You’ve spent ages editing your image for Instagram: cropping, adding filters, adjusting levels – there’s so much to do! So it makes sense that when you go to post the image, you spend little-to-no time on the caption. But did you know that captions are actually extremely important for engagement?
Yes, Instagram heavily focuses on graphics – after all, it’s the first thing you see on someone’s feed – but the captions deserve some love, too! The pictures are the first thing that catch your eye. There’s so much that goes into creating the graphics – making sure the colors are visually appealing, making sure the fonts are the perfect style for your brand… There’s so much thought that goes into the graphics that it’s easy to overlook the captions. After all, you’ve put enough effort into the graphics that the captions almost seem pointless, right? Wrong! It’s time to focus on perfecting your captions and creating the best content you can for your brand! Here are some tips to help you slay your Instagram captions.
You always need captions.
Let’s get this out of the way first: You always need a caption! If graphics are the thing that catch your attention, then captions are the thing that catch your engagement. Captions can be the difference between someone simply looking at your post and someone actually engaging with your post by commenting, liking and sharing. Though it may seem that some graphics can speak for themselves, captions are always needed to explain the context, details missed in the graphic, etc. Are you holding an event or a contest? Let the graphic pull the viewer in, and let the caption hold the details. If you want to create the best posts that you can, make sure to always include a caption!
Length of captions.
Did you know that Instagram allows a whopping 2,200 characters in a caption? But just because you CAN use that many characters doesn’t mean you SHOULD. In most cases, less is more. Since Instagram is such a quickfire platform, people don’t want to hang around on one post and read a novel-length caption. Unless someone is already heavily invested in the brand or the caption is absolutely riveting, chances are they won’t stick around to finish reading the caption. Keep it short, sweet, and make your point.
In the case of long captions.
So, you’ve decided to write a long caption, huh? Images with lots of text don’t normally perform well, but there are ways to make an entertaining caption that maintains engagement despite the many characters used. If you decide to write a long caption, there are a few things you should keep in mind to hold the attention of the viewer:
- Make sure the long caption makes sense. Are you trying to tell a story? Then a longer caption is warranted. Are you rambling about something unnecessary? Try editing your caption down to make it shorter. If the long caption isn’t necessary, then don’t waste your time writing it and don’t waste the viewer’s time reading it.
- Break the caption up into small paragraphs. A giant wall of text may seem daunting and hard to digest to the reader and lose their attention before they’ve even written the first word. Avoid this by making small ‘bite-sized’ paragraphs that will make the reading look less intimidating.
- Be mindful of the “More” button! As you probably know, Instagram will only show part of a caption if it is long. In order to read the full text, the viewer has to click the “More” button. More often than not, people will scroll past the button without giving it a second thought because scrolling to the next image is easier than reading a long caption… That’s why you need to make the beginning of your caption interesting. Start your caption with an interesting sentence or thought-provoking question in order to hook your viewer in. Get them interested before they reach the “More” button in order to entice them to finish reading the caption!
Questions are always great for engagement, so of course adding questions in your caption will help grab attention and increase engagement! There are four types of questions you should consider asking your audience:
-Feedback – Do you need some opinions on your brand? Ask your viewers about it in the caption! Prompting questions will not only get engagement, but also get some feedback. Do people like a recent product? Are you considering doing a collaboration with another brand? Ask your followers about it!
Example: Why do you like our product?
-Close-ended/Binary – Asking questions that prompt a simple answer are always fun. If someone is scrolling through Instagram and reads a caption that asks for a simple answer, their response will be short and sweet since it takes little thought to write the response, and it’ll help boost your engagement!
Example: Happy National Coffee Day! Do you prefer hot or iced?
-Personal – Who doesn’t love to talk about themselves? Asking for personal responses helps the viewer feel a stronger connection to the brand they’re interacting with because it shows interest in the viewer personally.
Example: What’s your favorite motivational quote?
-Pique Interest – If you’re trying to prompt the viewer to look at your website, this one is perfect for you. Grab their interest, then guide them to your site! Ask a question that can be answered on your website. This will make the viewer intrigued and drive traffic to your site.
Example: What insurance plan is right for you? Click the link in our bio to find out!
Did you know that over 50% of Instagram captions contain at least one emoji? That’s right, emojis are popular, and can make your brand seem more fun and approachable. However, going overboard with emojis can be damaging to your caption. Don’t get caught up in laughing faces, pink hearts, and dancing icons! Adding too many emojis can be distracting for the viewer and actually take away from the overall point of the caption. You don’t want your viewer to feel fatigued looking at colorful emojis all over their screen. Using a couple emojis helps show the fun side of your brand while avoiding looking cluttered and overwhelming. If you decide to add emojis, make sure your message still comes across clearly.
Hashtags are important for growing your audience. Instagram posts with at least one hashtag see approximately 12% more engagement. Try using a mix of well-known and lesser-known hashtags. Why, you may ask? While using well-known hashtags seems like a sure-fire way to be seen, since so many people use those hashtags, your post may not be seen by many people. Using lesser-known hashtags will give you a large probability of being seen by a smaller audience. And, since it is a niche hashtag, there’s a better probability that the viewer is interested in your brand! However, just like emojis, overdoing it can have the opposite intended effect for your caption. Would you like to see captions with hashtags in every sentence? No, because, to be honest, it just looks spammy. Try to stick to 7 or less in order to maintain the intention of your caption without looking like you’re making posts simply to gain more followers from hashtags. It just doesn’t look genuine. As far as deciding what hashtags work best for your brand, try researching your competitors to see what hashtags they use and which of their posts get more engagement.
Remember to keep in mind that your posts should represent your brand. Though these tips are a general overview of captions, that doesn’t mean different things won’t work for your Instagram posts. Try experimenting with caption length, hashtags, emojis and questions to see what posts get the best engagement for your brand. Find the unique formula that’s perfect for you and your company!
Keep these tips in mind the next time you write a caption in order to create the best content you can for your posts! If you’re still confused about the right social media moves for your brand, remember that creating engaging content is our specialty, and Instagram captions are part of that! Do you need help writing the perfect captions for your brand? Contact us at tryhyperchat.com to discuss the best solutions for you.