Instagram Captions are not an afterthought
If you’ve clicked on this page and read no further than the 1st line, then that is what I want you to take away from this blog
We’ll take a deep dive into Instagram Captions and why they’re important throughout the rest of this blog. If you’ve come here thinking Instagram is 100% about the images then this blog will change your mind
We polled our Instagram followers about their thoughts on Instagram Captions and this is what they said
94% of people thought Instagram captions were important
Only 10% of voters generally asked a question in an Instagram caption
76% of people found it harder to write captions vs 24% found taking photos harder
81% of people spend more time on captions than photos
81% of voters took longer than a minute to write a caption
Are Instagram Captions important – Instagram is just about the images, isn’t it?
As you can see from the polls above – 94% of people thought Instagram captions were important
If you think of an Instagram post as having 3 components
Image – makes people stop on the scroll
Caption – intrigues people to stick around and attracts a response
Hashtags – extends the reach of the post
So in that respect, to a large degree, the success of your post and your overall Instagram Marketing will be down to your Instagram captions
Instagram captions are just important, they’re critical to your Instagram success
What will a great Instagram Caption improve?
A great Instagram caption can
– Increase the number of comments
– Increase the reach of your post
– Increase your number of followers
And it will also build and strengthen the relationships with your audience
What should an Instagram caption include? Can I be personal in Instagram Captions?
– Meaty Middle Section
– Call to action
You need to have a strong opening line to capture the attention of your followers. Something that makes them think, ponder, question or excite
And then you need to have that meaty middle section. It sounds strange typing that as a vegan, but something that offers value if people have decided to read more
A caption can encourage likes, comments and shares (stories) so at the end it needs to have some form of call to action.
A question; A call to click on the profile / link in bio; like the post and so on
It’s not so strange, but if you ask someone to do something they usually do
And personality – 100% yes, people buy from people
Examples of Instagram Captions
Notice opening lines on each of these and calls to action
Do you always need to ask a question in an Instagram caption?
But it’s the easiest way to elicit a response from your followers
People like to offer their opinion, their viewpoint, their expertise
People like to be heard
Look at all the things that fly on social media and attract a response – politics, sports, TV shows, news stories
I’m not saying you have to introduce any of those subjects in your Instagram posts, but give something that people feel they can respond to
Check out our posts on Instagram here (you’ll notice our most successful posts feature a question)
How long should your Instagram captions be?
Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters
Research has shown that the length of captions has doubled since 2016 – so whilst short and snappy may have worked for you in the past, a little lengthier and more personal will work in 2020
Change and adapt are the golden rules of social media
The average caption length is now around 405 characters (not including hashtags) – so about 65-70 words
65-70 words is about the length of this answer you’ve just read here
How long should it take to write an Instagram caption?
This might sound like a cop out, but as long as it takes
I’m an ex Journalist so my biggest strength on social media is the fact that words come easy
One recommendation I always say for writing is get in the headspace and get in the zone
Have one day a week where you write your blogs and Instagram captions for the week ahead
You’re probably the same as me in that when you focus on writing, ideas just flow as opposed to trying to think of something at the end of a stressful day
Examples of shorter Instagram captions
Much shorter than average length – but international brands and call to action on both
Should you tag people in an Instagram caption (or photo) ?
Only ever tag people in Instagram captions or photos if they’re part of the photo or the conversation / narrative
As someone who gets spam tagged regularly because of my position and following it is the worst thing you can ever do on a social media platform to spam tag someone who is not involved in the post
When someone does this all the time, they either get ignored, muted or blocked
I’m not good at writing things down – are there any alternative options?
When it comes to every single blogging session and somebody says “I’m not good at writing things down” we always suggest one easy tip
Voice to text
On your smart phones there is a little microphone icon on your notes function
Click that and start speaking the words you want to say
The function is relatively accurate if you don’t have a strong accent or speak too quickly. It allows you to get the foundations of you Instagram captions down
After that it might require a little editing or polishing, but it’s a great tip for those that find speaking easier than writing
Ok, I’m not good at explaining myself – is there an Instagram Caption Service I can outsource to?
If you want to outsource your captions then there are a couple of options
Caveat to all of this – if the business is just you and your voice it’s best to do it yourself. If it’s a brand such as a restaurant / retailer / charity / b2b outsource away
1. Instagram Caption Services – they’re 2 a penny online. Just google them. They’re cheap(ish) but it does mean your captions will be generic (think the copywriting equivalent of Canva to using a graphic designer)
2. Social Media Marketer / Copywriter – if you’ve got great images and want great captions. Outsource it to a professional to write the words for you
3. Instagram Training – Why not spend half a day’s Instagram Training specifically working on your Instagram captions rather than the mechanics of the platform. Our training can be made bespoke to your business
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Alex McCann is owner of Altrincham HQ – a social media management and training company based in Altrincham, Cheshire that has worked with 100s of local business developing their social media strategy. Alex has 400+ LinkedIn testimonials and is ranked number 1 for Social Media Marketing in the UK via independent customer reviews on Freeindex.