How to Write Instagram Captions That Engage Your Followers

selective focus photography of person using iphone x

It’s not news that Instagram relies heavily on visual content.

Unlike Twitter or Facebook, you cannot make a text post on Instagram expect on your stories (which disappear after 24 hours).

This means that as a brand or entrepreneur on Instagram, you need to use rich and quality photos.

But does your work stop after you have the perfect photo or video?

Not at all. You still need to write Instagram captions that accompany your visual content nicely.

But how do you write Instagram captions? Why does it even matter?

This article would answer those questions. Let us begin with why you need to learn how to write Instagram captions.

Why Instagram Captions Matter

Any good Instagram caption acts as an able complement to your picture or video.

Many creatives and online entrepreneurs like you find it super difficult to write Instagram captions.

This might be because you think you’re not a writer. Or it could be that you don’t know whether to sound professional or witty in your captions.

Whatever your reasons are, understanding why it is important to write Instagram captions well would give you the needed boost to write them well.

Without a caption your photo/video would be incomplete – think cake without the icing.

While a great photo would attract your followers, an amazing caption would keep their interest and make them more likely to take an action you want.

It could be that you want them to like your post, share your post, comment on your post, tag a friend or click the link in your bio.

When your followers take an action that you want, it signals to the Instagram algorithm that your post is relevant – thereby making more people see it.

Captions also allow you to foster meaningful relationships with your followers. It allows you to turn your followers to an audience and community.

To recap, here are some reasons why you need to learn how to write Instagram captions.

  • Great captions build engagement
  • Captions prompt your followers to take action (Comment, share your post, or visit your website)
  • Captions allow you to build a community of loyal followers.
  • Captions allow you to tell stories

Now that you know why writing captions is important, the next question burning in your mind is:

How Do I write good Instagram captions?

Great Instagram captions have the same effect the right amount of salt have in food. They add flavour to your posts. You wouldn’t want to put too much, neither would you want to add too little.

Here is how to make sure you have just the right amount of “salt” in your captions.

How to Write Instagram Captions #1. Begin by writing more than one caption

How many times have you uploaded the first selfie you took on Instagram?

I bet that you don’t do it often or even at all. The reason is that you want to make sure the photo is perfect or at least near perfection.

The same thing should apply to your captions.

Most times when you write your captions on a wimp, you often find out that you could have refined or edited the caption better. So don’t rush. Take your time to write your caption.

This does not mean that you should take forever to write a single caption. You can write 4 or 5 different variations of the caption and choose the one that resonates best with the audience you’re trying to reach.

How to Write Instagram Captions #2. Hook readers with the first line

Instagram truncates your caption after a few characters. This means that your followers would only see about 20 – 25 words before Instagram prompts them to click “more”.

write Instagram captions - copy by nathan

Make those words count.

It would make sense for you to catch the attention of your readers from the very first line instead of hiding the interesting parts of your caption until later.

Don’t confuse your followers by using hashtags or mention at the beginning of your captions. Here is a great example of a caption that attracts from the first sentence:

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If you have ever heard of the AIDA formula before, this is the right place to use it.

How to Write Instagram Captions #3. Use a call-to-action

Using a call-to-action or CTA is important if you want to write Instagram captions well.

CTAs allow you to ask your followers to take an action.

To use a CTA well, you need to first decide on what action you want your followers to take.

Your CTA could be as simple as asking them to like your post, or it could be that you want them to leave Instagram by visiting your website (It would be great to offer an incentive for your followers to visit your site).

Here are examples of how to use CTAs in your caption:

Ask a question:

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Ask your followers to share your post:

Ask them to comment:

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Since Instagram only allows one link in your bio (which sucks), you would need a tool like disha to add more flexibility to the link in your bio.

How to Write Instagram Captions #4. Add line breaks

Most captions are short therefore, they do not need a line break. However, there are times, when you just have a lot to say in your captions.

Without line break, your captions would begin to look a lot like a term paper. You don’t want that. Nobody wants that. So break the text up using line breaks.

Before now, you would have to write your captions outside of Instagram and then paste it in the caption box before you can add line breaks. But times have changed, yay. Now you can add line breaks straight from the Instagram app.

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How to Write Instagram Captions #5. Have a consistent brand voice

If you are looking to grow a business or personal brand on Instagram, then you should have a brand voice already. If not, what are you doing??

Do you want to sound hip? Fun? Cheesy? Smart? Decide on the brand voice and stick to it. Oh, and we don’t do formal and stuck up here, please find your way to LinkedIn, thank you.

Moving on.

It is good practice to write your captions as if you are having a conversation with a friend. Or to write as you talk.

How to Write Instagram Captions #6. Use emojis

Who doesn’t love emojis? Everybody understands what emojis mean and stand for. They add personality to your brand or business.

You can use emojis as substitutes or complements for when you want to write Instagram captions.

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How to Write Instagram Captions #7. Don’t make it super long

Long captions are great only when they hold meaning. We don’t want to hear the story about how you got a new dog for the 5th time this week.

When writing long captions make sure that they are super easy to read. We’ve already talked about adding line breaks to your text.

One Instagram account that does so well with long captions is @humansofny

How to Write Instagram Captions #8. Use hashtags

Including hashtags in your captions is one way you can increase your brand reach.

Make sure that the hashtags are relevant to the caption and the content that you post. You can also use branded hashtags in your captions.

Hashtags allow other people and businesses with similar interest to find you.

A common practice to put hashtags last in the captions right after the call to action However, some even prefer to put the hashtags in their comment section.

But you don’t always have to use hashtags. This account here drives massive engagement without hashtags:


By now, I believe you know how to write Instagram captions. But for emphasis, here is a recap of the article.

Why you need to write Instagram captions:

  • Great captions build engagement
  • Captions prompt your followers to take action (Comment, share your post, or visit your website)
  • Captions allow you to build a community of loyal followers.
  • Captions allow you to tell stories

How to write Instagram captions:

  • Begin by writing more than one caption
  • Hook readers with the first line
  • Use a call-to-action
  • Add line breaks
  • Have a consistent brand voice
  • Use emojis
  • Don’t make it super long
  • Use hashtags

Remember not to take the “social” out of social media. Keep your Instagram captions creative, simple and engaging.