Have you been wondering how to create engaging Instagram captions that will add value to your posts? I’m sure you’ve heard that captions are an essential part of Instagram’s success.
“A picture is worth a thousand words” – not necessarily. Especially if it’s on Instagram in 2023. If you think that a great picture is enough to get likes on Instagram, you may be wrong. Instagram captions play an essential part in your engagement.
The reason for that is that the Instagram caption is not only some empty text. It gives context, as well as helps to showcase your personality. Long gone are the days when an emoji was enough. Today’s consumers won’t engage with an emoji caption. Nor will they engage with an empty, meaningless caption that doesn’t give any personal touch.
So, since Instagram captions are so important, you may be wondering how to write something that will catch the eye of thousands and will result in comments and double-taps.
As usual, there is no one-size-fits-all here, but I am happy to share several tips that will work out.
Keep in mind that Instagram captions are very important. They show your personality and help your audience connect with you. They help your followers learn about you and become more personal. There is a saying: “A picture is worth a thousand words,” which is totally true, and I won’t deny it, yet still, people better relate to the text. What do you do when you want to share your emotions? You choose to write.
Why do you need Instagram captions?
Photos can be understood in many ways. That is why by writing a caption under your post, you can express the true meaning of the picture. Nevertheless, you can give context and show your personality.
Captions are a great way to tell the meaning of your post in a concise way. Sure, you can explain what you mean with a video, but it actually means that your followers will need to watch it. Sometimes, followers just scroll, without actually willing to watch any videos. Your captions can speak directly to your audience and share what your content exactly was supposed to communicate.
One of the most important features that Instagram captions have is the ability to kick off a dialogue with your audience. You can ask a question and invite your audience to share their opinion in the comments section.
This boosts the engagement of your posts, which is an essential metric used by Instagram to decide the quality of your content.
The Instagram algorithm works in a way where higher quality content is prioritized. The quality of the content is determined based on engagement, time spent consuming content, and interests. It is in your interest to keep your audience consuming your content longer, as it will signal to Instagram that your post is relevant. It will boost the visibility of your current and future posts.
I’ve worked with hundreds of Instagram accounts struggling to boost engagement. Many of them had poorly written captions that were dull, which led to poor engagement and anxiety about not getting the expected results.
In many cases, a good strategy for writing engaging Instagram captions helped them improve their results; however, captions are just one part of leading to success on Instagram. There is much more to it.
So, let’s have a look at how to produce killer Instagram captions and rock your Instagram engagement.
How to write engaging Instagram captions?
The Internet is full of quotes. Just Google it, and you’ll find thousands of blog posts with various selected quotes that will supposedly make your Instagram post extraordinary. They are often separated into themes, like travel quotes, lifestyle quotes, quotes for him/her, beauty quotes, etc.
The problem with these “standard” captions is that they aren’t personal. They are some cool or sassy saying that someone else has said. They don’t show any personality nor add any value to your audience.
If you found these quotes with a quick Google search, then another bunch of people found them too. Likely you’ll be sharing captions that won’t boost your engagement.
To help you with the captions, I have looked at some examples that worked and compiled a list of the best tips to create the most engaging Instagram captions.
I suggest using these tips in your Instagram strategy to increase visibility and engagement to ensure that the Instagram algorithm perceives your content as a high-value one and prioritizes it on your followers’ feeds.
Combine context with your personality
Engaging Instagram captions are the ones that show your personality. Thus, this is by far the most important component of a successful Instagram caption. Simply put, context is your niche, and personality is who you are.
You should always post content that is relevant to your audience. For example, if you are a foodie blogger, anything related to food is your niche. If you’re a computer software business, your solutions are your niche.
Remember, people follow you because they want to get relevant content from you. They don’t follow you because they want random posts in their feeds. In fact, people won’t engage with content that’s not relevant to them and might even eventually unfollow you.
So when you determine your context, you should spice it up with your personality. Instagram is an informal platform, so write as if you’re speaking to your best friend. Use the words and language that are natural to you (unless it’s some very specific corporate jargon, then you shouldn’t use it). If you like jokes, use jokes; if you love to exaggerate, do it in your Instagram captions as well.
Your tone and voice will shape the overall personality of your Instagram account, and you’ll attract followers who’ll genuinely like your content. They’ll like it because they will be able to relate, in one way or another, with you, and this relationship will boost engagement.
Add a strong Call-to-Action
Yes, you heard it right. Strong CTA (call-to-action) is very important on Instagram. People tend to think less when they are on social media; thus, reminding them what they are expected to do can be a powerful tool to get extra followers or likes.
Using active language, such as “follow now,” “buy now,” like now,” and “comment with your experience,” can do wonders for your overall strategy. Your call-to-action should also create a sense of urgency. Most of us are afraid of missing out on something; thus, a powerful reminder that they should follow you if they like what they are seeing can be a great strategy. You may add CTAs like “save this post” to make sure that people can come back to it if they need to.
Without a clear CTA, your audience will likely look at your content without engaging with it. Tell them what you’re expecting them to do.
For example, I love suggesting to my clients to add “Don’t forget to save this post to find it later” in their captions; it works! Most of us see Instagram posts once, and then they are gone for good. Unless we remember the actual account that shares it, we won’t be able to find it again. So, reminding your followers to save your post can increase your engagement in the long run.
How many times did it happen that you’re speaking with a friend about some workout routine? You remember seeing some tips on Instagram, but after checking some fitness accounts that you follow, you cannot find the actual post!
Aaaah, annoying, I know! If you saved that post, you’d easily find it and forward it to your friend, who would likely like it or even follow the account. In this way, you’d be increasing engagement.
Strong CTAs should be a part of your engaging Instagram captions.
Tell a story
Don’t be afraid of long captions. Instagram allows you to type 2,200 characters in your caption. That’s a lot of text. This number is there for a reason.
Microblogging on Instagram has become more and more popular. People tend to choose a visual that means something to them and produce a personal story. You can consider it as a public diary.
If you’re a brand, you should use this space to show your brand’s personality. It’s what makes Instagram unique; you are expected to show the human side of your business, no matter how big you are.
I love Airbnb’s Instagram. It is full of homestay photos produced by Airbnb users. In this way, Airbnb shows who’s behind its brand, people, and consumers who travel and choose to stay in local homes over hotels.
Airbnb managed to use user-generated content to its advantage, and you can see that telling a story is a straight path to more engaging Instagram captions.
However, when you write a story, don’t lump text into long paragraphs. They tend to scare people. In general, text in long paragraphs is a no-no unless you’re writing an academic text. Instead, split your sentences into shorter paragraphs, ensuring easy readability and access to information. Have you noticed that most blog posts nowadays, as well as social media captions, tend to be 3-4 lines per paragraph?
If you’re using Instagram for business purposes, you will need to change the tone and the way you communicate on Instagram.
Instagram is not a platform to be formal. Keep it for LinkedIn. On Instagram, people aren’t looking for corporate jargon or business talk; they want to unwind and be entertained.
That’s why Instagram is a different ballgame for many businesses; you aren’t expected to be overly corporate and formal. It’s a pretty informal platform where your tone and message should be adapted accordingly.
If you use the same caption on your Instagram post and LinkedIn, something is wrong. It’s likely that your engagement rate will be pretty low for such Instagram posts.
Instagram is a place where your captions should have emojis and be loud and entertaining. In the end, you want to catch the eye of your followers. Adding emojis in your Instagram captions is a great way to grab interest and personalize your message.
A study conducted by Quintly has shown that Instagram captions with emojis drive higher engagement rates than those without.
But keep in mind that you shouldn’t overdo it with emojis. Keeping it neat is also important, so avoid using too many of them in one post. I think one emoji per paragraph (3-4 lines) is more than enough.
The informal and colloquial strategy will be much better consumed and, therefore, boost your Instagram engagement.
Use the right tone
Who knows your audience better than you? Nobody.
Since you have this advantage, use it to your benefit. The tone and how you talk differ based on your audience demographics. Imagine, if your audience is men between 18–34, your tone will be different compared to an audience of men above 40.
You should talk to your audience in the way they talk. You can use slang and abbreviations if your audience is young; however, people above 40 are more likely to misunderstand internet slang. The right tone will ensure that your audience is included in your discourse. Use the language that you’d use in real-life situations if you spoke with your audience.
Your tone should also be engaging. The last thing you want is to rant in a monologue that has no emotions. Try adding some rhetorical questions and boosting curiosity.
Make your captions easy to read
There is no right or wrong when it comes to the length of your Instagram caption. Quality wins over quantity. Your caption can be short but straight to the point; it can also be longer and more in-depth. Whichever you choose depends on your style.
The critical point to remember – your post should bring value to your audience.
However, when it comes to formatting, avoid having long paragraphs. Split them into shorter chunks as they are much easier to read and digest. Generally, long paragraphs online are daunting, and therefore, your viewers may choose to skip reading them.
Are you ready to write more engaging Instagram captions?
Instagram captions are much more than just a couple of lines. As you have just learned, they serve a purpose and can help you get higher engagement rates.
Nevertheless, they are a powerful tool to showcase your personality, give context to your photos, and also give an opportunity for your followers to engage with you.
Captions are an important part of your Instagram marketing and, if done in the right way, can be very beneficial to your growth. While producing a great caption may require time and effort, remember that it’s essential to have something that brings value to your audience and your brand.
Every Instagram account is unique, and you have to find the right technique and approach that will work wonders for you. Remember, Instagram will require a continuous effort – once you notice what kind of captions your audience engages with most, keep on producing content to increase engagement.
Try these tips separately or in combination on your Instagram account and enjoy the results!
Tips for engaging Instagram captions
So, to summarize, these are the six main tips that will help you produce engaging Instagram captions:
- Combine content with your personality
- Add a strong call-to-action
- Tell a story
- Be informal
- Use the right tone
- Make your captions easy to read
Would you add any other tips?