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 Instagram caption, you’re stumped. What to write?! Coming up with a good Instagram caption is harder than it seems, but if you want to find 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:
Why a Good Instagram Caption is Important
Writing a good Instagram caption may not be as important as your Instagram feed, but it still matters! Your caption is just as much a representation of your brand as your Instagram feed, and could be the key for taking your Instagram from good to great!
A good Instagram caption is important because it could be the key to having your post seen by more people. The new Instagram algorithm favors posts with high engagement, so when a post receives a ton of likes and comments, this signals to the algorithm that it’s high-quality content that other users might want to see. So the post will get bumped up on users’ feeds and might even get on the Explore Page.
Writing good Instagram captions with effective call-to-actions (CTAs) is one of the best ways to inspire your followers to comment on your posts, which will help drive even more engagement on your Instagram account!
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 in all shapes and sizes, from short and sweet to a longer, in-depth stories (an Instagram caption can be as long as 2200 characters). As long as your audience finds it engaging, you’re doing great!
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.
One of the biggest benefits of scheduling your Instagram posts is that you can take the time to write (and rewrite!) your captions in advance. Rather than coming up with something on the spot, which can be super difficult, with an Instagram scheduler you can prep all your Instagram captions a few days or weeks before your post goes out!
Creating a Call-to-Action in Your Instagram Caption
The simple act of including a call-to-action in your Instagram caption and inviting your audience to comment or engage can go a very long way it when it comes to driving more engagement on your posts. Of course, you don’t have to include a call-to-action on every Instagram caption! But good Instagram captions are great way to inspire your followers to engage with your business both inside and outside of Instagram.
Something to keep in mind when writing a call-to-action is that action words like “start,” “stop,” “build,” “join,” “learn,” and “discover” are more effective at prompting your followers to do something than passive nouns and adjectives. You should also consider turning your call-to-action into a question, using the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, and why) as a way to encourage your followers to comment!
Also, don’t save your call-to-actions for last! It’s better to front load your captions with important details because after 3-4 lines of text, Instagram captions are truncated (shortened). Also, Instagram users today are exposed to more content than ever, so making the first part of your Instagram caption super engaging and enticing is a sure-fire way to boost the amount of time people spend viewing your post — which could also be a factor that Instagram algorithm takes into consideration!
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.
To create a call-to-action in your Instagram caption, you just need to ask your followers to do something after reading your caption! You can ask them a simple question, like what they’re up to this weekend, or what they think of a new product.
If you’re running an Instagram contest, a great way to drive engagement is to ask your followers to tag at least one friend in the comments to enter. By getting Instagram users to tag their friends in the comments, you can draw more attention to the contest and increase your brand awareness by having even more people see your Instagram account and enter the contest. Also, it’s a good idea to include “contest” or “giveaway” at the beginning of the caption to really capture people’s attention!
If your goal with your call-to-action is to get your followers to check out a new blog post, video, or sale that you’re having on your website by clicking the link in your bio, it’s a good idea to include an emoji in your caption!
Emojis are a great way to draw in the eye and make your followers notice the call-to-action in your posts. You can use a “👉” or “👀” emoji next to “link in bio” so it’s super obvious to those who are reading your caption that you want them to click the link your bio!
Rather than having to constantly change the link in your bio to correspond with your latest campaign or sale, Later’s Linkin.bio feature makes it easy to direct your Instagram audience to the right content and products, all without changing the link in your bio!
Using a Consistent Brand Voice in Your Instagram Caption
Aside from the obvious tips on using proper grammar and spelling, one of the most important parts of any good Instagram caption is brand voice. And, ultimately, what it comes down to is consistency: your Instagram captions should sound and feel like the rest of your marketing channels.
If you’re just starting with Instagram and looking to develop a new brand voice, one of your best resources is other Instagram accounts! Compile a list of your favorite Instagram accounts (and other accounts from your industry or business vertical) and see if any brand voice stands out to you. Once you find a few voices you like, combine them to create your own brand voice that resonates with your audience, and practice consistency!
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 a good emoji!
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!
Disclosing Your Sponsored Posts
With the recent spat of Instagram influencers getting in trouble for not disclosing when their posts sponsored, it’s more important than ever to be transparent about when you’re getting paid to promote a business or product.
It’s important to include “#ad” or “#sponsored” on any posts that are indeed sponsored, and you must do so before the caption shortens, so near the beginning is best.
How to Use Hashtags in Your Instagram Caption
Using hashtags to your Instagram caption isn’t mandatory, but it definitely helps! Not only can hashtags help you gain more Instagram followers, but they’re a great way to connect with customers, find content created about you by your followers, and build long-term relationships with influential partners!
When adding hashtags to your Instagram caption, don’t limit yourself to keeping them at the end! 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.
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How Instagram Hashtags Work
Every Instagram post you create can be accompanied by a short message or caption and a few hashtags. The hashtags help organize and categorize photos and video content, which aids the process of content discovery and optimization.
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How to Be Strategic With Your Hashtags
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, and #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.
So, how are you supposed to find these cool, creative, and community-oriented hashtags? The best way is to look and see what Instagram hashtags your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using. The narrower the scope of the hashtag, the more engaged the users are. You’ll be shocked and surprised by just how niche hashtags can get!
One of the best ways to stay organized with all of your community Instagram hashtags is by using Later’s Saved Captions feature. With Saved Captions, you can create templates to save your most commonly used hashtags. When it’s time to schedule, simply select on of your Saved Captions to add it to your post. Best of all? It’s free to all Later users!
Using Branded Hashtags in Your Instagram Caption
A branded hashtags is a great way to start a conversation with your followers and increase the reach of your content. Branded hashtags are a way for your “fans” to share with their followers how they are already engaging with your brand, and for you to inspire user-generated content (UGC). It can mean major growth for your followers and help with the overall engagement on Instagram.
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!
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:
- After posting your photo, add a comment
- Add the dot symbol, dash, or asterisk each on a separate line
- Add your hashtags all together (Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post)
- 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.
Coming up with good Instagram captions might seem hard, but if you want to be successful on Instagram, it’s important to not let your Instagram captions become an afterthought. Whether you’re an ecommerce brand selling products or a blogger sharing content, writing good Instagram captions can be a game changer for your Instagram engagement!
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.