I say Instagram, you think pictures. But is that all about this e media sharing platform?
From business communities to personal accounts, each of them has a different story to tell, something that only they can present well. But is it all?
No, certainly not.
Good pictures get only half the job done. The other half lies entirely in the captions. Have you ever noticed the captions on popular accounts? They are stories in their own, lengthy yet fun to read. Have you thought about what goes into the making of a successful caption? This is what we are going to talk about here.
I get it, too many questions right off the bat. Instagram has evolved over the years to mean so much more. Nowadays you can curate your skills with the right use of its tools. Many of you, are here to know how to write an Instagram caption worth reading.
Starting with an opening line found in novels might seem novel to literature geeks but they will not invigorate your traditional viewers. They are going to scroll right through it without stopping to read the whole text.
The purpose of a caption is limited not only to explaining your post but also to make sure that the interaction between you and your followers does not decrease. Keep the boring and clichéd out; bring something new to the table. So let us get right to it!
Getting Started with Instagram captions:
Let us start with the basics, being creative. Now there is no shortcut to being creative but like everything, it can be gained through practice and persistence. Whenever you upload a picture on Instagram, be sure that you are captioning it right.
Who Do You Write For?
You have to know the people you are writing for. To grow your influence, you must have solid knowledge about the demographic that you are targeting. Ask yourself this question:
Will the people you want to see the post understand the reference that you are making?
Many times, people make the mistake of being over innovative with their captions. Understand this; you are not here to start a campaign, at least not yet. As of now, don’t underestimate simplicity. People love to see and read what they can instantly relate to.
Build Your Image With Every Post
What you write as a caption, needs to sit right with the image that you want to build for the brand. And be witty about it. Instagram users connect more with humor. If you are just starting, try going with the use of single words like ‘beauty’ or ‘adventure’.
If nothing else, they will help you figure out the direction that you want to take your brand in. Having a list of things you want to say generally helps but don’t go for repetition, it overstates your purposes.
Mind Your Length
Then there is the long and the short of it. The length of your post is very important. Consider yourself, when you are browsing through your feed, you don’t stop at every post to read it all, do you? It is the same as your target audience.
They are not going to read an entire paragraph of captions. Even Instagram does not display more than 125 characters when it comes to captions. For posts, it is the first three lines that are displayed. Going beyond that, the reader will have to tap on more to view the entire length of the script.
A Good Story Needs To Be Told
But they do not backfire because they are as charming as their post. They tell a story about the post and assist the reader in getting the message behind the post. If you believe that it is something your captions are doing for you, then you can give it a go.
That being said, do not underestimate the value of a good text, they add value to the entire post. You don’t have to look far for knowing that it is right. Some of the most followed accounts on Instagram (National Geographic, for example) have some of the longest texts accompanying their posts.
First Things First
When writing a caption, always, always start by saying the most important things first. There is not going to be any buildup in the caption, there is no punch line. If you want accompanying hashtags then put them at the end.
By making your caption exciting enough, you are guaranteeing that viewers don’t scroll down without reading all of it. Any story, or anecdote, or call to action that you want will now be read and addressed.
If At First You Don’t Succeed; Try, Try Again
You might not get the perfect caption at the first go, and that is the truth. That is why there is an option to edit your captions. Certain areas are hard to get the right balance in. I mean, if you are aiming for something serious, or something humorous, you are going to need multiple tries to get it right.
It takes going at it over and over again until you get the right mix. Try not to use any unnecessary words and to keep your message as concise and direct as possible.
Indulge Your Audience
The ultimate aim of a caption is to get you more likes and comments, i.e. to make your post popular. The best way to do that is to engage your viewers in the post. And how do you do that? See this post from bestvacations.
You can start by asking a question. Everybody loves to feel involved. People like to know that they are valued and have importance in your life, don’t they? So, ask an actual question that you can bond over your followers on. When they reply, you comment back and indulge.
Don’t Go Word For Word
NO, no copying an inspirational post and using it randomly. You need to have a purpose in the caption you use. It is best to use quotes that are suited for people in the post. E.g. when posting a portrait, try to use quotes of the same person; if it is a landscape, try to use poems that embody the spirit of the place.
You are not going to get anywhere with random posts, soon people will start to completely overlook your captions. And as a brand, you do not want that, and a group of people trying to grow you don’t want that either.
Follow Those Who Are Getting It Right
There are many brands out there that are known to be witty and charming. Follow those pages, and try to learn from them. Nobody ever won on their own, you need exposure and you need examples. By following those who are already getting it right, you will surely learn a thing or two.
That being said, it is in no way an initiation to start ripping off captions from people who are good at it. You need to have your own thing to make it special. If you don’t succeed at first, focus on what you are getting right and build on that.
After all, even you would not admire it if someone is ripping off of you.
Know What You Want
Each caption has got to have an aim. There are many types of captions but all of them are after something unique to their trait. Even those questions that we talked about, they need to have an aim. You have to make them more than just an interaction.
Use your caption to give an identity to your brand. Is it an educational platform? Is it an inspirational platform? Or does it relate to technology? You have to answer these questions through the medium of your caption.
And Now, The Final Stroke…
So that was it for the things that you should keep in mind when you post on Instagram the next time. Now is the time to get on the part of how you should do it. As we were talking about, you cannot get creative overnight but if you keep trying, you are going to get better.
With that in mind, I would like to bring your attention to the next important thing, the tricks of the trade. Now that you know how to write an Instagram caption, it is time that we move on to the ‘what’ part of it. But before that, allow me to walk you through a familiar scenario.
Pick someone that you follow, and look up their captions. Perfectly written, and lots and lots of indulgence from the followers. At the same time, when you try to pull off something similar, you not only fail but don’t even attract the same kind of traffic. Now, I am not beating down your confidence here.
I just wanted to make sure that you get the actual picture. The differences lay not so much in effort as it does in the technique. You have to know that succeeding on Instagram is not something that you can do with Instagram alone; you have to make use of a host of other services as well.
If we were to explain it with the help of an example, think about your posts. You do not upload a picture as it is; you subject it to filters and a round of editing. And in doing so you take the help of applications outside of Instagram, then why not do something similar for your captions? You can get so much more if you just step outside your constrictions.
If you are not able to get the views that you want, then Instagram is not helping you. The platform exists to let people see your posts, read your content and appreciate it. If that is something that you are not getting, then maybe you are making some mistakes. Maybe you need to rethink your strategy. We discussed it right in the beginning, a strategy might be good to get you from one level to the other but in the long run, your strategies have to be updated on a regular basis.
But don’t lose hope; I said I am here to help you grow, didn’t I? And that is what I am going to do, the following section will help you to maximize your skills and add some new features to it. You will learn new things and then you will put it into practice.
So without further chit chat let’s get right to it. There is no one big secret but a step of small things that are going to get the job done. So read through and after that, follow through.
Move Outside Instagram
So, when you are planning your captions, you should write it elsewhere first. Many apps help you with structuring the content. In addition to making sure that your content is structured right, it is also going to help you improvise.
Develop your style. Getting the grammar right is one thing but that is only the baseline, you have to set the tone for your posts.
Side note: This is also one of those small things that go a long way in making sure that your page is unique in comparison to others.
Involve Activities, Encourage Participation From Your Followers
When writing a caption, it is advised that you have a ‘call to action’ approach to it. Have you thought about it? Have you thought about why it is so? Again, the answer is simple, involvement, making people feel that they are valued. It is about increasing your presence in their lives and a call to action is the best way to go. See this example.
Even if only a few people follow through, they are going to post a shout out to you on their page, that gets the ball rolling and before you know it, a simple post will have started a snowball effect. People love that.
The first 125 characters, in case of a long post, should be directed only towards getting people to read it all. Once they click on the ‘more’ button, your chances of a shout out increase exponentially. That is because you have crossed the first hurdle, you have been able to get them interested.
Give Your Caption The Livewire Treatment
No, not links. What I mean is, make your post interesting enough to entice curiosity. Nobody, absolutely nobody on Instagram is looking for dumb things to do. Bullet points are good for documents and blogs but they are boring on social media.
Unless you are talking about something really serious, I would recommend you to use emojis to liven up your text. It also serves the purpose of breaking it up nicely. Long texts will get boring if you have not provided breaks. Check out this post from gypsetgoddess.
Although don’t go overboard with it, it does not work for everyone the same way. If you are a person who uses emojis naturally then it will come to you on its own. Use one at the end of your caption, which always works!
Small Steps To Completion
These are all small but valuable things that are going to help you if you incorporate them into your process. It will help you to build towards something bigger, the next stage. Remaining in one gear for long will ultimately make you look redundant.
That is why I have focused so much on innovation and keeping things lively. You don’t need to post every day, good accounts take a long time to build and Rome wasn’t built in a day.
See, a need creates its demands, with the rise of Instagram a lot many other websites have also prospered. These are the sites that help you perfect your post and caption for posting it on your account. Make use of their services.
A Select Segment
Now, this part is for those who have already managed to build a sizable following on the platform. This is for those people who want to look beyond their conventional strategies. Because this part takes your interaction one step further than what it has been to date.
Consider giveaways. Accompanying the call to action approach, you can announce giveaways to the first fifty or so followers. This is a great way to promote your page and gain new followers at the same time. The news about the giveaways will travel fast and attract greater participation the next time around.
And yes, this will mean making a sizeable monetary investment in your page. Thus, the ‘select segment’ tag but that does not mean that everyone cannot try it. Those who have deep pockets (read: corporate pages) can afford pricier stuff and trademarked merchandise. Others can go for something more convenient, like memorabilia.
The idea here is an increased engagement of your followers, to increase your interaction. Remember that you are working towards building something permanent.
Well, that’s it! That was all that you need to know to make a noticeable difference to your next caption. Now is the time to put it all into practice.