7 Top Tips for Writing Killer Captions that Convert for Your Instagram PostsJun 23, 2021
By Jake Adam Davey
Instagram is a visual platform, so we often get caught up in the images we’re posting. By the time we get to the words, we’re pretty often already a bit burnt out!
The thing is, when you’re a business or brand on Instagram, a great visual is not enough. The caption is a really, really valuable way to share your message.
What are Instagram captions?
Instagram captions are simply the text below your photo or graphics. When you post an image on Instagram you also have a text field. Here, you can type in quotes, questions, and descriptions.
When it comes to using Instagram for business, the words you write can also help you to persuade your followers or viewers to do something. Through great captions, you can persuade someone to take an action, whether that is to click, to buy, to sign up, to engage, to comment, or to share.
The text area is also where you include all your Instagram hashtags (I’ll share more on hashtags in a future post).
Instagram limits captions to 2,200 characters or around 325 words.
Your captions are a vital way to engage with your audience, so, skip the temptation for one-word captions or, worse, no caption at all. Readers want to engage with you and gain some insight into you or your business through your posts.
Here are my 7 top tips to Create Instagram Captions for Business that Convert:
REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE TALKING TO
Before you sit down to write any ‘copy’ - and when I say copy, I’m talking about your Instagram captions - you need to determine exactly who your audience is. This is KEY to getting results from your Instagram marketing.
So, before you start … ask yourself these questions:
- What do your potential customers want?
- What problems do your potential customers have?
- What frustrates your potential customers the most?
- Who else is selling something similar to you?
- Why should your potential customers believe you?
- Why should potential customers respond to you instead of to someone else?
STOP!!!! The next 50 words you read WILL change the way you think about writing your Instagram captions.
Did I get your attention? Well, that leads me to Tip 2:
Before your words can generate results, your viewers need to STOP THE SCROLL!
This means you need to capture the attention of viewers in the very first line of your text. It’s a tried and tested storytelling technique where you jump into the action of the story straight away. Cut to the chase, show me the action! It makes your reader STOP their scroll, want to know more, and actually click through to read the rest of your caption.
Remember, when people are scrolling, they’ll only see the first two lines of your post, so don’t waste this opportunity.
But what can you do to spark their interest and get their interest revved up?
OK, so today we’re talking about captions, but don’t neglect the importance of your IMAGE. Did you know that humans process visual images 60,000 times faster than text? Yep - crazy! So, getting your visuals on point is vital to your Instagram marketing!
There are four types of caption formulas that you can use as a guide to craft your Instagram captions. Each has a different PSYCHOLOGICAL APPEAL that works like magic on consumers.
Here they are:
- State a powerful benefit of your product, your service, or your system - ‘Lose weight, without giving up chocolate!’ Or even just the benefits of reading your caption/post - remember the benefits could be as simple as a quote, a story, or a top tip.
- Pique curiosity - ‘We’ve Discovered the Secrets of Weight-loss.’ Again, this doesn’t relate to sales posts - curiosity will definitely stop the scroll!
- Write your subject line with a news angle - ‘We’ve just Launched Our New System.’
- Offer immediate gratification - ‘Download your free recipe guide NOW and start your weight-loss journey today!’
Homework: Write at least 25 SUBJECT LINES for your captions - before you even think of the body of your caption, think of your headlines!
Remember, it’s not about you! Sorry, but it’s not! I like to call it Social Youdia, not Social Media.
People are busy, and consciously or subconsciously, they’re usually thinking ‘What’s in it for me?’ (WIFM).
Answer that question in your captions and be clear on WHY exactly your audience should care about what they’re reading.
For example, ‘Today I am sharing some amazing recipe ideas so that you can lose weight whilst eating more.’ Your ‘so that’ is the benefit for the reader that solves a problem they have. People want to know what’s in it for them (in this example it’s losing weight) - so lay it out.
Homework: List every conceivable benefit your product, service or system has.
What’s the difference between features and benefits?
Features describe the product; benefits describe the results of using the product. Features appeal to logic ... logic justifies emotion ... emotion drives sales (check out Tip #4 below).
Here`s a rule of thumb for benefits; ask yourself ‘What can my product or service do for my customer?’ In other words - WHAT`S IN IT FOR THEM? (WIFT). Tell them how much better life will be for them after they buy from you. Tell them how much better they`ll feel. Tell them how their peers will respect them more.
ADD VALUE AND BECOME THE AUTHORITY
People will only buy your product or service if they believe that your offer is credible and that you (or your product) will deliver as promised. They need to trust you.
You can build trust through your captions. So, how do you do that? By giving value.
What exactly does that mean?
Well, value doesn’t mean giving away your stuff for free. But it does mean adding ‘value’ or improving your viewers day in some way.
There’s three simple ways you can add value as a business owner:
- Information - Tips, guides, recommendations, or tutorials.
- Inspiration - Quotes, or by sharing aspirations of the lifestyle and the end result that your followers want. This could be through stories or testimonials.
- Entertainment - Yep, if someone’s scrolling their feed and your post makes them laugh, you’re definitely improving their day.
Homework: How can you add value to your audience? Generally, one of the three areas listed above will fit most comfortably within your brand and business niche.
REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE MAKE DECISIONS BASED ON EMOTION NOT LOGIC
When promoting anything to anybody, you must remember that buying decisions are based upon emotion and later backed up by logic. Before you write a single word, determine what emotional hot buttons you need to push to ‘jumpstart’ your prospect.
Selling health supplements? Go for the ‘fear of illness’ button with: ‘A Natural Way to Save Your Eyesight.’ Selling political bumper stickers? Hit the ‘anger’ button with: ‘Let the President Know What You Think of His Policies.’ (That was for our US friends 😊.)
Other buttons include curiosity, greed, ego, vanity, hope, and/or fear of scarcity or security.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?
This happens all the time …
Someone writes a fantastic caption, and then doesn`t tell their viewers what they want them to do. So, their viewers do nothing.
Always put a clear call to action in your caption. When you’re writing a caption, make it very clear what specific action you want your reader to take and only ask them to do ONE thing. Don’t be vague, and don’t give too many options.
Here’s some examples:
- ‘Like this post’
- ‘Send me a DM’
- ‘Click the link in my bio’
- ‘Comment below for the link’
- ‘Share this post if you feel your followers would benefit from it’
- ‘Tag someone who needs to hear this today’
THE EYES HAVE IT
It`s a well-known fact that large blocks of copy are intimidating and will often send people running for the hills or at least the scroll button.
The solution? Break up paragraphs into two to four sentences. Use several subheadings throughout the caption. And use emojis 😄 to give your copy more rhythm. Bullet points are excellent eye-catchers - use them whenever appropriate.
FINAL BONUS TIP - WRITE INSTAGRAM CAPTIONS IN BATCHES
My biggest time-saving tip is to write your captions in batches and not just when you decide to post. This is definitely easier said than done, but if you do this, you’ll definitely get into a rhythm and the captions will flow!
There you have it, my tips on how to write scroll-stopping Instagram captions for business.
Jake Davey is the UK’s leading Instagram expert. Former high school French and Spanish teacher turned online entrepreneur, Jake shows business owners and entrepreneurs how to build an authentic audience on Instagram and be seen as the go-to authority in their industry.
His Flagship program, InstaGalactic follows the proven, 6-Step ROCKET system and shows people how to explode their brand on Instagram so they can impact on a global scale.
He is passionate about helping business owners to scale by leveraging the power of Instagram via his online course, 1:1 and group coaching, hosting the INfluence podcast, and international speaking engagements.
Jake currently has an audience of over 65K followers on Instagram, and has helped hundreds of large and small businesses to influence more people, and build authentic, engaged audiences that convert.
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