You’ll find thousands of articles with copy-paste ready engaging, good Instagram captions. But the problem is… 99% is already used by thousands of brands and influencers. Not only your audience will get bored by seeing the same content, but the algorithm might ban accounts with plagiarism.
It is the time to be original and think of your unique captions. It is easier than you think! All you need is clear guidance combined with your own style. As a result, you will get more loyal followers who actively engage with your Instagram posts.
So what is an Instagram caption and why is it important?
An Instagram caption is a text describing or explaining the image. The right combination of hashtags, mentions, and emojis is an ideal recipe for great captions. Posting a picture is not enough to effectively deliver the message you wanted to convey.
Some social media marketers mistakenly believe that consumer behavior is changing towards fast, engaging content and changing their content strategies to reflect the shift. Some studies even argue that Instagram captions should be between 130-150 characters long, as users won’t read captions regardless of its quality. This is why you frequently see a sentence long captions packed with 30 hashtags with the aim to increase engagement rates. In reality, captions play a crucial role in conveying your brand’s story.
How to craft the best Instagram captions?
This article won’t give you 1000 examples of great captions that you can copy+paste. Instead, we want to show you the right approach to writing captions that will work for your brand only!
Think of your target audience
Before posting anything on Instagram, first, make you understand the target audience. Analyze the tone of voice they prefer, and the type of content they are eager to see on their feed.
This is presumably the first and foremost aspect you need to consider. If your audience mainly consists of teenagers, you need to know their fondness, the vocabulary they are using, or would like to see on your page the emojis you can use to get your message better.
You can improvise, test a couple of versions and check which ones appeal to your audience more. The analytics will hint you which caption was more successful, and hence, new ideas for Instagram captions will arise.
Choose your tone of voice
Depending on the niche, you might need to be funny, serious, neutral, or emotional.
Identify your brand voice in accordance with your niche. If you are a plastic surgeon, of course, your captions should be way different from those of a comedian. It would be better for your brand voice to be neutral or a little bit emotionally positive to express your happiness for boosting someone’s level of confidence. Too serious or too humorous content would lead to unfollows as your audience would think you are not professional enough to choose the right brand voice for you.
Of course, it also depends on the content you share, but generally, if you have a specified tone of voice, your audience becomes aware that it’s your brand’s way of expressing your thoughts, and they get comfortable with it.
Tesla and BMW particularly have different tones of voices, which is determined by overall company branding.
You can’t just sit in a cafe and think – hm, what should I post today? Posting on Instagram needs weekly or sometimes monthly planning. The most important part of it is thinking of the right caption. This reduces the chance of regretting not being able to post the best Instagram caption that came into your mind later.
Develop the right hashtags strategy
Looking for all relevant hashtags is not a matter of seconds, but at the beginning, you can check the performance of the hashtag you are using, its popularity, and your chances of appearing at the top. Doing hashtag research is one of the critical components of having active posts.
Brands develop their own hashtag strategies. Although Dyson and Nike audiences share similar demographics and their target audiences collide, the two brands follow two different approaches to using hashtags in their Instagram marketing strategies.
Hashtags used by Dysonhair. We can group them into 3 categories.
|Branded hashtags||#dyson #dysonhair #dysonhairathome|
|Product-related hashtags||#hairstraightener #straightener #hairtech #hairtools #hairdryer|
|Hair related hashtags||#hairstylingtips #stylingtips #beachwaveshair #hairhowto #hairtutorial etc|
After analyzing the most recent 50 Instagram posts here is a list of Nike’s hashtags. We can group them into 3 categories.
|Campaign hashtags||#madetoplay #Nike2020|
|In support of Nike’s involvement in ongoing world challenges||#UntilWeAllWin #YouCantStopUs #PlayForTheWorld #playinside etc|
Analyze social media competitors
It is always important to check your competitors’ posts and engagement. After all, your followers have the same demographics. Analyzing their behavior will lead to a conclusion on their Instagram captions and decide if you want to implement the same format for your brand. It is also possible to see their shortcomings and based on their errors, correct your own postings. But remember that competitor research and copying is not the same. Just make conclusions and concentrate on your own branding, tone of voice.
Find the right length
If your post is longer than 125 characters, your followers will have to click “More” to read the whole caption.
If three lines are enough to highlight the importance of the post, then you are good, no need to add more than that. After all, it is not easy to express a whole idea with limited characters.
However, if your thoughts are longer than 125 characters, don’t hesitate to write them in a long but organized way. Remember that spacing, having paragraphs, and relevant emojis will be visually pleasing for your audience as they will easily find the information they are looking for.
Align your content strategy with your branding and be unique
Just by googling the best Instagram captions, you will get lots of suggestions for different situations. These are usually the captions that everyone uses. Before just copying it and making your own, think if your audience is going to like it.
Like you, others also find the same post and use these captions. This makes your followers see the same content on different pages, and they easily lose their interest in your posts. Having this in mind, we have made a list of useful tips that you can use to guide your Instagram captions.
Uber’s social media marketers simply like to have some fun!
Tips for having successful Instagram captions
Having made the necessary preparations, we get to the next step to following the main tips you should follow to make every post great.
By asking a question, you make your followers think you are speaking to them. Questions usually perform better when you present two or more similar items or images and ask them, “Which one do you prefer.” Another best caption is ending the caption with “…and how about you?”.
People like sharing their opinion and ideas. They feel important, their opinion is valued, and just commenting on which option they like, how they feel, won’t be confusing and won’t think twice if their opinions are worth sharing. Especially when you reply to comments, they know it’s not just a technique you are using to get more comments.
So if your followers like your brand, they will be more eager to answer your questions, share their thoughts with you.
Tell them what to do
Sometimes it seems obvious that if a follower likes your post, they will tag their friends or will tap for sound. But we forget that nowadays we are so distracted and absent-minded that, except for the phone, we might even forget an important document at home if there is no reminder for that.
The same rule applies here – let your followers know what you want them to do – tag a friend who’d do this, watch now, see more in my bio, etc.
Use emojis as little hints
Emojis are a good way of expressing emotions. Even when your caption itself doesn’t convey the emotion behind the image, using the right emoji can help you out.
With emojis, you can also get creative and use them in one of these ways:
› At the end of the caption
You would want to save the beginning of the caption for starting it with an interesting text, making the reader eager to tap and read more. Glossier is commonly using the trick. 🙂
› Instead of a word
There are certain emojis able to replace a word. Inside the sentence, it looks playful, creative, and grabs the attention to concentrate on the whole meaning of the caption. But be aware not to overuse emojis within the text.
› Instead of the whole content
If you want your audience to start gossiping and sharing your info among their friends, using an emoji that could replace thousands of words will do half of the job. You won’t even manage to read the comments as they get more and more.
Using emojis is a good backup if you can’t think of a proper caption at that moment.
Choose the most relevant hashtags
As we have already discussed, making hashtag research and using the most relevant ones is essential. But you need to know where to use them. Some separate the hashtags with dots and make them a different paragraph. Others hide them in the comments. The second option usually performs better as it is not disturbing. For example, Starbucks has posted #FirstDayofFall hashtag on the first day of the fall promoting its famous seasonal pumpkin spice latte.
For a similar image, try using a different kind of caption and check which one provides more engagement. Maybe your audience likes commenting, and your post, which asks a question, performs better than a post giving instructions.
This is usually a tedious process, but if you want to understand what works well for your audience, testing should be a priority.
If the image or the story is connected with one of your friends, followers, don’t hesitate to mention them. It will make your story more reliable and authentic.
You can also mention others to give them credits for what they have done. Use quotes if you are mentioning what this person said. This is a good time-saver when it comes to thinking of a caption.
Deep inside, we all like winning, being the first. So if you trigger your audience to be the first to comment, the first to answer a question, everyone will want to win the game even if there is no medal for it at the end.
Captions like “Let’s see who knows me/our brand well,” “Who will be the first to remember…” provoke interest and a desire to act.
Another good idea is a giveaway caption, which can be done through a contest. Tell your audience the rules and requirements, wait for their comments.
Alternatively, you can organize an ask-me-anything competition, and the question you liked most becomes the winner.
But remember that for the above methods, you need a larger audience or at least one with active followers who like and comment on your posts. To achieve an engaging audience, you need to read the next step carefully:
Create a bond with your Instagram audience
Remember that social media is not about you but about your audience. How do you maintain communication with them? Besides answering their direct messages and comments, do you use captions that talk to them? How likely is it for your followers to get addicted to your Instagram posts?
Would it be you, would you like a brand to talk to you through their captions? Or would you rather see something which makes you indifferent and not connected with it in any way?
Follow your heart
If you have already planned all your social media content way ahead but while scheduling your posts an interesting idea comes to your mind, and you think your audience will love it, don’t hesitate to change it. Thoughts from your heart will pay off.
Or if you have already posted, but you still feel there is a need to tell more about the image, write that thought in a comment reply. The ones who are interested in your ideas will definitely read all of your answers.
Break the rules
Remember that your page is unique; there is no second you. Even if it’s a brand, it should still have its own tone of voice.
While writing a caption, think of how you can have the best version of it. Before posting anything, ask your friends who have an idea about the field to give you constructive feedback. It will help you see the content from another person’s perspective. This is a good chance to get an idea of how your audience perceives your captions.
Don’t write a caption you if there is no need
If you constantly post images with interesting captions and this time you think the image speaks for itself, an interesting idea is not writing anything and hiding the hashtags in the comments. Your followers will start looking for a caption, knowing you always have the best captions and will be surprised once they don’t find it. They will start wondering if this is a new hint; is there a hidden message behind your silence? They will start making comments – guessing what you could have said or just their opinion on the image without a caption.
Constantly test performance metrics
Besides A/B testing, you also need to check the time you are going to publish the caption. If it’s a morning post, what emotions should it give to the reader? If it’s an evening post, do you want to show them how productive you were during the day? Maybe tired? Your audience should feel #relatable and find similarities between you and themselves. This is also part of creating a special bond.
Check when your audience is most active and what type of content works best at that very hour.
If you implement at least three of these tips, you will gradually feel the growth of your page engagement as they will indirectly feel the care with which you post the images and the perfectly chosen caption for it.
4 Useful tools for creating the best Instagram captions
Now you have all the planning techniques and tips for moving forward and being a step closer to creating the best Instagram captions. But you also need tools at hand which will help you plan, schedule your posts, check hashtags, and so on. Here are some of the best tools that will come in handy:
HASHTEST Chrome extension
If you are not sure whether the hashtag is good enough, you can just write the word, and HashSet will check if it’s the best, good, bad, or useless. The colors are different, so there is no chance you will get confused.
Especially if you are using multiple platforms, it is essential to plan everything accordingly, listen to your audience, and get reports on your social media performance.
Sociality.io will help you to:
- Schedule and publish the content
- Respond to all conversations from one screen (you might even have
- multiple social media channels and managing them will become a
- piece of cake)
- Monitor the web and social media
- Track the latest news about your brand
- Get reports of your accounts in a PPT or Excel format
- Analyze competitor pages
Choosing the best social media management platform can be beneficial for your business. Nowadays, 2000+ of Instagram influencers and digital marketing specialists are using Sociality.io as they want to concentrate all of their efforts in one place. Instead of having to do everything manually, you can plan, check the performance, and get a report from one tool. This saves you both time and budget as it is more affordable compared with using multiple planning, management tools.
GRAMMARLY Chrome extension
To avoid any typos, Grammarly will help you:
- Correct the errors
- Find synonyms
- Write in American, Australian, British, or Canadian English
If you are concerned with the length of your captions, you can copy and paste it in Wordcounter, and you will get the number of words, characters used.
To wrap it all up
There might be other tools and platforms worth using. Here we tried to mention the ones most of the users are happy with. Now you have the planning, tips, and tools to work with. All that is left for you to do is put it into practice.