How to Write Effective Captions for Instagram


Back when Instagram was launched by co-founders, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, it’s initial use was a platform where friends and family could publicly (or privately) share photos from their lives. Since then, the easy-going nature that first lived within the platform has evaporated. Today, Instagram is a serious business and marketing tool that individuals and businesses rely on for part of their success. 

Terms like “Instagram worthy” and “double-tap” illustrate the high-level of pressure and standards that come with posting content on the media-sharing app. In many ways, Instagram has become a battleground where people and businesses alike, fight for attention, likes, clicks, follows, and more. With over 1 billion users worldwide, Instagram is flooded with content every second — making standing out in the middle of a feed or Discover Page difficult. 

The biggest factor in regards to gaining attention for your organic posts or paid ads involves the visuals. Whether photo or video, the creative must be high-quality and engaging in order to see results. However, even subtle details like location tags, hashtags, product tags, and captions play a role in the success of your content. 

In the case of caption writing, it’s not as easy as just typing on a keyboard. 

Be True To Your Brand 

The most important part about writing Instagram captions is staying true to your personality. Instagram posts are no longer shown on a feed in chronological order, but instead based on engagement rates and interests. Your online audience will follow and interact with you because of your products/services, but also because they like you for whatever reason. 

People buy from people they like. Your social media has become an everyday extension of your company, and what lens the public sees you through. Therefore, you need to be honest with who your company is, and what you believe in. While it can be appealing to try and cater to the masses, eventually consumers will see through the false persona you’re attempting to deliver. 

Your caption writing needs to match your company tone. Are you and your team more serious and educational? Funny and lighthearted? Whatever adjectives fit you, roll with them all the way into your photo captions. 

The Hook Needs to Be Up Front 

Attention spans are short, even shorter when flicking through an Instagram feed. People demand to instant gratification — how can your caption catch their interest right off the bat? Don’t bury the most important information several sentences down. Start your caption with a bang. 

Play With The Caption Format 

Do you post short captions or long captions? This often depends on your audience and content style. You need to perform some A/B testing to figure out what works best for your followers. Maybe your community prefers short one-liner captions, while other communities like captions that are turned into micro-blogs. Maybe it’s a combination of both — just don’t include filler. An Instagram caption isn’t meant to hold unimportant information. 

Pose Questions Or Feedback 

Since Instagram content is rewarded based on engagement, it is a smart move to encourage your audience to comment on your posts by leaving a comment. With this, your caption serves as an ice breaker. Ask specific questions to your audience or tell them to describe their feelings about your post. People are often willing to comment with the right motivation. 

Incorporate Hashtags & Emojis In The Copy

Too many hashtags can be distracting and an eyesore. However, if you can organically (and occasionally) incorporate a few into your caption it can help extend the reach of your content and introduce new users to your account. The semi-regular use of emojis can also help add personality and increase engagement with followers. Again, don’t spam the fire emoji — too many emoticons will devalue your content.