With the launch of the new Grow Your ‘Gram updates last week I’ve been sharing lots of Insta-tips and answering questions over on my account. One of the questions that’s been posted over and over is How do I write better Instagram captions??
What I’m hearing is that you’re not really sure what to write, it takes way too long to figure out, and even after you’re done you still don’t feel all that confident about hitting publish. So today I want to simplify things and give you a formula to follow to create Instagram captions that will get your audience to start interacting!
Because quality photos are important, but it’s the caption that will inspire comments. And the more comments your post gets, the more that algorithm will stop being annoying and share it with your followers.
Next time you write an Instagram caption, try this . . .
1 | Decide the purpose of your post
Yes, you can sometimes post just to post, but a least a few times a week, what you publish needs to have a PURPOSE. Are you trying to get your followers over to a recent blog post, registering for a workshop, or downloading a freebie + subscribing to your email list?
If you don’t have a plan for what you want your audience to do it’s unlikely they’ll guess on their own. Figure out the action you want your followers to take and write a caption that gets them there.
2 | Include your story
Now for the writing part . . . you’re going to start your caption with a personal story that (in the next step) will connect to a tip or lesson.
Maybe you’re sharing a tip about running a marathon, picking an outfit for an interview, or creating your first product. What experience have you personally had that inspired you to share this advice?
The mistake most people make is to remove themselves from their caption. Usually it goes something like this . . . So many bloggers run into trouble with their Instagram posts. Click the link in my bio for the best strategy for writing captions.
The problem here is that ANYONE could have written that. And your followers don’t want just anyone’s advice, they’re following you because they want to know how YOU’VE dealt with that situation.
Don’t be afraid to open up a little and let your audience get to know you. Working through struggles and challenges makes you MORE of an expert, not less and Instagram is a great spot to share bits and pieces of your experience.
3 | Share a tip / lesson
After you’ve shown your audience that you know exactly how they feel or what they’re dealing with, you can share your advice. What is your caption going to teach or inspire your audience to do?
Remember that this should connect back to your purpose. It could be a tip from the blog post you’re encouraging them to read. Some advice from an upcoming email. A teaser for a freebie or product that will help them out. Or the lesson you learned from your experience.
Keep it short and sweet, both your story and your lesson can be just a few sentences.
4 | Give your audience a task or ask a question
The final step in your caption should be challenging your audience to take a specific action and/or asking them a question.
Tasks might be related to your purpose: Sign up for my email list. Read my latest blog post. Or it may be a task that helps them work through a challenge: Choose 10 items out of your closet to donate. Jump into the Facebook group and find yourself a running buddy. And you might keep them accountable by asking that they tag you in a post or leave a specific word or emoji in the comments.
Questions (because typing on a phone isn’t always easy) should be quick to answer. You can ask either/or questions: Mini or maxi dresses?? Mountains or beaches? Or leave it open-ended: When was the last time you . . . Have you ever . . . What’s your favorite . . . Would you ever . . .
And this should go without saying – if you ask your audience to post in your comments you best show up and respond to them. It’s the generally polite thing to do, but also, more comments makes the algorithm pay attention and YOUR responses count!
Put the whole formula together and you’ll get something like . . .
Let’s talk about that one time I took a solo trip to Japan and got all the way across the ocean before I realized I totally forgot to pack underwear. You can probably imagine the awkwardness of trying to get the hotel concierge to point me in the direction of the nearest Victoria’s Secret. The minute I got back to my hotel room, a week-supply of undies in tow, I created a master packing list. Now I never have that pre-flight anxiety over forgetting something because I always double-check my list before I hop on any flight! Leave a comment and tell me – have you ever forgotten to pack something important? P.S. Click the link in my bio if you want a copy of that life-saving packing list!
With a caption like that your audience will probably be thinking . . .
Phew! Even experienced travelers forget things sometimes!
If she uses this list for all her travels then I definitely need a copy!
Girl, I feel you…I totally forgot to bring underwear on my last trip too!
Tell me that’s not better for building a connection and getting clicks + comments than something like . . . New blog post about what to pack for a trip, link is in my bio! #snoozefest
Remember, your audience followed you for a reason
All those followers did not magically end up on your account. They followed you because they want to hear about YOUR experiences and learn how YOU do things.
You might have an annoying little voice in your head (like I do) that sometimes says, “You sound so silly – no one cares about that!” It takes some practice, but you will also eventually be able to ignore it voice and hit publish on those posts anyway.
Want more help growing your Instagram??
You’ve got the formula to write brilliant captions, but maybe you need help stepping up your photos, finding hashtags, or jumping into Stories or IGTV?? I’ve got you covered!
My Grow Your ‘Gram course has been updated to include brand new videos on creating an IGTV channel and what to post on Instagram Stories – with lots of tech tutorials for both! Plus all the original Grow Your ‘Gram lessons to help you create a content plan for your grid, shoot better photos, and grow your audience.