What’s the point of bothering with writing a good Instagram caption under your photos? It’s an image based platform so no one cares what you write, right??
Actually, it’s wrong- stats show that the right caption can raise engagement anywhere between 20-25%. Which makes sense, Instagrammer don’t really take to text on the images themselves so how else are you going to let your followers know what you want them to do?
There is, however, and art to crafting the right caption, and this article will show you how a good instagram caption should look.
Path to a good Instagram caption: Know your audience
Apologies if this seems blindingly obvious, but it might not be apparent to everyone. The fact is Instagram has about 500 million users from pretty much all walks of life. So what makes a good instagram caption to one group of people will not fly with another group.
When thinking about your audience, consider the following:
- Take a look at who your competitors are, and see how they are speaking to their audience.
- Use research tools like similarweb and quantcast to get a better idea of who your audience are.
- If you feel you can, run some surveys to your audience to get a better idea about what makes them tick.
- Do some testing with different types of caption. Use analytics like iconosquare so you know which ones work and which are duffers.
Length is Important
If you’re wondering, you have up to 2,200 characters to write your caption. It’s difficult to imagine ever needing that many but the length of your caption will change as needs change.
When you post, think about how much the image already speaks for itself. If a couple of words is enough, then just use a couple of words.
This premier league soccer club knows that it’s fans will instantly recognise their team’s captain. So they just his nickname, job done!
Of course, a picture might need a little more explanation. If the taker of the picture, the event, people in the picture, or even the location are of particular interest to your audience, then you should flesh them out.
Remember though, most people check out their IG on their phone, so don’t have the time to read through reams of text. But as alicepsychic shows, you may need to use the caption to show your skill and expertise.
Calls to action
A massive driving force behind is to tell (ask firmly:-)) your followers what you want them to do. If you want them to like the picture, if you want a comment, tell them that.
This Japan travel site wants people to check out their new shop, and this is what they tell them to do.
Travelawesome want to leverage their current followers to increase their fan base. They use a classic travel account strategy by getting people to tag a friend. This request is made clear in the first few lines as you can see below.
All the good stuff at the beginning
The Instagram format means that all captions have a fold at the 4th line. This means that as people scroll through their feed, they’ll only see the top lines. As with Facebook posts, you need to put all the good stuff in those top couple of lines.
Any call to action, particularly relevant info, any tagged people, basically anything you want your viewer to see straight away should go at the top here. Travelawesome show us how to pack all the important stuff in the first lines.
Ask questions to get answers
A well directed question can work wonders for your engagement rate. It gives people an automatic reason to drop a comment on your post. And remember Instagram LOVES engagement.
Fashions.sense gives us a great example of how a dead simple tweak to your caption can add a question. And you don’t need to interrogate your followers.
The secret to a great Instagram caption is to think engagement.
Ask yourself “what am I trying to achieve with this post?” The caption should then fill any gaps that the image itself doesn’t achieve.
There are plenty of examples of absolute killer captions going up every minute on IG, so don’t be afraid to borrow their inspiration.