Need to boost your following? If you’re seeing a slump in “likes” and followers, it may be your captions that are the culprit. Because even though Instagram’s main creative expression is photos, the caption may still make or break your postings.
If posting cute captions for your photos is your thing, check out these tips to give your copy a facelift. Think of it as a refresher course to fine-tune your captions and stimulate your creativity.
1. “Draft” is Not a Bad Word
Whether you write copy for a living, or casually post ideas as they occur, you should know that writing drafts is always a good idea. It doesn’t have to be an all-day process, but you may find that the clever tidbit you were going to include is not so clever when you put it down on paper.
Rather than racing to post, sit on your caption for a little bit instead. Let it percolate, and then come back to it in a few minutes. That extra time could save you from posting a caption that you thought was cute but end up falling despairingly flat.
2. Keep it Short
There’s a time to write wordy narratives, but sometimes your captions aren’t it. Try to be short and concise if possible. If you’re branding yourself with a “cute” voice, your followers may not want to read long accounts explaining your photo. On the other hand, don’t be so short that they can read your entire caption in their feed either.
3. Be Personable and Engaging
You are a unique person, so let it shine through your words. It may seem like there is a great divide between you and your followers, so close that distance. Let them see you as a real human. Relatability may be the way to keep people coming back for more.
How do you engage Instagram users? Share stories, or ask questions. Create a community dialogue between you and your readers.
4. Be Consistent
Whether you realize it or not, you are creating a brand. This persona is what gets people to read, like, share, and follow you. So, figure out who you are on social media and run with it. Your persona will make you stand out from everyone else and leave your audience coming back for more.
Do you have to pick one brand and stick with it? In a sense, you do. But brands are multi-layered so it’s okay to incorporate different personality facets into your brand. Just remember to be consistent when you’re posting or you may alienate some followers who were attracted to your brand in the first place.
5. Call Them Out Using CTAs
Did you know that including a call-to-action is a great way to get people to engage? It can be as simple as a “tag! you’re it! tag someone else” action. Or, asking them a question. What you really want to do is invite them into your Instagram space. Anything that gets users to do something after reading your captions works.
Do you have to include these calls for every caption? No, and it could get tedious. However, including different types of calls-to-action like these can inspire your followers to interact with you and each other more often:
- Tag a friend
- Answer a question
- Clicking your bio
- Comment on a subject
- Enter a contest
6. Use Emojis
Are you using emojis in your captions? If you’re not, you may want to start. Aside from the fact that everyone loves them, they also add a bit of personality to your captions. Consider replacing words or ideas with an emoji instead. Or, break up longer captions with a little splash of emoji color.
You can also use emojis to draw attention to certain parts of your caption. Do you want your followers to do something? Make your call-to-action stand out with an emoji.
7. To Quote, or Not to Quote
Do you post quotes for your Instagram? Popular opinions about posting quotes are divided. They can boost engagement if used strategically, but some people flat out don’t like them.
How do you know if you should use them? There’s no easy answer to that. If you like them, you should use them, but be smart about it. Make sure your quotes further your brand or mission goal. Are you positive and inspirational? Are you ironic and witty? Followers like your brand voice already, so try to be consistent, even with quotes.
In addition, try to take the right photo to go with the quote. That’s right, take the photo yourself if possible. It adds a certain personal element that’s lacking in all-too-perfect stock photos.
8. Do you Hashtag?
If you aren’t already including hashtags, you really should start. Check out the top Instagram hashtags that already have an engaged community behind it. Finding niche hashtags may yield you more engaged users, too.
In addition, don’t save your hashtags for the end of your caption. You can integrate them anywhere in the post, so use that to your advantage. Because hashtags are a different color, you may also want to use them as a highlight to bring emphasis to certain parts of your caption.
Just remember not to include too many of them. You don’t want to look spammy and scare off users.
9. Add Mentions
Social media is all about community, so boost your activity by mentioning other Instagram users. Adding mentions can create instant love from each other’s audiences and open each other up for new followers. As an added bonus, it creates a sense of validation for users to receive a mention. After all, who doesn’t want to be recognized?
10. Keep the Important Stuff Up Front
Finally, keep the most important information near the front of your caption. User feeds cut off after a few lines of text, so you want your important info listed first. Have a contest? Want to play tag? Mention that near the beginning of your text so users are intrigued and need to click “more”.
Writing Instagram captions has become a serious business, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun. Just remember the simple tips when writing, and let your brand shine through. And when in doubt, sit on that draft for a little while. You may find a cuter cleverer way of getting your idea across if you give yourself some time.