7 tips to write captivating Instagram captions

Although Instagram is predominantly a visual platform, its textual element – the captions – are almost as important as the visual itself.  If a stunning visual can make the users ‘slow their scroll’, a well thought-out caption can keep them glued to it, and that’s a great way to boost the amount of time users spend viewing your post.

The question is … how can you write a captivating caption? 

What should you say? How long should it be? How many hashtags should you use? 

In this post, we will answer all of these questions (and more!) to get you writing captions that not only make users stop in their scrolling tracks but also compel them to engage and respond to your calls-to-action.

1. Lead with a hook.

Making the opening sentence of your Instagram caption super-engaging and curiosity-evoking is a powerful way to boost the amount of time people spend engaging with your post (which is good for your engagement rate).

So, make sure that you hit your readers with the most impactful, attention-grabbing sentences in the first 3-4 lines of your captions before they get truncated (shortened) so that they are visible in the feed without having to expand them by clicking ‘more’. 

For example, you could pique your audience’s interest with a curiosity-evoking statement, lure them in with an offer, or announce your long-awaited launch. 

2. Try to keep them short.

Remember that Instagram is predominantly a visual platform where users scroll through their feeds at a close-to-lightning-speed – just enough to process the images, but not enough to process lengthy text. So, if you want to maximize engagement, try to keep your captions short, sweet and to the point.

In cases where a longer caption is required, make sure to break it up into paragraphs using line breaks, bullets and emojis for easier processing.

3. Bulk write your captions.

One of the main reasons people struggle to write captivating Instagram captions is because they try to do it on the go. If you are one of those people, you know how difficult it can be to get your creative juices flowing on demand.

Instead of doing your captions on the fly, consider dedicating an hour or two to just to writing the captions for your upcoming posts so that you can really get in the zone! Once your captions are ready, you can then go ahead and schedule your posts to go live at the times when your engagement is at its peak.

4. Be strategic with your hashtags.

Hashtags are the holy grail of instagram discoverability. However, getting discovered does not automatically translate into more followers, more engagement and more website traffic.

To go beyond discoverability, you need to be strategic about your hashtag usage. Do not just cram your captions with the maximum amount of the most popular hashtags. In fact, avoid using hashtags in your captions at all. Instead, put them in the comments rights after you publish your post to keep your captions as clean as possible.

As for the type of hashtags to use, do not just stick to #love, #happy, #summer and other top single-word hashtags. Although this kind of hashtags can give your post an initial burst of engagement in the first few minutes of posting, they will not make much of a difference in the long-term.

It is better to use a combination of different types of hashtags in your captions. For example, you can use 2-4 top Instagram captions to get that initial activity boost, 4-5 moderately popular post-or product-specific hashtags to keep your post active for a few hours, and 4-5 niche hashtags that are specific to your audience.

5. Include a clear call to action and make it stand out.

 If you don’t ask, you don’t get it. If you want your users to complete a certain action upon viewing your Insta post, don’t be shy to ask them by including a crystal-clear call to action and make sure it STANDS OUT from the rest of your caption copy. For example, you could highlight it using a custom font, use symbols or surround it with eye-catching emoji to draw attention.

6. Ask your audience a question.

 A sure-fire way to drive engagement to your post is to ask your audience a question, or better still – inspire a discussion. There are many ways to go about that:

Ask a direct question. You’ll get an avalanche of replies because these questions are so easily answered (e.g. ‘Do you like…?’, ‘Would you buy…?’)

Learn more about your audience. Another simple question strategy is to poll your audience with regards to their likes, dislikes, wishes and preferences (e.g. ‘Are you a cat or a dog person?’ ‘What is your favourite…?’).

Ask what they want.  Asking your audience about what they want is a valuable way to get ideas for your future content creation efforts (‘What kind of posts would you like to see more of?’).

7. Stick to your brand voice.

 Above all, good Instagram captions are the ones that resonate with your audience and communicate your brand personality. To this end, make sure that your captions are written in a tone of voice that reflects your brand identity and feels like the rest of your brand-to-customer communications.

A great way to ‘feel’ the tone of your captions is to read them out loud. If it doesn’t sound like natural speech, then it might be spending a bit more time to get it right.

Writing good instagram captions that inspire engagement and drive conversions might seem like a daunting task because…. it kinda is. But as with everything in life, practice makes perfect! So, practice the tips discussed in this blog post, and soon you will be whipping up killer conversion-worthy captions without a second thought!

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