How to Write Good Instagram Captions: Tips, Ideas, and Tools

How to Write Good Instagram Captions: Tips, Ideas, and Tools

Get more likes and comments, and your followers will see your photos and videos more often. What makes a great Instagram caption? A great Instagram caption will add context, show off your brand’s personality, entertain the audience, and/or compel people to take action. Captions can be up to 2,200 characters in length, include emoji, and up to 30 hashtags. It should also speak to the content and the audience. Of course, the content of your post will have to be compelling for them to want to do that. Instagram caption ideas from the brands that do them best Now that you know how to write great captions, let’s look at some of the most effective caption types and how successful brands use them to engage the audience. The behind-the-scenes caption Instagram is a great platform for behind-the-scenes content. Instagram caption tools Here are a few apps and tools to help you write the very best Instagram captions. You have the ideas, tips, and tools to write compelling Instagram captions of your own.

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Instagram caption ideas
Image via Jason Leung under CC0 1.0

Compelling Instagram captions will lead to more engagement. And engagement is one of the key three factors the Instagram algorithm considers when ordering content in users’ feeds.

Get more likes and comments, and your followers will see your photos and videos more often.

Read on for a list of winning Instagram caption ideas and get tips on how to write your own.

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Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps an adventure photographer used to grow from 0 to 110,000 followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.

What makes a great Instagram caption?

A great Instagram caption will add context, show off your brand’s personality, entertain the audience, and/or compel people to take action. Captions can be up to 2,200 characters in length, include emoji, and up to 30 hashtags.

Of course that doesn’t mean your captions should be hashtag-ridden essays stuffed with cryptic emoji messages. As with any piece of good web writing, your Instagram caption should be attention-grabbing and easy to read and follow. It should also speak to the content and the audience.

Here’s how to write your own captions to boost engagement.

11 tips for crafting the perfect Instagram caption

1. Know your audience

Who of Instagram’s 1 billion million users fit your business’ target customer profile? Instagram demographics show us that the platform is used by people in all income brackets, and is slightly more popular among women than it is with men.

But those are the broad strokes. The better you know your audience, the easier it is to tailor your Instagram marketing strategy to their needs and expectations.

To that end, we recommend building audience personas. These archetypes outline basic details about your target customers, their goals, and their pain points.

Our guide to creating audience personas outlines the questions you need to ask yourself to determine who your customers are. How old are they? Where do they live? What sorts of jobs do they have? What do they do outside of work?

Once you know who you’re speaking to, you can answer questions that will inform what you put in your captions:

  • Will my audience understand this reference?
  • Are emojis and netspeak appropriate to use here? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Do I need to add more context to this post?

Answer those questions, and actioning on the next step will be much easier.

2. Identify your brand voice

If you haven’t identified your brand voice as part of a broader social media marketing strategy, ask yourself: ‘What are the qualities and values I want my brand to embody?’ Make a list and use it to shape your voice.

You might also try jotting down a few adjectives that describe your business and use those to find the right tone. “Bold,” “curious,” and “authoritative” might make sense for a travel brand, for example.

In general, Instagram users don’t expect a formal or serious tone. Of course it depends on the industry and audience, but you should strive to keep things light, use humor where appropriate, and show personality.

The people behind Lego’s instagram account do a great job of this, combining humor and whimsy to tell the brand’s story.

3. Consider length

Remember that most people scroll through their Instagram feeds at a brisk pace. If there’s any doubt as to how long your caption should be, keep it brief. Give context where you need to, but if the post speaks for itself, let it.

Note: for posts in feeds, only the first three lines of a caption will be displayed. For captions longer than three lines, people will have to tap “More” to read the whole thing

If you want your entire caption to display, Instagram recommends using 125 characters or fewer.

That said, if there’s an interesting story to tell behind the photo, take the the time (and the generous character limit) to tell it.

National Geographic’s Instagram account is one of the best at longer-form captions. As impressive as the brand’s visuals are, the accompanying text always adds value.

For further reading on this point, check out our guide to the ideal social media post length for every network.

4. Place the most important words at the beginning of the caption

Again, captions are cut off in users’ feeds after a few lines of text, so you need to convey your key point or call to action right away. Put any @mentions and hashtags (more on those later) at the end.

Also, leading with the most important words is just good writing. Hook the reader in and give them a reason to tap “More.”

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