How to Write Instagram Captions? Your 2021 Ultimate Guide

Instagram is all about high-quality photos and visuals. So in order to learn how to write Instagram captions that drive not only engagement but also sales depends highly on attractive visuals in the first place.

After the visuals, your second step to writing the perfect Instagram captions would be focusing on the first line that appears under the picture, use it to spark your audience’s curiosity to “read more”.

But that’s not all it takes to writing successful Instagram captions, the below guide will tell you everything you need to know about mastering Instagram captions. 👌

social media by the most active users in 2021
The most platform with active users in January 2021 in millions – Instagram comes 5th – Source: Statista

Even though Instagram coming in Fifth with 1 million active users may imply insignificance, it topped various other 7 platforms including TikTok.

Instagram is one of the most powerful social media platforms and is now growing as one of the leading digital marketing channels of modern eCommerce.

Why Are Instagram Captions So Important?

According to a study made by Later and Fohr, Instagram captions between 500-1000 characters generate the most engagement rates. In 2019, 1000 character length had an impact on engagement by 5.60% while 500 and 500+ impacted engagement by 5.36%.

The goal of any Instagram caption is to attract the eyes to your post and get them to stop scrolling. The second step would be to get them to interact with your post, whether with a love or a comment.

According to Instagram algorithms, the more people interact and read your posts, the higher rank it’ll get, which means it’ll appear on more people’s timelines. Or maybe appear on the Explore Page!

However, if Instagram is a visual platform, what’s the use of writing powerful Instagram captions?

Let’s see. 👀

A photo can say a thousand words, yes. But for a business owner, you would always want to include a story and a call to action. I mean, sure you’d want your audience to love your visual content, but what’s the purpose of 1000M love reacts with no website visits or checkouts?

Instagram captions aim to:

  • Initiate trust between you and your customers.
  • Strengthen your relationship with your audience.
  • Spread your story and get people to relate to you.
  • Generate sales, engagement, or profile visits… etc.

Since every business has its own objectives, the goals behind every caption could be countless!

Celebrities like Jennifer Anniston can get away with captions as simple as “And now we’re Instagram FRIENDS too!” Because they’ve already established themselves on other screens. Instagram for them is merely a proof of presence and a platform to share their precious moments.

On the other side, using storytelling and lengthy captions is sometimes the way to go for entrepreneurs and influencers who are sharing content for a purpose. Keep reading to know when to use long and short Instagram captions.

  • Use long Instagram captions to teach people more about your business or brand statement.
  • Use short Instagram captions to focus on the visuals, especially if it contains the text.
  • Short Instagram captions in the form of a question can be really beneficial to boost engagement.

Make sure to combine both long and short captions in various content objectives to test and try what resonates better with your audience. If you’re an online store owner, make sure to always include product details and direct them to your store via DM for orders call to action.

Fun Fact: 🏄🏽‍♀️ 8.8% of Instagram users spend more than 5 hours of daily browsing on the app.

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How to Write Instagram Captions?

  • Focus on your opening line. Make sure to catch your audience’s attention with the first line and drive them to either read more or hit twice.
  • Stay between 60-70 word-length. Your safest bet is to stick in the middle, not too long or too short Instagram captions.
  • Include around 10-15 hashtags. Every Instagram is allowed 2,000 characters, which can allow over 30 hashtags if no words at all.

Read this guide to Instagram hashtags 👈🏽

  • If you’re a strategist: Start off by mastering the short Instagram caption game first, allowing yourself to only 125 characters long. Once you feel comfortable around them, you can start writing longer captions.
  • The best Instagram captions weren’t produced by night. Write Instagram captions with persistence and practice. Give yourself some time but don’t stop sharing and communicating with your audience so you won’t lose your profile reach
  • Always include a CTA. Call-to-actions are the essence of any piece of content, there’s always a purpose and a message behind every Instagram post. So don’t leave your audience wondering, “what’s this content trying to tell me?” Make it clear before you hit publish.
  • The use of emojis. No need to make your brand voice so serious on Instagram, it’s the social medium for laying back and enjoying our time or maybe shopping.
    So, even if your brand stands on giving informative information about any serious topic in the world, let Instagram be the platform where you make that with a little bit of spice. Start with emojis. 🏓
  • Analytics & Insights. Keep a data-driven mindset when it comes to planning your Instagram content. Create a/b tests to figure what resonates better with your target audience. Make sure to read top must-follow Instagram accounts for brand inspiration.
  • Once you start writing longer captions: You need to include line breaks and some bold words as appropriate to save it from the monotony. Use the Instagram line break tool.
  • Instagram supports drafts which allow you to keep a post in the draft and get back to it later if you happen to experience a creative block at any given moment.

Inspiration time! 🔥


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Sarah Nicole Landry (@thebirdspapaya)

To learn more about how to increase your Instagram reach and get more people viewing your profile like our friend Sarah Nicole up there. 👉🏽 Read about the Instagram algorithm below.

How Does Instagram Algorithm Work?

There are three criteria that differentiate the Instagram algorithm:

  1. The Feed.
  2. The IGTV and Reels [Same algorithm as the feed].
  3. The Stories.

So how are posts prioritized as of what appears first to latest in your feed?

  • Relationship with profile: how often you interact with a profile depends highly on his content appearing more often on your feed
  • The interest you showed: The type of posts or accounts you showed more interest in is going to attract similar content, even from profiles you rarely interact with.
  • Relevancy. Every published post is given an immediate relevancy score and therefore gets distributed on relevant feeds. Given the accounts a user follows and the content they publish.

➕ Tip

Instagram wants you to see the most relevant and recent posts all the time. So, the more frequently you post, the more your posts are to be seen.

If you see a post keeps generating more engagement, it’s better if you don’t post until its starts to slow down. Once that happens, follow up with another powerful post to top the feed.

On the other hand, here’s how the Instagram stories algorithm works:

  1. Instagram stories are arranged according to the most accounts you interact with whether by likes, comments, or DMs.
  2. Another factor of Instagram-stories arrangement is the location, the closer the user to you the prior it appears in your stories bar.
  3. The third factor is the frequency of engagement. The more fans interacting with your stories the higher rank it’ll take on other followers’ story feeds.

Since we’re talking about Instagram stories, you’d also love: Instagram Stories Design Tips for Ecommerce Businesses

Hint: 🎩

You’re more likely to boost engagement if you manage to post in the best times to post on Instagram according to the below heatmap.

Instagram engagement heatmap best times to post
Source: SproutSocial

Final Words

We’ve covered how to write Instagram captions that inspire engagement. We also took a look at inspiring Instagram posts from celebrities and influencers such as Jennifer Anniston and Sarah Nicole.

Found out about the Instagram algorithm to better plan our content and provided the best times to post on Instagram with a heatmap courtesy of SproutSocial. In addition, we added some spice to our facts with figures and stats from Statista.

Let us know how you write Instagram captions for your business. Do you follow a certain A/B testing strategy? Tell us all about it in the comments below!

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