If you’re an Instagrammer, you feel the struggle like I do when attempting to relate to people and truly captivate your audience! Captions are pretty much EVERYTHING on Instagram and they will make you or break you. Instagram (same as Twitter) is what some would consider a “microblogging” platform. You can share as little or as much about your life/day as you want in a shorter-than-the-typical-blog-post format.
Captions can range from just a few words to an entire few paragraphs! What style you wish to use is entirely up to you and what you feel best fits with your brand. I personally don’t have enough time to write out intricate captions for every single post, but when I feel like it’s applicable or I’m telling a story of quality content, I’ll go the extra mile.
Short and sweet is very doable and can work very well when you exercise the right text and achieve something that will entice/excite. Overall, whichever way you decide to pursue microblogging on Instagram, here’s a few tricks of the trade that will hopefully help you strengthen your captions:
AIM TO INSPIRE
Give your audience something to grip onto—something they want to obtain or aspire to. Everyone’s life has something special to offer and something to make others envious, I personally believe. You may not have the Tumblr-level “perfect” life with expensive perfumes, watches, penthouses and racecars, but you have something of inspiration to offer your following.
Whether this means posting inspirational quotes or messages in your captions with a beautiful scenery image, or creating image graphics with the text on the image itself, use your inspirational powers to captivate your audience and motivate them for the day/week ahead.
GO WITH PUNS
If you’re looking to spice up your feed, being punny (to a certain extent) is a great choice! Whether it’s a commonly used phrase or just something that rhymes, pick the best option for your caption. My favorite example is a doughnut shop that uses a similar caption to this: “Sugar cream on a Monday morning? Donut mind if we do!” Cute, right?
A big part of being liked is being relatable. If you share things about your life with your followers that you wouldn't otherwise, things that they have likely also experienced and suffer with, you are relating to that "fear" - the need of your followers, more than likely the reason they follow you.
Fear is a big aspect of why customers and clientele follow a brand. If you're able to connect with their fear, or their "problem", they'll stick around for years to come. I often find that the fears and problems my followers have are similar to the ones I suffer from personally. I'm able to connect with them because of this relatability.
PUT THE MOST IMPORTANT STUFF FIRST
Because not everyone reads the captions you write (tough truth, I know), it's important that you put the most important stuff in the front of your status. Say, you want to announce a new project or page on your site, mention the launch within the very first few words - then go into the backstory as to what inspired you on this new project, etc., etc.
ALWAYS A CTA (CALL TO ACTION)
If there’s one thing I’ve learned the most about social media copywriting, it’s that you ALWAYS need a CTA (Call to Action)! Calls to action ensure that your viewers know to click, visit, etc. People will not and do not click through unless you explicitly ask them to. Period. I know, it sounds crazy and I wish it were different, but that’s the case as it stands today in content marketing.
A good example of how to use a CTA in your Instagram caption would be: “Loving these florals at the farmer's market today. Check out my recap of the best spring flowers perfect for your centerpiece - link in bio!" Changing out the URL in your Instagram bio is a wise way of helping users get to your latest blog post or website in a few clicks as opposed to having them type in a lengthy URL (and they quite honestly won't).
LOVIN’ THE EMOJIS
Something that I've read a lot about is Instagram users picking one signature emoji to use throughout all of their posts - and I instill this in my own! The red lipstick kiss is the emoji I put at the end of every caption - this creates brand consistency and helps people recognize whose post it is at the first glance.
Also, emojis can be used to replace common words such as "beach" or "love" (the umbrella beach emoji and the heart emojis) in a sentence. Say you're trying to say, "This beach has my heart!" You can replace the "beach" with the umbrella and sand beach emoji, and the "heart" with the heart emoji of your choosing. This creative and eccentric way of spelling sets Instagram apart from the other platforms.
Although you will likely have your own brand voice, it’s important to combine this with Instagram's overall voice of being more upbeat and positive! I understand that sometimes a deeper, more sentimental story is necessary to share (and this can actually help your audience connect even more), it can't be every post. You don't want to bum out your audience - you want to uplift, inspire and motivate.
Focus on the positive in life and share messages that will have your audience excited for each new post!
The one surefire way to get your followers (and strangers) to engage is to simply ask them questions! It may take some time for your profile to take off, but believe me: your valued followers will respond with their answers to your questions and this will help cultivate a great relationship between you.
If you're sharing that same status about loving the beach, ask them what their favorite beach is and request that they name the location so you can add it to your wanderlust-inspired must-see list! Not only do your followers recognize that you care about their opinion, but they establish a personal connection with you that they'll appreciate.
Which tricks worked for you in growing your Instagram following and creating a more cohesive presence? Have more to add? Leave them in the comments below!