Instagram has simply become too big and too popular to ignore. Perennially ranked as one of the fastest-growing social platforms, Instagram currently boasts well over a billion global users. And with the incorporation of social commerce functions, it’s more relevant than ever before to the interests of small business owners.
When leveraged effectively, Instagram can help you increase website traffic, boost brand awareness, even generate sales. To accomplish these goals, you certainly need high-quality images and videos. But you’ll also need something more than that: Strong captions that engage the user and encourage likes, shares, and other actions.
How to Write Effective Instagram Captions
So, what makes for effective copywriting on this image-driven social platform? There are a few considerations.
1) Front-load your sentences.
When your posts show up in a user’s newsfeed, Instagram will shorten your captions to about three lines. The user may click to expand the caption in order to read the full thing, but not everyone will take the time, especially if those first few lines don’t grab them. All that to say, front-load your captions with interest and with value. Ask a question or make an attention-grabbing statement. Make sure you pack plenty of good stuff into your opening sentence.
2) Encourage action.
Ultimately, you want your Instagram captions to spark some further action. The best way to make that happen is to ask for it, whether by posing a direct question to the user or by providing a clear call to action. Some specific things you can ask Instagram followers to do include:
- Visit a particular link in your bio.
- Leave a comment (usually to answer a specific question posed in the caption).
- Tag a friend (this can help you expand your reach).
- Share their own photo using a specific, branded hashtag.
3) Share insight.
An Instagram caption is not a blog post, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a way to share actionable advice, tips, or insights that are relevant to your field. Indeed, a post that shares real value is much more likely to be bookmarked or shared.
Side note: One of the best ways to generate insights for your Instagram captions is to actually use your blog posts. Read back through some recent posts for any bullet points that you could adapt to Instagram. Scuttling your blog for spare parts is an easy way to recycle content.
4) Be personable.
Generally speaking, the most effective Instagram captions are the ones that come across as human, not robotic. So, make sure you have a brand voice that can be casual, funny, and relatable. There’s no need to be as formal as you would be in, say, a press release. To that end, don’t be afraid to use emoji to animate your captions and inject some extra humor or emotion.
5) Use hashtags.
Hashtags are crucial for making your posts discoverable in the Instagram search algorithms, which can be key to broadening your reach. As you consider the right Instagram hashtags, we’d recommend a combination of branded hashtags (specific to your brand), community hashtags (widely used within your industry or field), and the occasional trending hashtag (but only when genuinely relevant).
Get Help with Marketing Copy
There’s a real art to effective social media copywriting… and if you need a little help mastering that art, we’re here for you. Set up a consultation call with Grammar Chic, Inc. by visiting www.grammarchic.net or by calling 804-831-7444.
Amanda E. Clark founded Grammar Chic in 2008. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and holds degrees in Journalism, Political Science, and English. She launched Grammar Chic after freelancing for several years while simultaneously leading marketing and advertising initiatives for several Fortune 500 companies.