How to Write Good Instagram Captions: 8 Bookmarkable Tips for Perfecting Your Copy

How to Write Good Instagram Captions: 8 Bookmarkable Tips for Perfecting Your Copy

The visibility of your posts in your followers' feeds will depend on the number of Likes and comments a post has, your relationship with the user posting, and other factors. That's why it's important to take your time constructing a great caption that'll keep your followers around, delight them enough to share with their friends, and encourage them to engage with your content. Here's an example of a good caption with no hashtag from Starbucks: Use hashtags at the end of your caption. People love when brands crack a joke or include a play on words. This is a great way to let your followers know where else on social media they can find you -- so that your Instagram followers can become your Twitter followers, your Facebook fans, your Snapchat audience, and so on. Good Instagram Captions So, what makes a good caption on Instagram? Let's recap: Leading with the good stuff A call-to-action (CTA) A healthy number of hashtags A lighthearted tone Emojis Cross-promoting other social channels Brevity The companies cited in the steps above all have their own way of engaging their followers on Instagram, but how can you apply their approach to captions of your own? Captions that lead with the good stuff "That's a wrap on [company event], day 1! Tag a coworker you love working with in the comments below. As you test out different types of posts on Instagram, keep track of how different post types work -- including your captions.

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how-to-write-good-instagram-captions

Instagram marketing is all about the visuals. The quality of your photos will be the differentiating factor when it comes to gaining Instagram followers, getting them interested in your brand and what it’s about, and showing off the human side of your business.

But the hard work doesn’t end once you’ve taken that beautiful photo and edited it to perfection. The caption of your post is where you can give a voice to that visual content.

A good Instagram captions explains what the photo is about, tells your followers to take action, or cracks a joke that makes your content all the more delightful and shareable.

If you think of the caption on your Instagram posts as an afterthought, you’re losing out on an opportunity to engage and delight your followers in ways you can’t with just a visual. Here are some tips to help you write better Instagram captions.

How to Write Instagram Captions

  1. Write several drafts first.
  2. Front-load the important stuff.
  3. Include a call-to-action.
  4. Limit yourself to four hashtags.
  5. Meld your brand voice with Instagram’s lighthearted tone.
  6. Use emojis.
  7. Cross-promote your other social channels.
  8. When in doubt, keep it brief.

1. Write several drafts first.

Ever thought of the perfect joke after it was a little too late to tell it? We’ve all had a similar feeling when we come up with the perfect Instagram caption once we’ve already published the post.

The lesson? Don’t rush the process. Instead, write a few ideas for captions down, sit on them for a bit, poll coworkers on which one is best, and generally take your time.

You might be asking yourself at this point, “But aren’t timeliness and chronology important on Instagram?” They can be, depending on the subject of your post. For example, professional Instagrammer Patrick Janelle says he uses Instagram as a kind of chronological journey of his activities and lifestyle. He likes to post in real time to document what he’s doing at a given moment.

But thanks to the impending Instagram feed algorithm change, the level of engagement your posts receive will soon matter more than chronology. Soon, our Instagram feeds will be ordered to show the moments Instagram thinks we’ll care about the most. The visibility of your posts in your followers’ feeds will depend on the number of Likes and comments a post has, your relationship with the user posting, and other factors.

That’s why it’s important to take your time constructing a great caption that’ll keep your followers around, delight them enough to share with their friends, and encourage them to engage with your content.

2. Front-load the important stuff.

The maximum character count for an Instagram caption (2,200 characters) is basically a formality. But the important thing to note is that captions cut off in users’ feeds after three to four lines of text.

instagram-caption-limit.jpg

That doesn’t mean you should keep your captions super short so users can see 100% of it without having to click “more.” Instead, frontload your captions with the important content or text calls-to-action — and leave any hashtags, @mentions, or extraneous information for the end.

Here’s an example of an enticing, front-loaded caption from coffee-based skincare company Frank Body:

Instagram caption by Frank Body that front-loads the important stuff

3. Include a call-to-action.

The best way to increase the share potential of your Instagram post and engage your followers is to have some sort of call-to-action in the captions of your photos. That means using action verbs to prompt people to do something, instead of just passively scrolling by. We found that verbs generate more shares on Twitter than nouns and adjectives — the same can be true for Instagram.

For example, you might say, “double-tap if you find this funny” or “share your story in the comments.”

Instagram for Business
Here are a few other action-based ideas to get you started:

Encourage people to comment with their own experiences. You might be able to draw on these experiences to shape your Instagram strategy moving forward, or to come up with new content ideas. To increase engagement and delight your followers even more, respond to users’ answers to make it like a conversation.

H&M: “All you need for a weekend get-away. Where would you go?”

hm-ask-a-question.jpg

Lorna Jane: “Be you, everyone else is taken. Today’s inspo inspired by our leading lady @ljclarkson – how are you finding your BELIEVE today?”

lorna-jane-ask-a-question.jpg

Direct people to a link in your bio.

Clickable URLs aren’t allowed anywhere except the single “website” box in your bio. That’s why optimized Instagram profiles update that URL frequently to point to their latest blog content, YouTube videos, products, or offers — and then refer to that link in their Instagram captions.

For example, are you running a contest, or want to increase subscribers to your blog? Just change the link, and then post a photo that mentions the new link in its caption.

Pro tip: Use shortened links that include UTM tracking codes so you can see how much of your traffic came from your Instagram page. (Learn how to create UTM codes to track your URLs here.)

link-in-bio-example.jpg

To change the link in your bio, go to your profile page and click “Edit Profile.”

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Then, simply insert the URL of your choosing into the URL box.

Link in bio of HubSpot's Instagram account

Invite people to tag their friends.

Encourage your followers to share your post with friends by inviting them to tag their friends. Here are a few examples of fun, clever ways brands have asked followers to tag friends.

Frooti: “It’s scrabble day! Tag some friends you’d like to play with.”

frooti-tag-friends.png

H&M: “Planning for a luxe escape with your bestie? Tag your travel partner in crime!”

hm-tag-a-friend-example.jpg

HubSpot: “Coffee with coworkers make Friday mornings that much brighter. Tag your office coffee buddy – and better yet, take a break!”

Instagram caption by HubSpot with call-to-action to tag a friend in the comments

Invite people to enter a contest.

Contests are great for increasing engagement and brand exposure on Instagram.

Simply invite people to post their own pictures and tag them in the caption using a hashtag, like BuzzFeed Tasty does below.

buzzfeed-tasty-tag-your-creations.jpg

Consider including the contest’s official rules in your caption for folks who are interested, and even a link in your bio.

starbucks-instagram-contest.jpg

4. Limit yourself to four hashtags.

On Instagram, a hashtag behaves the same way as it does on Twitter and Facebook: It ties the conversations of different users into one stream. As long as your account is public, anyone who does a search for that hashtag may find your Instagram post. (Read this blog post

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