Instagram Captions – how to write them in a way that will increase engagement and sales?
How to write Instagram captions in a way that will increase engagement? This is a question that everyone who want to get something (be it money or contracts) from Instagram are asking themselves. They know that a photo is fundamental and that it must attract attention. But how to make it to get comments? Well, that is a different story. A story that Marta will tell you today.
Why does the caption matter?
You probably know a shop that has a profile with many followers Instagram. The shop adds gorgeous photos that are hard to stop looking at. So, you are waiting for the new additions to enjoy the beauty of the photos… and that’s it.
All shops of that kind share one problem – lack of engagement. And this is what happens when they neglect captions.
In the meantime, the caption has an important role in:
- creating brand’s image,
- building a relationship with the clients,
- engaging followers.
No photo will do the job.
Does it ring a bell? It should. These are the three pillars of content marketing and it is hard to believe that so many businesses forget about them. On top of that, a shop is only an example, but the problem plagues many accounts – from influencers to advertising agencies.
What are the consequences?
Thousands of followers but only one comment under the photo make the brand look unreliable. It does not attract new clients. Instagram is treated like a failed experiment. The company is not expanding.
If it sounds familiar, you will be glad to be here. Instead of abandoning Instagram, find out how to write captions to increase engagement, generate comments and, in the end, to sell. Because it can be done, really.
Step by step guide to a good Instagram caption
A good Instagram caption requires more than knowing Instagram. It has to be based on the fundaments of marketing that you need to hold on to. Below, you will find out how to write a good caption in a few steps and a few tips worth taking.
1. Define the target group
You want to write without knowing who you are writing to? Sounds silly, nevertheless it is a common practise. A caption written for everybody is a caption written for nobody. It does not matter how universal you want to be, because you „care about new clients”. No, no, no! This is not how it works! Even the biggest global brands know who they are writing to, even though half of the world’s population are their clients. Before you write anything, think for a moment what your client would like to hear and who they actually are. Below you have a minimal list of question to which you need to know the answers:
- How old is the client?
- What is their sex?
- Where do they live?
- What are they interested in?
- Do they understand your message?
Badly matched target group will give you more problems than profits.
2. Create an image and stick to it.
Marketing old hands know that the brand’s image is crucial. It has to be clear and cannot be changed. However, in case of small and medium companies that take social media into their hands, the situation is different because they are still creating their image.
Instagram is a good place to create an image. Remember though, that it has to be suited to your target group. If you have a shop with garments for teenagers, you will not create an image based on solid knowledge and professionalism.
When creating brand’s image, keep the trends in mind. Until recently, it was the standard to hide the hashtags in the first comment and to add almost encyclopaedic captions. The other day it was better to create extremely emotional captions, so that the followers would identify with the brand. My advice is to have a look at your competition’s captions. This way, you will soon find out what is in fashion and what works in a given industry.
But the most important is to be consistent; image is like a leopard that cannot change its spots.
3. Begin the caption with the most important information
Always keep in mind that Instagram displays only the first 3 lines of text. The rest of the caption must be ... If you do not get somebody’s interest, they will not read much, and they will definitely not comment.
Therefore, your most important task is to kindle interest.
If you publish a post with information (about a special offer or a new product), place this information at the very beginning. If it is a different post (e.g. related to the photo or an event) think about something catchy and inspiring interest. It is also a good idea to hide part of the information below the 3 lines.
4. Do not count on sudden inspiration
Sometimes it happens that all of a sudden, a brilliant idea will cross your mind. But it happens only sometimes. Normally, you should develop the habit of planning and editing posts. It is probably the most difficult part of the process, because you need not only to mind the quality of your writing but also use marketing knowledge, creativity and, more often than not, sense od humour. Additionally, RTM (real time marketing) requires you to keep your finger on the pulse.
Tworzenie opisów to w zasadzie praca rzemieślnicza, ale nie zniechęcaj się. Większość tych czynności przychodzi naturalnie.
5. Always use CTA
Call to action is simply asking people to do something and it is an effective way to engage the followers. It is so for one simple reason: people like to be noticed. Using CTA is like saying “hi there, I’m here, creating the caption, but I can see you and want to hear you”.
There are three ways to use CTA on Instagram:
- asking a question,
- encouraging to leave a comment,
- asking for people’s thought on a given topic.
Use CTA always, but try to avoid repeating the same pattern all the time. Nobody likes to read and do the same thing over and over.
6. Do not be afraid to use psychological tricks
Psychological knowledge has long been applied in marketing. I will not explain you here how to get control over other people’s minds, but I will give you a hint on how emotions work and how you can use them to create a good Instagram caption.
There are 4 emotional states that people cannot cope with. They make them check or buy something, and they just cannot help it. These emotions are:
stress evoked by lack of time, e.g. temporary special offer, or the information “until stocks are exhausted”,
curiosity, kindled by posting only part of information on a new product,
feeling inspired, e.g. by an inspiring story of how the brand was created,
FOMO (Fear of Missing out), e.g. creating an image of a product as something that everybody else has.
Here only your imagination is the limit. You do not even need to focus on the brand or its products, sometimes it is worth taking a break from them and to engage the followers with something else. To not be afraid to build relationships.
7. Add hashtags wisely
You do not need me to explain how hashtags work. I am sure though, that I can draw your attention to a few details.
Many hashtags in a caption look bad and they strain the eyes. If you are going to use many hashtags, placing some of them in the first comment will do the trick. It will make the caption clearer.
Moreover, check whether the hashtags that you are using are not banned. Otherwise you can unwillingly reduce your reach and even risk shadow banning.
Do not use hashtags unrelated to the post. Once the users see them, they will think that you are not serious, or you do not quite know what you are doing.
A good strategy = a good caption
To sum up, I would like to highlight that the basis for engaging captions is a good strategy. Of course, the perfect scenario is that marketing strategy is precisely planned ahead for all communication channels. However, for small brands or influencers it is impracticable.Still, it is always good to have a general goal in your mind (what do you want to achieve with your posts?) and to plan your actions. Here technology comes in handy, because there are applications which will help you to plan Instagram posts a month ahead.
On top of that, remember that learning by trial and error will work here as well. You will not immediately create a caption worth the Nobel Prize in Literature, but after a few months… who knows?