← Back to Blog

10 Steps for Creating the Best Instagram Captions

Instagram Analytics

Contents:

10 Steps for Creating the Best Instagram Captions

We’ve heard a million times that a picture is worth a thousand words. And that’s because every photo tells a story.

As a digital marketer, it's not easy to craft a story for every photo or video you publish on social media, especially on Instagram, which is a highly visual-oriented platform.

And that’s exactly the reason a social media manager must take time to create Instagram captions that share a consistent brand voice across every brand’s profile.

Now, the next logical question would be: how do you do that, right?

Well, I’m glad you asked because in this article, I will give you some tips and tricks on how to create the best Instagram captions for your followers.

10 steps you can follow to create the best Instagram captions


  1. Know your audience
  2. Find your voice as a brand
  3. Start with a draft
  4. Discover what's your optimal caption length
  5. Play with hashtags
  6. Ask questions
  7. Include a call-to-action
  8. Use emojis for playfulness
  9. Write like a human
  10. Educate your followers
  11. Bonus: examples of cool Instagram captions

What you need to know before using good Instagram caption ideas

We, people, love stories, but what we love more are videos and photos which tell incredible visual stories, even better than written ones.

Since the evolution of all social media platforms, users’ attention span has narrowed and they need bite-size information sprinkled with a lot of visuals to connect with your brand.

Instagram relies more on images (photos and videos) rather than on long texts. However, a good caption idea will always get an extra point from the audience.

An Instagram caption is a description about the videos or photos you post that help you provide the reader with more context. Instagram captions can include emojis, hashtags, and tags.

sephora-brand-tags

Depending on the smart caption ideas you use for your Instagram posts, you have the chance to attract more users that could become part of your community.

However, the main thing to keep in mind is not about how many followers you get, but how many engaged, active ones you gather.

Instagram’s algorithm helps readers see similar posts to the ones they have already interacted with.

adidas-tags-1

Other factors that contribute to the posts your audience sees in their timelines rely on how many people they follow and how much time they spend on Instagram.

Since Instagram hides the rest of a long caption under a “more” link, you should think about including the most engaging part in the first few words.

adidas-more

This way, you will convince readers to click the “more” button and find out about your products.

Before writing a memorable caption for your Instagram posts, you need to decide on the tone you are going to use, depending on the business you are representing.

Do you want to announce a new product sale or maybe a new release?

Will you make it funny or sales-y?

rare-beauty-challenge

It’s all up to you.

If you use a strong copy, this will surely shape your brand’s recognition.

The result? Your followers will realize they want to buy whatever you are selling.

1. Know your audience

First things first. To create awesome Instagram captions that will make your followers engage with your posts and share their life experiences, you must have a clear picture in mind about who your audience is.

This translates into knowing some demographic data like their age and having a more profound knowledge about their lifestyle and interests. For example, how do they talk? What kind of expressions or symbols do they use?

This is precious information because, in order to hear you, you must speak their language.

2. Find your voice as a brand

Do you think some of the most famous brands like Apple or Nike owe their success entirely up to their products? Because we wouldn’t be so sure.

Of course, there is no denial of their quality, but let’s face it, a part of their prosperity is 100% based on their edgy and cool way of communicating, which is known and appreciated worldwide.

nike-voice

I only wanted to highlight the importance of creating your personality as a brand and finding your own voice through these examples.

Well, it sounds pretty reasonable if you think about it, right?

Like a person, a brand also has a set of traits that sets it apart from the rest.

And the clearer that personality is for the brand itself, expressing it in every way of communication, the clearer would be for its audience to recognize it and identify with the values it stands for.

As a social media manager, you have to remember the way a brand communicates should reflect its personality because authenticity is always the key to winning people's hearts.

3. Start with a draft

Like any other good writing, you need to review it several times before you hit that “publish” button.

It is more efficient if you decide to write your Instagram post’s caption separately, as a draft, before adding it to your photo. Revising it once or twice will help you edit the message you want to communicate to your followers and keep only the important part.

4. Discover what's your optimal caption length

This is a point very much related to the first ones encountered till now. Not all audiences are the same, and that’s why finding the right caption length is a big challenge for social media managers.

On Instagram, captions can be up to 2.200 characters - approximate 330 words, including emojis and hashtags.

According to our recent Instagram engagement study, captions of up to ten words have the best chance at generating higher engagement levels.

fenty-short-caption

However, there's no size fits all when it comes to a good Instagram caption.

That's why you'll find Instagram captions in all shapes and sizes, from short sentences to micro-blogging with in-depth stories.

The most important thing: your Instagram captions should provide context (there has to be a connection between the photo or video shared and text), have a unique voice, and inspire your followers to engage with your brand.

haus-labs-long-caption

Let's just take a look at Socialinsider's Instagram account. Every photo has an introductory phrase, so people know what is about next.

If they are going to read about product updates, blog articles, or social media tips, this phrase acts as a call to action where indirectly we invite our followers to tap "More."

For example, if you want to bring attention to a new blog post, make sure to add “new blog post” or the title of your post early on in the Instagram caption, so your followers know that you have a new post, even if they don’t read the whole caption.

Tip!

Make sure you write the right Instagram captions for your type of business. Try several options before coming up with a precise form.

Keep an eye on your engagement rates and measure the performance with analytics.

Once your posts are getting better and better results, adjust the Instagram captions and try something new. Instagram favors engagement, and creating conversations through captions should be your primary focus.


Sue Zimmerman classifies the Instagram captions in three categories:

  • The Quickie – One word / and emoji
  • The One-Two Done – One or two sentence proposition
  • The Micro-Blog - Long form

Tip!

A well-formatted Instagram post – with design elements like spaces and lists – is easier to read than a wall of plain text.


"I know that the easier my posts are to read, the more people will read them and take action." - says Sue Zimmerman, THE Instagram expert.

Tip!

Keep in mind that most people scroll through their feed quickly, so it makes sense to keep your Instagram captions clear and concise.

Optimize the length of your content, and you'll be more likely to engage and convert your audience.

Instagram captions are cut off in your feed after a few lines of text, so make sure you use the most important words at the beginning of the caption.

5. Play with hashtags

Hashtags are great for connecting users who aren’t otherwise connected but who are talking, posting, or interested in the same topics, brands, events, and so on.

As long as your account is public, anyone who searches for that hashtag can find your Instagram post.

What type of hashtag you should use

There are different types of hashtags that you can use to enhance your brand or products. You can use:

  • General hashtags
  • Branded hashtags
  • Niche hashtags
  • Community-related hashtags
  • Location hashtags

When to use hashtags

fenty-short-caption--1-

The best moments to effectively use a hashtag on Instagram to promote your brand and products are:

  • Promotions
  • Events
  • Contests
  • Product launches
  • Career opportunities
  • Cross-channel discussions t0 generate traffic to your hashtag or even get your hashtag trending
  • Targeting a specific group of people on Instagram

6. Ask questions

Encourage people to comment on their own life experiences, and you might be surprised. Also, this may help you with new content ideas.

Be more present, and respond to your followers. In this way, it seems like a live conversation, and they will feel part of your story. Make your followers part of your brand's story.

rare-beauty-question

7. Include a call-to-action

To create a call-to-action in your Instagram caption, you just need to ask your followers to do something after reading your caption.

A good CTA creates conversations both inside and outside Instagram. You can start by asking questions, inviting your audience to click the link in the bio, to buy a product, tag a friend, or use a branded hashtag.

You should also consider turning your call-to-action into a question using the 5 W’s - who, what, where, when, and why - is a great way to encourage your followers to comment.

gap-cta

8. Use emojis for playfulness

Plain, long and descriptive text can become boring. (By reading this, you probably feel the boredom settling in, but bare with me! It gets more fun).

Regardless of the fact that you have a short caption for Instagram or a longer one, you can always make it more colorful and fun using emojis.

Consider reorganizing your copy and split some of the text into separate ideas indicated by bullet points. This way, it will be easier for your audience to follow through your whole message and also read it until the end.

Add a few emojis, but not too many. Choose only the ones that suit the ideas included in your Instagram caption.

9. Write like a human

Stories are the fuel that keeps the creative engine running. And let’s face it: stories make us humans. They help people convey feelings and make readers resonate with your experiences.

When trying to write the best captions on Instagram, you need to keep it simple and truthful, as long as it’s possible. Your audience should feel they are interacting with another human being, not with a robot.

Give breath to your story and the audience will follow (no, it’s not a quote from some famous person, but we do think it speaks the truth).

10. Educate your followers

By offering your followers new information, you add value to your post.

Use your Instagram caption to provide your audience with effective tips and tricks so that they can learn something valuable from you.

Besides broadcasting a message for your followers, you should also try to inspire others with your Instagram captions.

Ideas are the seeds for new ideas and that’s another reason why your audience is going to appreciate your brand even more.

11. Bonus: examples of cool Instagram captions

Depending on the niche you’re working on, creating some awesome Instagram captions for your business posts may become a bit of a challenge.

That’s why I’ve put together a list of some of the coolest and loved Instagram captions for brands for several industries like travel, FMCG - food industries, restaurants & cafes, accomodation, beauty, beverages, fashion, alcohol, home & living, and education.

We also put together other good caption ideas for Instagram in case you lack inspiration, like short captions, funny ones, sassy and smart Instagram captions.

Short caption ideas for Instagram

  • Photo dump sacrifice for the algorithm god.
  • Credit: @[account]
  • More info in bio.
  • [Hashtag relevant to your post]
  • From the archives.
  • Mentally here.

Funny instagram caption ideas

  • That awkward moment when you're wearing Nike's and you can't do it.
  • We don't know what's tighter: Our jeans or our company culture.
  • The best part about waking up is going to sleep eighteen hours later.
  • The older you get, the better you get, unless you’re a banana.
  • First rule of Sundays: If you can’t reach it from your couch, you don’t need it.
  • Friday ... Our second-favorite F word.

Smart caption ideas for instagram

  • Patience — what you have when there are too many witnesses.
  • Rejection is just redirection.
  • The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.
  • Stop working hard and start working smart.
  • Imposter complex is just a byproduct of success.
  • Life is simple. It's just not easy.

Sassy instagram caption ideas

  • What's a queen without her king? Historically speaking, more powerful.
  • Well-behaved people don't make it into history books.
  • Be sunshine mixed with a little hurricane.
  • All of us have the capacity to light up a room. Some when they enter, others when they leave it.
  • If you like me, raise your hand. If not, then raise your standard.
  • I like my coffee how I like myself: Dark, bitter and too hot for you.

Restaurants and cafes caption ideas for instagram

  • [Food item] so good it’s got me weak in the knees.
  • Friends buy you lunch. Best friends eat your lunch.
  • I’m on a seafood diet. I see food, I eat it.
  • Cake is the answer, no matter the question
  • Let’s taco ‘bout it!
  • Never settle for just one scoop
  • Chocolate is cheaper than therapy
  • First I drink the coffee. Then I do things.
  • I’m best served with coffee and a side of sarcasm.

Accomodation caption ideas for instagram

  • I followed my heart, and it led me to the couch.
  • People say “go big or go home” like going home is a bad thing. Heck yeah, I want to go home, and I’ll have a nap when I get there.
  • “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” ― James A. Michener
  • “We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” ― anaïs nin
  • “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” ― Lao Tzu

Beauty caption ideas for instagram

  • Just like my eyeliner, I always wing it
  • I’ve never been cool and I don’t really care about being cool. It’s just an awful lot of time and hair gel wasted.
  • “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” – Coco Chanel
  • Confidence Level: Selfie with no Filter.
  • Inner beauty needs no makeup.
  • Sometimes you gotta be a beauty and a beast!

Beverages instagram caption ideas

  • Vodka may not be the answer but it’s worth a shot.
  • Wine + dinner = winner
  • Why overthink when you can over-drink?
  • Whether the glass is half full or half empty, make sure there’s vodka in it.
  • It’s the most wine-derful time of the year.
  • I’ll celebrate anyone who can turn water into wine.

Fashion instagram caption ideas

  • Always wear cute pajamas to bed; you never know who you’ll meet in your dreams.
  • The only person I dress to impress is me
  • Boys got swagger, men have style, but gentlemen have class
  • See the bowtie? I wear it and I don’t care. That’s why it’s cool.
  • Life isn’t perfect, but my hair/makeup/outfit/ is!
  • The bags under my eyes are Gucci.

Alcohol instagram caption ideas

  • Bring the alcohol! Because no great story started with someone eating a salad.
  • We’re all one more minute closer to dying. What’s one more shot going to do?
  • You were my cup of tea but I drink wine now
  • Save water, drink champagne.
  • All the best drinks come with umbrellas

Education instagram caption ideas

  • My favorite subject in school was recess.
  • Work hard than work harder.
  • “She believed she could, so she did.” – R.S. Grey
  • “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • I finally turned my can’ts into cans and my dreams into plans.
  • Here’s to all the fun memories, late nights, and cups of coffee that got me here.

Home & living caption ideas for instagram

  • It’s a chill in bed kinda day
  • Hitting the books today
  • Sleep like no one’s watching
  • A walk in the woods feels like home
  • I’d rather be at home with my dog
  • Home is where my cat is

FMCG-food caption ideas for instagram posts

  • All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and again doesn’t hurt.
  • If you are not supposed to have midnight snacks, then why is there a light in the fridge?
  • I followed my heart and it led me to the fridge.
  • Life is a combination of magic and pasta.
  • Avocadorable.
  • Lettuce celebrate!

Travel instagram caption ideas

  • Catch flights, not feelings.
  • We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.
  • Vacation mode: On.
  • Life is better in flip-flops.
  • Seas the day!
  • Vacation state of mind.
  • Sunshine is the best medicine!
  • Paradise isn’t a place; it’s a feeling!
  • Ocean air, salty hair.
  • High tides and good vibes.

Final thought

If you want to be successful on Instagram, then you need to reconsider your Instagram captions and follow the steps described here to boost your engagement rates.

There are a lot of ideas of high content, make yours to be liked, shared and commented if you want to transform your account - be visible.


Related articles:

Elena Cucu

Elena Cucu

Content Writer @ Socialinsider

Mixing the words with the data is how a digital marketer should play the game of brands. And that’s me, a driven-born digital storyteller!