The Beginner’s Guide to TikTok Advertising
By Michaela VoglJan 16
Published September 22nd 2022
Instagram is the world’s most popular visual social media platform and has revolutionized how we communicate and post online. In 2021, 1.21 billion people and businesses worldwide used the platform on a monthly basis. This huge pool of potential customers provides brands with a great opportunity to win new leads and engage with their customers to increase brand loyalty.
Photos and videos are the first things that come to mind when we hear Instagram. Captions on Instagram, however, provide a great opportunity for brands to make their posts, reels, and Instagram stories (even) more captivating.
In this blog, we go through everything you need to know about Instagram captions, including:
Let’s dive in.
With Instagram captions, the author can provide context and more information to the visual. People can express their emotion or motivation for why they took or why they’re posting this picture or video.
In addition to using relevant hashtags, captions are a valuable tool to grab the viewer's attention and get them to follow directions. For example, you can animate them to check out the link in your bio and lead them to your website.
A picture might be worth a thousand words, but visuals have their limits. You can put only a limited amount of written copy into a visual or video before it looks cluttered and people lose attention.
Captions are a great way to provide more information to a post, story or reel. Brands can introduce their brand, products, or services in more detail and give the audience the chance to learn more about your brand. Captions can be informative, entertaining, inspirational, thought-provoking, and engaging. It’s also a great place to show the human side of your brand.
Asking your audience a question in the caption can be a good way to fuel engagement and start a discussion. This post and caption from WWF, for example, asks followers a thought-provoking question and people react to it:
You have a wide range of possibilities on how you can use captions. This will depend on your wider goals and social media strategy. We talk about this in more detail here.
In summary, you should use Instagram captions to:
Instagram Stories and Reels have different editing options than the classical Instagram feed posts. Once you decide which content you want to upload to a story, you have different editing symbols to choose from at the top. Click on the text symbol and add your caption. You can then choose from different fonts and colors or give it a background color to make it more noticeable. Lastly, you can decide where your caption should appear, for example, at the bottom of the story.
Instagram Reels have the caption options from Instagram Stories and posts combined. This means you can add a caption as part of your reel (like in Instagram Stories) and add a caption to describe the reel like you would do for a regular Instagram post. You can add captions on your Reel after choosing your content and proceed to the preview section. The interface is pretty similar to Instagram Stories and adding text here works the same way. After you finish editing your reel, you can add a description in your last editing step. This works similarly to adding captions to regular posts.
Adding captions to video content can come in handy to reach people who watch your video content with the sound off.
The limit for Instagram captions is 2,200 characters. This gives you enough bandwidth to provide a lot of information. However, there is no need to write captions this long.
How long should your perfect Instagram caption be? This really depends on the type of content you’re posting and the motivation and goals you have for your post. There’s no golden rule in terms of length. One-word (or one-emoji) captions can be as engaging as a lengthy description.
If you go for a longer caption, you should keep in mind that Instagram cuts the preview after the first two lines. This means you need to grab readers' attention with the first sentence to animate them to tap on your post and reveal the whole caption.
No matter how long or short your caption is: Keep it simple. Use language readers are familiar with and avoid jargon and long, complicated sentences.
Here are some things you should consider in terms of caption length:
Are you writing a caption with one word or only emojis? Sounds easy, right? Writing an engaging caption can be harder than it looks. As social media manager, you probably were at least once in the situation of staring at the screen, not knowing what caption to write.
A good way to start is to look at your social media goals. What do you want to achieve with your social media presence? Do you want to engage with your community or do you want to generate more leads? Do you want to raise brand awareness or deepen brand loyalty?
Your goals are the foundation for creating your social media posts, including writing captions. One of the worst things brands and content creators can do on social media is to lose their tone of voice. An inconsistent tone of voice can confuse followers and even put them off. The tone in your captions should be in line with your brand voice which should take into account how your followers communicate. A young fashion brand, for example, can often afford to be way less formal in their communication than a traditional insurance brand.
Lengthy captions can be hard to read and you risk losing your readers' attention. If they lose interest after the first few sentences and miss your call to action, your caption wasn’t that successful.
Try splitting your captions into smaller paragraphs to make your caption easier to read. You can simply use the enter button in the edit window to add breaks. You can also add headings to structure the copy further.
Besides formatting, there are some other things you can do to make your caption more captivating. For example, you can use emojis or use different fonts to highlight certain sections in your caption.
With fonts, you can experiment with different styles. Instagram posts don’t have a font editor included, but there are a couple of font generators out there to help you out. Just make sure that the chosen font style fits your brand style. In Instagram Stories and Reels there are a selection of fonts you can choose from.
Emojis are an important part of our online communication. They add context and emotion to the text and make a post more fun. You can use emojis to give your posts a specific emotion or tone.
You can add emojis that underline the sector you are operating in, for example, if you sell dog or cat treats, then it might make sense to add some cat and dog emojis from time to time. You can also use emojis to structure your caption, for example, as bullet points or to highlight specific words or your call to action.
Get here an overview over the most popular emojis and tips on how to use them.
Don’t forget to add a call to action to your caption. When you post on Instagram, you usually want people to do something. Do you want them to share their opinions and feedback in the comments? Do you want them to share your post in their stories or tag their friends? Do you want them to check out your website?
Make it clear what your call to action is and animate the reader to do so. Maybe you can offer a discount on a product from your Instagram post to lead them to your online shop. Keep in mind to highlight the call to action with either formatting your copy or adding emojis.
Not only can you tag other accounts in your Instagram post setup, you can also do it in your captions. It’s a great way to highlight your collaborations with influencers, content creators, and other brands or give some recognition to people involved in your projects.
You can also use tags to quote testimonials like in the post below or use it to post user generated content. With tagging, you make sure to give the audience more information, make your stakeholders aware of your communications, and give credit to the creator.
Are your Instagram captions working? Which kind of captions lead to a higher engagement than others? There are different ways you can measure your results. Instagram Insights is a free feature that is part of any Instagram Business or Creator account. Here, you can get a general idea of your Instagram performance, for example, your most popular posts and the demographics of your followers.
To get more in-depth analytics about your performance, it can be helpful to use an Instagram analytics tool. There are different tools out there to match your needs. With Brandwatch Essentials, for example, you not only save time publishing your content, you can also keep track of your performance. This is especially handy if you want to compare the performance across multiple channels.
You can use template dashboards or customize your own and easily share the report with your wider team. Once you identify your best performing posts, you can save your posts, including the captions, in the content pool in Brandwatch Essentials. This way, you can reuse your captions at a later time or share them on your other social media platforms. You can learn more about Brandwatch Essentials and sign up for a free trial here.
Now that you have some guidelines on what to consider for writing engaging Instagram captions, it’s always useful to see some examples. Here are 100 Instagram captions from one-word captions to funny one liners, from famous quotes to holiday celebrations.
Short Instagram captions
With these tips and examples, you’re ready to start working on your Instagram captions skills and catch your audience’s attention. You want to make your social media management easier and save a whole bunch of time in the process? Try Brandwatch Essentials for free.