Instagram is hot, and captioning your Instagram photos can determine whether you’re going to get likes or whether your message falls totally flat. If you think that Instagram is “just” a visual platform, you’re missing at least half of the picture. Captions are just as important as imagery in determining whether or not your audience decides to engage with you, so it pays to do some research into effective captioning. You are now competing with over 1 billion Instagram users to get your message out so you’d best have your game on. Today, we’ll walk you through each step you need to create perfect Instagram captions every time.
How to Create Perfect Instagram Captions
Keep Captions Relevant
If you posted an image of a sunset, make sure your caption is relevant to this sunset. Instagram is about cohesion and your images work as the hook to get people to read your caption and then do something you want them to do. Because of this, it is jarring to your audience if your image hints at one thing, but when they get to your write up, they get another.
Keep Captions Short
The end purpose of each Instagram post you put out there should be to get people to perform an action, be that to click thru to a link, make a purchase, comment, etc…If you write a novel as your caption, people may not get to your call-to-action (maybe they will if you are an incredible writer…but for the most part…nope). So, the rule of thumb, keep those captions short, easy to read, and easy to understand.
Include a Call-to-Action
Chances are, if you are reading this post, you are using Instagram for business. That means you have an end goal for your Instagram audience. Tell them very clearly what you want them to do, you would be surprised how effective calls-to-action can be on Instagram. Keep things simple and easy:
- double tap
- let me know your thoughts
- click thru to the link on my profile
Add Your Handle at the End of your CTA
Particularly if your call to action asks your users to click the link on your profile. This will make it so they don’t have to scroll back up to your profile to do so and increases the chances that they will actually click thru.
Ask a Question
One of the best uses of captions is to ask a quick question, again with an eye towards driving engagement with your followers. Questions such as ‘What do you have planned for today?’ or ‘What are you doing this weekend?’ tend to garner more interest as people love to talk about themselves! It’s all about getting those likes and comments on your post.
A Few More Instagram Tips
Instagram, like other highly-social platforms like Twitter, thrives on interaction. When someone comments on your image or video, comment back! Go check out their page, like a few posts — and you’re likely to have a friend for life, or at least a few weeks until someone else engages with them and catches their eye. Instagram friendships can be incredibly short-lived but they can also be very helpful if you make the right kinds of friends, such as those with big accounts.
Carefully Pick Your Hashtags
Yes, hashtags make your posts discoverable. Think of them as Instagram SEO. They can add to the conversation when used judiciously. Most importantly, they help your post get found. We’re all not Taylor Swift who can post with zero hashtags and receive instant love and comments. While some experts say that the magic number is no more than 2-3 hashtags per post, we completely disagree.
Since adding more hashtags can make it incredibly difficult to read, make sure to add them in the comments section. This will keep legibility on point.
A nice tip is to check Wikipedia. Search the subject of your post and check out all the bolded and linked words. These are the ideal tags to get you found by a relevant audience. We’ve got more cool hashtag tips here.
Brush Off Those Puns
Short, clean and witty — three important rules of Instagram captions! When users can “block” you with very little effort and report with only one additional click, it pays to keep your nose clean. Humor also pays, especially when someone is scrolling quickly through your feed and comes across a humorous little note that makes them snort, and then double-tap. They might even be amused enough to head over to your account and check out more of your content or follow you. In a perfect world, the content will be so good that they’ll instantly #repost it.