5 Tips to Writing Engagement-Sparking Instagram Captions

Instagram is a powerful tool for any business owner. And even though it can — sometimes! — be a tad bit frustrating, it’s an amazing place to connect with prospective clients, mentors, and other professionals in your industry.

And it’s also an incredible place to share your message.

By improving your Instagram captions and truly tapping into the power of your message and language, you can take your Instagram game to new and exciting heights.

So here are the exact 5 ways I create curated captions that spark engagement:

1) Plan your Instagram captions out ahead of time

If you’re not intentional about what, when, and how you post on Instagram, you’re not getting the full benefit of the platform. At the end of every month, I build my content calendar. I go through my brainstorming lists and FAQs, and I build my social media content around what will serve my ideal client.

*** If your new to the world of finding your ICA (ideal client avatar), then check out this past post on 5 tips to finding your ideal client and scaling your profits.

To prep my Instagram content, I use the Preview app. I upload the photos I’ve edited for Instagram, and make sure my growing feed is consistent and appealing. Then, I pre-write ALL of my captions.

I almost never post in the moment. Everything I post to Instagram or any platform is intention and planned.

If organizing your content a month ahead has you cringing, start with a weekly or bi-weekly planning session. Just make sure you’re being consistent and holding yourself accountable.

To help you get started, here’s a couple things I ask myself as I build my Instagram captions:

  • What is my ideal client currently struggling with?
  • What information or tips about my industry does my ICA need to know?
  • Have I experienced any realizations or successes that will benefit my ideal clients?

These questions are a great place to start, especially when you’re feeling writer’s block. And, as always, keep your ICA in mind as you plan out your Instagram captions.

African American woman typing Instagram captions on Mac computer

2) Hook your audience in with that first line of your caption

In one of their recent posts, Later discusses how the first line of your caption is the most important — because it draws your audience in. If they read your first words and don’t connect immediately to your message, they won’t tap that ‘more’ button.

Here are some tips I use to craft killer first lines for my instagram captions:

  • Highlight a freebie, discount, or irresistible offer right away! This could look like: “❗️Freebie Alert ❗️” or “Did someone say 50% off??? 🤯” or even “if you’re struggling with X, look no further. Because this freebie will . . .”
  • Ask an engaging questions that will resonate with your ICA. Here’s an example from one of my recent posts: “Are you continuously checking your inbox, waiting for those leads to roll in?” To master this first hook, think about what struggles your ICA faces. And build a question around that challenge.
  • Tell a never-before-shared fact about yourself or your business. People gravitate towards stories and vulnerability. So think of something about yourself you’ve never shared, and that will be interesting or attention-grabbing. For instance, “sometimes I feel like my degree was a waste . . .” Any person in the same boat will automatically resonate with this fist line and keep reading.

These are just a few of the many ways you can hook your audience in. And always remember to take your time with the beginning of your captions, since it’s one of the most important parts of your copy.

Young business woman planning Instagram captions on iPad

3) Include an irresistible CTA to each caption

If someone reads through your entire caption, their attention is invested. So you want to ensure you tell them EXACTLY what action they should take. Because you want that attention to result in an engagement.

These are the top three CTAs I use to spark action:

  • “If you’re ready for X — and I know you are! — head over to that little blue link in my bio, and tap on Y. And trust me, it’ll be so, so worth your time.”
  • “If you love X, drop a ❤️ ” or “if this resonates with you, leave a ❤️”
  • “If you agree with X, then leave a 🙋‍♀️ in the comments below!” or “Now I want to know: what strategies do you use to overcome X”

And while you’re crafting your CTAs always remember that people want to connect, and they want to share their opinions and perspectives. But first it’s your responsibility to ask for it.

And make sure you reply to your comments. Tell people that you love their process, or that their perspective is inspiring, or that you’re so happy your words resonated with them. Because connection is at the root of all strong client and social media relationships.

Workstation with Mac and notebooks, ready to create Instagram captions

4) Keep it simple but stay inspiring

When it comes to social media, simpler is always better. Avoid complex language or long, complicated sentences. And make sure your Instagram captions are concise.

Remember back to your English classes when your teacher would circle certain phrases and write ‘wordy’? Keep those lessons in mind while you craft concise captions that keep your reader interested, informed, and entertained.

Here are some tips I use to keep my Instagram captions simple yet inspiring:

  • Always, always, always edit your work and write several drafts. Hubspot also mentions this in one of their posts — because it’s important to take your time, and write a polished draft that has a strong message and follows your brand voice.
  • Pay close attention to how your language and tone appeal to your audience. What type of phrases do they often use? And can you adopt that style into your own Instagram captions?
  • Read you captions out loud. Often, while we’re reading in our minds, we rush over our sentences and miss key errors. However, reading out load forces you to slow down and catch mistakes or wordy phrases.

If you’re struggling to keep your captions simple, try writing down the core theme of your message on a sticky note. Keep that note close by, and refer to it if you find yourself straying off the path.

white desk with Mac desktop and notebooks for planning Instagram captions

5) Use spaces and emojis in your Instagram captions

Sarah Catherine Creative mentions how the average Instagram scroller has an attention span of 2 seconds. So if your caption is one long, dense paragraph, not many — if any! — scrollers will stop and read it. However, if your caption is broken into bite-size chunks, you’re much more likely to keep your audience’s attention.

To create clean breaks between my paragraphs, I use the Preview app that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. It automatically formats your posts, so you don’t have to worry about improper breaks or misaligned text.

Also, scrollers LOVE visual stimuli. That’s why Instagram has become such a popular platform. And another way to keep your audience’s attention throughout your post is by using emojis to emphasize your message.

For instance, take this example: “This freebie will blow your mind 🤯” The text is much more engaging with a simple emoji added onto the end.

Final thoughts

But, more important, have fun with your Instagram feed. Take stunning photos, try different techniques, learn new strategies, and share your voice.

Oh, and don’t forget to follow along on Instagram (you know, since this post is all about the IG)!