The Ultimate Guide to Writing Good Instagram Captions

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Currently, everywhere people are observing self-isolation due to the recent Coronavirus outbreak. Celebrities, bloggers, influencers and sports personalities are in isolation as the rest of the world. At this time, the only outlet people have is social media. They are using these platforms to interact with their audiences more than ever. Every now and then, you might receive a notification from your favourite public figure who is going live on Instagram. Just yesterday, Sophie Turner and husband Joe Jonas interacted with their audience for almost for 45-minutes. Just through Instagram live sessions.

Safe to say, now is your chance to learn a thing or two about Instagram and social media in general as well.

People are actively using social media, especially Instagram while interacting with their fans. Celebrities such as John Legend and Chris Martin even had an online concert to stay connected with their fans and keep them entertained during this critical time. Safe to say, now is your chance to shine on Instagram as well.

Photo by Hans Vivek on Unsplash

If you are an influencer or a blogger who is looking for ways to use Instagram to build an audience, this is the right time for you as well. And even for businesses: 

Instagram happens to be one of the most effective social media tools for business to promote businesses. You can probably take out time and learn some basics about Instagram as well. Let’s start with captions.

Why Is Understanding Instagram Important? 

“Instagram is a very technical social media platform once you start understanding it. It is not as simple as it looks – the algorithms alone can change the entire game of your profile”, says a letter writer online from WritingMetier. Keep reading this piece as we will try to guide you exactly the game behind captions on Instagram.

There’s no denying how social media is one of the most important weapons used by brands and individuals for massive promotion and engagement. Look at the Kardashians, for example. Kylie Jenner is one of the richest women in the world, all thanks to her social media following and reach.

People using Instagram as a source of their promotion need to understand the ways of drawing the attention of their users while getting maximum, and the most possible shares, comments, likes and views. However, all of this does not happen under days…unless you are Jennifer Aniston who broke Instagram through her first post.

Now, this does not mean that you start spending money on your profile and resort for fake means to earn reputation and reach on your profile. These could include buying fake followers. Trust us, Instagram eventually finds this out as well. 

Conclusively, people who invest money on their campaigns find it going all down the drain. The key here is being consistent. Instagram requires you to be consistent with your followers as it helps you in building an audience. One needs to work on their posts every other day. Make new ones, fix the old ones; this is something that requires a lot of work and attention.

Coming back to what’s important on Instagram, your caption. Why? And how can you make the right caption? That’s what we will be talking about in this article. Keep in mind, this will be a long post.

So, Why Are Instagram Captions SO Important?

If you are a writer, you might already be aware of how important words are. Generally, taking over Instagram as a writer might be easy for you. Then again, you need to learn some technicalities of this application. Captions get that little extra information people are looking to know about through the picture you have posted. When needed, a caption gives people the information they are looking for. Every picture has a story – why not explain it through the caption option you are given?

For instance, you have shared an infographic regarding a recent study or research. To give the correct idea regarding the sample, its size and the reason behind the research, you need to talk to the readers about it. How can you do that? Through your caption. Now, there is no need to write long captions. No one has time to read that. If people wanted to read captions, they might as well Google the research paper or read the newspaper. Play around with the important keywords, keep it to the point and that’s it. If you feel you can wrap it up in 2 to 3 sentences, then be done with it.

However, if you are ACTUALLY telling a story, then even long paragraphs work. Take the famous Humans of New York (HONY) for example. Through a single picture and long narration of stories, they have built a concrete audience and continue to grow. Bottom line? Know your audience and see what they like. Speaking of which, how do you know your audience? Let’s move to that.

View this post on Instagram

“I woke up with a gasp in the back of an ambulance. They’d shot adrenaline directly into my heart. Apparently I’d been dead for 2.5 minutes. The EMT’s were freaking out. My chest hurt from the electric paddles. And I was already in acute withdrawal. At the time, it had been nearly twenty years of addiction. I weighed 128 pounds, and I’m a six foot tall man. There comes a point when you’re given the gift of desperation. And that was it for me. Today is my 160th day clean. I’ve never gone this far before. One of the first things I did after getting sober was write my son a letter. He was raised by my parents. I told him: ‘You did nothing wrong. I was an addict. I loved heroin more than you, more than your mother, more than my own mother.’ And he’s forgiven me. He’s a good hearted kid. I think more than anything he just wants his dad back. He came to visit me in November. It was the first time I’ve seen him in seven years. He’s become my biggest advocate. He knows my day count. He texts me every day for a feelings check. He’s become my biggest motivation. I just don’t want my legacy to be ‘dope fiend.’ That can’t be what’s on my headstone. That can’t be how he remembers me. I don’t want my kids telling their kids: ‘Your grandfather was a heroin addict.’ I want them to brag about my sobriety. I want them to say: ‘That’s something he was, but he beat it.’”

A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on

Know Who Your Audience Is

Without knowing the audience of your account, and the sort of content they like to see or read, you will not be able to create a good account. Your followers are the ones who are allowing you to be on their space – they will like and content on the posts you make, while making sure that your platform stays alive as well. Therefore, your responsibility would be to make sure that you create the content which meets the satisfaction of your audience. Now, are captions important when figuring out your audience? Absolutely yes. Your images would just be empty if you do not add anything important in the content element. People will fail to understand the context or the purpose of the picture.

For example, if you want to talk about fitness, you have to make sure your captions are educating your audience. They need to read something regarding fitness, tips on diet, workout gimmicks and so on. If all of a sudden you start posting about fashion, it might get your audience a bit off track. However, there are no hard and fast rules here. Play around, build and audience and stay consistent.

Consider the Length of Your Captions

As mentioned earlier in this article as well, you do not put out huge articles or long sentences when posting your Instagram post. Then again, it should not be too small either. Now here’s your task: to find the perfect balance between “too small” or “too big”. It is not necessarily that your caption complements the image you are posting – you can play around and use it as an attention grabber. Post the image and talk about something else if you want to, but make sure it is in the right length. Sometimes anything as random as a “star” followed by a quote could be it.

When it comes to the length of the caption, there is no perfect and right formula. You would see celebrity getting thousands of likes with just an emoji as their caption. The trick here, however, would be the image. That could alone be enough to get their attention. Try to be adaptive on your different posts and do not follow the same protocol for all. For instance, if you are sharing a video, keep the text minimal as your audience should be focused on the content in the video. Give a little background in the caption and let the video content do the rest of the magic.

Start Your Caption with the Most Important Piece of Information in the Caption

The biggest problem faced by social media users and marketers, in general, is not being able to capture the attention of people. Users tend to scroll through the timelines really quickly. In that case, you have to make sure that sticks out, so they stop their quick scrolling, stop at your post, read and interact with it. Now how can you do that? Your caption, again, plays a huge role in how this can be done. You first need to make users understand why your post is important for them. You can different a font, something new font from the internet or use of a different emoji. People tend to stop at something different than the usual content they see. So, get your creative cap on and grab the attention of the masses from the start of your caption. 

If Needed, Rewrite and Edit     

As this article has all been about captions, you would need to spend some time fixing it as well. Read it again and again, make the needed changes and fix the errors. There is no harm in being conscious – being sure you have conveyed the message clearly goes a long way in your favour.

Be open to the mistakes you will make and learn something from them.

Using Hashtags in the Captions

The oldest trick in social media marketing is hashtags. Not only Instagram, but Twitter is big on hashtags as well. Be it a personal hashtag or a brand-influence hashtag, they hold a huge influence. And this has been the case since these apps started functioning. In social media, hashtags play a very important role. Hashtags allow brands to point the post globally, through the global panels and trends. With a search on the hashtag, your post can appear to the masses as well. Now, you do not have to flood your caption with hashtags. Play around wisely, integrate them in the end and you are good. Use the right hashtag, the right spellings and make sure they fit the word count you like to keep for your suitable audience.

If you have a huge audience of your own, you are in the position to have your own personalized hashtag as well. Celebrities do that all the time – before launching a new song, or album, they make a hashtag around it and voila! It gets the job done for them. Your audience starts posting the hashtag as well. If you want to do that, make sure that it is a creative hashtag.

Photo by Don Agnello on Unsplash

Don’t Forget, Call-to-Action in the Captions is Equally Important!

 For Instagram giveaway or contest posts, call to action is a brilliant way to increase your audience. When you are involved with a massive, huge audience, your responsibility not only includes giving out information but also to make sure you reward the audience for giving you what you the traffic. For instance, if you are asking them to like or share your Insta post, why should they do that? To reward them, post a small giveaway contest. 

Popular bloggers collaborate with other popular bloggers and do giveaways that normally includes, “tag 4 friends who are not following this account and them to follow to enter the competition”. This increase your audience and the general traffic on your account. Audiences always enjoy participating in such contests. After all, tagging 4 to 5 friends takes just a minute. In return, they can test their luck and earn a nice giveaway.

Think About Putting a Question in Your Caption

Marketing 101 teaches us about an icebreaker; any activity that breaks the ice and people start engaging. In the Instagram world, this could mean putting a question at the start of the caption. A question which grasps their attention, makes them think and then, the urge to stay on your post and see what the curiosity is all about.

Questions in captions are very common on social media now. It is a great technique to make your audience stay on your profile. Right now, you landed on this article while Googling, “how to write the right caption for Instagram?” right? So, the answers struck out and you stayed this long. This is what your audience will do as well.

Instagram is a really interesting social media platform if used in the right capacity. When it comes to captions, it is not difficult to find the right mix for your content and profile. Just stick to the basics we shared above, and you will be good to go. Remember, you need to be consistent and stick to the main niche of your profile. 

Hopefully, you will one day ace your Instagram game and find the right mix for the captions as well. Become the storyteller you always wanted to be and see how it benefits you and your social media towards growth. Make sure that your posts resonate with your captured audience. Use the above-mentioned tips carefully and see yourself as an influencer in no time!

Vasy Kafidoff is an avid writer and CEO at, who likes to talk about social media trends and how consumers can use them for their benefit. Aside from that, he is passionate about cooking and believes all cuisine of food are incomparable.

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