Some tough love coming at you: A lot of your Instagram captions make people scroll right on by. This might hurt – buttttt if you can forgive me for being so blunt, keep reading because I’m going to tell you how to fix it.
First things first, let’s talk about what’s happening in captions that make people glance over your post. In general, there’s one of 4 mistakes happening:
Buckle up for a deep dive into each one of these mistakes and what you can do to keep your followers reading your caption all the way to your call to action.
We all know these captions – there’s one long paragraph without any line breaks, and even thinking about trying to read it feels exhausting. When attention spans are so short, you have to make it easy for people to give you their time! And now that line breaks can be done in Instagram (anyone else remember the days we needed a separate app to make them?!), there’s no excuse.
I try not to have more than 3-5 sentences, depending on the topic, without a line break. Even better for visual interest is to break up your writing with emojis.
No, we definitely won’t (as my girl Taylor Swift sings). But when you’re writing captions for Instagram, it’s not all about you. It’s about your audience! And if your captions are too me-me-me, they might lose interest.
Does this mean you can never share a personal update or talk about yourself? Heck no – I talk about myself (and my horse girl adventures) frequently. But even on captions where I’m including a bit of personal content, I make sure to include how this topic relates to my community.
If your caption doesn’t get someone’s attention as they’re scrolling (while they wait for pickup, stand in line to get coffee, or watch a tv show), they will keep going right past it. So how do you catch their eye?
One of my favorite ways is a hook. Now, this has become quite a click-baity practice in the online space but at its core, a hook is essentially a headline. Why should someone keep reading? And just like with newspaper headlines, a boring statement doesn’t work.
Instead, call out something your audience wants to know – or a pain point they’ve been struggling with.
I’m not saying this because I want you to lose hope – you can always improve your caption writing! But if your followers have come to expect short captions, they have been trained to not give you so much attention. They’re here for the pretty pictures, after all!
The way to fix this to start encouraging your readers to stick around for your whole caption by telling them at the beginning why they should – and following through with valuable information. It will take time, but changing this behavior will be worth it.
Do you remember reading those long research papers for school? When the words made your eyes glaze over and you constantly had to look up what phrases meant? It gets tiring – and you definitely don’t want to make your audience feel like they’re reading a research paper.
Skip the expert terminology and keep things easy to understand. You may know all the industry lingo, but your ideal client likely doesn’t. As one of my mentors says, keep it to “brunch talk.”
Now you know the mistakes to avoid – but how do you write better Instagram captions?
The truth is that even with all the caption strategies in the world, the best way to improve is practice. Your first (or twentieth) caption won’t be perfect – I still look back and cringe at some of my earliest captions. But by putting content out there, you’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.
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