How to write engaging Instagram captions

Capture your audience with your Instagram captions

Inspire, educate, and engage with your audience

The great thing about Instagram is that you don’t need to be a photographer to make the most of it. Yes, visually appealing photos matter. Proper lighting and basic editing are important. However, there are ways to garner attention without being a professional (or without having a professional camera). The goal of social media is to be social. To start conversations and foster relationships.

That’s why I put so much effort into my captions. I dedicate a lot of time to writing and editing captions that I think you will like. Each one is carefully constructed based on the image I have of you—my readers.

Here’s the strategy I follow and my tips for you to write engaging Instagram captions.

Words by Jill Instagram Captions.jpg

Crafting a cohesive voice for all your captions

Some people struggle with finding their voice. I think the struggle comes from being unclear on your motivation, your goals, and your audience.

First, think about why you do what you do. Why do you want people to listen? Define your why and outline your structured goals. Get really clear on your motivation for using Instagram as a business tool in the first place.

Before you define your voice, you need to define your audience. When you know who you are speaking to, you will know how to speak to them. I wrote a blog post about defining your target before selling your message. Refer to the outline you create when starting to find your own voice.

Create for your audience

As soon as you start creating content for your business, the show isn’t about you anymore. Now that you’ve identified your readers, it’s easier to understand what type of posts they want to see. Not sure? Go ahead and ask your followers why they follow you!

I rotate through a few themes when writing my Instagram captions.

  1. Educate. I share something my readers might not know.

  2. Inspire. I give personal insight through a short story or anecdote that relates to my own life. I also twist this back to the bigger picture to make it easy for my readers to engage.

  3. Wit. I wouldn’t say I’m funny (I mean I think I am, but that’s a story for another day lol), but I throw in a couple shorter, quicker captions to the mix.

Regardless of what you post, each caption should align with your larger goals and brand voice. Are you following your core mission, vision, and values? Does this post invite your ideal client to engage?

Words by Jill blog Instagram captions.jpg

Ask your audience to engage

My photos average a high ratio of comments compared to followers. I make engaging easy. It’s hard to leave a thoughtful comment on a photo that doesn’t invite a conversation. How can you expect your followers to engage if you don’t open your door to them? Grab a seat and pull one up next to you. Get a little personal. Ask them to do the same.

You don’t have to include a question in every post. You do have to write genuine captions that share more about you than what you had for lunch yesterday. You do have to open up if you want others to do the same. Tell your story then ask to hear theirs. Conversations have more than one side. It is social media, after all!

You would be surprised at how willing people are to answer your questions when you take the time to ask! People like to talk. Sometimes they just need a little encouragement.

Proofread before you post

I’m adding this one because I think any professional should know the basics of good spelling and grammar. These days, people (and prospective clients) can scroll through your feed before they meet you. That means your online personality is up for judgement.

Personally, I look at the professionalism of a business when deciding whether or not to engage with them. One way I measure that is through the correctness of their copy. Your Instagram captions don’t need to be ground breaking, but they should be free of errors. Your voice can be casual, but correct. I wrote a blog post about setting the tone of your copy that expands on this idea.

Now it's your turn!

If you've read this post to the end, I want to know. Tag me in your next Instagram caption! Ask your audience to engage with your post and I'll engage too. Let's start a conversation.


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