February 2017

Write Better Instagram Captions in 5 Minutes or Less

- by Alyson Shane

Instagram is a visual social network by design, which means it's essential to focus on creating and finding eye-catching visuals to help your account stand out from the crowd... but what about the captions?

Many people don't realize this, but captions are one of the best tools at your disposal to help convey your message. Taking the time to write engaging, personal captions which express who you are (business or personal) and your reason for posting can go a long way towards helping keep your Followers engaged.

Luckily, sprucing up your Instagram caption game is as easy as can be! Let's take a quick look at how you can write a better Instagram caption in five minutes or less:


Use Your Instagram Captions to Sound Authentic

Before posting anything on Instagram, ask yourself: why should my Followers care about what I'm sharing? What sets my post apart from other, similar, content on this social network?

Some other things to ask when crafting your Instagram caption are:

  • Does it tell a story?
  • Does it help my Followers learn more about me?
  • Does it sound personal and authentic?


Let's use this photo of some lovely items I picked up from one of my favourite local shops, Public General Store to illustrate an example of what I mean.

Which of these two captions inspires you to take action?

Got some new stuff from @shop_public today. Check them out!

vs.

Yesterday I braved the cold to pick up some treats from my favourite new local shop, @shop_public. The dried lavender makes the house smell amazing, and I can't wait to relax with this vegan, handmade bath bomb from @blackflorawpg after a good skate. Make sure to check them out the next time you're in #WestBroadway!

See what I mean? Now my Followers know where I got the items, the reasons why I like them (local, handmade, vegan, etc), and have a personal recommendation to go check them out for themselves.

How does this example apply to my business? I hear you asking. Here's how:

Consumers demand more authenticity and personality from the brands and businesses that they interact with, the more "human" they want those interactions to feel. By using longer sentences and slang in the caption above it sounds more like... well, me.

I'm a person, and that's how I speak, so it makes sense that a brand wishing to emulate a "human" style would want to adopt a similar tone.

Use Your Instagram Captions to Tell a Story

Gone are the days when a brand could throw up an image and assume that consumers would buy based on the image, alone. Buyers in our modern economy are interested in how products and brands make them feel, and there's nothing that makes people feel good like being part of a story.

With this in mind, ask yourself: how can I wrap my products and posts in a story that will interest my Followers?

(Don't worry: if you're stuck here are a few suggestions to get the wheels in your head turning):

  • Share a story about something that happened recently
  • Mention specific customers, employees in your caption
  • Get personal - share a success or struggle which relates to your image
  • Share your favourites (places, people, food, products, etc)
  • Talk about upcoming plans, dreams, and events
  • Quote books, speakers, or people who inspire you and helped shape your brand

Use Your Instagram Captions As a Call-to-Action

Now that you've hooked your Followers with an interesting, authentic caption it's time to guide them to what you want them to do next. 70% of small businesses don't use a call-to-action in their marketing copy, which means doing so can give you a competitive advantage.

Stumped for a few effective call-to-action examples? I've got you covered:

  • Check out the link in our profile for details
  • Looking for more decor inspiration? Check out the link in our bio
  • Tag a friend who...
  • Share your experience/memory with us by tagging us in your photo!
  • Leave a comment and tell us what you think

Encouraging your Followers to talk to you, share their stories, and get your brand involved will help with those feelings of engagement and participation in your brand's "story". Not sure how to tell your brand's story? Here's a comprehensive how-to on marketing your brand through storytelling.

Do you have any favourite tips on Instagram caption etiquette? Tweet at me or tell me in the comments!


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