We’re compiling tips from Instagrammers on how to write effective Instagram captions that get more likes and comments. Here’s what we’ve gathered so far (if you’re an Instagrammer yourself with a good following and have something to add, please also make a submission):
- Always include hashtags (according to this comment, you should use 30, the maximum possible; others such as this comment say to use 5 to 8). Use an appropriate tool to find trending hashtags that you can include to get more visibility.
- The most important part of your caption is the beginning, since captions get cut off and users have to click the “more” text to see the full caption. Therefore, try to make the start of your caption as compelling as possible and leave hashtags and @mentions for the end.
- User-generated content (UGC) is “the bread and butter of today’s Instagrammers.” If you have followers that have posted about you or your brand, show them some love, and put some effort into the caption copy — do more than just say “thanks.” (link)
- Emojis are good overall (link, link), and most brands should use them.
- Consider adding an open-ended question at the end of your caption (link, link). This can get you a far higher engagement rate.
- If you’re writing a long caption, consider using clean linebreaks with 1-2 sentence paragraphs for easier readability (link)
- Include @ mentions and tag your comment (link)
- Keep it conversational. Remember Instagram is a more casual platform than something like Instagram (link)
- Use emotional words like delighted, magnificent, ecstatic (link)
- Consider beginning with a fun fact or interesting stat (link)
The best way to engage an audience through Instagram captions is to focus on those hashtags. A lot of companies only add one or two hashtags – often related to their own brand. This is not going to help increase the exposure of your posts.
Instead, use an appropriate tool to find hashtags that are trending. Choose hashtags related to your industry and ones that have some link to the post you publish.
Only choose the best hashtags. You want a great balance. Do not spam your caption with too many hashtags. This looks bad. Aim for five to 8 hashtags max. This increases exposure gives you better engagement and helps your account grow.
--Joe Flanagan, GetSongbp
The max character limit for an Instagram caption is 2,200 characters, but don't let that fool you. The important detail to note is that captions cut off in users' feeds after three to four lines of text so anything after that is basically invisible to users.
However, that doesn't mean you should keep your captions too brief, as users can't see 100% of it without having to click more. If your captions are intriguing it can work to your advantage. This means frontloading your captions with the most important content or text calls-to-action - leaving any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.
Here's an example of ours - https://www.instagram.com/p/CACqSE6Jc_4
--Charli Burbidge, Petz
Show your followers some love
User-generated content is the bread and butter of today’s Instagrammers, especially considering that UGC generates 6.9x higher engagement than brand content. If you have followers that are happy with your product and are willing to sing your praises, you should mention them in your caption and show some love.
Even massive brands like Starbucks take the time to regram their followers. (Make sure to tag your followers’ accounts accordingly, though, and ask permission before using their content as part of your campaign.)
In terms of caption copy for UGC, most businesses simply say “thanks” or provide a snappy one-liner to couple with their customer photos. However, you can go a bit further than that and tell a story about a user whose post you regrammed.
Either way, a good Instagram caption for a UGC post will require creating a sense of appreciation for those followers that are showing off your products AND encourage them to do the same.
--Yasir Shamim, PureVPN
Depending on your brand, using emojis is a great way to show your mood, brand personality, and add a quirky angle to your captions.
They're not just fun, they're functional, some emojis like arrows, fire, or a megaphone can point out the most important part of your caption. Drawing their attention to a Call to Action or similar.
Brands should have fun using emojis, but remember to not overuse them as you'll quickly be regarded as all style and no substance.
--Jase Rodley, jaserodley.com
My #1 tip for writing a great Instagram caption is to include clean linebreaks between 1-2 sentence paragraphs. This helps people read the entire caption and it keeps them engaged on your profile. The clean line breaks will make it easy for the reader to read and the 1-2 sentence paragraphs will keep the user on your post longer.
Here is an example:
--Jennifer, Digital Sargeant
The number one tip that I give is not to be scared of emojis. Some say that emojis are not serious, they are only for children or for interpersonal communication at best. However, over the last few years, emojis have evolved into a self-sufficient language of expressing emotions and feelings. More than that, they help to make a text more legible by adding checkpoints that an eye may focus upon. Thus, I recommend both personal and business blogs to make use of emojis in order to boost follower engagement. It will add some freshness, some vividity, some genuineness to Instagram captions.
--Tania Matviiok, KeenEthics
My #1 Instagram tip for captions is to include open-ended questions that put the focus on the follower. People love talking about themselves, and if you give them the opportunity to answer a question about themselves in the comments, it will increase engagement.
For example, in this post (https://www.instagram.com/p/CBiwkzDAx7e), I asked my followers, What was the last book you read? on a post where I talked about the book I just finished. I had dozens of comments from my audience answering with the book they just read, and commenting on the book I was currently reading.
Giving people the opportunity to connect themselves to you is a great practice for Instagram engagement. I have an engagement rate of 13%, which is far above the average industry rate of 3%.
--Yuki Klotz-Burwell, @yuki.reads on Instagram
My best tip for IG captions is to make a habit of using IG mentions to your advantage. Many people forget to tag relevant people, places and businesses regularly on Instagram, which I think is a mistake. Being able to tag your location and other IG users is a great marketing tool to have at your disposal. By tagging the restaurant or your current location, it will appear on the IG feed of users that follow that particular place.
So it's a great way to get new customers simply by association with other brands and businesses. This extends to other IG users and micro-influencers in your network, which can also extend the reach of your posts. However, always remember to be tactful when tagging and selective with the posts you choose to use mention.
--Mikkel Andreassen, Dixa
We have an extremely high engagement rate for Instagram as nano content creators and bloggers. Our top tip is to always make sure to have a call to action paired with some sort of helpful information that offers tips to our followers that is actually relevant to them.
For example, this post (https://www.instagram.com/p/CBi6_f-p-wE) of ours gathered almost 600 likes and 284 comments by offering tips on how to get up for sunrise easier paired with a call to action such as a question. For reference, we have about 1.3K followers and a 51% engagement rate.
--Giselle Langley and Stephen Jiroch, @theloverspassport on Instagram
My #1 tip for writing Instagram captions is to keep it conversational. Instagram isn't that formal and people aren't really in work-mode when they're scrolling through. So, even if you are trying to sell B2B, it doesn't need to be super professional or super wordy either. Plus, conversational writing actually works to keep your audience engaged and interested in what you have to say next.
Once you've written your caption, read it out loud to yourself. Edit any parts you trip on or that don't roll off the tongue naturally. This will keep it really conversational and authentic.
--Laura English, Sonder
Asking a question in our Instagram captions have done wonders in engaging our target audiences, who later became our avid customers and supporters. It was and still the perfect strategy for us. Posting an image or video of our product along with a question about their version of using them or where they will go with the product made more comments than those with ordinary captions. Using the right words will make them think and share their own experiences. It became more effective when we replied with each user comment which makes them feel appreciated and valued.
--Shari Smith, Shari - Sells
Let's start with some important statistics first:
- The average Instagram visit is 6 ½ minutes.
- The average engagement rate on Instagram is 1.2%.
Keeping the above statistics in mind, it is extremely crucial to attract the user's attention at the start of the post before they scroll past to look at other more interesting posts. Remember that you are competing for users' attention here, if you can’t engage their attention quickly enough, they won’t be interested in looking at your content.
In my opinion, place the most important words at the beginning of the caption. Not only leading your caption with the most important words is just good writing but it also hooks the reader in and gives them a good enough reason to tap “more”.
Whilst writing a good caption, it is important to keep in mind that Instagram is optimized for a mobile viewing experience. So make use of the first 125 characters to entice the user. If they wish to see more of the caption, they will click “more”.
--Ahmed Ali, smiththompson.com
Use emotional words. Words that draw out feelings. Words that people can connect with and relate to.
Words like: delighted, instantly, magnificent, immediately, skyrocket, ecstatic, authentic, elated, and more.
If you keep your caption short and use these engaging, emotional words, then you’ll be able to grab more people’s attention.
--Donny Gamble, Retirement Investments
We believe it’s essential to keep your audience in mind and customize your social media marketing strategy for each platform. Instagram is a creative platform that businesses can use to reach their employees, friends and family of team members and other local businesses in the area or within the same industry. While you may need to keep your business’ presence professional and buttoned up on LinkedIn and Twitter, you can show your fun and impromptu content on Instagram. We recommend engaging your audience by keeping it a bit more casual and showcasing your culture and your team.
Instagram captions have the freedom to be longer than posts on other platforms, but we still recommend including the most important information at the front so users can see the main idea before the post is truncated. Our team has found that including a fun fact, interesting stat or engaging question at the front of your Instagram caption will be more likely to catch the eye of your followers, making them pause and take in the content before scrolling past the post.
In the example we’ve included from Blue Compass’ Instagram account, we start with a quick stat within a question:
What do you get when you drive over 500 miles, talk with 10 employees’ parents and a room full of surprised employees? An outstanding #CompanyCulture. Find out how @drewrharden & @carycoppola learned more about our office family!
The large number peaks the interest of users and hopefully entices them to click to see the full post or watch the video. We’ve also followed other Instagram best practices by including relevant hashtags and tagging team members involved in the context of the post.
--Mallory Cates, Blue Compass
So, my favorite tip for writing effective Instagram captions to receive good engagement is to get creative & fun with the HASHTAGS! Not only this, I suggest using the maximum 30 hashtags. There`s a reason we`re allowed to use 30 of them. The reach to current & new fans & followers, as well as additional likes, comments, views, sales, etc. from posts are ENDLESS! Of course you can research what the average number of hashtags used per post are, but even these numbers have been found to differ depending on where you`re doing your due diligence. Also, by maximizing here, you`ll have an even greater chance of getting featured on 1 or numerous hashtag pages, which is always a plus! I`m still considered newer to using Instagram & although I haven't started my journey of posting every day or week like most, I`ve found that my use of the 30 hashtags per post has kept me with good engagement in regards to numbers of likes, views, analytics, etc. I even know that my use of hashtags is a large reason why I`ve been able to collect THOUSANDS of new followers in such a short time! IG HASHTAGS ARE OUR FRIENDS!:)
--Michael James Nuells, @michaeljamesnuells on Instagram
Humans are visual creatures, hence using photo-related articles makes it much easier to understand and learn an information, one reason why I love Pinterest and Instagram is because some of the features that has been made available for users to be able to create Nice illustrations through captions and other descriptive features, unlike the tittle, captions are explanatory text that are very close to your image(s), a picture can be full of a thousand words. you need captions to summarize the message/information you are trying to pass with your Photographs.
Caption is more like a title, infact Images and captions can be regarded as a single entity hence has the most attention in an article.
One best way to write captions is through some writing steps which most newbies fail to use however experts have been using these steps and it's been working quite well for them.
1: Your caption should be Catchy.
2: Be realistic based on your niche, let's elaborate on this a little, if you are into health stuff, you must have had one or two experiences, bad or good, learn to share your experiences and be realistic about them.
3:Use CTOs at the end.( Call to actions)
--Eshemokhai Precious, friendsimpact.com.ng
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