When preparing Instagram posts, the caption may not be at the top of your list, but it should definitely be more than an afterthought. Your caption needs to be as compelling as the photo it is describing in order to attract followers and inspire action.
What to Consider
Before you jump headfirst into creating Instagram posts, you will need to do a little homework. Here are some details to consider:
- Who? You need to know who you are targeting on Instagram so you can tailor your message to their needs and likes. Create audience or user personas so you will know exactly whom you are speaking to. Find out other social media platforms they are visiting, start putting together demographic details, and you will find yourself with nearly a person. Think about what they need or want in relation to what you offer and are posting about. This will help you focus your content on your ideal visitor.
- Your Voice. What are you saying with your brand? How do you want to represent your brand, your image, and your company, and the type of lifestyle it will fit with? Keep in mind that Instagram is typically a more playful and relaxed atmosphere, so you can have fun with this part. Consider sharing insights to your business: how the product is made, how it was developed, and even some information about employees’ activities as they relate to the product and/or industry.
- Although Instagram can be used to post longer content, with a large limit of 2200 characters, you also must consider how quickly visitors scroll through posts. Your photo will tell the story, so just allow the caption to support it—not necessarily taking center stage. However, you are welcome to share stories that are truly worth telling! You want those first few words to draw readers in, so make them count!
- Attractive little symbols which truly do make a positive difference, don’t neglect hashtags. These are like the Pied Piper, drawing a following you didn’t know existed. Use them wisely, however, as over-use and using common words and phrases can reduce their effectiveness. Keep them separated from the rest of the caption, even focused at the end to reduce “caption clutter.”
- Ask questions. How better to engage your readers than by asking them a personal question? There are several ways to ask for input. Pose a question, encouraging feedback and unique responses. Or form a call-to-action as part of your content for a more obvious solicitation for answers, comments, and audience recommendations.
- Mentions and quotes. What better way to give a shout out to the photographer, a celebrity, or industry expert? Build an Instagram community and inspire followers by leading them to further engagements.
Now that you are equipped with tools to caption your content effectively, you want to see how you measure up. Here are a few ideas of metrics to evaluate:
- Compare which photos perform best (lighting, color/Black and White/backgrounds)
- Age/gender of followers
- Location of audience: urban or suburban, top countries and cities
- Days and times which contain more activity
- Impressions: how often your post has been viewed
- Engagements: how many different views have interacted with your Instagram content by likes, comments and shares
When reviewing this information, keep in mind that there are always going to be outside factors which can affect the success of individual Instagram posts, like holidays, major weather disturbances, or even large scale news stories (think 2016 election coverage!). These metrics are only part of your strategy and need to be taken as just one part of your marketing strategy.
Now that you’ve learned several tools to help you create an Instagram post that engages, start looking around, noticing how other successful brands use them. Don’t be afraid to try several types to see what works for you…and get out there and ENGAGE!
About Digital Impact Agency
Digital Impact Agency is a creative firm specializing in interactive media and inbound marketing strategies for manufacturing and technology companies, professional service firms (architectural, engineering, construction, legal and consulting), nonprofits and enterprise companies. We are a team of innovative entrepreneurs focused on creating the most strategic and effective communication channels for our clients.