Since its founding in 2010, Instagram has quickly grown in popularity. In their first month, Instagram obtained a user base of 1 million people. Now, there are nine times that amount in Australia alone. However, despite being all about the photos and videos, Instagram’s captions are one-way brands can go above and beyond with their social media marketing.

Why are captions important on Instagram:

Instagram is predominantly about visual content, but your captions are why your customers have high-quality engagement with your brand. Your visual post grabs the user’s attention, but it is the copy that tells them how to engage. A nice photo may get a like or a share, but the copy can get people interacting at a higher level. For example, a photo of a cake draws the attention of cake lovers and foodies. Giving them the recipe alongside the cake, and prompting them to respond with their attempts, gets them interacting with your brand. These interactions will lead to greater reach and get you seen by their friends and followers. So, good copy is still highly important on Instagram’s visually dominated platform, and we have some tips for your copywriting toolbox.

Tips for quality Instagram copywriting:

1 – Don’t save your best for last

Instagram cuts off captions after a set amount of text, so it is important to put your most important content first. When a post appears on Instagram, you will sometimes see a “read more” button. After three lines of text, Instagram hides the rest of your text under this button. So, you need to put your most relevant and engaging copy, such as a call to action (CTA), at the top. Otherwise, people won’t read or engage. 

2 – Make your caption simple to read

Once you have people reading, you want them to keep reading, so make sure the copy is easy to follow. If a caption is difficult to read, people will lose interest. Some captions may be riddled with poor sentence structure, too many emojis or hashtags, or are broken by links. When you’re writing a long caption, use proper grammar and spacing. Try reading the post out loud to yourself to see if it’s easy to read. Also, use emojis in places that don’t ruin the flow of your copy. As for links and hashtags, place them at the bottom. Keeping your text neat will keep people engaging to the last word. 

3 – Limit your use of hashtags

Instagram allows users to use as many as 30 hashtags; however, using too many hashtags can reduce your engagement rates. Hashtags, as we mentioned last week, are a great way to reach new audiences. However, according to multiple studies, the overuse of hashtags can make your post look like spam. How many should you use then? According to Sprout Social, posts with 9-10 hashtags receive more engagements than posts with less or more hashtags. Meanwhile, a study by Picora found 7-8 hashtags to be optimal for receiving likes. Either way, don’t get carried away with your hashtagging.

4 – Speak your audience’s language

Users of all walks of life are on Instagram, so it’s important to write your content that speaks specifically to your audience. It’s important to know your audience, and communicate how they do, so your copy interests your specific audience. Otherwise, you’ll scare off your audience or attract the wrong audiences. Use slang and colloquialisms that appeal to your audience. Ask yourself whether emojis are relevant, or whether the audience will understand a reference. By speaking like them, you’ll connect with your audience on a human level. 

5 – Use mentions (@) to reach your audience

Tagging other brands, influencers and users gives your brand credibility and boosts your reach. Instagram lets you mention other users and accounts by using the “@” symbol in front of their name. Mentions give you credibility by being open about your actions, and they place your brand in front of the audience of the account you tagged. If an influencer endorses your product, or you have a partnership with another brand, tag them. 

6 – Use call-to-actions

Using call-to-actions gets people engaging with your brand, rather than just reading. Writing a great piece of copy is fantastic, but if customers don’t know what to do with it, you’ve lost a chance to engage. If you want people to do something, tell them what to do. You ask people to share their content, tag a friend, or comment for a competition. By telling people what to do, you’re more likely to get the outcome you want. 

I’m not a copywriter. What do I do?

You may be new to Instagram, or not typically much of a writer in general, but you can learn. Follow brands you like and read their posts. Pick what you like and apply it to your content. If it performs well, keep doing it. Whatever you do, experiment. Instagram has posts analytics, so you can test and learn what types of content people like. There’s no one way to write copy, so you have to test what works for your brand. There are even tools that can help you produce Instagram text based on a topic or day of the week. Overall, seek inspiration and keep testing. 

If you’re still now sure about writing Instagram copy, or your social media marketing strategy isn’t getting results, call SBIM. We’re experts in managing both organic and paid social media strategies. To get the most from your social media marketing, contact SBIM today on 07 3325 0505 or at webmaster@sbim.com.au.