Why Making Good Instagram Captions is So Friggin' Hard and Ways to Improve!
To anyone out there who is struggling to grow their reach on Instagram. You should read this post.
Your Story: You started a social media agency and gathered one maybe even two clients. They probably hired you to manage their Instagram account.
Most of the time you find that your clients are expecting you to drum up real business from their social channels but they themselves have no idea what that requires or even looks like.The biggest problem for most small to medium sized brands (and more than a few large brands) is that they have no idea how to increase their reach on social media if they don’t have a brand name that already has some some pull behind it.
I am going to help you show business owners how to solve their Instagram issues.
What usually happens with new social media managers is (in the best situation) the business is fairly new or in the process of opening. This provides the new venture you are undertaking with that “shiny new toy” feel to it. This momentum should provide you with enough cushion for the rough landing you inevitably will encounter when your business’ slow season occurs.
When that happens you should start considering how to drum up some business via free mediums like your Instagram account.
This is when you really have to get dirty.
The trick to Instagram is getting the maximum amount of people to see and engage with your post. Only then can you start to measure the impact the social platform is actual making on your business’ bottom line. If this is your first time running a business branded Instagram account then what I want you to take away today is that running a business account is much different than a personal account. You must put some serious time and research into successfully growing your new business Instagram account.
How to grow your new Business Instagram profile
One of my clients asked me to run their social media account for their new retail store. The problem that this client was experiencing was that they were trying to balance the operations and construction of building and opening the business with promoting and growing a social media account to promote the unopened business. Yes that last sentence is sounds complicated because what they were trying to do is complicated. When they showed me what they had done so far one thing became immediately clear;
They didn't know what they were doing.
These were people who everyone considers smart, funny, and successful. What I saw when looking at their attempts to promote their business via Instagram was that they were trying to hard and had no understanding of how people communicate (directly and indirectly) on the platform. I honestly was not surprised nor did I feel bad for them. It took me months with my very first business account before I learned that I was treating the account like a 1980s TV advertising spot and not like a genuine conversation with my target audience.
Now whenever I take on a new account I like to take a step back, breathe deeply , and break down each post I’m going to make into 3 sections.
My three sections are this:
As you can see I subscribe to the K.I.S.S. theory a.k.a Keep It Simple Stupid.These are the 3 basic components that any new social media manager should be thinking about when they post on their business Instagram account.
For this post let’s just focus on the piece that I believe is the most crucial of the three. That is the caption component. The reason I think this is because I have seen a mind numbing number of accounts that nail the photography, and know who they want to talk too but end up fumbling the caption. Think of the caption as sticking the perfect landing to your beautiful ice skating routine.If your caption does not engage your audience then you have failed to communicate your message to them.
The following questions will help you stick your landing on every Instagram post you make.
What does a good Instagram Caption look like?
The first sign of a good caption is that you can clearly identify what the caption is doing not only for your business but also for your target audience. In other words, define a goal for each and every post and the caption should impact that goal directly or indirectly.
A great Instagram caption should do the following things:
Provide context to the post and your brand.
Gives an authentic voice and style to your brand and its message.
Entertain and inspire your audience to take action by way of liking, commenting , and sharing your post with their friends.
Why should a caption do all these things? I’ll let you in on the industry wide secret.
That is what it is all about.
The almighty Instagram Algorithm cares about one thing and one thing only. How many people are interacting with the content you put on the platform. Now this is an oversimplified explanation of the inner mechanisms of IG but this is all you need to know if you are just starting out. Your number one focus for the first 3 months you run that account should be how to write captions that are engaging.
So now that the cat is out of the bag the real question is….
How do I Build and Format a Compelling Instagram Caption?
Instagram Caption Formatting tip #1
The first step to building a compelling caption is using the right app to craft your caption. For Iphone users this would be your native Notes app. You guys are so lucky. You have native app that will take away all of the annoying things about writing captions organically on Instagram. This app will actually allow you to easily put page breaks where you need them and visualize your caption before you hit that “Share” button.
Writing a caption on Instagram is just like writing copy on any other medium. You have to make your message easy to read for anyone who sees it.There are 95 million posts made on Instagram everyday. Everyday you post you are doing battle against hordes of competitors to get the attention of your target audience.
Simply put you are competing for placement.
Don’t make it any harder than it needs to be. There is one thing that you need and that is for your audience to click on that little heart symbol underneath your post.
The other reason I like to put my captions in the Notes app is that it helps me to create a few different drafts before I post. Writing words is easy. Writing words that connect with people you have never met in person...well that's not so easy. Try writing your caption out and then making different variations of it.
Instagram Caption Formatting Tip# 2
Place your Call to Action first! I can’t express how important this is. I see so many posts where people spend too much time talking about the whatever bullshit thing they are trying to sell me on but never really highlight what they want me to do when I see the post. If you want me to like or comment.
Tell me to Like or Comment!
Say that first and at least try to be creative about it. If you need them to click on a link in your bio then hashtag that and put it in the first sentence.Humans seem to be turning experiencing shorter attention spans every generation and that trend doesn't seem to be reversing itself any time soon.
Side Note: Some quick Instagram engagement tips
Getting stumped on how to word your CTAs? Here’s a list of action phrases to give your ask a strong foundation and an active voice.
Get Started ____
Need a little more engagement? Try starting your CTA with one the “5 Ws” .
Building an Instagram caption can be a difficult task and honestly you will have good days and bad days.. With that said the formatting tips here will help you increase the odds that people see and interact with your brand on Instagram.
Signs that you made a good Instagram caption.
Marketing is often described as an intersection of science and art. This analogy arises out of the idea that the part where one is persuading people to take action via visuals, audio, written words, and an overall manipulation of the the human sensory system is an art in itself. The other part , the science part, is measuring how successful that creative attempt at persuasion actually was. At the end of the day the most important factor is how your effort affected the so called “bottom line”.
There are 2 easy and simple ways to tell if your Instagram caption and overall post is a hit.
Brand 24 blog cited a general engagement rate between 3%-5% as a good range..Basically take 3%-5% of your total number of followers and compare that to the average number of people who comments ,like, or interact with your post in some way.If you are hitting this number consistently then you can bet that you are providing your audience with what they want and you are inspiring them to take action. This is the science.
A general and easily observable sign that your caption has been well received with your IG audience is if you get people talking. I’ve noticed that there are moments where I feel totally in the zone and I can freestyle the crap out of a genuine and totally authentic caption. These posts not only get a high like factor they also get a good amount of people talking in the comment section. What this means is I have written a message so clear and relatable. People saw that post and assumed it came from a real human and not just some brand. This is the art.
And there you have it folks! Instagram is a fickle vixen. Writing captions for a business Instagram account has been one of the most nerve wracking experiences I have had since I started taking freelance work. Having to talk like you are someone else is naturally.…unnatural. That’s why it is so important when you are starting out to Keep It Simple Stupid. Don't make any assumptions just jump right into the water. Test out a few different tones. Be serious during the morning and a bumbling buffoon at night.
Finding consistent success with each post will take some time but when you get dialed in on the exact cadence and tone you need to strike with your engaged audience you’ll definitely see why the caption is the most important part of your post.