As important as high-quality images may be in helping you create a top-notch Instagram account, they’re far from the only thing that drives your social media engagement.
Sure, your photos are what capture users’ attention in the first place, but without a well-written caption to back up your visual content, you could miss out on a golden opportunity to increase engagement on your posts or drive traffic to your website.
So how do you craft good Instagram captions that will help your content become even more engaging? We’re opening our bottle of caption-writing secret sauce to give you the answers.
1) Defining Voice
As any aspiring author could tell you, voice is everything when it comes to creating unique content that will stand out in an overcrowded marketplace. Do your captions match the personality you’re trying to convey through your Instagram posts?
If you’re having trouble deciding on a good voice for your content, use audience research and your brand values as a guide. Carefully examine what style of writing appeals to your target demographic—and take a look at what doesn’t work so you know what to avoid. Even more importantly, make a list of your brand’s top attributes and find ways to translate them to the written word.
Should your focus be humor and whimsy? Interesting and informative? By defining your voice before you begin posting, you’ll create good Instagram captions that match audience expectations.
2) Calls to Action
If you’re serious about using captions to drive engagement, you’ll include a clear call to action as frequently and organically as possible. Your call to action could invite users to click on a link to learn more, or simply ask them to answer a question in the comments section.
For calls to action to be effective, however, they need to be relevant to the rest of your post, and your audience as a whole. Try to ask open-ended questions or ask for comments that will generate meaningful responses and spark conversations. Link to related content. This way, your Instagram post will be the jumping-off point for a deeper brand experience.
3) Finding the Right Length
Determining how much text to include in your caption can be a tricky process. Some popular Instagram accounts, like National Geographic, tend to use lengthy captions that provide in-depth background information regarding their images. Other brands, like GoPro, typically keep things short and sweet.
The short attention span of most social media users means that in general, you’re better off using short concise captions. But this isn’t always the case. If there’s a truly interesting story behind your photo, people will want to read it!
When trying to decide how long a particular caption should be, consider whether or not the additional text adds any useful context or value. In some cases, the image itself already says pretty much everything you’d need to say. In other cases, additional context could make your post even more engaging for your fans. Just make sure you actually do have something interesting to add.
No discussion of good Instagram captions would be complete without hashtags! The 12.6% increase in engagement for posts with at least one hashtag has proven to be one of this social platform’s most popular marketing statistics over the past few years, but that doesn’t mean that just any hashtag will do.
For best results, research hashtags that are relevant to your brand, industry, or the context of your post. Don’t be afraid to create a unique branded hashtag for your post, either!
Of course, it doesn’t do any good to clutter your caption with a wave of hashtags. For best results, select no more than ten of the best possible hashtags for your post, and include most (if not all of them) at the end of your caption. This will keep your post from looking cluttered or spammy, while still helping you attract new audiences.
By focusing on these important elements of writing good Instagram captions, you’ll be able to spark meaningful engagements with your content—generating comments, link clicks, shares, and more.
When you take the time to ensure that the quality of your captions matches the quality of your photos, your account will really take off.