An Instagram caption can make or break your post, so the way you write it is really important. In this blog, you’ll learn how to structure the content in your Instagram caption, ways to send your message, and some tools to help you execute.
Why Does Your Instagram Caption Matter?
A well written Instagram caption has become increasingly valuable in distributing content for brands and bloggers. Gone are the days where you could write “sunny daze” in your caption with a heart emoji and have it result in engagement. Our audiences are looking for meaning and depth on their feed, not just another pretty OOTD.
This goes for brands and bloggers alike. While a product or service brand may have a different approach in the way they write their instagram caption, taking a storytelling direction can create a long-lasting effect on the engagement of your audience.
The goal is to have the your reader linger on your post a little longer than others. This will tell Instagram that your content is more valuable than others, while giving you the chance to connect with your ideal audience.
But that doesn’t mean you need a crazy long caption every time, either. There really is no right answer to the perfect Instagram caption length, but rather what is your objective and how many words will it take to achieve that goal.
When formulating your caption, thing about the following components:
What is your message?
Do you have a CTA (Call To Action)?
How do you lead into your caption?
Is your caption easy to read?
What Is Your Caption Message?
You message can have a variety of objectives. Promoting a new product, announcing a sale or special, directing to new content on your website, etc. It is the idea that you want the viewer to leave with after they’ve read your caption.
When it comes to Instagram, there are four pillars that drive the caption:
I took this out of @theskinnyconfidential’s book, but added another element to the mix: Engage. Basically, your caption should be doing at least one of these four things in order to relate to your readers and create a connection.
What Is A “Call To Action”?
Your Call To Action is the “ask” in your caption, the marketing component of the content. But it doesn’t always have to be “buy this” or “buy that.” It could be a question, such as, “Do you feel this way sometimes too? Comment below!” It can even be as simple as asking for a like if the viewer relates.
Essentially, this is your opportunity to ask for a return on the content you are putting out there. You won’t always get an answer, but you’re creating a human connection and pushing people in the direction you want them to go.
Writing Your Instagram Caption Lead:
In journalism school, we were taught how to lead people into an article in the first 2-3 sentences, or even the headline. This is a tactic done for ages in writing that hooks your reader into continuing on. You want to give them a good idea of what’s coming, without completely selling out.
Writing an Instagram caption has some similarities, although you’re using much less real estate. Your hook can be a couple words, or even just one right word. It’s the shock factor, the entertaining bit that makes people stop scrolling and hit the “more” button, revealing your full caption masterpiece.
Instagram cuts you off after about 125 characters, so it’s crucial to hook your reader ASAP so they click the “more” button or they will just keep scrolling on.
Write With Readability In Mind
Your Instagram caption should be written so that your ideal audience is able to quickly and clearly understand you. If you’re target consumer is young adults, you won’t want to use formal, sophisticated jargon, but opt for trendy slang and easy-to-read sentences.
Another factor in readability is spacing. The human mind may read things left to right, but it also reads them from top to bottom, starting with the first couple words of a line. To help this process, it’s best to break up your copy into sections or bullets.
Depending on your brand, you can also use emojis to help break up your text and amplify your messaging. I like to use a couple of branded icons at the start of each bullet point when making any kind of list. It also helps to put them at the end of longer paragraphs so the color helps indicate that the statement is over and it’s time to move to the next line.
Simple, clear and concise are the backbones of readability.
Tools For Writing Your Instagram Caption
When you write a caption in the Instagram app, there are some limitations that can make it difficult to execute. The text box size can make it hard for you to see the whole body of text, cutting off after a couple of lines so you have to scroll up and down to read before posting. This can cause spelling errors, grammar mistakes, duplicate statements, and more. Not to mention, trying to scroll on that tiny window is a pain in the ass.
Additionally, there isn’t an option to create line breaks in the app. For these reasons, I recommend writing your caption outside of Instagram. You can achieve this in so many ways, it just depends on what workflow is best for you or your team.
An alternative is to write your caption in the notes on your phone, then copy and paste the text into Instagram. But fair warning, while it is convenient, sometimes the line breaks aren’t read and your spacing will be off after publish.
There are websites such as IG Line Breaks that easily makes the proper formatting for your caption. Don’t ask me how it works, but I’ve used it for on-the-fly copy writing and it hasn’t failed me yet! A blogger friend of mine, @stensinthecity, also use a similar site it as she explores the city and it works like a charm!
BTW – If you’re looking for good restaurants or fun things to do in Dallas, she’s your girl.
In conclusion, your Instagram caption requires just as much thought as the image it accompanies.
Don’t sleep on it!