A picture is worth a thousand words, or at least that’s what they say. However, there are also moments when words speak louder than… pictures. It’s true, Instagram is a social media platform that relies on amazing pictures. But Instagram captions are often overlooked and are as powerful for post engagement. And that’s one thing you need to know about Instagram captions in 2021.
An eye-catching Instagram caption can bring you more engagement than you would think. That is because the provided Instagram caption gives more context to your post.
Writing Instagram captions can become challenging when you don’t know where to start. Do you go for something funny, do you go for the inspirational bit, or do you dive deep into the world of hashtags? But what about the Instagram posts’ format, is there any specific you should be following?
There is an answer to all your questions. So, look no further! We’ve put together in this article all you need to make the most out of your Instagram captions.
Let’s get that engagement on fleek!
What’s up With Instagram Captions?
Instagram captions are powerful tools that you can use to keep your audience hooked. And the more a person engages with a post, the better it ranks in the eyes of the Instagram algorithm. But, how exactly does the Instagram algorithm work?
There are a few factors that determine the success of an Instagram post. But, in this case, we’re going to take a look only at what defines the engagement part. Shortly, the Instagram algorithm will focus on the posts that have received the most comments, likes, or shares/views.
A good Instagram caption has the power to bring all these metrics to your post. Thus, it can make it rank well on the Instagram algorithm.
It’s important to mention that Instagram captions have a few rules attached to them. Not to worry, though, as there’s nothing too complicated about them either.
Instagram Caption Limit
Regarding how many characters you can add to your Instagram captions in 2021, the current amount stands at 2,200 characters.
Instagram Hashtag Limit
Hashtags are also limited to 30 hashtags on a post and up to 10 hashtags on an Instagram story.
Instagram Comment Section Limit
If you feel like you need more characters and hashtags, there is also the option to continue telling your story in the comment section. It’s important to know that the comment section will allow you to add 2,200 more characters and 30 more hashtags.
A very important element of Instagram captions in 2021 is its structure. Picture the Instagram structure as a story you’re telling.
Now, all you need is to add the elements that compose the story. So, let’s see how you can make the most out of the Instagram posts’ format:
Let’s put together a short example. Imagine you’re the social media manager of a skincare company that has just launched a new line of products. You want to promote the product and not stray away from the above format. Your post looks like this:
Do you know what time it is? IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME!
We’ve just launched a new line of sunscreen products and we’re excited to share the good news with you. And what better way to do it than through a giveaway?
Finding the best sunscreen can become challenging for people with sensitive skin. Irritations, breakouts, dryness – these are all issues that can occur because of the wrong sunscreen.
That is what our new line, #Sunsible wants to avoid. Sensitive skin needs more attention, and some delicate ingredients can work wonders. Say goodbye to your skin issues, and hello to the sun!
You and your skin deserve the best, and we know that. So let’s get the word out there.
All you have to do is like this post and tag two friends to share the good news. Ten lucky winners will be chosen on Friday.
Of course, this is just a guideline, as your caption can contain as little as one emoji or one word only.
What to Use for an Instagram Caption
1. First Line
The first line of your Instagram caption is the one that makes or breaks your post. A great first line will grab the attention of your targeted audience and thus, engage more with the post you’ve shared.
There are cases when the image you’ve shared might not interest someone at first. But then they notice the first line contains a pun that puts things into perspective. Writing a first killer line is sometimes challenging, though, so how do you get around it?
Tip #1: Keeping it short is the key element here.
That is, the first line should comprise all the information you want to get out without the need for your audience to click on the “More” button at first.
Tip #2: The second thing you need to do is to make that short line as effective as possible.
You can appeal to your audience’s emotions, for example. You can also build up the caption in such a way that you make your audience curious to see more of the story you’re sharing. You can use in this case a special offer, for instance, or you could use a statement that appeals to the emotional side of your audience.
|Pro Tip: always check your grammar and spelling when writing your caption. Even if we’re talking about the first line or the other ones.|
2. Line Breaks
Instagram captions in 2021 should have line breaks. Imagine having a chunk of what seems to be a never-ending text. You know where the idea starts, but you don’t know where it ends. And reading a text that doesn’t have any kind of structure can feel a bit overwhelming for your audience. Quality content is one important component, but attaching a structure to it is even more important.
Line breaks allow your audience to read through a text easily, and it also helps you get your ideas through. You can add line breaks by tapping on the “Return” key. Another tip to ensure the readability of your caption is to try to keep your paragraph to a maximum of 5 lines.
SocialBee is your line break savior as well. Adding spacing has never been easier. All you have to do is to write your first line, then move to the next one. And if we’re talking about the benefits of using SocialBee for posting Instagram content, there’s more.
You can also spice up your Instagram post a bit, as you have a hashtag collection, as well as an emoji collection to choose from. Ready, set, go? Not yet, as you have a real-time Instagram preview to check too. And you’re all good for posting.
Are you curious to see the magic unfold right in front of you? Start a 14-day SocialBee free trial.
One of the secrets behind Instagram captions in 2021 revolves around hashtags. It might seem like Instagram hashtags are no longer a trend, but the truth is, they still are!
Needless to say, choosing the right Instagram hashtags can bring you the desired engagement.
The best tip, in this case, is to choose hashtags that are not necessarily the most popular. They do bring some visibility to your posts, but they won’t be from a targeted audience.
If you’re looking for a tool to help you out with the popularity of hashtags, hashtag generators are the way to go. All you need to do is input a keyword and let the tool generate the hashtags based on it. You’ll get 30 or even more of the top hashtags, so you can choose the best for your post.
To ensure that your posts reach the best audience for you, go for hashtags that are both niche and popular among a certain community. In the long run, they will bring you more engagement since the posts will reach the people who want to see them.
You can start your post with one hashtag in order to catch the attention of the reader, but the key is to take it one hashtag at a time. Too many hashtags added too soon could create the opposite effect and cause your audience to scroll down on your post. You can choose to place a hashtag inside your caption and keep the rest for the end of your caption.
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One more thing you should consider is that using banned hashtags reduces the visibility of your profile. Using too many banned hashtags can also cause Instagram to flag your account, which could lead to it being removed in the end. There is a complete list of banned hashtags to avoid in order to keep growing your Instagram profile and to stay away from the list. The list of removed Instagram accounts, of course.
A few examples of banned Instagram hashtags are the following: #always, #beautyblogger, #curvygirls, #dm, or #tagforlife.
There’s one ace up your sleeve when words cannot express what you want to give across. And that ace is the diversified selection of emojis you can use. They’re simple and expressive and people are drawn to them. There’s a catch when it comes to using emojis, and it’s related to your audience and brand voice.
One of the best indicators of whether emojis are relevant for your post or not is the demographics of your audience. If your audience is composed of an older audience, using a fire emoji will not cut it. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use any emojis at all, though.
Emojis include even arrows or numbers, which can add to the visual component of your Instagram captions in 2021. Even so, using too many emojis might have the opposite effect, so use them responsibly.
Stories can bring more engagement to your posts, as people find it easier to relate to them. Storytelling should be an element that is present in your Instagram captions in 2021. They’re volatile, and you can use storytelling to depict anything from emotions to senses. And people do love a good story.
Storytelling also provides good insight into your brand’s values, which can only allow your audience to connect more to your brand. Here are a few bullet points you can use to put your story together:
- Identify the people who are listening to your story
- Find the central idea of your story
- Identify your objective — why do you want to get this story across
- Find the structure of your story — if you need more characters than the 2,200 imposed limit
Now, all you need is to tell your story and form a strong connection with your audience.
6. Brand’s Tone
The tone your brand’s voice has is crucial for your followers. Depending on what your brand is promoting, you can adopt a more formal or informal tone. Of course, the tone is also going to depend on the post you’re adding.
Serious situations require a more formal tone, regardless of any other factors. The trick is to make sure that your captions sound like your brand, and that they’re not unnatural.
Shifting to a very formal tone that doesn’t address your audience might be too sudden and confuse your followers. Write as you speak, and you’ll allow your followers to relate more to your business.
A CTA (call-to-action) improves your audience’s engagement by involving them. And this can be achieved in many ways. You can ask your audience for their opinion on a matter, for instance. You can also invite them to express their opinion by either double-tapping or commenting on the post. Asking your audience to tag a friend is another way to drive engagement, as this can start a string of numerous people tagging other people.
If your goal is to drive traffic to your website, for example, you can include a CTA that invites your audience to click the link attached in your bio. Or, you can make use of Instagram Stories to drive more traffic. If you’re curious to find out more, we’ve covered the Instagram Swipe Up feature in this article.
While Instagram captions might not take the central stage of this social media platform, for sure, they play an important role in the story you’re putting out there. You can go a long way with a great picture, paired with some good Instagram captions in 2021.
Even so, finding that perfect balance in terms of how to construct your caption might take some time. Practice makes perfect though, and these steps will give you the insight you need to write valuable and attractive captions. The end result? More engagement on your Instagram page.
Instagram is no stranger to us, and we have a few aces up our sleeve when it comes to social media. Curious to find out more? SocialBee offers a 14-day free trial, so don’t hesitate to check it out.