Improving Instagram engagement and writing powerful Instagram captions is a big concern for businesses looking to improve their brand following and visibility. To attract a good number of followers, appealing Instagram captions that clearly indicate your marketing message work like magic. In this post, we discuss why Instagram captions are so important and how you can create some really good ones for your online posts.
Why Instagram Captions Matter for Marketers: Popular and influential Instagram accounts do not need strong captions to generate thousands of likes and comments or build a massive following. However, not all brands and businesses enjoy this privilege. Merely posting something does not work to drive engagement, especially when you are trying to achieve user comments as well as conversions.
Being a visual sharing platform, you need strong visual elements, be it images or videos to capture the attention of the audience. However, what drives conversion is a well-crafted caption spreading a clear message related to your brand while encouraging users to follow, like and share. This caption reinforces the message you are trying to convey through your visual posts.
For example, to encourage the purchase of a face cream endorsed in one of your images, add a caption providing a link regarding where they can buy it. This not only improves your sales figures but also generates more conversions and helps you rank higher in the Instagram algorithm.
Ideal Instagram Caption Length: There is no defined length for an Instagram caption. It mostly depends on how much you need to say to drive action on part of the consumers. If you are tactful enough to make your point in a single paragraph, it is preferable to keep the caption short and not stretch it out unnecessarily. But if your story needs five paragraphs to make an impact, it may not be a good idea to cut it short just to save time and space.
You also need to consider the users who will read the text. Most people prefer shorter content since they are using Instagram for photos and videos and not text updates. Thus, unless absolutely necessary, keep your information short and readable. Some accounts make an impact with a single sentence or interesting one-liners that provides the message plus playful entertainment to the audience. In cases where you need to add more information or include a CTA in your caption, writing a few short paragraphs is completely acceptable.
Some Instagram accounts have also managed to use it as a micro-blog and write long captions telling a story or offering important updates and thoughts. If your content warrants this type of caption and your audience responds to it, it can work for you.
We now take a look at a few tips to write appealing Instagram captions to help drive customer engagement:
1) Decide what the caption will offer: Be clear about the purpose your caption is meant to serve. In general, captions tell a story or message behind a photo or video. Through a caption, you can furnish details of a contest, sale or event presented in the photo or video you post. You can use it to explain what the event is about, how users can participate, the time and venue of the event. If the post is about your business or brand, you can create a caption to describe the business, write about the company, and services offered by the brand for the users.
Commonly, images with large amounts of text do not work well on Instagram. While the main post can include a great image with a couple of words to support the photo, it is the caption that tells the complete story and shares useful details with the users.
An important part to focus on is the structure of your caption. Currently, when you scroll through the feed-in Instagram, the entire feed is not displayed. Only a short description followed by “…more” is shown, which means people won’t see your entire caption but only a few top lines. To improve the chances of users expanding your caption, make sure the first sentence is powerful and appealing and encourages users to tap and read more. That first sentence equates to a great subject line or a blog post heading. Use content that will intrigue users, for example, use questions or emojis to entice the audience to want to see more.
2) Include CTA in Instagram Caption: Your Insta bio is one clickable link and to get people to click on that link you need to give them the right direction. This is where a good Call-To-Action element comes into play. Mostly the “Click on the link in my bio” CTA is used which tells the audience that they can navigate to your profile and access the link. This works pretty well for the majority of actions like reading a blog post, signing up for something, watching a video, buying a product or scheduling a meeting and so on. In some specific cases, you might need to add a different kind of CTA to attract users to click and see further. For example, brands selling online beauty products add “Shop Now” CTA to get users to visit the site and hopefully complete a purchase.
Other creative CTAs can be used to engage your audience and build your Instagram conversions. Some of these are given here:
1) CTA asking users to share your content with their Instagram stories: Users can share posts to their Instagram stories, so if you have educational content or something highly shareable, include a CTA asking them to share it with their stories so more users become aware of the content.
2) Prompt audience to tag their friends in comments: Include CTAs in your posts asking users to tag friends who would find the information useful so as to get some new eyes on your content and increase visibility.
3) Ask users to “tap to purchase” in product sale posts: When sharing a post from which users can be redirected to shop, tag your products in the post so that people can find out more and purchase them. You can also add a “tap to shop” CTA in the caption to drive sales.
4) Divide the text into short paragraphs: An Instagram caption needs to be suitable in terms of context as well as value. Users are unlikely to read a really long paragraph posted as a caption. It is, therefore, recommended to divide the text into short paragraphs with extra spacing to make the content easier to read and increase activity on CTA elements.
It is also important to check how Instagram uploads your posts so that the real formatting is not completely lost. You may lose some of your actual formatting due to Instagram’s algorithms that remove the line break once you upload if there is extra space after the final punctuation mark. To avoid this, hit return right after the punctuation mark and don’t leave any extra spaces. This will retain your formatting once your post is uploaded. Moreover, if you have an emoji at the end of a paragraph, the line breaks will be deleted. It is suggested to avoid using emojis at the end of the paragraph.
Instagram does not define any rules for formatting a caption. You can use bullet points, paragraphs, long leader dots or dashes or any other method you prefer. This is purely an aesthetic choice and does not impact your post’s performance as far as algorithms are concerned. You just need to ensure that the caption is appealing and engages users to read and like it.
3) Use the Right Voice: Your Instagram captions must reflect the true essence of your brand. Every brand has its own unique personality, style, and tone of voice. Clearly define your target audience and the tone you will be using in your posts to approach them. You cannot use the same voice and content formatting for women between ages 35 to 50 and men between ages 20 to 35 as it will diminish the effect of the post. To convey a clear and appealing tone, it is essential to make relevant use of emojis, slang, geographic references, trending topics, and other content elements. Use a tone of voice that encourages interaction with the users and helps them relate to your post and brand.
Good advice for entrepreneurs or small businesses that manage their own content is to write captions in the same tone as they speak. This builds trust and rapport with the consumers, where they can almost hear your voice while going through the content.