While actions speak loud, visuals weave a story that enthrals your audience in a way that does justice to your message.
Instagram, everyone’s go-to social media app relies heavily on curated content in the form of images, reels and short videos that entices and creates engagement between people globally. Interacting on such a large scale allows you to share your thoughts, ideas, life hacks and passion with like-minded people with ease! It is also a platform where you can easily spread the news about your business, promote content that keeps your clients and customers in the loop, introduce new items or ventures that your business is exploring and expanding in.
The app is straightforward; however, Instagram has been revamping their app with tweaks here and there for a while now and every update has its users going through hoops to get their engagement back on track. To combat this issue and make it as simple as possible for everyone to understand the fundamentals of posting on Instagram, read ahead, but at your discretion!
There are many aspects to take into consideration to have your engagement soaring, this article will specifically cover the significance of a well-organized caption to match your post. Most often the caption is overlooked, especially if the person consuming your content is just scrolling past and liking- or even not liking- everything as they move past the post at light speed without really paying attention.
First, we need to understand what role the caption plays while posting, its significance in how the algorithm is affected and what you have to do to ensure that your metrics are always on the rise!
We know that the caption being referred to here is the accompanying text posted alongside your image/video (referred to as post, hereon), which often gives context or additional information. Alongside words, emojis and hashtags are also incorporated into the caption.
General information about IG captions:
- A single emoji or a string of emojis can also make up your caption entirely.
- Hashtags are added so that it is easier for users to comb through similar content (This is also a method to garner good engagement!).
- Your caption is currently capped at a 2200-character count and this is also the same limit that is imposed upon the comment section if you want to continue with more information.
- You can only include 30 #Hashtags in a caption or comment
- You can pin the continued caption in the comment section so it is easy for your followers to continue reading.
- Only the first 100 characters of your caption are shown under the post initially, the latter is truncated and users have to engage with the post by clicking on the ‘more’ button at the end to make it entirely visible.
Now let’s get into the nitty-gritty details of writing a caption. You can use a cake analogy to understand the structure of your caption. A cake has several layers, and it is frosted to give a finished look. Similarly, your caption will be fleshed in layers or chunks and in the end, after it is put together it will be depicting the intended tone for your post.
Your intro or hook has to capture your target audience’s attention in the first 100 characters or less, especially if it is a long caption. For instance:
- Making a bold statement or raising a question that leaves the user wanting to know more!
- Including a statistic.
- Using emojis to make up the first sentence.
- A positive quote that relates to your post.
2. Paragraphs Format
You want to give your caption a well indented, equally spaced feel. This can be limiting with the current interface as there is no formatting option available.
What you can do instead is leave a blank line between paragraphs. You could also use bulleted lists (this will have to be incorporated manually of course). Your bullet points can be constructed using either symbols or various emojis that is relevant to either your brand or specifically to your post.
Tip: When you leave a space after a full stop or at the end of the paragraph and click on the ‘return’ key, to leave a blank space in between two points, during posting, there are chances that the format might be slightly wonky. To prevent this, omit the space after your full stop and click on the ‘return’ key. This will give you clear text alignment as a result.
It is important to stick to the same voice or tone your brand has used over a while. When you are trying to establish yourself, a casual and engaging tone is the best to adopt! Consistency is the key and this will allow your audience to freely engage with you.
Humour and puns are also good tools when utilized correctly in your posts. Acronyms that are common on social media or used by your target audience frequently is also acceptable.
Remember, the most effective way to get your audience to come back for more of your content is to make them feel heard. Do not try to impose your content on the masses but rather curate and generate organic content, think out of the box.
Keep your audience in mind always, question your piece, ‘will this be something they might like to hear about more?’, ‘how do I make sure this is engaging enough?’.
Content curation is a full-time job, every bit of engagement you achieve through your posts will be considered organic and to continue with this you will need to produce fresh and catchy ideas on your area of expertise.
This could also simply mean refer to recycling and updating old posts that you have already published. Do remember that this is best done when a certain period usually of three to six months has passed since the original post or you have new information that adds value to the post.
Try to refrain from using offensive terms or language and use your space to create a safe environment to safeguard your audiences’ opinions and suggestions.
In line with your brand voice, try to make your caption as creative as possible! You can tell a story using your caption and this is a very powerful tool you have in your arsenal that you can use at will! As with any type of writing, planning your caption ahead of time is a good idea, write drafts and revise them. Writing last minute is not advisable, as you can stunt the development of a good quality writing piece. Editing your caption after you have already posted it, can affect its engagement. So be adventurous and if a particular form of the content doesn’t work, use another topic!
Don’t be afraid to get personal about your business. People love transparency! Encourage sharing tips that helped you out in your journey to build an online presence. Your audience being able to relate with you will take your metrics out of the ballpark!
3. Call-To-Actions (CTAs)
The best way to end your caption is to use CTAs. Exactly as it sounds, make your audience commit to an action on the post. Like, save, share or comment. It is as easy as that.
Ending with an open question so they can share their opinions on the comment section, tagging their friends or family or even asking to follow the account for more informative content is the end goal. Sharing the post on their story or with others is a win for you! This gives you exposure to new audiences that will be directed to your account organically!
Involve your audience, giving them a space and a voice that empowers them and boosts your engagement. It’s a win-win.
The average number of hashtags on the post is 30. This does not mean you always have to have 30 hashtags; studies have proven that using up to 10 can be sufficient. A rule of thumb to follow is quality over quantity. Use a hashtag generating tool if necessary and check for keywords with a high number of follows, and add them. Use hashtags to highlight the main point or if you want to drive engagement to a specific type of content that you regularly update, create your hashtag and encourage your followers to use it when they post content relating to your posts. This is another method in which your content can develop organic growth.
You should by now have an engaging caption fleshed out to accompany your post, whatever form it may be shared in.
- You don’t need long captions, sometimes just a sentence is enough, as a finishing touch to your post or if your account is strong enough to handle it, a no caption post can also go viral!
- Try to be authentic as possible and avoid making false claims at all costs. Fact-checking your content will go a long way in ensuring you have your audience’s trust. Grammar and spelling checks ARE A MUST!
- While emojis and acronyms are encouraged, do not use them excessively.
- Use interactive words while you write your caption and ask your followers if they enjoy your content, always be ready to take in constructive criticism.
- Once you find and establish your voice, your engagement will follow. This process takes time, don’t expect your content to viral overnight, being consistent is vital.
- Plan your caption and revise them before posting them not right before or after you have posted them.
Your caption is an extension of your post, in the digital era where social media applications are at their peak, Instagram as a platform is an asset that will help you generate income and exposure. So, it is up to you to utilize the tools you have to the best of your abilities!
Good luck with your future posts.
Let us know if these tips helped you in any way!