True, Instagram is about pictures and videos! The quality of the visual content shared is a huge differentiating factor that helps gain followership. However, the most impressive visual is incomplete without an engaging story to go along with it. The caption of the Instagram post tells the audience the story behind the visual, adding context to the post.
Besides, an effective caption offers an opportunity to spark conversations and trigger desirable actions. It also allows you to connect with your community. All of these factors are needed to beat the Instagram algorithm. Simply put, a strong visual can attract attention but its caption is what will drive engagement and conversions.
Table of Contents:
- What are Instagram captions, you ask?
- 1. Identify Your Brand Voice
- 2. Tailor the Caption to the Audience Persona
- 3. Write a Kickass Sentence #1
- 4. Engage in Storytelling
- 5. Focus on the What is in it for me (WIIFM)
- 6. Don’t Forget to Include a Strong CTA
- 7. Count on Caption-Generating Tools
- 8. Caption lenght
- Summing Up
What are Instagram captions, you ask?
Notice the written description that gives context to this post by Colorbar Cosmetics? That’s an Instagram caption.
A great Instagram caption shares the context of the visual, highlights brand personality, entertains/ educates/ engages the audience, and persuades followers to take action. Instagram allows up to 2,200 characters for captions. Text, emojis, and hashtags can be creatively combined to create an impressive caption for Instagram posts.
Why do captions matter for Instagram users?
Creatively-written captions exhibit an individual’s creativity and mental sharpness. Everyone likes stories that bring a smile to their faces or share an ‘ah-ha’ moment. Further, captions help users to understand and connect with you on a deeper level.
Creative copywriting is an art that can be the difference between a scroller moving on or clicking through to your business website.
Why should businesses care about Instagram captions?
A catchy caption that carries exceptional copy, context, and value can go a long way in attracting attention and engaging your Instagram audience. Captions are good for the Instagram algorithm as they have the power to stop or slow scrollers in their track and persuade them to spend time on your post. In fact, if the scroller stops by and taps on ‘More,’ your post will perform better on the Instagram algorithm.
Instagram is constantly updating its algorithm to show users what they care about the most. Captions have the power to influence the engagement factors that impact feed ranking, such as views, comments, likes, and shares. Creating effective and engaging captions is one sure shot method to make the algorithm work in your favor.
So, without further ado, let’s dig into how we can write engaging captions that drive conversions.
1. Identify Your Brand Voice
To begin with, your caption should reflect what your brand stands for. Note down a few adjectives that describe your brand and use them to create relevant and catchy captions.
For instance, the brand Nike is known to embody ‘inspiration’, ‘motivation’, and ‘optimism’. Notice how all their captions exhibit the brand personality and voice effectively.
Similarly, brands like Lego do a wonderful job of keeping their captions light and whimsy (yet creative!) as that’s what it stands for.
So, stick to your brand voice and create a caption that not just exhibits your personality but also entertains your audience.
2. Tailor the Caption to the Audience Persona
An Instagram caption should speak to the target audience, engage them, and drive them to take the desired action. To achieve this, you need to know who your audience is.
What’s your audience persona? Craft a razor-sharp audience persona to understand your target audience better. What’s their age group? What’s their professional background and social/financial status? What are their interests? Answers to these questions will help you understand your audience persona and write a caption that meets their needs and expectations.
3. Write a Kickass Sentence #1
If you have a brand story to share (more on this later!), begin with the most important and persuasive words. The first sentence of your caption should be compelling and relevant enough to hook viewers and persuade them to tap ‘More.’
Save the brand mentions and hashtags for the end. Convey the key point and the call to action within the visible space in the Instagram user feed (before ‘More’). That way you give your viewer a reason to tap ‘More’ and take the desired action (like, comment, or click on the link in the bio).
Notice how Colorbar Cosmetics excels at this. The first sentence carries the key message, persuading the audience to know more about the product.
4. Engage in Storytelling
Everyone loves a story! Telling a story about the visual will help your audience connect with you at a deeper level. A story evokes emotions and adds a human face to your brand, making it relatable to your audience.
Notice how Pendleton Woolen Mills, an American textile manufacturing company, shares engaging stories related to its products.
Add spice and personality to your Instagram posts by sharing a compelling, thought-provoking, or humorous story. In fact, most brands take their audience engagement to the next level by asking followers to share their stories and experiences.
5. Focus on the What is in it for me (WIIFM)
When talking to your audience, it’s always about ‘what is in it for me’ (WIIFM). Add value to your Instagram captions by sharing interesting and helpful information with your audience.
Notice how Elbe Couture House, a lifestyle blog, shares interesting tips or facts in most of its Instagram posts. They also manage to add a compelling CTA, driving the audience to their blog.
If you have a useful tip or an interesting fact that relates to your visual, include it in the caption. Sprinkling your caption with such knowledge tidbits will increase the chances of your post being shared or bookmarked.
6. Don’t Forget to Include a Strong CTA
Since Instagram offers one clickable link per account (in the bio), it’s pertinent to add a CTA, directing viewers to your bio to click and take an action. Besides adding a link, you can use other creative variations like ‘Share on your Instagram Stories,’ ‘Tag a friend,’ or ‘Tap to Purchase’ (Instagram Shoppable feature).
A contest or a giveaway is also a great way to inform and engage your audience and persuade them to take action. Check out how Neat, a luxury home organizing company, uses a contest alert to engage viewers and act on their CTA.
Remember – Every caption doesn’t have to fetch sales. It’s about strengthening your relationship and boosting your followership. A CTA will help you close the objective of your post, whether it’s generating sales, improving engagement with your audience, or expanding your follower base.
7. Count on Caption-Generating Tools
Unable to come up with super-creative captions for your posts? Chill! Instagram caption tools can come to your rescue, enabling you to write captivating content that boosts engagement and drives conversions.
Count on online tools like CaptionPlus, TagWag, and Capshun for creative caption suggestions that add a buzz around your posts on Instagram.
8. Caption lenght
Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long.
According to this report, around 95% of posts had captions with a length of fewer than 1000 characters.
So, how long should my Instagram caption be?
By analyzing the chart below, we can see that the engagement rate increases as the captions get longer, and is highest for posts between 1,000 and 2,000 characters.
But, what about hashtags?
Hashtags are a great tool to make your posts easier to find and connect a wide audience who is interested in or talking about the same topic or brand. However, a new report has shown that using too many hashtags can make your Instagram post look spammy and you could be penalized for that.
Check this out! According to this report, Instagram posts with no hashtags were rewarded with the highest average number of engagements. Further, the engagement rate dropped with the increase in the number of hashtags.
So, don’t rely on hashtags to drive engagement. You don’t need hashtags to create an awesome caption. Awesome and relevant content and visuals should do the job!
Notice how big brands and celebrities don’t depend on hashtags to increase engagement or views on Instagram.
Instagram allows 30 hashtags in a post; yet, it’s wise to use not more than four relevant hashtags. Further, unless the hashtag fits naturally in your caption, it’s wise to add it in the end, making the post more appealing user-friendly.
Looking for some inspiration? Here are a few awe-inspiring Instagram posts with great captions.
A carefully crafted Instagram caption can slow the scroll rate, persuading a user to spend more time on your post. Thus, Instagram captions go a long way in boosting your brand presence and conversions.
Take inspiration from the tips and examples shared in this post to craft an impressive Instagram caption that converts.