Instagram is a huge, diverse, and growing social platform with a plethora of unique features for users and businesses alike. For brands, it offers a multitude of creative ways to connect with audiences and grow their presence.
But one of the most important aspects of your Instagram strategy is your captions. While Instagram is heavily visual, without a solid caption, your posts won’t go far. With that in mind, five tips for Instagram captions that increase engagement.
Your captions are just one part of your Instagram strategy. Check out some essential do’s and don’ts of running an Instagram business account you need to know.
Now, let’s dive in 🏊♀️
1. Use your characters length wisely 🤓
The current character limit for Instagram is an impressive 2200. But just because you’ve got that many characters to play with, it doesn’t mean you have to use all of them when writing your captions.
The optimum caption length for engagement on Instagram is a hotly debated thing, but as a general rule, the agreed best character length is between 140-150. Compared to the 2200 on offer, that’s not a lot.
Innocent drinks conveying it all in two words.
Consequently, you need to write captions that are clear, concise and deliver value — a surprisingly difficult achievement if you’re not used to writing social copy.
However, there are exceptions to this rule. Long-form captions are increasing in popularity, for instance, especially for influencers, but not every brand can pull them off. Similarly, you might need to outline all the terms and conditions of a contest, thus requiring you to use more characters.
Think about how your caption will appear in visual terms as well. Big dense chunks of copy are hard to read for your followers, so break them up into small paragraphs of a couple of sentences or so.
Hubspot nailing the art of long captioning by being thought-provoking, concise and informative.
2. Load your first sentence with a compelling hook ✍️
Whenever a caption exceeds a set number of characters, Instagram automatically crops it, offering a ‘See More’ button for your followers to click. Consequently, your first sentence needs to be compelling enough to encourage your followers to stop scrolling and actually click to see more.
The hook you use will vary depending on the content. You might tempt them in with an offer of a competition, for instance, or the promise of an exclusive new product or exciting influencer collaboration.
Use power words to elicit emotions and compel your followers to engage with your content. Deliver a stellar first line and hook your audience as they scroll.
3. Deliver genuine value in your caption ✨
I mentioned earlier that the first sentence of your caption should hook your followers and compel them to stop, click in, and read more. But what do you do when you’ve got your audience’s attention? Now it’s time to keep them hooked by delivering genuine value.
Unless you provide real value in the rest of your caption, it doesn’t matter how captivating your first sentence is — you’ll lose your audience.
The kind of value you offer in the rest of your caption should be in line with the goals of your campaign. Perhaps you’re launching a new product or aiming to increase your follower count by a certain amount — regardless of your goal, you should deliver on what your first sentence offers and provide value that both helps you meet your campaign goal and is actually worthwhile for your audience too.
4. Use emojis the right way 🙌
Emojis can be a divisive concept. Many brands use them as a fun way to grab their audience’s attention and engage their followers in a light-hearted way. In other industries, however, emojis can be seen as cheapening to their professional tone and social voice.
Ultimately, whether or not you use emojis is down to your editorial style, industry, and branding. However, if you do opt to use emojis, make sure you use them right.
Use no more than 2 or 2 emojis per post, and make sure they are actually relevant to the surrounding copy. A snowflake emoji in the middle of a post about summer, for instance, can be jarring.
It’s worth building a database of emojis that are approved for usage across each social platform. While it might seem like overkill, it’s a great way to ensure coherent branding across all your social channels.
5. Increase engagement by actively inviting it 👇
Finally, the most simple and easiest way to increase engagement on your Instagram captions? Just actively invite it.
Ask questions in your captions and encourage them to respond to your posts. Offer surveys or ask your followers to offer their own thoughts on a theme or topic. Social media is all about connecting and responding to other people and content, so if you ask for engagement, it’ll happen. Whatever encourages people to comment on your post, it’s worthwhile.
It’s worth including a call-to-action at the end of your caption to compel your followers to actually comment. A quick “comment below with your own XYZ”, for instance, is enough to encourage your audience to actively engage with your content.
While your visuals play an important role in driving engagement with your Instagram strategy, your caption is what gives it meaning. Follow the tips above and write stellar Instagram captions that actually receive real engagement well into 2020.
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