A photo may be worth a thousand words, but what happens when it’s paired with a well thought out caption? Now that’s where the magic happens.
Instagram captions can be a time-suck. You finally perfected your photo and are now staring at a white box wondering what in the world to say. You frantically head to Pinterest searching for an idea, a clever phrase, or a witty quote. Maybe you type a few words, but then immediately erase it because it’s not creative enough, cheeky, or genuine. Next thing you know, a half hour goes by, and you have to move on to the next thing on your endless to-do list without even posting a photo! Ugh.
Trust me, we’ve all been there. Writing Instagram captions can be tedious, but with the right strategy, words will readily flow and your feed will be filled with the quality content it deserves.
Don’t think you have anything important to say? Think again! Boost your Instagram engagement and number of followers with these helpful hints on writing captions worth chatting about.
Pretty pictures drive likes. Compelling captions drive engagement.
Instagram is flooded with a tsunami of beautiful photos. Do you ever feel like your photos just can’t compete? Well, as much pressure as we put on ourselves to have the perfect grid, there is a different way for you to pack a punch with your IG feed.
The power of words is often overlooked, but what is it that differentiates the hundreds of morning coffee posts? The caption.
The caption has the potential to add depth, an intriguing story, or even tricks of the trade. A compelling and well-written caption can make people hit pause on a busy day and ponder (and engage!) beyond hitting the coveted “like” button. The difference between someone double tapping and continuing to scroll, and someone responding with an insightful comment, is a meaningful prompt, question, or thought.
Don’t get me wrong, your photos must grab attention, but the underlying message or true meaning of a photo must be described in the caption. This will allow you to stand out.
Have a purpose
Before you do anything, stop and think.
What is the purpose of my post? Why will it matter to my followers? Is there a story behind this photo I can share?
Make sure you can answer one, if not all, of these questions before you hit share (and include it in the caption!). Become familiar with your followers by paying attention to what they respond to. What photos do they like and what captions do they comment on? Once you begin to recognize what resonates with your audience, write content directly driven to capture their attention.
However, trying to switch things up constantly can get tiring.
Good news! You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel - it’s okay to repurpose ideas or have a daily theme that you base your posts off of every week. You can dedicate a specific hashtag to certain days such as #MotivationMonday or #TipTuesday, or maybe every Wednesday you post a behind the scenes photo of your business and Fridays you share memories from trips you’ve taken. Having a weekly plan makes life much easier!
Do you know which words are the most important in your caption? The ones that fill the first three lines - the rest will only be seen by people intrigued to hit “more.” Within the first seconds of reading a caption, you must tug at heartstrings, spark a question, make a person laugh, or make them say, “Oh, this is totally me! I can definitely relate.” The most important words of a caption must go in the beginning (hook em’!).
Thought-provoking captions encourage conversation and ignite lasting and rewarding relationships with your followers.
At the end of the day, people follow people, not businesses.
Share your struggles, your successes, things that make you happy, and your daily routines. If you are real, people will want to follow you. If people can relate to your captions, they will, in turn, engage with your account and establish a relationship with not only you but also your business.
By letting your guard down and being a bit more personal, you will remind people that you are more than just a perfectly curated Instagram feed. People can tell when you’re not open and honest. When writing captions, take the time to sit and think, and be vulnerable. Don’t be afraid to open up about the experiences you’ve gone through to get you where you are today.
Call to action
Engagement is your golden ticket to gaining more followers. To show up in people’s feeds, you have to prove your content is worthy. The more comments, the higher the chance your post will be seen. But what if you have little to no engagement as it is? No worries. Below is a list of ways to begin a conversation with followers and customers alike. Add these “call to actions” to your captions and prepare to see engagement skyrocket!
- Tag three friends!
- Share your biggest struggle below!
- Head to the link in my profile!
- Comment below with your favorite ______.
- When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? Comment below!
- Head over to @______ and check out their incredible business!
- What do you recommend when it comes to _____?
Although sometimes intimidating, hashtags are crucial when it comes to increasing engagement and reaching a wider audience. Posts with at least one hashtag receive 12.6 percent more engagement.
For every Instagram post, you can use 30 hashtags. That means you have 30 opportunities to find and attract followers - might as well seize them all! I recommend using both long and short tags as well as broad and narrow, or local tags, such as the town you are in. Incorporating a variety of hashtags ensures your post is seen by multiple target audiences.
Find a group of hashtags to use on a regular basis. This will be your go-to list of consistent tags that correlate with the majority of your feed. Keep them in your notes so you can simply copy and paste into your caption. However, make sure to also include hashtags specific and unique to each post.
You can build upon your group of hashtags by utilizing the search bar in Instagram. Simply type in a tag, select it, and above all the photos you will see a list of related tags. This is an easy way to discover hashtags that are specific to your industry or niche and already in use. Check out other accounts in your field to see what they are using as well!
While hashtags should always be relevant to your photo and caption, it’s nice to bury them. There are two ways to do so:
After you have written your full caption, hit the return button on your keyboard and then enter periods, dashes or asterisks followed by your hashtags, or
Click share and then copy and paste your hashtags as the first comment on your post. People will only see them if they wish to see more.
Your Instagram captions have the potential to make or break your posts. If you write them strategically and with a good dose of heart, they can make a world of difference in the way you interact with your followers.
Take the time to create a well thought out caption - if you need to step away, step away, but make sure to come back! Don't just slap a few words together and call it good. Put as much time (or more) into creating a focused and powerful caption as you put into creating the perfect flat lay. Remember, long captions are okay as long as you keep things interesting, but mix it up with a few short and sweet captions every so often (You can spice your caption up with a few emojis too!).
So, what do you think? What different tricks have you tried when it comes to writing captions? I would love to hear what has and hasn't worked! Comment below.