Many consider Instagram as the most visual social media platform with its feed of images and videos. Because of that, I think businesses overlook a crucial component of Instagram posts that can lead to more loyal followers and engagement… the caption!
- Words evoke emotion.
- Words tell a story.
- And the right words sell.
The right captions can help drive traffic to your campaign, offer, or website and increase engagement.
The three core elements of a converting caption are The Hook, The Body, and The CTA.
The hook is what is going to drive your audience to click “Read More” and engage. The first 125 characters will either make people:
- Want to click “ Read More”
- Like your post solely on the image, but not engage much further
- Skip your post altogether
The goal here is to not give away the entire premise of your caption in the first line or 125 words; otherwise, why would your audience want to click read more? Instead, try these three tips if you’re struggling with hooks in your content.
1.) Use a cliffhanger
Unlike tv shows that have the cliffhanger at the end of an episode, we want to put the cliffhanger line as your hook urging the audience to click “Read More” to find out how you got to that ending. See an example below from one of my recent captions.
Example Hook: I feel like I’ve lived 5 different lives.
This is a hook, because it leaves the audience wondering what I mean by this statement and they want to learn more about the story that has left me feeling like I’ve lived 5 different lives. It drives viewers to click “Read More” because they need more context and they know the rest of the caption will give them the full story.
2.) Ask a question
At this point, you should know your audience and ideal clients and customers like they are your best friends. You know what they may be struggling with or pain points in their lives. A great hook asks them a question that they may have asked themselves in the past or never thought of but pertains to their experiences.
Example Hook: Do you have a problem with letting go?
3.) Grab their attention with value
Do you have a great blog with awesome tips? Do you have a sale that is out of this world? Start with this as your hook or headline and then explain your offer in the caption. Show your audience you have the info or products they need.
Example Hook: Do hashtags have you down? In this week’s blog, we share the TRUTH about hashtags and cut through the confusion…
Now that you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention, let’s keep them reading! The body of your caption should NOT be a brain dump. You don’t want your audience to be excited to read your caption after the hook and then you let them down with jumbled thoughts or a quick 2 sentences that don’t expand upon your hook.
Our goal here is to tell a story. Here are a few ways to connect with your audience through your caption writing.
1.) Empathize and future pace
We never want to talk AT our audience. Again, we want to connect through storytelling. One way to do so is to empathize with our audience by sharing a story and then future pace, so your audience can see themselves in their ideal happy ending along with you.
Use the body of your caption to expand upon a pain point and how it is affecting your audience and provide ways you found a solution or they can find a tangible solution themselves for their pain points. Remember, you should not be talking at them on your soapbox, making them feel like you have all the answers and they don’t. Instead, it is important to relate to their experiences.
2.) Expand upon your valuable hook by adding even more value in the body.
You may have used a great hook that displays information your audience wants and needs. Now, use the body to give them snippets of additional valuable information pertaining to the topic at hand. If you’re trying to promote a blog, don’t include your entire blog in the caption. Instead, give them valuable snippets from your blog content that would make them want to visit your website to read the entire thing.
The Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your audience has read your entire caption, and they’re loving it! Now, it’s time to keep the conversation going by including a call-to-action copy (a.k.a. CTA) in your caption.
Throughout your caption, you should be asking key questions meant to increase engagement. If you’re feeling daring, you can even include 2 CTAs at appropriate spots in your content.
You can have a CTA in the middle of the body of your caption and then another one at the end. The main point here is you’re always giving your audience the opportunity to relate with you and engage.
Here are two types of CTAs you can utilize in your copy.
Primary CTA: Helps boost your engagement
- “Can you relate? If so, tell me about it in the comments!”
- “Give me a 👍 if you feel me!”
- “Follow [insert your account here] for more tips and tricks.” (This is a good one if someone finds your account via Explore)
- “Tag a biz bestie who would love this info or giveaway.”
Secondary CTA: Prompts your audience to take action
- “Read the whole blog for tips 7-10 by clicking the link in our bio.”
- “Check out our stories where I go in depth about [Insert topic].”
There you have it! The three core elements of an Instagram caption. The fact that you’re here and reading this means you understand how important it is to connect with your audience through pictures and words. Words will enable you to share your story effectively and display your value, so caption strategy should never be left on the back burner if you want to grow your audience and make authentic connections.
I have tons of people asking me for advice regarding captions and copywriting. For this reason, I created a FREE 5-Day Challenge all about social media caption writing.
It’s called The Wholehearted Brand™: Caption-Writing 5-day Challenge. It’s part of my The Wholehearted Brand™ library of programs and courses I am rolling out in the next year under my passion project, Nicole Powell Brand. The goal of this FREE live and interactive challenge is to give you the opportunity to learn the strategies to writing compelling social media captions in LESS time and generate MORE engagement while being authentically YOU.
We’re going to talk about more than just the three elements of your captions I outlined above. We’re going to dive even deeper as I show you a technique I use to create several captions from one “story.”
If you want to join the free week-long challenge, click here. It starts June 7, 2021!