Do you ever find yourself with the best picture you could imagine, but you just can’t land on a caption that does justice to the image? Well, if you can relate to this situation even a little, you’re at the right place.
In this article, we’ll be talking about the impact and importance of a good caption and how you may fail before you even start writing a caption. We will also cover the basic guidelines that you should follow while writing captions and five ways you can make your captions more engaging on Instagram.
What Does a good caption do?
A good caption helps the reader identify the broad topic of the displayed content. A good caption is crucial as it helps the user choose your content over someone else, which will help to increase engagement. Almost 80% of users read only the first couple lines of your caption. Therefore, you should make sure that the first couple lines explain the broad topic of your content and pique the reader’s curiosity. Let’s look at the importance of captions and how you can write impactful captions in no time.
Hook Your Viewers
A good caption helps to engage the audience and grab their attention or “hook” them to your content. Once the readers are hooked, they are bound to spend more time on your post, increasing the chance of them engaging with it.
You can use captions to form a connection with your audience, as captions are a direct form of communication. You can use them to share information, ask questions, induce feelings of happiness or motivation and make them laugh. This will make your readers perceive you as a friend and build a connection with your company. Building strong connections with your audience also leads to higher engagement and customer loyalty.
You can boost engagement on your posts by encouraging your viewers to answer a question, participate in a giveaway or a poll, and spread information on your post in a lengthy caption that would benefit the reader to make them spend more time on your post. You can also talk about a controversy to encourage a debate in the comments section. Although controversial topics bring in massive engagement, you risk losing some of the audience due to negative interactions or inappropriate comments, which might discourage them from engaging with your company in the future.
Become Easily Discoverable
Using keywords in your captions is a fantastic way of being more discoverable as it brings in the audience who are searching for content that is similar to yours. Hashtags are one of the most effective tools to drive a relevant or targeted audience to your posts and profile. Hashtags help you get into trending conversations or the discover page on the platform and enable your posts to show up among a similar category of posts which will have a significant impact on your post’s reach.
How Can Your Captions Fail Even Before You Start Writing Them?
The main reason a user would want to spend their time reading your content is when it grabs their attention or is something that engages them. Therefore, it’s always recommended to ‘define your audience’ and to ‘define the purpose of your content’. Neglecting these two things can result in your captions failing before you start writing them.
1. Defining your audience means knowing who they are, what’s important to them, why they might find value in your content, and what they want to hear. This information can help you figure out how to appeal to the reader and try to make them engage with your content.
2. Defining the purpose is simply knowing what you want out of the content – do you want to encourage pre-purchase, participation in an event, make the reader feel informed, or optimize your SEO? Knowing what you want from the content will give you clarity on how to approach your audience and penetrate their minds with your caption.
What are the basic guidelines to follow?
It’s time to dive into the basic guidelines you need to follow to create engaging Instagram captions.
Write Down Multiple Options Before Finalizing A Caption
The first caption you write is rarely the one you will choose. Try to write down different variations of your caption, look at your content from different perspectives, and write down multiple variations from each perspective. Keep writing until something clicks and you know you have just the right caption.
1. Spend more time working on your captions.
2. Why you should spend more time on your captions.
3. Why having a great caption can increase your engagement tenfold.
4. Why are captions more important than your content?
5. Why will your content live or die based on your caption?
6. Approach your caption like it’s life or death!
Even though these are only six variations, you can see the difference between the first and last caption. Making this practice a habit will help you see significant results in the long run and help you identify what type of captions work with your audience, as well as the Instagram algorithm.
Start Off With The Essentials
The majority of users read only the first couple of lines of your caption. You can use 2,200 characters in an Instagram caption. Captions are shortened to 125 characters; that’s how many characters are displayed in the feed. The remaining is only visible when a user taps the ‘more’ button. Also, you can add up to 30 hashtags to each caption. Therefore, the most effective way to grab your reader’s attention is to front-load important information in your caption, allowing the user to understand your message without tapping on ‘more’.
Write Something That Benefits The Reader
Write content that benefits your readers in the caption, like tips and tricks or any information that adds value to attract them and makes them feel like they are learning something new. This added value might compel them to share it with their friends or save your post resulting in higher reach and engagement.
5 Easy Ways to Make Your Instagram Captions More Engaging
1. Include a Call-To-Action or Ask a Question
Make sure your posts have a purpose or intention, and set a goal using those intentions. The easiest way to do this is by asking yourself – “what do I want my viewers to do?”.
Share the posts with your friends, click the link in your bio, enter a giveaway, visit your website or simply answer the question asked in the post.
2. Write Captions Like A Human
Many writers make the mistake of trying to sound like a robot or ‘following a trend’ when it comes to writing captions. However, authenticity matters a lot so write as if you were speaking to your audience to come across as natural and human as possible. People like to form connections with other people or, in this case, companies that sound like people.
3. Be A Storyteller
Writing short stories as captions is a great way to engage your readers. If done well, storytelling helps readers imagine and relate to the message you wish to communicate with your audience. In addition, you can add a visual aspect to your storytelling by using emojis relevant to your message. Adding an emoji at the end of your Instagram caption will make your caption more inviting to your followers.
4. Take Advantage Of Hashtags
Instagram hashtags are the easiest way to make your content searchable and to increase the chances of people interested in your content finding and #engaging with your content.
Make sure you develop relevant hashtags by aiming for a mix of a signature hashtag for your brand, hashtags used by people in the same industry, product, and other relevant trending hashtags. One of the most effective ways to use hashtags is to put keywords as hashtags along with the mix mentioned above.
Hashtags are generally used at the end of the caption as they are usually meant for Instagram’s algorithm. Still, they can also be used in the middle of the caption if it fits in – usually for campaign names like #ShareACoke or #CocaColaDreamwork!
5. Consistency In the Tone Of Voice
The captions you post will be recognized by your audience when there is consistency in your tone of voice and specific guidelines are followed to maintain this tone. This helps display the same message consistently, maintain your brand image and make your content easily recognizable. For example, stick to a friendly yet informative tone of voice – when done consistently, your audience will start to see your company as one that is friendly and provides information.
You should also maintain consistency over all social media platforms – one of the methods to do this is cross-platform promotion. For example, ask people through an Instagram caption to participate in a giveaway by re-tweeting one of your tweets.
Bonus Tip: A/B Testing Is Your Friend In The Long Run
The best way to know what works for you is to experiment with your captions. We recommend trying out 2-3 different styles of captions on different posts and analyzing how they do. This allows you to compare different captions and determine what style of caption your readers prefer. Then, you can use similar types of captions in the long run with a guarantee that your readers will like them.
We hope this post helps you understand how essential Instagram captions can be and how to go about writing a good Instagram caption. Remember that everything mentioned thus far will give you results only if you are consistent with your efforts and posts.
It’s important to ensure that you follow the guidelines of writing a good caption and experiment with different types of captions to find out what works best for you and gives you the desired result.
If you feel like keeping track of all the things mentioned above is a difficult task or that you can’t find the time to do all of them, let the experts at Socinova take over and boost your social media presence!
Written by Dhruv Bhagwatkar from Socinova. Images have the copyrights of the respective sources.