The Ultimate Guide to Writing Good Instagram Captions

The Ultimate Guide to Writing Good Instagram Captions

We’ve all been there: you’re ready to post an amazing photo to Instagram, but when it comes time to enter your caption, you’re stumped. What to write?! Coming up with a good Instagram caption is harder than it seems, but if you want to success on Instagram, it’s important to not let your Instagram captions become an afterthought.

To help you create Instagram captions that are as great as your photo, we’ve put together The Ultimate Guide to Writing Good Instagram Captions:

good instagram captions example

photo by Elaine Rystead

Why a Good Instagram Caption is Important

Writing a good Instagram caption may not be as important as curating your Instagram feed, but it still matters! Your caption is just as much a representation of your brand as your Instagram feed is, and your caption could be the key to taking your Instagram from good to great.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.30.51 AM

A good Instagram caption is important because it could be the key to having your post seen by your followers. The new Instagram algorithm feed favors posts with high engagement, so the more likes and comments your post receives, the more people will see your post! Instagram captions with calls-to-action can help you get more comments, which directly affects your overall Instagram marketing strategy.

How to Write a Good Instagram Caption

A good Instagram caption is one that provides context, adds personality, and inspires your followers to take action. Good Instagram captions come is all shapes and sizes, from a short and sweet caption to a longer, in-depth storytelling post (you can write up to 2200 characters). As long as it’s engaging your audience, you’re doing great.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.49.00 AM

A benefit to scheduling Instagram posts is that you can  take the time to write out all your Instagram captions when you’re in the “writing mode,” so you’re not stumped later. Or, if you really dislike writing Instagram captions, you can just get it all out of the way at once! Schedule your first post for free here.

Instagram captions give you the opportunity to add context to your photo, or just communicate with your followers and customers! Create your own Instagram voice to go with your brand, and get creative with your own caption style.

Creating a Call-to-Action in Your Instagram Caption

You don’t have to add a call-to-action for every Instagram caption, but Instagram captions are a great way to inspire your followers to engage with your brand outside of Instagram. You can ask your followers to take action by visiting your site, buying a product, answering a question, tagging their photos with your branded hashtag, and more!

Don’t save your call-to-action for the end of your caption – it’s important to put your most important information first, because after 3-4 lines of text, Instagram captions are truncated. Make the first part of your Instagram caption super engaging and enticing, so your followers will want to click to read the rest!

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.47.42 AM

For example, when my travel blog Local Wanderer posts a new blog post and we want to promote it on Instagram, I make sure to add “new blog post” early on in the caption so our followers know we have a new post, even if they don’t read the whole caption. Emojis🔑  are also a great way to draw in the eye and make your followers notice the call-to-action in your posts. I like to put an emoji near the call-to-action section in Instagram captions, like “Link in Bio,” so it’s super obvious to those who are scrolling through Instagram that something special is happening!

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.43.44 AM

To create a call-to-action on Instagram, you just need to ask your followers to do something after reading your caption! You can ask them a question about what they’re up to this weekend, or what they think of a new product, and tell them to leave their answer in the comments.

instagram caption example of call to action

You could also ask them to check out a new blog post, video, or sale you’re having on your website by clicking the link in your bio. Or, you could just ask them to tag their friends in the comments! This is especially effective if you’re running an Instagram contest for business.

instagram caption call to action

Using Emojis in Your Instagram Caption

When you aren’t using emojis to draw attention to your call-to-action, you can use emojis to add personality to your Instagram caption. You can insert multiple emoji at the beginning of your caption to catch the eye of your followers with a bit of color, so they want to click to read more, or you can replace whole words with an emoji. Even if you just add an emoji at the end of your Instagram caption, it will make your caption more inviting to your followers – and why not? Everyone loves emoji!

instagram caption emoji example

Adding Mentions to Your Instagram Caption

Mentioning the handles of other Instagram users is an easy way to give back to your Instagram community and share in the insta-love! Mentions are a great way to connect with other Instagram users, and to promote one another to your own audiences! Anytime that you are posting an image with another person or brand, add their handle into your caption as well, instead of just tagging them in the photo. Then your followers can discover their profiles too!

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.27.19 AM

How to Use Hashtags in Your Instagram Caption

Adding hashtags to your Instagram caption isn’t mandatory, but it definitely helps! Did you know that posts with at least one Instagram hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than posts without a hashtag? Not only can hashtags help you gain more Instagram followers for your business, they can also be a cheeky way to add some flavor to the copy in your Instagram caption.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.42.47 AM

Try making up your own fun hashtags, and don’t limit yourself to adding hashtags at the end of your Instagram caption! Integrating hashtags throughout your post adds dimension to your caption, and since hashtags are a different color on Instagram, the right hashtag can also highlight and contextualize your content. For example, when posting travel content, I often tag the #city I’m posting about. This helps my followers easily recognize the location, while also making my content discoverable to locals who are browsing their city’s hashtag.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.38.26 AM

In order to be successful with hashtags, it’s important to be strategic about your hashtag usage. The “most popular” Instagram hashtags are just simple words, and while tagging #love #happy #dog may get you a few more likes, it’s not going to do much for your growth in the long run. Instead of using the most popular Instagram hashtags, it’s better to use the top Instagram hashtags that have an engaging community behind them and are specific to your audience.

Learn more with The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags and check out our long list of Instagram hashtags for every industry!

Keep Your Instagram Caption Clean

Adding hashtags to your Instagram caption is a great way to make your caption even better, but be careful about how many you add! Too many hashtags (more than 3-4), can make your caption look spammy, and it draws attention away from the rest of your caption.

Instead, add your Instagram hashtags to the first comment on your photo after you’ve posted it. Claiming the first comment keeps your caption clear and concise, and helps your followers focus on the words and your message instead of the hashtags. If you have your own branded hashtag to promote, you don’t want it to get lost with all the other hashtags you’re posting!

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.50.49 AM

Posting your hashtags in the first comment is also important if you want your followers to visit the link in your bio. After reading your caption, your goal is to have them click to view your Instagram bio and then click on your link. If you have multiple hashtags in your Instagram caption, your followers may click to browse the hashtags instead of click to visit your link.

How to hide your Instagram hashtags in the first comment:

  1. After posting your photo, add a comment
  2. Add the dot symbol, dash, or asterisk each on a separate line
  3. Add your hashtags all together (Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post)
  4. Now, when your comment appears in the thread it will look like […] and your hashtags are not visible to your audience.

Posting all your hashtags in your first comment makes your Instagram caption look less spammy, keeps your audience invested in the message of your Instagram caption, and ensures you get all the visibility you can from your hashtags.

Screen Shot 2016-06-10 at 1.53.57 AM

Now that you know how to create a good Instagram caption, it’s time to put it into practice! Upload some photos, start drafting your Instagram captions, and schedule Instagram posts for free with Later.

Schedule your first post now!

  • Pattymac Knits

    I hear ya on the hashtags, but putting them into the first comment means typing them all every time. I generally add them all when I’m doing captions. Then when I make my updates I can copy the whole thing and paste it right in. I put some real time and effort into the hashtags since I’m still really focused on growing, and they can be different from post to post. If I have to go back to typing them every time I update, I’m not sure I can stand it. Any tips on that?

    • StyleDiaryByOsy

      One way I avoid retyping everything is by saving my most used hashtags on the notepad on my phone. So I just copy, paste and edit as necessary.

    • Tori

      You can post hashtags in you original caption by doing a period
      followed by a line break, a few times to break it up. And that way, it keeps your feed clean and if someone wants to see if you used any hashtags, they just select more.

    • Catherine Johnson

      I tried to post hashtags in the first comment and had the same problem – no suggestions came up, which also means no stats on how many other posts have those tags. And the biggest difficulty – there’s no way to “return” in a comment like I can in the caption, so I wasn’t able to add the dots in the first comment like I do in the post. I don’t know if this is just an iPhone thing, but in my IG app, the only way to use the dot method to separate lines is to do it in the caption. This will not work in the first comment. (I save some common hashtags to Notes, too, and paste them in. It’s a real time saver.)

  • Kimanh

    Is there a way we can put emojis in the caption as we write it in Later? My VA ends up posting the posts I write, so I can add them retrospectively with my when the image is actually posted.