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How to Write Good Instagram Captions? (10 Tips)

What’s the secret to awesome Instagram captions? We spill the tea. Find out how to write good Instagram captions and some examples.
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Best Way to Write an Engaging Instagram Caption
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Instagram’s algorithm relies heavily on engagement as a metric. If you can keep users engaged, you’ll get more followers because the algorithm will:

  • Recommend you to more users
  • Place you on the Explore Page

There are many ways to increase your reach and engagement, but one that people overlook is learning how to write good Instagram captions.

If you master the art of captions, you’ll encourage people to view more of your content – especially videos.

Anyone who is not a writer and is intimidated by the thought of writing lengthy, informative captions will have a much easier time after reading our blueprint below.

1. Start With a Killer First Line

Your caption can have 2,200 characters, or about 2.5 times what you’ve read so far in this guide. That’s an extensive caption, but we don’t recommend going too crazy here and writing a novel for your caption.

In fact, if you want to instantly transform your captions, focus on the first line.

Your first line is your hook that will either attract clicks or turn them away. We recommend that your first line in your caption:

  • Intrigue readers
  • Ask a question
  • Start your story

Of course, you don’t need to ask a question, but it’s a good way to pique people’s interest. You’ll want to research other influencers in your niche and focus on their first line. Fitness influencers have a tendency to start with a statement, such as “Tried to hit my PR today. Did it happen?”.

Or you’ll find people dive right in and tell you the reps and sets that they hit during their workout.

Spend a lot of time on the first line of your Instagram captions, and you’ll notice that more people view and engage with your content.

2. Tell a Cool Story

If you want to know how to write good Instagram captions, you need to learn how to tell a cool story. Storytelling is a skill that you can use across all of your social media channels to encourage people to view and engage with your content.

But you’re not a storyteller.

Right?

You need to become one, whether you’re a brand or a personal account. Start with finding an angle to make your experience and caption relatable. For example, let’s assume that you have a beauty account, and your Reel is on how to clear up blemishes.

A caption may be:

  • I went to bed with perfect skin and woke up with a pimple right on my forehead. Girls, you know how you want to make a good first impression? Well, pimples get in the way fast. What could I do? I have a first date, so I decided to…

If you try to tell a story that relates to the reader, it will hook them in. You can elaborate on the example above even further. A few elements that you must define before telling your story are:

  • A full understanding of your audience
  • Relatable points most of your audience experiences

And if you want to take storytelling even further and create archetypes that you can use to impress your audience, you’ll find plenty of books on this very topic:

  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller – John Truby
  • Unleash the Power of Storytelling: Win Hearts, Change Minds, Get Results – Ron Blesenbach

Spend time learning how to tell a story, especially if you’re a brand that wants to have its voice heard but doesn’t know how to achieve this goal.

3. Add a Strong CTA

Add a Strong CTA

You need a strong CTA. What is a CTA? It’s short for a “call-to-action.” In copywriting, you’ll find these CTAs for closing sales. If you go on Amazon, the CTA is the “Buy Now” button.

A CTA in Instagram captions is often used to encourage people to click on a link in the caption.

But you can also add a CTA to your Instagram caption as a way to drive engagement. If you’re a fashion influencer, you can add a CTA, such as “double tap this photo if you love this outfit as much as I do.”

If you want people to comment on your post, you can add a CTA like:

  • Write in the comments below if you would wear this outfit.
  • Drop a line in the comments below if you love the way this outfit looks on me.

CTAs asking someone to like the post are very effective because it doesn’t take much for the user to tap the heart button.

One secret that works very well is when you ask people to tag a friend. You can get a lot of new followers by simply writing: Tag a friend who would love to wear this outfit. If you can add in a CTA that will encourage people to tag others, it will be great for your engagement and account growth.

I do recommend adding emojis in the caption near the CTA to make it stand out from the other text and highlight it.

4. Maintain Your Brand Voice

If you’re feeling overwhelmed already, you may want to skip this section because it’s a bit complex. We’re going to make this as simplistic as possible, but it’s a topic that you’ll find a lot of books and videos on online.

What is a brand voice?

Your brand voice is – and this is for business and personal accounts – a way to bring personality to your captions, posts and more. Your voice adds:

  • Personality to your social media account
  • Cohesion across social channels

Brand voice is a consistent way in which you write your posts and even comments. You want to read all of your captions aloud to yourself. I know this is painful, but it’s worth it. When you do, you’ll want to ask yourself:

  • Is this Instagram caption “on brand?”
  • Does this caption sound like the personality I want for my account?

If you want to be technical, you can define your brand’s personality. You’ll want to add your brand’s tone and style, too. Perhaps you want to be bright and bubbly in your posts. You can use certain language and a style of writing to convey this in your text.

And don’t forget, your voice can evolve over time to match you as you change.

If you make drastic changes to your brand voice too often, it can turn away followers. Any account that changes its voice too much should analyze its followers and account to learn how it impacts follower count and engagement.

5. Use Hashtags Strategically

Free Instagram Hashtag Generator Banner

Hashtags are something that we tend to talk about a lot on our blog. Our experts recommend that you use 3 – 5 hashtags, and you never want to overdo it. We have a great tool that you can use to begin adding hashtags.

It’s important to use hashtags properly. Here are some mistakes that you want to avoid with your Instagram hashtags:

  • Using too many hashtags. Stick to an absolute maximum of 5 hashtags.
  • Adding in hashtags that are irrelevant because they’re popular.

If you think users will follow your beauty account because you added the “#cutecat” hashtag, you’re mistaken. You want to add hashtags to your captions that are relevant to the post.

But what a lot of creators do is use hashtags that are big hitters. “Beauty” and “hair” are two hashtags that are immensely popular, but they’re less likely to help you get followers.

If you want to attract more followers by adding hashtags to your Instagram captions, try sprinkling in the less popular tags that still have a lot of traction but aren’t oversaturated.

A few other hashtag tips that can help you write good Instagram captions are:

  • Add brand hashtags if you own a business account
  • Caption your posts if they’re sponsored and also add the #sponsored tag

Hashtags will make your posts more discoverable and are just another way to write better Instagram captions.

6. Use Emojis and Line Breaks

Use Emojis and Line Breaks

Instagram captions – like all social media content – can be a bit boring if you write a wall of text. Long, drawn-out captions aren’t going to be read by followers.

So, you need to add as much formatting as you can to your captions with the tools that are available to you. You’re limited to:

  • Emojis, which we prefer using when we want to highlight certain text or words and make them really stand out
  • Line breaks, which allow you to add white space to your text to make it easier to read and are also better for followers

We also offer a neat Instagram font generator that will help you create interesting captions and emphasize some of your caption’s most important points.

7. Set a Goal for Each Caption

It’s hard to write a great caption if you don’t have a purpose. Sure, sometimes improvised captions can work well. But if you want to really nail it, you need to have a goal and a plan.

So, ask yourself: What’s my goal for this post and caption?

Do you want to:

  • Get sign-ups for your newsletter?
  • Get people to schedule a call?
  • Convince people to buy your product or service?
  • Build awareness?

Understanding your goal for the caption will help you craft your message properly.

8. Know Your Audience

To write good Instagram captions, you have to know your audience and how to appeal to them.

Otherwise, how can you write captions that speak to their pain points, interests and needs?

But how do you get to know your audience?

If you’re a business, you may already have this information from your CRM and marketing tools.

Otherwise, you can use the strategies below:

A. Use Your Audience Insights

Use Your Audience Insights

Instagram provides insights on your dashboard that you can use to learn more about your audience’s:

  • Age range
  • Gender
  • Location

You can also view engagement details for individual posts to get a better idea of what topics and content styles work best for your audience.

B. Analyze Mentions and Tags

Analyze Mentions and Tags

Instagram doesn’t have a review function, but people will still comment about and review your products, services or brand. You can use these insights to get an idea of what your audience thinks about your brand and create captions that appeal to their emotions.

Head over to your profile and tap the Tagged tab to see all of the posts where you’re mentioned or tagged on Instagram.

You can also view mentions and tags in the Meta Business Suite if you can’t find them on your Instagram account.

9. Use Emotions

What’s the secret to creating captions that motivate people to buy or engage with your content? Tapping into your followers’ emotions.

Which emotions should you appeal to?

  • FOMO: Fear of missing out can drive more people to comment and follow your account or buy your product or service.
  • The longing for community. We all want to belong. Using language that makes users feel like they’re part of your community can help you build trust and foster deeper relationships.
  • Inspiration. Use your captions to inspire and motivate people. Share a story of overcoming adversity or a success story that’s relevant to your brand.

Emotions are powerful things, but use this tip responsibly. We don’t recommend creating posts that evoke genuine fear (a.k.a. fearmongering). Unethical approaches to captions will only backfire in the long run.

10. Use the Right Type of Caption for Your Brand

All of the points above are great, but you should know what type of caption to create for your posts. Let’s explore a few different types to get a better feel of what will work for your account.

A. Minimalism

For some Instagram accounts, less is more and minimalism works best. An awesome one-liner and a few emojis may be all that you need to engage your audience. The minimalist approach tends to work best for established businesses or for posts where the picture or video speaks for itself.

B. Informative

If you’re a publisher or sell products or services, informative captions are great. These captions are long and detailed to provide viewers with more details about a subject.

You can explain how to use your product or the benefits of your services. Maybe you offer business coaching services, so you write an informative caption about how your services can help business owners reach their goals.

C. Questions

Ask your followers a question or to share their experiences/advice. Give a little backstory as to why you’re asking the question, and wait for the comments to roll in.

D. Quotes

Quotes are a classic type of Instagram caption. They can inspire and motivate your followers or anyone who discovers your content.

The great thing about this caption type is that it can work for virtually any type of account.

E. Tutorials

If you run a cooking blog or DIY site, tutorials are the perfect style for your captions. You can add detailed, step-by-step instructions along with tips and relevant hashtags. One advantage of how-to-style captions is that they’re usually lengthy, which may increase your chances of getting recommended by the algorithm.

F. Behind the Scenes

Do you share behind-the-scenes content on your Instagram? Make sure that your captions tell the story of what’s going on in the photo or video. Explain who the people are and what they’re doing to give followers a more in-depth look at what happens behind the curtain in your business or life.

Examples of Instagram Accounts with Awesome Captions

Want to see what an awesome caption looks like in the real world? Here are a few great examples of Instagram accounts that are doing captions right.

I. National Park Service

The National Park Service is a prime example of how to do captions right. They know their audience, and they’re not afraid to show some personality.

Just look at this post’s caption:

The caption promotes the National Parks and educates users about bears while playing on this grizzly’s emotions in the picture.

This post is just one of many where the National Parks uses humor and modern-day pain points and emotions to keep their followers engaged.

II. The Goods by Vox

This Instagram account is a part of the Vox family, and they focus on what they buy, why they buy it and why it matters.

Again, they know their audience, and they’re not afraid to be edgy with their captions.

Here’s a great example:

III. Shut the Kale Up

Shut the Kale Up is more of a personal blog/vlog for Jeannette Aranda, but her captions are spot on. She knows her audience, and she’s great at storytelling.

Just check out the caption for this post:

These are just a few of the many examples of great captions on Instagram. We recommend checking the accounts of popular influencers in your niche or industry and studying their captions. Which ones get the most engagement? Which ones are ignored by users? Take notes and use your analysis to improve your captions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Make Instagram Captions Stand Out?

One of the best ways to make your captions stand out is to hook viewers in with your first line. You can also draw attention to certain parts of your caption through line breaks, emojis and using text styles like bold or italics.

Why Do Instagram Captions Matter?

Instagram captions matter because they do three important things: engage your audience, tell a story and help your content get discovered by the algorithm. If you’re not putting any effort into your captions, you’ll struggle to get your content found by other Instagram users.

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