A picture is worth a thousand words, but words still have a different power over the audience. Although Instagram posts rely heavily on visuals, crafting the best Instagram captions is critical for taking the best photo or video. Those few text lines not only help viewers understand your image's context but also help showcase your brand's personality. But it is easier said than done (or write).
How do you create an Instagram caption that can capture millions of hearts? How do you stand out from a huge amount of posts people see every day? How do you get your audience to engage and gain more followers through a caption? You have a huge number of potential followers, but which kind of words can go to their heats? Those are the questions that we will answer in this article.
Let this be clear: Dropping a few words for an Instagram caption is not enough. You need to understand your audience, brand, and goals to craft a suitable copy. So, if you have seen yourself stuck on a chair trying to make the perfect caption, I'm here to help. Let's find out how to write the best Instagram captions and some ideas that you can steal right the way for your business!
What is an Instagram caption?
An Instagram caption is an explanation or description in the written form for Instagram photos to provide additional context. Instagram captions may include hashtags, tags, and emojis. The image above is an example from a post by Shopify on Instagram.
Shopify posted a photo of a tattoo artist who formed a platform for brown and dark skin people to look for their suitable tattoos. The caption gave the information about who the person is and a link to the platform mentioned. The caption started with a hashtag of #BuiltWithPride - which is a recent campaign by Shopify to support businesses of the black and LGBT community. Without the caption, the audience wouldn't be able to understand who the person in the picture is and what is worth praising for. The words also showed Shopify's dedication to put the small business owners first and support them thoroughly.
Why is an Instagram caption important?
Your Instagram captions allow you to show your brand personality in a way that a picture can never do. You can tell jokes, share stories, and humanize your business by talking directly to the audience. A video can do this too, but that means the followers must actually watch the entire video. While someone quickly scrolls through their feed can still catch a caption.
Captions also give your brand the ability to engage with the audience. You can ask questions, make conversations, and give an opportunity to win prizes if people like and follow your page.
Engagement matters because users no longer see posts on their feeds in chronological order. Instead, Instagram content is prioritized based on interaction history, post type, and the publishing time (based on the Instagram algorithm). Basically, more engagement equals more chances for your current and future posts to be seen.
With so many brands using Instagram, your company faces a lot of competition. In order to stand out, you will need to personalize your posts with relevant content and engaging captions that can capture the audience's interest. That’s why having a good Instagram caption is important.
How to write the best Instagram captions
Your goal here is creating a caption that will enhance your posts and increase engagement while still showing your brand's personality. To help you achieve this goal, I've researched Instagram posts from leading companies to determine what is in a high-performance Instagram caption.
Here are eight tips you can use when crafting your best Instagram caption. Use them well, and you can increase your reach, ensure more visibility, and earn more potential customers!
Say the important things first
Instagram is optimized for mobile users' experience. Which means only the first 125 characters of the caption appear on the feed. To see the rest of the caption, a user needs to click to see more. Since you are competing to attract users' attention with every other account they follow, branded or not, you would want to quickly get them noticed before they scroll for a more interesting post.
In the image above, readers learn the location, positive attributes, and the owner's name of an Airbnb option within just the first sentence. Anyone interested in staying at Lake Como can expand the caption to learn more, but most essential details are available, so even the most passive Instagram viewers can catch the information. By the way, that is a stunning picture.
Structure your caption well
You already know that users have to click "more" to see a caption with more than 125 characters, but that doesn't mean you should avoid writing long captions at all costs. Because Instagram allows up to 2,200 characters in the caption, you can easily use 400 words to deliver your message!
When crafting a long caption, the structure is the key. A huge chunk of text is hard to read, especially on mobile phones where the words are smaller, and users have little patience.
The above post from @louisemkang has 1,889 characters, and it is still easy to read. The post uses spacing to break the original body of the text into readable chunks and to separate the ingredients. It also uses emojis to separate notes and steps so readers can follow the process. These structural elements make the post digestible and readable on mobile devices. For interested audiences, they really appreciate posts with depth and insights like this.
Tell your brand's story
86% of users prefer to buy from a brand with an authentic, honest, and personalized characteristic.
You can build authenticity through your Instagram caption by telling a story about your brand that readers can connect with. You can use anything from a brief history of the brand, making the process of the product, or a personal story about an employee.
A caption also doesn't need to be extended to tell a good story. A good example of this is GoPro. Like many brands, they use their Instagram captions to promote a type of lifestyle, rather than just the product.
The photo attracts readers right the way, but the caption encourages engagement and adds more personality to the brand. The phrase "freedom" and "freefall" appeals to readers the sense of Independence Day in the US and the desire for adventure. GoPro also sends thanks to veterans and encourages users to share their own photos to get featured as Photo of The Day, which increases the ability to connect with customers as the brand of a lifestyle instead of just cameras.
Include relevant hashtags
Increasing engagement is important, but your post also needs to attract new followers and increase its reach. Hashtags are the way Instagram encourages us to achieve this. Posts with hashtags always receive more likes and comments than posts without any hashtags.
Since users can follow a specific hashtag now, hashtags are even more powerful in increasing reach. If you use the relevant hashtags in your posts, you will reach both your followers and users who follow the hashtags for their own reference.
However, this does not mean you should cramp in all of the most popular hashtags in captions to reach as many people as possible. In fact, posts with many big hashtags tend to receive less engagement than posts with a few relevant ones. Users can hide posts or accounts they don't want to see for a certain hashtag, so too many flags could reduce the frequency your posts show up in user feeds.
If you go to the Lego Instagram account, you can see that it does particularly well with hashtags. Not only does Lego use hashtags that are relevant to post, the brand, but also the item shown in the picture. The hashtag #Lamborghini shows how playful Lego is to include another brand, and the hashtag has more than 16 million posts to increase reach. The branded hashtag #LEGO is used in almost every post and makes the company more searchable by the platform users.
Ask questions to get interactions
Interesting captions can increase engagement and reach on an Instagram account. However, just having great content is not enough. You must also encourage users to actively participate in your posts instead of just browsing through them.
One way to encourage participation is to ask questions. The questions provide users with something to respond to, so they're interacting by giving answers rather than brainstorming quirky comments. However, the questions need to be relevant to your brand. Random questions on random topics will not create meaningful engagement or keep your brand engaged in the user's mind.
There are many different types of questions you can ask, including:
- Questions to get acquainted with: Share a personal story about your brand and then ask users to share similar or related stories of their own. This helps you get to know the customers and personalize your brand.
- Closed or binary questions: Just a yes-or-no or multiple choice question will do. It requires minimal effort for users to respond and already increases the engagement rate.
- Asking for feedback: Gather customers' thoughts about new product designs or find out which products they love. This won't only increase engagement but also helps you gain valuable insight into your customers' opinions.
In the post above from the Glossier Instagram account, the picture acts as the caption to ask the user about their positive experience with the line of Glossier You. It received both joke responses and serious answers, but both kinds increase the engagement and provide useful insight for the brand.
Use mentions to earn more reach
Have you heard of Instagram influencers? These social media stars have a huge number of followers and positively influence their fans' buying decisions.
Now imagine your brand can connect yourself with these influencers and reach out to their followers and your own. When you use the mentioning function with @ to tag someone on Instagram, they will receive a notification. If they comment or share your post, your account will appear in their followers' feeds. If the person mentioned is an influencer on Instagram, your post may be displayed in the feed of thousands, if not millions of people you couldn't reach by yourself.
Of course, an influencer wouldn't simply engage with a random post, but if you form a partner relationship or post content directly related to them, you can confidently tag them in your Instagram caption and increase the reach. About 60% of Instagram posts have tagged other users, and you can see active participation from tagged users in many cases.
In the post above, ASOS tagged an Instagram influencer that used their products. The post received many engagements from users, not to mention the influencer also uploads stories about her and ASOS, so the post can reach even more people. The comments also allowed ASOS to hold a conversation and understand customers better.
Try some emojis
Emojis have been used in many brands' marketing strategies for a while. So far, emojis are popular on every social media platform with Instagram accounts using emojis in the captions frequently. Adding some emojis in your Instagram captions is a great way to personalize your brand and gain more reach.
Studies have shown that Instagram posts with emojis actually have a higher interaction rate. And as mentioned, you can also use emojis to break up a long paragraph and add personality to your Instagram caption.
ColourPop Cosmetics used emojis in the picture above to highlight the important information about their new products and make sure viewers remember the launching date & time. The emojis also break up the lines and draw attention from viewers for them to read the whole caption. Notably, all the emojis used are directly relevant to the brand and the post. Remember to pick emojis that suit your brand's personality.
Always include a call to action
All of the above tips are designed to increase your posts' level of engagement and reach, but if you really want Instagram users to act, you should tell them to.
A call-to-action is a sentence or two to direct users about what they should do after they finish reading. You can add a call-to-action right into the visual, but the Instagram caption is still the best place to include an effective call-to-action. The goal is to encourage users' engagement with your brand, either online or offline and give them a specific direction to do so.
For a luxury brand like Chanel, they still have a call-to-action at the end of the caption to direct users to their website, which can give more details about the collection. That said, if even top brands use it, your online store should definitely add call-to-action to the Instagram captions.
List of the BEST Instagram caption examples to steal
Here are some best Instagram captions for online businesses that take your Instagram posts to the next level and increase reach as well as engagement. You can also adjust many of these captions for your specific industry.
Funny captions for Instagram
If you want your brand to sound funny and connected with customers' problems, try these Instagram captions:
- Namast ay in bed
- We're all born a bit crazy, some of us just choose to stay that way
- The best workout in the world is a cross between a crunch and a lunge. Lunch.
- We all have that one friend…
- That awkward moment when you're wearing Nikes, but you can't do it
- The difference between a pizza and your opinion is that I asked for pizza
- Humble with a hint of Kanye
- Maybe she's born with it; maybe it's caffeine
- I look better on Instagram
- My emotion is stable like an Ikea table
Best Instagram captions for guys
If your target audience is male, try these captions to grab their attention quickly.
- Chillin' with the bros
- Stop saying you will and start doing.
- When your 9-5 is over, let's get our real workout on!
- You won't get the butt you want by just sitting on it.
- There's only one bad workout: the one you haven't done.
- A man is strong because he can be gentle.
- Boys have swagger, men have style, but gentlemen have class
- Be a warrior in a room of warriors
- A real man provides, protects and perseveres
- Boys will be boys
Best Instagram captions for girls
If your target audience is female, try these captions to increase their engagement.
- This is our happy hour.
- We want to hear from you! Which is your favorite workout position? Let us know in the comments!
- I got it from my mama
- Who runs the world? GIRLS
- Girls are changing the world
- I'm not just one in a million; I'm one in 7 billion
- I'm wild and free
- What's a queen without her king? Historically speaking, more powerful.
- Be sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.
- Sometimes you just need to do a little thing called "what you want."
Instagram captions for best friends
Sometimes, you would want to promote a good friendship (maybe even between products), then use these Instagram captions:
- Friends who slay together stay together
- Always better together
- I will never let my best friends do anything stupid…alone
- Hold onto a best friend because you'll never find someone like them again
- A best friend will love you when you can't love yourself
- Find a friend who brings out the best in you
- We go together like eyebrows
- Life is better when we're together
- Partners in crime
- Double trouble
Cute Instagram captions
If your brand has a cute personality, try using these Instagram captions:
- Keep your chin up so your crown won't fall
- Follow your heart in everything you do
- New year, same me.
- Sorry, I'm in a relationship with tacos
- Life's a beach
- Girls just want to have sun
- Sweater weather.
- Do you want to build a snowman?
- You have stolen a pizza our hearts
Best song lyrics for Instagram captions
The artists sometimes said it better, so why not take their words and turn them into your Instagram captions?
- "I hope you never lose your sense of wonder." - Lee Ann Womack,
- "Feeling good living better." - Drake
- "I'm a babe, I'm a boss, and I'm makin all this money" - Nicki Minaj
- "I need somebody who can take control" - Sam Smith
- "Hello, it's me" - Lionel Richie
- "If I fail, if I succeed, at least I'll live as I believe" - Whitney Houston
- "You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one." — John Lennon
- "Always wanted to be one of those people in the room that says something and everyone puts their hand up" - Selena Gomez
Best captions for Instagram selfie
If your brand use user-generated content with many selfies, steal these captions, and represent your customers better:
- It's Sleepy Sunday. So I have a selfie of me pretending to sleep.
- Selfie Sunday
- Me doing me
- I was born to shine
- I woke up like this
- I'm Prada you're nada
- Typical me
- I don't usually take a selfie, but when I do
- Hella fine and it works every time
- Looking like a right swipe on Tinder
- I'm the rose that came from concrete
- What do you think of this look?
Hopefully, my article has equipped your business with some funny, creative, and engaging captions to use in your photos or videos. Use them as the inspiration to keep on creating great content, and you will see your account getting more followers in no time. Remember that the best Instagram captions represent your brand perfectly while providing opportunities for customers to engage with you.
Of course, every business is unique, so you will have to find a truly suitable style. If you have any questions, don't be afraid to leave them in the comments section below. Once you see how your followers respond to the captions, you can retail your content to engage with them even more. Best of luck!