Instagram is all about high-quality photos, right?
Well, yes, but not entirely.
Even if Instagram is THE visual social network, once you’ve taken the perfect shot, and edited it with the perfect filter, your work isn’t done until you’ve found the perfect Instagram caption to add context and meaning to your content.
Yes, your Instagram caption is almost as important as the content itself — quality content drives traffic, and quality captions drive traffic too!
The problem is: writing good Instagram captions can be a really tough job.
What tone of voice should your caption have? Should you include emojis or a call-to-action? And what about hashtags?
What really makes a good Instagram caption?
If you’re looking for tips on how to write a really great Instagram caption, today’s your lucky day!
In this checklist, I’m going to walk you through to 8 tips to help you create eye-catching Instagram captions and level up your Insta-game!
So let’s dive right in!
The Ultimate Checklist for Writing Original Instagram Captions as a Business
✅ #1. Know your audience
First things first, do you know who you’re talking to?
If you don’t, we recommend building audience personas — fictional characters, based on real data and market research, who represent a segment of your target audience.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine who your audience is:
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- What are their jobs?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What goals are they trying to achieve?
You can also run an audit on your Instagram account and analyze your existing Instagram followers by accessing Instagram analytics. Go to Insights → Audience, and you’ll see demographic and activity data.
The better you know your audience, the easier it is to create Instagram captions that fit their needs and expectations.
✅ #2. Identify and use your brand voice
On top of knowing exactly who your target audience is, you need to know how you want to approach them.
Of course, you’ll have different ways of talking to women between the ages of 30-45 and men between the ages of 18-25. That’s why you need to know your audience — the better you know them, the better you talk to them and convey a clear message, with the right tone.
Each brand has its own personality, style, and tone of voice, as does every social network. You don’t use the same copy on LinkedIn as on Instagram, right?
That’s why you should adapt your brand voice to your Instagram captions!
Use a lighthearted, informal tone (if it’s appropriate for your brand) — to show your community how authentic and human your brand is, which is a great way to encourage engagement on your post!
✅ #3. Write an eye-catching first line
I am sure you are aware that Instagram is optimized for mobile experiences. But did you know that this means only the first 125 characters of your Instagram caption will show up in your users’ feed.
Having said that, this doesn’t mean that you have to keep your Instagram captions super short. Instead, frontload your captions with the important content and calls-to-action, and put mentions and hashtags at the end.
Remember, you want to catch users’ attention! To do this, make the first sentence of your Instagram caption super-engaging. You could grab your followers’ curiosity by saying something VERY intriguing to encourage them to click and read more or catch their attention using questions, appealing statements, and exclusive offers.
Whatever strategy you choose, just keep in mind that the goal is to activate your followers’ interest and curiosity, so they’re more likely to read your full Instagram caption and engage with your post.
Below is an example of @benefitcosmetics using the first line of the caption to get their followers’ attention. ⬇️
✅ #4. Consider the structure of your caption
As I mentioned before, Instagram only allows you to see the first 125 characters of a caption, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid writing longer captions. Let me explain!
Short, snappy captions can be great if they resonate with your audience. If, however, you want to write longer captions, there are a few formatting tips you can follow to make them easier to read:
- Write your Instagram caption in a text app
In case that you Instagram app to write your caption, after you write your copy and press “done” any formatting will disappear. That’s why we recommend draft your Instagram caption in your notes app or in a text document (if you are writing on your laptop) so you’ll be able to add line breaks.
- Don’t add emojis before or after paragraphs
If you want to include emojis in your Instagram caption, don’t put them before or after your line breaks. Indeed, if you use an emoji as the last character in your paragraph, the line break will be deleted.
Adding punctuation after the emoji fixes this problem — so an emoji followed by an exclamation mark allows the line break to be conserved!
✅ #5. Use CTAs to drive engagement & traffic
The best way to engage your audience and boost the potential of your Instagram is to include a call-to-action in your Instagram captions.
As Instagram limits clickable links to the one in your bio, you have to make sure you still encourage your followers to visit your website or complete another action via your Instagram caption.
On Instagram, the most common CTA is “Link in bio” but there are plenty of other original CTAs you can use:
Encourage your followers to share your post by inviting them to tag their friends. This is a great tactic for growing your reach and potentially your number of followers. It’s also a great way of generating interest in a contest, if you like engaging with your community that way!
Asking your followers a question is a great way to engage them. Ask them to comment on your post, you could use their answers to come up with new content ideas!
Now, on Instagram, you can share every piece of your content to Instagram Stories. Make the most of it by including a CTA asking your followers to share your post to their Instagram Story — before using this CTA, make sure it’s consistent with the type of post you want to be shared: something that really does your account justice!
Contests are an effective way to increase engagement and brand awareness on social media. Everyone wants a chance to win something, after all!
When you run a contest, how do you get people involved?
You guessed it! By telling them how to participate in your Instagram caption.
Actually, contests are THE BEST way to generate engagement and visibility on your Instagram posts, because in addition to commenting on your posts, most of the time, your followers are also asked to tag their friends, doubling or even tripling your reach.
And that is… THE WINNING COMBO!
PRO TIP: To make your CTAs effective, let your followers know why they should follow your call-to-action — it will encourage them to do so and will help you achieve your goals!
✅ #6. Use hashtags, wisely
Increasing engagement is important, but you want to get new followers too, right?
Adding hashtags in your Instagram captions, is a great way to achieve this.
Instagram captions featuring at least one hashtag drive 12,6% more engagement than those without hashtags. Now that Instagram users can follow specific hashtags, using hashtags in your captions has become more important than ever.
With hashtag following, users can see your posts in their feed (given you’re using those specific hashtags in your Instagram caption) even if they’re not following you. Magic!
However, to successfully use hashtags in your Instagram captions, you need to be strategic. Don’t just use all of the most popular hashtags in your posts to reach as many people as possible — you may get a few more likes, but it won’t help your growth and your discoverability in the long-term.
Instead, find relevant hashtags. You can choose between branded and non-branded hashtags, or even better, a combination of both. Branded hashtags are great to help build a relationship with your community and spread the word about your business. Whether it’s just your brand name or the name of one of your campaigns or products, using branded hashtags can increase engagement with your posts and drive more quality followers.
Even if using hashtags in your Instagram captions is a smart move, make sure to use them wisely. Too many hashtags can make your captions look spammy. While Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags per post, we recommend using about 7 hashtags per post only.
At Iconosquare, we love to take advantage of hashtag holidays — they’re a great way to connect and interact with your community. Here’s what we did for International Women’s Day last year ⬇️
✅ #7. Include emojis
Emojis, when used wisely, are a nifty way to add personality to your Instagram captions! Select emojis that are relevant to your post and make sure they match your tone of voice and branding.
There are a lot of ways to use emojis in your Instagram captions:
- at the beginning of your Instagram caption to catch your followers’ attention:
- to replace whole words:
Emojis are good for so much more than just making your captions look pretty. Encourage your community to interact with your account by getting clever and creative with your use of emojis!
✅ #8. Plan ahead
Do you want to save yourself time and hassle?
Then, write your Instagram captions ahead of time.
Yes, you heard me right.
If you want to make your Instagram captions efficient, get organized! Planning your Instagram posts is a must. As well as being a fundamental part of your social media strategy, scheduling your Instagram posts and captions will save you a lot of time.
Iconosquare can give you a hand. Within the Scheduler, you can schedule and edit all of your Instagram posts and captions in one go:
Iconosquare also allows you to write captions in advance and store them to be used later when scheduling upcoming posts.
So, whenever that burst of creativity takes hold, get busy writing all your captions in advance — you’ll thank yourself (and me) later! 😉
Ready to save time by scheduling your Instagram captions?
And there you have it! Now that we’ve walked through these 8 tips on how to write good Instagram captions as a business, are you ready to put them into action?
However trivial it may sound, producing good Instagram captions is a fundamental step in your path to success on Instagram. No matter what your industry is, writing good Instagram captions can be a turning point for your Instagram strategy!
I’d love to hear your success stories in the comments!