How to: Slay The IG Caption Game
Updated: Nov 23, 2021
A really powerful Instagram caption will stop even the nimblest of scrollers in their tracks, and getting your followers to spend more time reading copy and engaging with your content is a sure-fire way to get the platform’s algorithm on side and reap the rewards of higher post performance.
While the caption is an undeniably crucial tool to drive likes, comments, traffic to your website and your chances of getting onto the dream-worthy ‘Explore Page’, it’s more importantly a huge opportunity to develop stronger and more meaningful relationships with your audience. Keep scrolling for our own tips and tricks towards success in the competitive social media landscape below...
Consistency is king
Before getting the blank canvas at the ready, establish exactly what you want your brand to represent and how your messaging will be portrayed. A strong and coherent identity is everything if you’re striving to gain trust from your followers, so ensure you’ve finalised a unique personality, tone of voice and caption design that's geared to entice your target audience and complement the posts on your grid. Treat your brand like a person your followers can get to know and feel closer to over time. We suggest writing with a humanistic tone for a personable touch, allowing the caption monologue to resemble the way your brand would speak if it were a person and creating an enticing first line which is the deciding factor for whether your full caption is worth reading.
Post with purpose
A great Instagram caption should always aim to deliver a specific brand message and provide your audience with added value which they cannot get elsewhere; whether that’s through informing, showcasing the company’s personality or inspiring followers to take action.
Each time you’re perceived as valuable, you’ve built another ounce of trust with your audience which will help keep your brand front-of-mind, and the four most powerful ways to get there are by entertaining, educating, engaging or inspiring.
To ensure that you’re covering each of these bases regularly, we suggest creating 3-5 content pillars (or themes) around which to design your content, providing structure, consistency and another unique element to your brand. For example, the content strategy for a restaurant could be:
→ Meet the team [entertain + inspire] Introductions of staff members + personal anecdotes
→ The guest experience [inspire + educate] Menu descriptions + dish inspiration
→ Industry insight [educate + engage] Award announcements, campaigns, collaborations + industry peer stories
→ Behind the scenes [entertain + educate] Ingredients, cooking processes, insight into back-of-house action
→ Location [inspire + educate] Interior design, artwork + local community
Tell engaging stories
Now that you’ve smashed your consistency and purpose, cue the cherry on top of the cake and the element which ties it all together: emotion. As humans, we intrinsically want to feel something, and can’t help but be drawn to emotional stimuli. Information without emotion becomes lost over time, but moments marked with strong sentiments will always be remembered. How about if we asked you to recall the most embarrassing moment of your career to date vs. what you were doing six Sundays ago? Point made.
Did you know that messages delivered through emotionally driven storytelling can be up to 22 times more memorable than plain facts?
This is because our brains process narratives in a different way, allowing us to be swept up in their magic without stopping to debunk or doubt what we’re taking in. It makes it much easier for us to get on board with the ideas and messages which the story is sharing under the surface. Your audience is also more likely to engage with your content when you’re making them feel more personally involved by sparking a feeling-fuelled response. Before hitting that ‘publish’ button, take a moment to ensure your copy is pulling on heartstrings of joy, surprise, nostalgia, excitement or awe. (And hunger - because for us that is a very, very real emotion...).
Give the crowds what they want
All of your hard work deserves to see long-term success, which can only be achieved if you remain constantly tuned into your profile’s current data and analytics. Take advantage of your platform's past performance in terms of likes, comments and saves to understand what is resonating well with your audience, and use the intel to steer your future posts and continue providing valuable and relevant content for your growing family of lifelong supporters.