about your brand voice
We mentioned this in the previous point but it’s worth saying again because it’s so important in learning how to write good captions – make sure your captions align with your brand’s voice and tone.
What does this mean exactly?
You want to ensure your captions sound like your brand. If your brand uses formal, professional language on your other channels (such as your website) you want to ensure you’re using the same tone on your captions.
If you stray too far from your brand’s voice and tone, you can end up with a disjointed brand image which only serves to confuse your followers.
Tip 5: Make smart use of hashtags
Hashtags are an important part of any Instagram marketing strategy. They help categorise your content, making it easier for Instagram users to find it. There are many types of hashtags you can use but it’s important to use them wisely.
Make sure the hashtags you use are relevant to your brand. Also try to to stuff your captions with hashtags. Not only do they look bad but they also signal to Instagram that your content isn’t worth sharing – even if it is!
Brand hashtags are great – but don’t overdo them! Source: @hungryjacksau
While it’s recommended to use 11 – 20 hashtags in total, we suggest using 3- 4 hashtags max in the actual caption, then hiding the rest using periods or placing them in the comments of your post.
Tip 6: The length of your captions
What’s better, short or long captions?
It is generally recommended that captions are kept short and sweet. While captions are great for context and additional information, you want the main focus to be on the image of your post.
That’s not to say however, that there’s no place for long captions. Depending on your audience and your content you might find that your captions need to explain more than what the image can say.
Examples include a recipe for a food post, a workout routine on a fitness post or competition rules for giveaways.
Converse uses a long caption to explain the material of it’s new sneakers. Source: @converse
Take a look at your image and ask yourself ‘what else do I need to say to my followers?’. You’ll figure out how long your captions need to be depending on your answer!
Tip 7: Write drafts of your captions
Learning how to write good captions usually doesn’t come naturally. Chances are you’ll need to write a couple of versions of your captions to nail that awesome line.
When you’re planning your Instagram posts, try writing multiple captions to see which one will eventually work best with your image.
You can write them down on a separate Google doc or in the Instagram planner of your choice.
Tip 8: Provide value with your captions
Last, but not in any way the least, your caption should provide value. Whether you’re learning how to write good captions or creating great content in general, you want to be providing answers, solutions and value to your audience.
What do valuable captions look like?
They might come in the form of helpful tips, a detailed tutorial or an informative guide to a topic of your choice. Even if your captions are light-hearted and witty, you’re still providing value in the form of fun and entertainment.
Level up your Instagram game by learning how to write good captions!
By incorporating these 8 tips into your caption writing, you’ll be well on your way to creating valuable content that will drive engagement with your Instagram followers. Want to learn more ways to improve your Instagram marketing strategy? Come on over to the ZipZipe blog where you’ll find the info you need to move your brand forward today!