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How To Write Better Instagram Captions To Increase Likes And Interaction

When Instagram exploded on the social media scene in 2010, one of its major selling points was simplicity. You had the option to view, post, and modify images and that was basically it. People loved this about Instagram, and as a result the platform remained popular ever since. 

But once you take a step back and take a deeper look at how Instagram works, you will find that it’s not as simple as it seems. Apart from overt expansion in terms of functionality (stories, direct messaging, sponsored posts, etc.), even basic Instagram features have more to them than meets the eye

What concerns us here is one such feature, namely the image caption. As you know, beneath every Instagram image there is a space for text-based caption. Captions are something so familiar that we take them for granted. 

From the users’ perspective, this is fine. But if you’re running a commercial operation through Instagram, neglecting to use captions to their full extent will seriously hamper your marketing efforts. 

To learn more about how Instagram captions work, why they matter, and how to use them effectively, take a look at our guide in the paragraphs below. 

Why Instagram Captions Matter 

Let’s talk about captions on a strategic level. From a strategic perspective, Instagram captions are there to help you accomplish three things: 

● They help you provide more context to your images. 

● They showcase your brand’s voice. 

● They nudge followers to take action. 

Not bad for a simple block of text. Let's go over what each of these mean. 

Providing context simply means that captions help users relate to images, instead of just seeing them. A caption is a way of saying “this is why this image matters”. 

Showcasing your brand’s voice means that captions can be used for brand storytelling. They are a canvas to tell users more about your brand. 

Nudging followers to action is the most important aspect of an Instagram caption. If you’re using Instagram as a marketing tool, your endgame is to convert users into customers. 

To conclude, Instagram captions are an indispensable part of your marketing strategy. Use them in conjunction with CRM software to improve your marketing strategy

Creating The Perfect Caption 

Captions are easy to make, but they are difficult to get right. Most captions on Instagram don’t do much to enhance their parent image, which is fine for regular users, but a major concern for brands. 

So how do we get the most out of an Instagram caption? There isn’t a single definitive answer to this question since every brand has different marketing goals. Rather, there are best practices you can adhere to which will improve the effectiveness of your captions. 

Here are the ones we found to be most useful. 

1. Start With a Draft 

Captions are essential content. This means that standard rules for creating good content also apply to captions. And the rule number one is writing content is to start with a draft. 

Many brands treat captions as an afterthought, which means they will usually skip the drafting phase. As a result, they end up with captions consisting of half-baked ideas and uninspiring text. 

What you should be doing instead is complete the journey from draft to the final edit, without skipping any steps in-between. 

2. Important Information At The Beginning 

Another principle of content writing, and even writing in general, is that your first sentence is the most important one. This is doubly important for Instagram captions. 

The bulk of an Instagram caption is hidden below the fold, requiring the user to click ‘more’ to see it in full. Usually the only thing the user sees is the first sentence. 

What this means is that you should include only essential information in the first sentence. This includes the subject matter of the image, its relation to your brand, and a CTA that tells the viewer how to act on it. 

3. Pay Attention To Caption Structure 

You can use Instagram captions to write mid- or even long-form content. If you choose this path, you should be mindful of its structure. 

Never write a caption as a single block of text. It will be difficult to parse, increasing the odds that users will just skip it over, or worse, ignore your image because of it. 

Treat your caption as an essay. This means using paragraphs, line breaks, lists, and other methods for arranging your text into a meaningful whole. 

4. Always Include a CTA 

This one is really simple, but it is amazing how many brands manage to get it wrong. An image without a call-to-action might is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. 

A CTA is essential even if you’re not trying to get the users to buy something immediately. Its role is to keep the user engaged with your brand in some way. This can mean looking at your other images, following you on Instagram, or visiting your website. 

5. Make Captions a Part of Your Brand Story-line 

Captions don’t exist in a vacuum. They are preceded by and followed by your other captions. And if you strengthen the connection between them, you will make each and every one of them more effective. 

What this means is that you should treat captions as chapters in a story. Have each caption reference some common point that other captions do. 

Another important thing to consider is consistency. If your captions are wildly different in tone and content, they will produce a jarring effective, which can alienate your followers. 

6. When You Shouldn’t Include Captions 

Learning how to use Instagram captions involves knowing when not to use them. Words can enhance the meaning of your image, but they can detract from it as well. 

One instance where a caption is largely unnecessary is when posting memes and similar content. A meme is basically an image with a funny caption, and adding a caption of your own on top of that will ruin the humor. 

Another instance is when an image is so powerful, trying to provide context with a caption will diminish its effect. The famous Afghan girl with green eyes is a great example of such an image. 

Mastering The Art of The Caption 

The caption is a deceptively simple, yet powerful tool for optimizing your Instagram marketing strategy. It is indispensable for making users engage with your content, and it is something you can optimize without having to pour money into it. Make your Instagram captions count with the tactics we have outlined above.

Angelina Harper
Angelina is a tech writer for Really Simple Systems - powerful CRM software. When she is not writing, she is learning about cloud technology, digital marketing and digital communications. You can find her latest articles on her Twitter account.
How To Write Better Instagram Captions To Increase Likes And Interaction Reviewed by Mili Ponce on Saturday, August 22, 2020 Rating: 5

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