How to Write Instagram Captions That Engage Your Followers
There are quite a few social media (SM) networks out there upon which businesses can engage their followers to drive growth and revenue. But Instagram is one of the most popular platforms. In fact, it is the 2nd most widely-used online mobile platform in the U.S.
60% of Instagram users say they discover new products on Instagram while 80% of users follow a business on Instagram.
Now when you think of marketing on Instagram, you probably think it’s all about posting great-looking pictures and video, right?
Well, not exactly.
There are some pretty eye-opening statistics that indicate your written content is equally important to the actual photos and videos you post. For instance, only 29% of Instagram users are over the age of 35.
The majority of uses on that platform are actually Millennials and Gen Z. You may assume these users wouldn’t be that interested in, ugh, reading words. But the reality is this group very much values authenticity and interaction within the content before everything else!
If you are a business owner that uses Instagram as one of your main marketing channels, you want to start using engagement as one of your core metrics for your social media campaigns.
But now the question is, how do you engage your followers on Instagram besides posting visually appealing images and videos? You do so by writing awesome captions that draw your followers in.
Select Your Favorite Option
- How to Write Instagram Captions For Engagement
- Use a Hook to Optimize for Mobile Users
- Tell the Reader What’s in it for Them
- Tell Stories
- Choose Your Words Carefully
- Use a Call-to-Action
- Add Relevant Hashtags in Captions
- Mention Influencers and Other Users in Captions
- Final Thoughts
Here are some tips to help you do just that!
How to Write Instagram Captions For Engagement
Use a Hook to Optimize for Mobile Users
You most likely know that Instagram shortens captions once they’ve gotten to be 3-4 lines long on mobile devices. Since the majority of your followers will be interacting with you via a mobile device, it’s super important that you optimize your captions so they fit for mobile users. How can you make that first bit intriguing enough that your followers will click on the “more” button?
You do this by using some form of “hook” to, well, hook the reader. Questions make great hooks. You can ask your audience something that you know they will respond to.
As an example, marketers do a lot of research on their target demographic to understand their needs and pain points. Use these pain points to ask a question that will tap into your readers’ emotions.
There are other types of hooks you can use. You could start with a joke, share a surprising fact, or a famous quote. Here is a quote Nike used for one of their posts. It draws you in.
Tell the Reader What’s in it for Them
Too many business owners think solely about their product or service. But social media isn’t a selling platform. It’s a platform to help you HELP your customers. So use your captions to provide real value to the reader. Tell them what’s in it for them if they choose to take a few moments to engage with your post. How can your caption somehow make your followers’ lives better?
There are a few different ways. You can offer a giveaway of some type, provide step-by-step instructions, educate them, or solve their problem somehow.
Look how Birchbox uses their caption to let their followers know right off the bat that they are giving something away.
When your post captions provide your followers with actual value, they are far more likely to share and comment.
Did you know that long captions are a top Instagram trend in 2020? This is a great opportunity for you to leverage a trend by telling your brand’s story.
Why do stories work so well in advertising? Because human beings have been hardwired to respond to stories. Stories were how our ancestors learned about the world around them. And no matter how old we get, every single one of us still loves a good story.
So tap into this fundamental human aspect and start telling more stories in your captions. It’s not as hard as you think. Storytelling is really just about sharing your humanity with other people. Even brands have people behind the brand. So be authentic and make a personal connection with your followers.
Choose Your Words Carefully
You most likely understand that your images set a mood for people. Well, your words should do the exact same thing. And if you want to set a mood with words, then you must choose them carefully, focusing on sensory words that make the reader feel something.
What are sensory words? They’re words that help you read to see, hear, taste, smell, or feel your message. So you might want to describe the color or appearance of something in your photo. Or, if your image is complete, you can help the person hear the sounds that were there when the image was taken.
Look at how this Instagram user captures your attention. Not only does he use an auditory word, but he also uses ALL CAPS for good measure.
Use a Call-to-Action
If you really want to increase the “share potential” of your post while at the same time engaging your followers, then be sure to add some sort of call-to-action in your captions.
What does this mean, exactly?
Well, it means using language that prompts people to take action and DO something instead of just scrolling away from your content.
So you might say something like, “Share your opinion in the comments” or “Double-tap if you can identify!”
Here are a few other call-to-action ideas that are very effective:
Ask a question.
To get people to engage with your post, simply ask a question. Look at how H&M Store engaged their followers by asking the simple questions, “All you need for a weekend get-away. Where would you go?”
If you REALLY want to increase engagement, then be sure to respond to users’ answers to make it an actual conversation.
You can only have clickable links in your bio. That’s why it’s a good idea to frequently update this link so you can point people to different blog posts you’ve written, youtube videos, promotional offers, etc. You then simply refer people to this link in your caption.
Here’s a pro tip: Use shortened links that provide tracking codes so you can see how much blog traffic or Youtube traffic is coming from your Instagram page.
Invite users to tag their friends.
Encourage your followers to share your content with others by inviting them to tag their friends. Here is a fun example of how one brand did just that:
Frooti: “It’s scrabble day! Tag some friends you’d like to play with.”
If you are looking for more Instagram post ideas that engage your audience check this post.
Research has shown that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag receive more likes and comments than posts without any hashtags.
Instagram users search hashtags in order to find content that they are interested in. Hence using relevant hashtags helps brands to reach audiences who are interested in their content.
It does not mean that you can use all popular hashtags in a single post. Since overusing hashtags can result in less engagement than posts having few relevant hashtags.
Brands also use unique and engaging branded hashtags in their post. Most surprisingly 7 out of 10 Instagram hashtags are branded hashtags. The branded hashtags initiate an interaction between your brand and the users. Using unique and engaging branded hashtags can help you become successful on Instagram.
You can aim for a mix of branded (a unique hashtag you create for your brand), community (used by people in the same industry as you, or used by the influencers you want to attract), product, and other relevant trending hashtags.
Here is the perfect example
If you use the branded hashtags on Instagram or even run Instagram branded hashtag content for your brand It is important to track and analyze all branded hashtag posts.
With the help of the Instagram hashtag analytics tools like socialert, you can find the most engaging posts and users. A thorough analysis can tell you which works best for more success on Instagram.
You can even analyze public Instagram account to know insights like hashtags, top keywords, mentions used in the posts.
Mention Influencers and Other Users in Captions
Brands generally hire influencers to post for their brand. Influencers charge brands for a single post since they have a relevant audience base.
Check this post where influencers ask to follow brand accounts and tag the friends to participate in the contest.
However, it is not possible for every brand to hire too many influencers. Instead, they can design their captions where they can mention influencers. If influencers will comment or reshare the post, the post will appear in their follower’s feed.
Of course, an influencer isn’t likely to engage with every post, but if you work with another Instagram influencer and post content directly related to them, there are higher chances that they would respond.
Check this Instagram post where the brand posted a video with the help of one influencer and mentioning another influencer. Another influencer liked the content as it was related to him and commented on the post. It helped the brand to reach followers of another influencer as well.
You can try it in your captions too to engage more people with your caption.
Growing an Instagram account is one thing; making sure you are actually engaging your followers is something totally different. If you want to start engaging your followers, pay more attention to your captions, and use these tips to craft captions that grab the reader’s attention and keep it!