I have such a soft spot in my heart for Instagram and for creating bomb IG captions.
It really is probably my favorite social media platform out of the lot (R.I.P Vine, miss you every day boo.) The interface is so easy! I love the human element that comes with Instagram Stories, and I even can get on the [more long-form] Instagram TV situation bandwagon too.
I’m most impressed with people who have really learned to hack the Instagram game without cheating the system at the expense of others. A good example of what I mean is Gary Vee, I’m a HUGE Gary Vee fan (as we all know) but his #60secondclub caption approach is absolutely genius and helped his engagement to skyrocket practically instantly.
What is the #60secondclub caption game?
I’ll digress for a min and explain.
Basically, he encourages followers to turn on post notifications so they are notified every time he uploads a new piece of permanent content into his feed. Then, he will choose someone (or multiple people) to win cool prizes by random selection out of the people who commented on his post within the first 60 seconds of it being live, with the hashtag #60secondclub. His captions are always short, sweet, to-the-point, and engaging in order to drive conversation in the comments.
Total digression, but the point of that long-winded story is that your Insta caption MATTERS.
Not only the content, but the way you utilize the Instagram algorithm to your advantage.
Here are a few simple tips to always keep in mind…
1.Know your audience, bro
This is probably one of the most important caption tips that I’m going to be able to share in regards to building a credible following on Instagram organically. You HAVE to be able to connect with your target audience, and that means you need to know the verbiage they respond to, the content that they seek to consume, and use that knowledge to target appropriately via your captions. If you are attempting to reach a millennial audience of mostly females, memes/ GIFs/ slang/ trending viral content are all appropriate to include in your caption/ content because that is what tends to resonate best and get the best response from that particular demographic. That strategy most likely won’t work if you’re trying to reach the Baby Boomer generation, because that isn’t the kind of content that they strive to consume on a daily basis. See what I mean? Pivot appropriately, people.
2. Catch ’em at the jump
It’s a no-brainer that people have absolutely no attention span whatsoever. That means your caption needs to capture their interest “before the fold,” or before they have to hit the ‘click to read more’ button. A good way to ensure that this happens is to include a call-to-action: a giveaway, a request to double-tap, or to tag a friend in the comments. I’m a big fan of puns, too. Granted, my audience on pretty much all of the social I run is young…but who doesn’t laugh at a good, witty joke every now and then?
3. Short & sweet
This is a little bit subjective, again based on your audience, but overall short captions tend to perform better because of that attention span issue I mentioned above. The big exception to this rule is if you’ve built your following on narrative, or content that pulls at heartstrings via storytelling (kind of like Humans of New York.) Obviously then people come to your account for that more personal touch in the captions of each piece of content, and you should 100% exploit that and use that to your advantage. Otherwise though, short, sweet, & to-the-point is almost guaranteed to deliver better results.
4. Hashtags work…but judiciously
Back in the day, it used to be that hashtags were the best way to curate your feed to show content that you were most interested in. Want to see food content? You’d search #foodporn. Instagram still works that way, but with the algorithm changes, hashtags were dropped a bit by the wayside. Content is still aggregated under hashtags though, so using a few to get new eyeballs on your feed isn’t a bad idea.
I’m a big fan of using one, consistent branded hashtag (#yourcompanynamehere) on every caption of native content uploaded, and then additional hashtags for visibility in the comments section. There’s a lot of back-and-forth about whether commenting hashtags or including them within the body of the caption delivers best response but I like the ease of deleting the comment after the post goes live versus editing the caption. To each their own, I truly haven’t seen any big difference in engagement after testing both methods.
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