The biggest mistake I see people make on Instagram? It’s captions. A lot of people are surprised when I say that. Great imagery might be enough to make someone follow you, but to get them to engage with what you’re posting, or even buy something from you? Eh, not so much.
In Part 2 of the Instagram Growth Series, I’m going to show you my tips & tricks for writing the perfect Instagram Caption. Think of this as a checklist you can go to every time you’re writing something for Instagram. If it has these 7 things, you know you’re on to a winner!
1. Nail the First Line
First things first, you’re going to want to hit your audience with a killer first line – something that stops them from scrolling and makes them want more. Aim to create something punchy that piques their interest.
Ask a question that they want to know the answer to – ‘how did I lose 20lbs and finally feel comfortable in my body?’ or ‘how did I start my business straight out of university with no investors?’.
Or use a capitalised title for your caption, like ‘A BIT OF HONESTY’ or ‘THE TRUTH ABOUT [insert relevant business here]’. I find that these are the best ways to hook the reader & get them to engage with my post. The longer someone’s reading a caption, the more likely they are to like or save that post, which lets Instagram know that it should show it to more people. Which means that good first lines = growth.
2. Provide Value
Okay, so quick exercise – take a look at the people on your Instagram feed. I’m willing to bet that you’re following them for a reason. Maybe they post amazing workout tutorials or give the best outfit inspiration. Whatever it is, they’re probably providing value of some kind to your scrolling experience.
As a general rule, people follow accounts that provide value. So turning up and telling people what you had for lunch or moaning about the algorithm? Probably not going to work.
To make sure your caption is providing value, ask yourself if it has one of these three purposes. Is it informative, entertaining, or inspiring? If not, maybe it’s time for a re-write. Your followers clicked that follow button for a reason. Make sure you’re showing up and giving them what they want.
3. Relevance, Relevance, Relevance
Keep it relevant! If your audience is following you for travel-based content, don’t constantly bombard them with captions about the algorithm screwing you over or how fun it was to see your mates from high school. Give the people what they want and build your reputation as an expert in your field. Of course you’ll want to include some personality in your posts but for the most part it’s key to stay relevant.
4. Start a Conversation
Engagement is key when it comes to growth on Instagram. It lets the app know that people are interested in what you’re posting, which in turn increases the likelihood that it’ll share it with other users. Not only that, but engagement helps you to cultivate a personal connection and ongoing conversation with your followers. This creates a trust that is way more likely to lead to sales. If we have a positive relationship with someone, we’re way more likely to buy from them.
Word of warning: simply sticking a random question on the end of your caption, like ‘sun or snow?’, DOES NOT COUNT AS CONVERSATION. The goal here is to create real, meaningful interactions. Try asking for advice or recommendations on something. Or ask your followers about something that’s important to them – like what their number one goal is for the new year.
And DON’T FORGET TO REPLY. How would you feel if your friend asked you a question and then completely ignored you? Probably not too great. Remember that conversations are two-way. In order to create lasting relationships with your followers, make sure to interact with their comments.
5. Call to Action
Remember what I said about needing a call to action in your bio in Part One of the Instagram Growth Series? Well you’re going to want to implement that here too. A call to action reminds people of what you’re doing and how you can serve them. Tell them to check out your new blogpost on ‘the best acid exfoliators’ or to sign up to your email list for a checklist freebie. Remember that every caption is a chance to get your followers involved in what you’re doing elsewhere.
6. Break it Up
Ever start reading a caption only to stop a couple of lines in after realising that it’s seemingly never-ending? Don’t get me wrong; I love a long caption as much as the next girl. In fact, that’s the best way to dive deep and really serve your audience. But seeing such a big chunk of text can be pretty off-putting. Who wants to break a sweat wading through a caption that may or may not be useful to them?
Break up the information into smaller, more manageable pieces using line breaks. That way your captions look way more approachable and important information is easy to spot. Check out my post on how to add line breaks to your Instagram captions to make them more readable. Using emojis can also be a great way to break up heavy text!
7. Use Hashtags
For some reason, I often see people avoid using hashtags. Maybe it’s because they don’t know which ones to use, or they feel like hashtags are just kinda cringe. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from using hashtags, it’s time to get over it, because those babies will send your engagement soaring. Often up to 60% of the impressions on my posts come from hashtags. That means 60% more people saw my post than would’ve done if I hadn’t used any hashtags at all.
Don’t know what hashtags to use or what Instagram’s unwritten hashtag rules are? Don’t worry, because in Part 5 of my Instagram Growth Series, I’m going to show you how to build a personalised hashtag list that works.
Check out the rest of my Instagram Growth Series here:
- Craft the perfect bio
- Write captions that convert
- Create quality content
- Create a cohesive theme
- Build a personalised hashtag list that works
- Utilise stories to increase engagement
- Manage your online community & find new followers