Crafting a Catchy Instagram Caption

Ever suffered from caption writer's block? Got the perfect edited photograph ready to 'gram but you just don't know what to say? 

You're not alone. 

What a lot of users don't realise is that the caption is just as important as the photograph itself. The photo will attract likes but it's the caption that will build your engagement through comments. 

Here are my top tips for writing a captivating caption:

1. Length

Have a look at your previous posts and see what your optimal length is for engagement (we recommend Iconosquare to assess this). If you're just starting out, try varying amounts of copy as there isn't a hard and fast rule as to what works best. Take a look at some of your competitors to see what they do  and what their engagement is like, this will give you a steer as to what your audience might prefer.

Personally, I treat my Instagram captions as my "microblog"; the caption may not directly relate to the photo but it's an opportunity to share snippets of my life and work with my followers through stories. This works really well for me, but for you, it might be that 200 characters are best. Which ever you find works, stick at it as your followers will become accustomed to that length. 

The key thing to remember is that not everyone will read your entire caption so if you have something important to say you need to say it in the first sentence before Instagram truncates it.

If you choose to write a long caption, be sure to split it up with a few line breaks so that it's easier for your follower to read. To do this press the 123 button on your iPhone and hit the Return button. 

You can also write the caption in Notes (on iPhone) and then copy and paste it across to keep your formatting. 

When using emoji's at the end of a sentence make sure to remove the extra space, so your formatting doesn't get messed up.

2. What to Write

Not everyone is a natural wordsmith and being creative with your caption can be a real struggle. Nobody wants to read a boring caption so if you aren't too sure what to write keeping it short with a few emojis is your best option and remember to target it at your ideal follower/customer.

Try telling a story, it doesn't have to directly relate to the photo. You can also talk about the photo - perhaps something funny happened that day. The important thing to remember is to keep it positive and light, save the political rants for your personal Facebook. 

3. Hashtags

Experienced Instagram users avoid putting hashtags in their caption and instead choose to put them in the first comment with 5 line breaks, immediately after posting.  
The only exception to this is if you have your own hashtag. In which case you want to keep this visible to your audience; so keep this in your caption. 

There is no solid evidence as to whether posting hashtags in your caption or in your comments affects engagement; it just seems that for aesthetics users prefer to put them in the comment instead.

Do bear in mind though that some third party analytic tools that monitor the engagement levels of each hashtag cannot report on any hashtag, not in your caption. 

4. Link In Bio

The phrase so many of us have become used to reading on Instagram. As yet, Instagram does not permit links in captions - the only clickable link is in your bio. If you are promoting a particular product, blog post or service then you will need to change the link in your bio so that those reading your caption can head up to your bio to be able to click out to your site. Be sure to tell your followers in your caption where they can learn more. 

5. Call to Action (CTA)

To help followers know what to comment, include a call to action in your caption. This could be as simple as a yes/no question or ask their preference on something. You'll be amazed at how many more comments you get just by including a call to action. 

It's important to note that there is no such thing as the perfect Instagram caption. Just like with all marketing different audiences like different things. What works for one Instagram account won't necessarily work for another, so be sure to test out different styles and optimise to find your social sweet spot.

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