Through my work, I analyse a LOT of captions written by small business owners.
And often I see captions along the lines of:
“Little details for little girls”
“Another fun day at the expo.”
“Rustic formal 👌🏻”.
…. Don’t you think we can forget that the captions WE engage with should be the type of captions we share?!!
We think “oh I don’t want to bore people” or that a clever little phrase is the way to go because that’s what we see some other brands do. Or because the Kardashians just post an emoji.
No no no! FALSE!
Instead of stating and telling, discuss, ask, invite, ENGAGE.
As business owners, are captions are there to create a deeper sense of connection with our audience AND to generate engagement.
Because the more engagement our content receives, the better it will rank with the Instagram algorithm, meaning the MORE of our audience Instagram will show it to and the higher the chance of it being shown on the Explore tab too, to help us be exposed to thousands more people.
I know it might seem hard but here are some tips.
1. Write like you talk.
Read it out loud. Does that actually sound like you? If you were sending that image to a friend, is that what you’d say about it? The most engaging captions are those that are conversational.
2. Would you actually engage with your caption if you saw it?
Save the posts that YOU engage with and start taking note of how they craft their captions and why you felt compelled to leave a comment.
3. Don’t post in real time.
You don’t have to and in fact you shouldn’t post when you’re about and about, at lunch with friends, at an event and thinking I’ll just quickly post this up. Slow down, post after that event when you can take a few minutes to write something meaningful and that gives value to your audience.
4. Have a call to action.
This is a marketing term but it basically means telling your audience what to do next. So rather than a dead end caption or a statement, that really gives them no where to go and no reason to engage, give them a little encouragement and an invitation to be part of the discussion. For example, “do you agree”, give me a “yes” below if you’re with me, or “tag a friend who needs to hear this”.
5. Use that prime real estate to stop the scroll.
The first sentence needs to grab attention. I’ve seen people craft a caption that’s actually about a competition but they don’t mention this until right at the bottom of the caption, so that 99% of people aren’t going to realise! Instead, shout it at the start in capital letter and emojis: “IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!”.
I wish every biz owner on Instagram knew this because the relationships built on here can be some of the BEST don’t you think?
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I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as the traditional and ongoing custodians of the Kulin Nation: the place in which I live, work and play, and pay my deepest respects to their Elders past and present.
Emily Osmond is an international business coach and speaker, based in Melbourne, Australia.