With a majority of businesses on Instagram, creating the perfect Instagram caption has come down to a science. Followers want to see engaging, interesting content that provides value to them while making them feel something at the same time.
Don’t worry, if you follow this guide, you’ll master the science of creating captions in no time!
1. Consider Your Audience
Keep in mind who is going to see your post and what they would want to see. Knowing who your followers are will let you create a guideline on how to write the caption. Depending on the characteristics of your following, it is essential to speak in their “voice.” Your followers can be split into so many categories: age, demographics, interests, etc. Pick a category and speak to them! Here are some more questions to ask yourself when thinking about your audience:
- What are their interests?
- Why are they attracted to your brand?
- What value does your business hold to them?
2. Determine Your Brand’s Voice and Personality
It’s the personality that counts, right? Every company has their own identity, just like every person has a different personality. No two companies are the same, they all have different voices. If your company was a person, what would he say and how would he say it?
There are different ways to let your company’s personality shine through. Humor and storytelling can showcase your voice and let the followers feel more connected with your account. Accounts like Old Spice really “spice up” their feed by adding humor into their captions. Cleverness is also appreciated on Instagram, so feel free to throw in a pun here and there.
Maybe humor isn’t your thing, and you would rather get your message across through a story: that’s fine too! Humans Of New York (@humansofny) does a great job using the story-telling format in their captions. Try thinking about an interesting back-story about your company and then get pen to paper. There are tons of things to write about that can go deeper than the surface. Providing information in the form of a story can make your followers feel more connected to your business and more likely to read the information you put out. I’ve seen a lot of businesses also write in story format when introducing employees to their followers, to create more of an intimate introduction to their employees and a deeper look into their business. This is where you want to create a persona for your pictures and give them enough background story to come to life! And if you’re brave enough, try a humorous story!
3. Start the Caption With a Hook
Don’t be another grain of sand on a beach! Use a hook to help your caption stand out to followers. Hooks need to be able to catch your follower's attention and choose to read your caption. Don’t be another picture they mindlessly scroll past! The hook needs to show what value your business provides for your followers. There are different kinds of hooks:
The Question Hook:
What does it mean to be happy?
The Humor Hook:
Have you ever tried to eat a clock? It’s very time-consuming. Spend your time checking out our latest product about to launch this Saturday!
The Quote Hook:
- “Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Gandhi
4. End With a Call To Action (CTA): What do you want your followers to do?
Now that you have a hook, you need the line and sinker. After your followers read your caption, what do you want them to do? Follow the link in your bio? Comment below? Or maybe it’s as simple as buying your product. It would be a waste of your time creating and polishing the perfect caption if your followers scroll right past it. Time to light the fire from under them and have them take action!
Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Ask about everyone’s favorite subject: Themselves. Get your followers’ opinions and pick their brains. Asking questions can get your followers engaged and lead to them dropping a comment or two on your picture which can drive views and engagement rates. After the question, follow it with “Leave your answer in the comments below!” to get as many answers as possible.
Monica knows Joey. Joey knows Rachel. Rachel knows Ross. Everyone has connections. To get your message across to a broader audience, have your followers tag a friend in the comments. Try an ending sentence like, "Planning for a luxe escape with your bestie? Tag your travel partner in crime!"
If you are trying to drive sales rather than engagement, give your followers an easy and direct way to purchase your products. Copy the link to your website in your Instagram bio and add a sentence at the end of your caption saying, “Check out the link in our bio for all your skincare needs!”
5. Emojis are a MUST 🙌🏼
If you use them the right way, emojis can be organic boosters for your post.
In 2017, posts that used emojis had a 17% higher engagement rate than captions that did not use emojis. The most popular emoji used in 2017 was the laughing crying face.😂
Make sure the emojis you use to relate to your post, or else you may just leave your followers confused.
6. Hashtags- 10/10/10 Hashtag Algorithm
Instagram allows 30 hashtags, so be sure to use all of them.
- 10 Smaller Hashtags (10,000 to 50,000 total posts)
- 10 Mid-size Hashtags (50,000 to 200,000 total posts)
- 10 Large Hashtags (200,000 - 2,000,000 total posts)
This is the hashtag equation to maximize engagement and views on your post. Hashtag. Hashtag. Hashtag. Make sure the hashtags are somewhat relevant to your post and to your business to attract the right kind of followers. Don’t catfish people by using irrelevant hashtags just to get more likes: remember quality over quantity.
If you follow these steps, you will earn your caption black belt.
Now was that so bad? Not rocket science after all.