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How to Write Good Instagram Captions

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How to write good instagram captions

To outwit the competition and gain followers on Instagram, marketers often put emphasis on posting great pictures and videos. However, if you don’t treat captions just as seriously, you might be missing a chance to engage your followers even more. The right captions can add context to the photo, attract user’s attention, and ultimately engage them. Read on for tips on how to write a good Instagram caption and real-life examples to get inspired.

Why You Need to Write Instagram Captions

Creating beautiful visuals on Instagram is the first step towards gaining users’ attention and increasing your reach. But to boost engagement rates, this alone might not be sufficient. Write a good caption to provide more context for the users to make them stop the scroller and spend more time with your content. They can encourage likes, comments, and clicks if you insert the right call to action. 

Microblogging on Instagram is also a chance to show off your brand’s voice and personality, build stronger relationships with followers and boost brand loyalty. You can share your business story, tell more about yourself and connect with users on a deeper level, like in the example below. 

Microblogging in captions on Instagram
@makethesloganbigger using microblogging in captions on Instagram

This all can boost audience’s engagement, which is important for Instagram to order content in users’ feeds. Recently, Instagram abandoned chronological feed in favor of ranked feed, so now posts are served based on their engagement and not only timeliness. With enough engagement, your posts might even show up on the Explore page and reach a wider audience.

How to Create Great Instagram Captions

Caption Instagram pictures to engage the audience and entice them to take action. Check out our instagram caption tricks that will help you make users stay longer on your page and boost engagement.

1. Start From Your Campaign Goals

Creating a great caption starts with determining your campaign goals. Some of the common goals include:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Promoting a product
  • Collecting user-generated content
  • Boosting engagement
  • Driving traffic to your blog

Then, create content that will help reach the desired objective. For example, launch a branded hashtag campaign to collect user-generated content or encourage followers to check out your website with an enticing call to action.

2. Create an Enticing First Line

The first line is what can make it or break it when attracting the attention of users. While Instagram captions can include up to 2,200 characters, the platform shortens your text after a couple of lines. If you want people to read your whole caption, include the most important details in the very beginning and give them the reason to tap “More”.

Lead with the hook and spark your readers’ curiosity with an intriguing sentence, just like WanderingEarl in his post below. 

Enticing lines in captions on Instagram
@wanderingearl starts captions with a great line that catches attention

If you don’t have an amusing line to start with, write one sentence that will sum up the caption and describe your visual, like in the post by uncornered_market. 

@uncornered_market sums up captions with one line
@uncornered_market sums up captions with one line

To make sure your first line is separated from the rest of the content, you can use special symbols, like The Blonde Abroad.

@theblondeabroad separates the first line in captions
@theblondeabroad separates the first line in captions

3. Structure Long Captions

Microblogging is a great way to provide context and engage the audience. However, long captions might be uncomfortable to read, especially on mobile devices. To avoid that, add line breaks to divide text into paragraphs, like in the example below from Alexinwanderland. 

Line breaks in captions on Instagram
@alexinwanderland adds line breaks to make captions more readable

You can also start each new line with symbols of emojis, to make the text more interactive, like The hosteller. 

using emojis in captions
@thehosteller uses emojis to make text more interactive

4.Use Emojis

A great idea how to caption Instagram posts and draw readers’ eyes in is to use emojis in your captions. They can stand in for entire words and keep your text short. On the other hand, emojis can also help make a long copy easier to read and more entertaining. Even serious brands like Expedia use emojis to animate their captions or direct users to take action. However, it’s important to not overdo it with a mix of all kinds of emojis.

@expedia animating captions with emojis

5. Ask a Question

Asking followers a question in the captions is an excellent opportunity to trigger discussion and drive comments and engagement. You may test the knowledge of your audience or simply ask them to share experience or opinion. Make sure to respond to all the comments you get to show appreciation for the time users spend commenting on your profile and keep the ball rolling. 

For example, in the post by uncornered_market, captions include a question about the COVID influence on users’ travel plans, which many can relate to. 

asking a question in captions
@uncornered_market asking a question in captions

6. Use Calls to Action

Make sure to include a relevant call to action to each of your posts. This will help encourage engagement and keep up the conversation, which, in turn, will be a positive indicator for the Instagram algorithm. For example, ask the audience to:

  • Click the link in your bio.
encouraging to click the link in bio
@theblondeabroad encouraging to click the link in bio
  • Invite followers to check your Stories
inviting to check out the Stories
@theblondeabroad inviting to check out the Stories
  • Follow you on social media and turn on notifications
encouraging to follow
@explorerstreasure encouraging to follow and turn on notifications
  • DM you for more details
  • Leave a comment
inviting users to leave a comment
@skyscanner inviting users to leave a comment
  • Tag a friend
  • Participate in a contest
  • Use your brand hashtag
using branded hashtag
@skyscanner using branded hashtag

To strengthen your call to action, add a reason for people to follow your hashtag. For example, write “click the link so that you can find…” or “enter the contest to win…” to encourage action.

Moreover, it’s important to highlight the call to action so that it doesn’t get lost in the captions. Create a custom font with special tools like IGfonts.io and use capital letters, emojis, and other symbols, etc.

7. Add Hashtags

Hashtags help organize your content and increase your reach. They allow you to connect with your target audience more efficiently and find posts that they create about you. If your account is public, any users who search for that hashtag will be able to find your post. 

For that to happen, you need to place hashtags that your audience would look for. Make sure to post both popular and specific hashtags to maximize your reach and create branded hashtags to encourage user-generated content. If you need some inspiration, open up a new post and start typing your hashtag to see Instagram suggestions. While using as many of them as possible may seem tempting, too many hashtags will crowd your caption and make it look untidy. So, try to limit yourself to four or so. 

Another important thing is to add hashtags at the end of your copy, because if users see them too soon, they might click away and won’t stay on your page long enough. Essentially, there are two ways to hide them:

  1. Use line breaks, periods, or symbols to separate hashtags from the content.
separating hashtags from main text
@uncornered_market separating hashtags from main text
  1. Place hashtags in the first comment below the post. When people leave comments, the hashtags won’t be visible unless one presses “See all.”
using hashtags in the first comment
@skyscanner using hashtags in the first comment

8. Share Instructions

A great way to caption a photo on Instagram and catch users’ attention is to share instructions or tips that will educate your audience. This will make the post more likely to be shared or saved.

sharing instructions in captions
@expertvagabond sharing instructions in captions

9. Tell a Story

Instagram allows you to write over 2,000 characters in a post’s caption, so you may take advantage of that and share a story worth listening to. For example, tell about your experience, share your readers’ story, etc. Adding personality will make the post look genuine and help spark your audience’s interest. In the post below, the blogger shares a small story behind the photo.

sharing a story
@wanderingearl sharing a story behind the photo

10. Cross-Promote Other Social Channels

Instagram is only one of many social networks, and you can use captions to cross-promote other social channels. And if your followers are on any of them, they might also join you there. 

11. Add Captions to Stories

Add a caption to your Story to catch your viewers’ attention. Many people watch Stories without sound, so by including captions you’ll make sure they still get what you say and may even turn up the volume. The text can be informative, intriguing, or encouraging to take action. And in case there are people with hearing impairment, captions will make your Stories user-friendly for everyone.

adding captions to Stories
@theblondeabroad adding captions to Stories

You can simply write the text in the Stories or use dedicated tools. Clipomatic and Threads from Instagram automatically add subtitles when you record lives. Caption This will create captions for recorded videos, so you can just upload your content and get subtitles generated in just a few moments. 

12. Share Quotes

You can also use captions to share a smart quote.

sharing a quote
@alexinwanderland sharing a quote in captions

What Is the Ideal Caption Length?

Instagram offers the maximum count of 2,200 characters and up to 30 hashtags for a post. However, it doesn’t mean you need to take up all that space. Provide context where necessary, but if your picture or video speak for themselves, keep your copy short. 

What’s more, Instagram only displays the first couple of lines in captions, so if you want your whole text to be visible right away, stick to 125 characters or less.

How to Create Great Instagram Captions

When experimenting with different captions for your posts, make sure to track analytics and see what works best for your audience. Analyze the number of likes, comments, shares, check the posting time and other metrics that will help evaluate the post’s success. Be sure that the words and tone you use in captions are consistent with your brand’s personality so that you can attract the right audience.