How to write engaging Instagram captions

Coming up with a "OMG-I-must-comment" Instagram caption is not easy. #TruthBomb

If you want to grow your Instagram account with quality followers who turn into raving fans and customers to your business, captions cannot be an afterthought.

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With the new algorithm changes, the level of engagement your post receives within a short timeframe determines if your followers will see it in their newsfeeds.

A good caption will prompt your followers to like, comment, tag a friend or even send a DM your way.

The more engaged your following is, the better your posts will do and the more reach you'll have on the 'gram.

If you want to write an Instagram caption that stops a follower in their tracks and makes them engage with your post, follow my tips and download my cheat sheet below of my top converting captions from last year.

Tips for Writing the Perfect Instagram Caption

Step 1: Rewrite until it's right

Captions have a lot of power on Instagram.

They can stop the casual swiper in their tracks and get them to engage with your content in a meaningful way.

That's why it's crucial to re-write your caption until it truly conveys what you want to share.

Re-writing also helps you get out of your comfort zone.

More often than not, our best ideas aren't the first ones that come to mind.

It's usually by that second, third or even fifth attempt that the creative juices start flowing because you've run out the typical ideas to share.

While it can be a slow process at first, with practice, it will come easier, and you'll be able to whip up an engaging caption that will convert your followers into customers in no time.

Step 2: First impressions count

Instagram cuts off captions in the newsfeed after the first one to two lines of text.

But that doesn't mean you should keep your captions as short as possible.

Instead, use the first few lines to lure them into your narrative.

Incite them to click that "more" button and stay on your photo for longer.

In storytelling, you want to "bleed in the first line."

This means to start with something dramatic, intense, shocking, emotional, raw or personal.

When you're writing an Instagram caption, skip the preamble and open with an element of tension or intrigue:

  • "I might cry right now. Of happy tears."

  • "The alarm went off and I knew it was going to be a bad day."

  • "Yesterday, I wore a crop top for the first time in my adult life."

  • "I opened up my credit card statement and almost fainted."

See how you're hooked right from that very first line? 

Keep everything else like hashtags, mentions and other non-essential information at the end.

Step 3: Write an inciting call-to-action

Once you have eyeballs on your post, don't let people scroll past without taking action.

Use prompts to get users to further engage with your content or drive traffic to your website.

Here are some call-to-actions you can use to boost engagement on your posts:

Ask a question

People love talking about themselves and sharing their own experiences.

Use that as a catalyst to get your followers to open up about their lives and learn more about them.

You'll spark a genuine connection and turn a casual passer-by into a fan and then into a valued customer.

  • "What's your favorite season?"

  • "What's your astrology sign?"

  • "What's one thing about yourself that most people don't know?"

Direct your followers to the URL in your Bio

The link in your bio is one of the most powerful features on Instagram.

It's the only clickable link you have until you hit 10k followers and the only way you can drive traffic directly to your website.

Your caption is an excellent place to let your followers know what they can expect by clicking on that link. You can use it to promote your latest blog post or giveaway, or direct people to the landing page for your latest freebie.

  • "Click the link for 10% off your next purchase!"

  • "Click to read about my vacation nightmare."

  • "Grab your free guide on essential oils."

Tell your followers to tag their friends

Instagram considers comments one of the most important forms of interaction on the platform.

Encourage your followers to share your post with friends by inviting them to tag someone.

The algorithm will boost your post up people's feeds and at the same time, expose your account to users who aren't following you yet.

  • "Tag a friend who can relate!"

  • "Share this post with a friend who needs to hear this."

  • "Tag your best bud."

Step 4: Use hashtags at the end of your caption

Let your words delight people and keep your hashtags at the end of your caption.

It will make your posts that much more appealing and easier for people to read.

Unsure how to pick the right hashtags so your ideal follower can find you?

Read Step 4 in my in-depth post about how to give your Instagram profile a makeover.

In the post, you'll learn all about how to find the most relevant hashtags that will help boost your discoverability and get you in that coveted Top Posts section for your hashtags.

Step 5: Use a consistent tone and voice

Finding the right voice for Instagram all depends on how you want to present your account to the world.

Do you want to be a storyteller who writes in-depth posts about experiences you've had in your life?

Or are you a food blogger that wants to share your best recipes with your followers?

If you're not sure, take a look at your favorite accounts on Instagram and identify what you love about their captions.

Maybe it's their witty use of puns, their use of minimalism or inspirational quotes that keep you coming back for more.

Use that to inspire you to create a voice that will represent your brand and help attract your ideal follower.

Want Even More Instagram Caption Tips?

Grab My Top 10 Highest Converting Caption Templates!

I break down what works best for every type of post.

From a selfie to a lifestyle image, you'll have an Instagram caption template ready to go instead of being stuck on what to say!

Elise Darma

About the Author:

Elise Darmanin believes that "travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer." That's why she makes beaches, coffee shops and co-working spaces her office by working remotely while growing Canupy Content. Canupy is a social media and copywriting agency for small to medium-sized businesses. The Canupy team helps brands grow through social media marketing, copywriting and content strategies that inspire audiences and drive sales.