The iScream Social Media Blog

How to Write an Effective Caption for Your Instagram Posts

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Social media marketing copy does a lot of legwork for your account –  especially on Instagram through your captions. So, if you’re not being creative with yours, you could miss out on a key opportunity. Instagram captions can be used to grow your account and business by driving traffic to important pages, highlighting key messages, and growing your following.

A strong visual on Instagram can catch users’ attention and should never be overlooked, but a carefully thought-out caption can do more heavy lifting for marketing and sales as it provides all the extra information you may not be able to include in the post itself. 

What makes a good Instagram caption?

A strong caption supports your Instagram photo, offers a window into who you are, or educates with longer copy. With this also comes a strong sense of identity for your profile. If your business is well known for creating content and captions that are typically humorous, your followers would likely be confused if you started creating captions that are dry and boring.

When thinking up captions for your account, consider the following:

  • How does it fit into your marketing goals for Instagram? Is it creating awareness, encouraging customer engagement, or sales?
  • Does it come across as authentic to your brand identity? Not every brand is witty, and not every brand is super serious.
  • Closely tied to authenticity is brand consistency in voice and tone. Your audience stays for the type of content you’re known for publishing, so a good caption should reflect who you are.
  • Does it encourage user engagement? Engagement is the bread and butter of any social media platform – your likes, retweets, shares, and more, show that your account resonates with your audience. Your captions must focus on getting users to engage with your post.

Ultimately, however, your caption should be relevant to your image. Is there an object you want to highlight? Is there a theme you can run with? Many social media strategists recommend using playful puns to keep your caption light or clear and concise CTAs to drive your desired results.

A good caption can create more engagement, which improves how Instagram’s algorithm highlights your content on the feed.

Decide on what goals you want your caption to achieve

Once you know your goals: to sell, engage customers, or otherwise, you can better understand how to craft the copy of your caption.

When coming up with a caption, there are two things you need to keep mind: The goal of that piece of content (awareness, engagement, or conversions) as well as the type of creative (entertaining, inspiring, promotion, or educational). These two factors will dictate how sales-y or creative you need to be consistent.

You also need to keep your audience and the circumstance of each post in mind. A silly caption on a post about your brand’s giving-back initiative might not go down well. Alternatively, if you bury the main point too far in your caption, you may not achieve the goals you set for that post.

Determine the length and content of your caption

Not every caption needs to be short and sweet, but not every caption must be an essay. Some brands have super engaged audiences who will read every word of their caption, while others are there for something else like a new sale or product announcement

Your audience follows you for a reason, and that reason is likely that your brand resonates with them. Because of this, they are looking for posts that are relevant for them, and in the right tone: the tone they followed you for. Each post should have a purpose and intention, so lead each one with its specific goal and let that goal dictate the call to action. What do you want followers to do?

Several experts recommend keeping your captions short and snappy. People spend less time on each creative and scroll down to the next piece of content pretty quickly. That’s why keeping things short and sweet has more chances of performing better and referencing any pop culture or current trends. Remember, the reason they are on Instagram is because of the visuals more so than the words.

Grab the reader’s attention immediately

Instagram’s format means that an attention-grabbing strategy is not always necessary, but it could be the difference between a user staying a few seconds longer on your post or scrolling past.

There are different ways to grab a viewer’s attention with your caption – the most effective is to include the most important details first. After a couple of lines of text, Instagram hides the rest of your caption behind a “more” link, so say the most important bit first. Only about the first sentence will be seen in a user’s Instagram feed, so make sure it’s compelling or asks a question.

Once you’ve got the reader’s attention, make sure your caption will evoke some type of emotion. Emotional content is twice as effective as it appeals to an instinctive part of the brain versus content requiring more cognitive processing.

Now you’ve got a couple of tools in your toolbelt for writing more effective captions for your Instagram posts. It might be overwhelming to know that not only do all of your visuals need to be made with intentionality, but also your captions. But don’t worry. We believe in you. That being said, if you don’t want to deal with the headache yourself, you can always reach out to us for our Instagram marketing services, or just reach out for a free consultation