Knowing how to write engaging Instagram captions will make a huge difference to both how you post, and the way your audience engages with your content. Writing great Instagram captions can be hard and is something that many people struggle with (hello writer’s block…).
However, there is a simple four-part formula that can relieve the stress and help you write captions that drive engagement and connection with your audience (goodbye writer’s block!).
Why are captions so important? Isn’t Instagram all about visuals?
A great image is what will grab your audience’s attention and stop them scrolling.
A great caption can build on that connection by giving value and encouraging audience engagement.
Likes, comments, shares, website visits, store sales and email subscriptions can all increase when you have a well-written caption.
So what makes a great caption?
Captions should serve a purpose. They should provide context to your image, and depending on your product/service/brand, should tell a story.
When writing captions, remember that your followers are real people. Write with your audience in mind and use content that meets their educational, promotional, inspirational or aspirational needs.
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Here are my top tips for writing great Instagram captions:
Before you write your caption:
Batch your content
Where possible, pre-write your captions in advance so you are able to focus on your writing and make your caption the best it can be (no panic posting for you!). I try to write several days in advance according to the content I have planned in my content calendar.
Write in notes
Use the Notes app on your phone to write your caption, then copy and paste it to Instagram when you’re ready to post. This helps with your drafting/writing and also enables you to add line breaks to your caption.
Consider adding line breaks to your captions as they will be easier to read, and will encourage your audience to read until the end. To ‘force’ several line breaks you can press Enter, then a full stop, then Enter and repeat for how many lines you need – see the example in the image below.
You can use a total of 2,200 characters (including spaces, emojis etc) in your caption.
Captions aren’t an excuse to forget punctuation, spelling and your brand voice/tone. Your captions should reflect your other marketing channels and be consistent in tone.
Emojis are great for helping make connections and for drawing the audience’s attention to sections of your caption. Ideally, only use a couple of emojis, otherwise, the visual effect can be distracting.
Writing your caption
Part #1: The Hook
The first line of your caption should capture the reader’s attention so they will tap to read more and get the opportunity to fully engage with your post.
Your opening line could be a question, an offer, a controversial statement, a quote.
Try to ensure that it is both intriguing and to the point.
The hook can be longer than one sentence (see the example below) but must be captivating.
Part #2: The Value
Providing value to your audience through your caption is an excellent way to build relationships and trust.
By imparting knowledge and showcasing your expertise, your audience will come to trust your product/service/offer and will in turn return value to you by becoming a loyal client.
This section of your caption is about serving your audience by giving them information that meets their need.
- Write your VALUE section so it is easy to read and understand. Make it clear what you are offering/providing.
Part #3: The Call To Action
Finish the written part of your caption with an invitation to take action. Let your audience know what you’d like them to do by including a CTA.
CTAs are great for creating connections and encouraging engagement (which of course can drive reach and follows).
Your CTA can be as simple as “leave a comment below”, “tag a friend”, “send a DM” or you can invite your audience to engage more deeply by visiting your website, reading your blog, shop online, subscribe to your email etc.
CTAs inform your audience that you value them and their opinion. By asking for comments you are encouraging a sense of community on your Instagram profile which in turn fosters brand loyalty.
- Remember to keep your CTAs simple to encourage more engagement.
- Ensure the link in your Instagram bio is current (if you are asking people to click the link in bio).
- Consider using emojis to make your CTA stand out.
Part #4: Hashtags
Hashtags are used by Instagram to categorise content and then show that content to people who are searching that hashtag. They are an excellent way to expose your content to a wider audience, connect with clients/like-minded people and build your followers.
You can include up to 30 hashtags in an Instagram caption (remember they will be included in your total 2,200 character count). If you have a long caption, you can include your hashtags as a comment on your own post (remember to add the comment immediately after you post).
- Add line breaks between your CTA and your hashtags to make your caption easier to read.
Caption Formula example
Hook + Value + Call To Action + Hashtags = the perfect caption
Using this structure will:
- make content creation easier
- help boost your engagement rate
- build connections and trust with your audience
- give consistency to your content
- increase actions taken by your audience.
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Like to learn more?
Grow your profile and work smarter, not harder on Instagram with Chookapeck’s self-paced Instagram resources.
If you’d like more tips on how to grow your social following, I regularly post tips on my @chookapeck Insta account and would love to connect with you there.
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