Still think that Instagram is a platform for hipsters to post snaps of their lunch?
You’re in for a bit of a shocker.
There are approximately 8 million active Instagram Business profiles, up from 1.6 million in 2016.
80% of Instagram users follow business profiles.
At the beginning of last year, over 120 million users visited a website, got directions, called a business, emailed or direct messaged a business via their Instagram profile. That number is increasing by the day.
At a minimum, 30% of Instagram users have purchased a product they first discovered on Instagram.
Around 80% of influencers choose Instagram for brand collaborations. They prefer it to pretty much every other social channel.
WHY aren’t you using this to your business’ advantage?
There is one teensy little snag though:
Over 95 million photos are shared on Instagram every day. Obviously, this means it can be difficult for current and potential customers to find your posts amidst the fray. Due to Instagram’s engagement-based algorithm, 70% of Instagram posts aren’t even seen.
You CAN beat the system. though. You just need to work on boosting your engagement.
With killer captions, of course!
Tips on Writing Instagram Captions to Boost Brand Engagement
Before you even get down to the nitty gritty of editing your captions, you should be aware that posts with a tagged location get an instant engagement boost of 79%. It’s the smallest possible thing you can do to ramp up your Insta-game.
Here are some other ways to create engaging content:
Nail Down Your Audience
You would think this was a pretty basic concept, but too many people slip up on it. If you take the time to “get to know” your audience, you’ll be able to tailor your Instagram marketing strategy better. Aim to meet their needs and expectations - after all, without them, you wouldn’t make a dime.
Spend some time building audience personas. Jot down a few simple details about your target customers’ goals and pain points. You need to figure out:
How old they are
Where they live
What their jobs are
What their hobbies might be
Once you’ve figured out who your audience is, you should think about how you should be speaking to them in your captions:
Will they understand your lingo?
Are emojis appropriate for them?
Do you need to contextualise each post?
Discover Your Brand Voice
If you haven’t identified your brand voice yet, this is a good time to figure it out. It’s a crucial part of your marketing strategy that will benefit you on every single platform you choose to use.
Ask yourself this question: "What are the qualities and values I want associated with my brand?”
At the same time, you’ll probably want to write down some adjectives that exemplify your brand and use them as the benchmark for your tone in every post. Are you aiming to be bold? Sensitive? Curious? Edgy? Playful? Humorous? Pick a few adjectives and make them stick.
Remember, in general, Instagram users aren’t expecting a formal approach. It is, first and foremost, as social platform. Obviously, tone depends largely on the industry in question and the associated audience, but you may find that showing your personality will get you a long way.
Make Sure the Most Important Words are at the Beginning of Your Caption
You need to remember that captions are cut off in users’ feeds after a few lines of text. Make sure your key point or CTA is carried across straight away. Lead with the most important words first. It’s just good writing, really. Hook the reader straight away so they’re more likely to hit “more”.
Only add mentions and hashtags at the end of your caption. Hashtags can also be added as your first comment, rather than in the caption directly. It makes everything look a whole lot neater and less cluttered.
Take Your Time to Edit Properly
There’s no shame in going through a few extra versions of your draft. In fact, don’t type everything directly in Instagram. Create a note and do all of your edits and revisions in there before copy-pasting into Instagram.
Don’t waste words - make sure every word you choose supports your message. Cut out unnecessary words. Don’t be overly verbose. No one wants to read through lines and lines of waffle.
Be Smart About Your Hashtags
Hashtags can be your greatest friend on Instagram, if you use them wisely. They can also, however, be your worst enemy if you abuse them.
First off all, separate them from your content by either burying them beneath line breaks or “hiding” them in your first comment.
You can use a maximum of 30 hashtags per post - which is great if you van use them all properly. Don’t just shove in hashtags to try and crowd your post with the most popular ones. Only use hashtags that are relevant to your post or brand. Don’t use the same hashtags in every post - Instagram will start cloaking your content from news feeds if your actions become too repetitive.
Ask Questions to Get People to Interact
Try to get more comments on your posts by using the caption to pose a question. You could ask pretty much anything you want - anything you think your audience will respond to.
You could ask a skills-related question, add some multiple choice options, request an opinion, or fish for feedback. Aim to ask questions that your audience will actually want to answer. Requesting tips is often a great way to get some interaction going.
Remember, on Instagram, your content should never be “random”. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes at every step.
Shout Out Whenever Possible
Featuring other Instagram users in your posts is a fantastic way to generate more engagement. If you share a bit of your podium, others will return the favour. Plus, if you tag someone in your posts, your pic will show up in THEIR tagged feed. Win-win.
When you mention another user in your caption, it compel that user to comment on, like, or share your content. This also means that their followers are likely to interact with your content as well.
Play Around with Some Emojis
Don’t be afraid to experiment with emojis. Even you’re not a big fan of them yourself, you can’t deny that they attract the eye when scrolling through your news feed. There’s something about them that just makes them jump out at you - and they’re guaranteed to be doing attract some people to your content too.
If you’re aiming to be super light and playful with your content, you can also use emojis to replace entire words in your captions. This makes your text shorter but also leans toward an element of gamification (users actually have to think about your text while reading it if there’s a tiny bit of code to decipher).
Some Caption Tools For You to Use
Who doesn’t love tools? Tools that make your life easier, specifically.
We’ve got two awesome tools that can make your caption-writing tasks a little smoother.
Captiona is an awesome tool that helps you generate ideas for your captions.
It’s a bit like a predictive search engine. All you need to do is enter a keyword that and the app will deliver a list of potential captions.
Obviously, you should always try to be original with your content. However, if you are stuck for ideas, you can use Captiona for a bit of a creative boost. Don’t copy the suggested captions word-for-word. Tweak them as much as possible.
The Hemingway App helps with the readability of your content. Use it to analyse your text. The colour-coded highlights point out where your writing could use a little work; helping you to get rid of run-on sentences or unnecessarily difficult words.
On platforms like Instagram, people scroll through content fairly quickly. You need to give the clear, clever, punchy content that they’ll be able to scan as they move through their news feed.
Do you use Instagram in your content marketing approach? What works for you?
Let us know and we’ll feature your thoughts in our online community!