How to Write Good Instagram Captions 2019
Instagram marketing is about all the scenes. The quality of your photos will be different factors when it comes to getting Instagram subscribers, to take an interest in your brand and what it is about, and to show the human side of your business.
Once you take that beautiful photo and edit it for completeness, hard work does not end. The caption of your post is where you can give voice to that visual content.
A good Instagram caption tells you what the picture is about, asks your followers to take action, or makes a joke that makes your content more delightful and shareable.
If you think after captioning on your Instagram posts, then you are missing out on the opportunity to engage your followers in ways and delight, which you can not do with just one view. Here are some tips to help you write better Instagram captions.
How to Write Instagram Captions
- Write several drafts first.
- Front-load the important stuff.
- Include a call-to-action.
- Limit yourself to four hashtags.
- Meld your brand voice with Instagram’s lighthearted tone.
- Use emojis.
- Cross-promote your other social channels.
- When in doubt, keep it brief.
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1. Write several drafts first.
Ever wondered about the true joke that it was a while to tell? When we have already published the post, then we all feel the same.
Learning? Do not rush the process. Instead, write down some ideas for the caption below, sit on them for a few pole colleagues at which one is the best, and usually takes their time.
You can ask yourself at this point, “But timeliness and chronology are not important on the Instagram”? They can be based on the subject of your post. For example, professional instagramer Patrick Geneel says that he uses Instagram as a chronological journey of his activities and lifestyle. She likes to document in real time what she is doing in a moment.
But thanks to the impending Instagram feed algorithm change, the level of engagement that receives your posts will count more than the chronology soon. Soon, our Instagram feed will be ordered to show the moments that the Instagram feels that we will care most about. Depending on the visibility, likes, and number of comments in your followers’ feed, your relationship with the poster is user posting and other factors.
That’s why it’s important to create a great caption of your time that will keep your followers around, be happy to share them with your friends, and encourage them to engage with your content.
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2. Front-load the important stuff.
Maximum character count for the Instagram caption (2,200 characters) is basically a formality. But the point of note is that captions are cut in users’ feed after three to four lines of text.
This does not mean that you should keep your caption short so that the user can see 100% without clicking “more”. Instead, forward your captions with important content or text call-to-action – and skip any hashtags, @mentions, or external information for the end.
Here is an example of a captivating, front-loaded caption by the coffee-based skincare company Frank Body:
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3. Include a call-to-action.
The best way to increase the sharing capability of your Instagram post and engage with your followers is to have any kind of call-to-action in your captioned captions. This means that instead of being able to do something by using verb action, instead of simply passively scrolling. We found that the action generates more shares on Twitter than nouns and adjectives – that can be true for Instagram.
For example, you might say, “double-tap if you find it funny” or “share your story in comments.”
Here are some other action-based ideas to get you started:
Encourage people to comment on their own experiences. You may be able to attract these experiences to pursue your Instagram strategy, or to come up with new material ideas. To increase engagement and make your followers even happier, answer users’ answers to make it like conversations.
H & M: “You all need to stay away at the weekend. Where do you go?”
Lorna Jane: “Be you, everyone else is taken. Today’s inspo inspired by our leading lady @ljclarkson – how are you finding your BELIEVE today?”
Direct people to a link in your bio.
The clickable URL is not allowed in your bio except for the single “website” box. This is the reason that the customized Instagram profile frequently updates that URL to point to the latest blog content, YouTube video, product or offer – and then reference that link in your Instagram caption.
For example, are you running a competition, or want to increase subscribers on your blog? Just change the link, and then post a photo in which the link is mentioned in the new link.
Pro Tip: Use a small link that includes the UTM tracking code so you can see how much your traffic comes from your Instagram page. (Learn how to create a UTM code to track your URL here.)
To change the link in your bio, go to your profile page and click “Edit Profile.”
Then, simply insert the URL of your choosing into the URL box.
Invite people to tag their friends.
Encourage your followers to share your post with friends by inviting them to tag their friends. Here are a few examples of fun, clever ways brands have asked followers to tag friends.
Frooti: “It’s scrabbled day! Tag some friends you’d like to play with.”
H&M: “Planning for a luxe escape with your bestie? Tag your travel partner in crime!”
HubSpot: “Coffee with co-workers makes Friday mornings that much brighter. Tag your office coffee buddy – and better yet, take a break!”
Invite people to enter a contest.
Contests are great for increasing engagement and brand exposure on Instagram.
Simply invite people to post their own pictures and tag them in the caption using a hashtag, like BuzzFeed Tasty does below.
Consider including the contest’s official rules in your caption for folks who are interested and even a link in your bio.
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4. Limit yourself to four hashtags.
On Instagram, a hashtag behaves the same way it does on Twitter and Facebook: It ties the conversation of different users in one stream. Unless your account is public, anyone who searches for that hashtag can search for your Instagram post. (To read more about how hashtags work on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, read this blog post.)
Hashtag is great for adding users who are not otherwise related to each other, but who are talking about the same topic, events, brands and so on – and are interested. They are a great way to add some fun and cozy humor to your post, like FOMU did below.
But, use the hashtag abstinently. Some Instagram users include a string of searchable hashtags as a way to get more followers – but the fact is, it looks spamming for followers you make. If you use a toned hashtag, people will not pay attention, and they will think that it is lame. Limit your hashtag to three or four, top.
And remember, if you do not want to, then you do not have to include anybody. You do not need a hashtag for a terrific Instagram caption. Here is an example of a good caption with a hashtag from Starbucks:
Use hashtags at the end of your caption.
Unless the hashtag phrase fits naturally into a sentence, do not list any hashtags until the very end of the caption. In this way, the part of your caption that is more attractive to humans will come first, which will make it more user-friendly.
Also, if your caption is cut for a long time, there are hashtags (as opposed to pleasing people) to add people, will be hidden. So hashtag in this caption …
… will be hidden from folks scrolling by in their Instagram feeds — which is totally fine since they’re just there for search reasons.
Pro tip: Need inspiration for a hashtag that’s already popular? Instagram will suggest hashtags to you based on their popularity when you open up a new post and type out the # symbol followed by an incomplete search. Here’s an example of that in action:
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5. Meld your brand voice with Instagram’s lighthearted tone.
Every social network has a different tone that works best. While serious, jargon-heavy copy may work well on LinkedIn, for example, that same copy won’t work as well on Instagram. The best Instagram posts tend to have a lighthearted, fun tone, showing off the more authentic, human, and personable side of a brand.
That’s why you’ll want to adapt your brand voice for Instagram’s more lighthearted tone. This’ll be easier for brands whose brand voices are already lighthearted and fun, like Wistia’s:
For others with a more serious brand voice, find a balance between sincerity and relatability.
Being relatively consistent in your Instagram voice can help you build your brand on the channel. For example, think about how long you’ll typically want most of your posts to be. Do you want to be a storyteller who writes a paragraph or more?
Cleverness tends to perform quite well on social media, especially Instagram. People love when brands crack a joke or include a play on words. JetBlue, for example, is always an excellent source of puns:
Here’s another one from Chobani:
If you’re experiencing caption writer’s block, the Wall Street Journal‘s Elizabeth Holmes suggests playing a word association game or brainstorming with a friend.
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6. Use emojis.
Emojis, the cartoon-like emoticons available to most smartphone users, can add some personality to an Instagram caption. That’s why a lot of brands use them in their captions — even the more “serious” brands.
There are a lot of different ways to use emojis in your posts. For example, you can use them at the beginning of the post to catch people’s eye, like this:
You can also use them in the middle of sentences to replace words, or at the end of a post as a sort of “punchline,” like this:
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7. Cross-promote your other social channels.
You can also use your caption to cross-promote your other social media accounts. This is a great way to let your followers know where else on social media they can find you — so that your Instagram followers can become your Twitter followers, your Facebook fans, your Snapchat audience, and so on.
For example, you might promote a campaign that’s taking place on another channel, like Coca-Cola did here:
Pro Tip: If you have a Snapchat account, Snapcodes are perfect for cross channel promotion on your other social media profiles. Every Snapchat user has a unique Snapcode, which is an image that looks like the Snapchat logo but with a unique pattern of dots. To follow you on Snapchat, all users will have to do to is open the Snapchat app, take a photo of your Snapcode, and tap their screen.
Here’s an example from WeWork:
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8. When in doubt, keep it brief.
Depending on your audience, your captions might need to be longer than a few words or a sentence. For example, if you’re a food company, you might post entire recipes in your captions — and that’s OK, as long as you’re front-loading the caption with the most important information (like the name of the recipe) so it doesn’t get cut off.
But if you’re not sure what your brand voice is yet, a good rule of thumb is to keep it brief. Some of the best Instagram captions are short punchlines, or in some way make their point quickly and let the visual content do most of the talking.
Coca-Cola: “Goodbye, tan lines. Hello, #SpringBreak.”
WeWork: “Every day.”
BuzzFeed Tasty: “Whip it good.”
Good Instagram Captions
So, what makes a good caption on Instagram? Let’s recap:
- Leading with the good stuff
- A call-to-action (CTA)
- A healthy number of hashtags
- A lighthearted tone
- Cross-promoting other social channels
Companies quoted in all the steps mentioned above have their own way of engaging their followers on Instagram, but how can you apply their approach to their own captions?
Let’s take a look at some more Instagram captions which celebrate these important qualities and which you can apply to the Instagram strategy of your business.
Captions that lead with the good stuff
“That’s a wrap on [company event], day 1! It was a great day of good people, sessions, and keynotes…”
“[New product] is now live! Get your free 30-day demo right now and see for yourself…”
“We’re working with [partner/company] on a new initiative to [shared goal]. Our staff can’t wait to get started…”
“We’re here at [industry event]! Come say hi at [booth #] and see our CEO before he takes the stage at [panel discussion]…”
“Congrats to our own [employee name] for winning [award]! A well-deserved honor for someone who crushed it this month…”
Captions with CTAs
The best [product] for this time of year. What’s your favorite part of the fall? Let us know in the comments!
We’ll be closed January 1, but back with an exciting announcement after New Years … where will you be on New Year’s Eve? Share your plans, below!
[Podcast] episode 1 is now available for listening! Couldn’t be happier with our guest, [name of guest]. The link in bio.
Team synergy is crucial to great company culture. Tag a coworker you love working within the comments below.
We’re so excited to launch [new product], but every great [type of product] needs a great name. Submit your name suggestions and the best one wins a year of free service! Link in bio.
Captions with one to four hashtags
We’re here at Mile 17 of the #NYCMarathon cheering on our company running club! Amazing day for 26.2. #ILoveNYC
[Event name] attendees: Join us at the 3 PM panel to learn how #NewTrend is changing the industry. #EventHashtag
Surprised the marketing team with donuts for hitting their #LeadGenerationgoal and because they’re free today! #FreeDonutDay #FridayFeeling
Captions with a lighthearted tone
High fives to everyone who hit their goal for the quarter! If not, get psyched to crush it this quarter. You’re gonna’ do great. #goals
Recycling isn’t just a requirement in our office park — it’s the right thing to do. Happy Recycling Day! #RecyclingDay
Happy Monday! Don’t dread the week, embrace it! Happy employees make for happy customers. 🙂 #MondayMotivation
Captions with emojis
Spotted the [company name] logo downtown! Love seeing the community give us some love. ❤️
Everybody contributes to the health of our planet. To be successful at [company name], we need to be respectful of 🌎. Happy #EarthDay!
#MarchMadness has begun, and we’re cheering for our state team at [name of college] tonight. Let’s do it, [team mascot]! 🏀
🏆 ALERT! 🏆 Excited to be named in the Top 20 Best Places to Work in [State] for [year]! We owe it all to our hardworking employees and loyal customers. You all rock.
Captions that cross-promote other social channels
At 11 AM tomorrow, we’ll be live tweeting from our CEO’s keynote at [industry event]. Follow along on our Twitter page! A link in bio.
We’re so sorry if you couldn’t log in to your [company name] account yesterday, and want to make it right. Check in with us on Facebook Messenger and get your redeemable discount code.
We’re up and running on LinkedIn, and so are our employees! Find and connect with us now (we don’t bite). The link in bio.
New year, new logo.
We’ve moved! Check out our new office.
Happy #Thanksgiving! What are you thankful for?
Happy New Year!!
[Your slogan or tagline].
When you test different types of posts on Instagram, keep an eye out for different types of posts – including your captions. Instagram does not have much in terms of analytics, so you have to do it manually.
Try to list each post on a spreadsheet and keep an eye on its URL, when it was posted, how many likes and comments it received, and how your response was getting from your followers.
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