*This blog post was originally published and written for Brittani Wills Creative in Summer 2018.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: Writing a good caption is super hard. There are SO many things to take into consideration when writing copy for the perfect Instagram caption. Should it be funny? Reminiscent of those inspirational posters on the walls of your high school classroom? Serious in tone? Strike a comedic chord?

Captions might not be as important as your photo grid, but do play an incredibly crucial role in getting your content seen by more people. They inspire your followers to take action, provide more context to your brand, and show off your personality. Read below to learn four tips on how to write an effective caption for the ‘gram that will boost your engagement:

Tip #1: Include a Call to Action

Adding in a call to action (CTA) in your caption invites your audience to like, comment, and engage with your post. CTAs can be as simple as inviting your followers to click on the link in your bio, answering a question in the comments, or tagging a friend. You don’t have to include a CTA in every post, but having one gives your followers a chance to engage with your brand outside your feed. Additionally, coupling with an action emoji with your CTA makes it obvious that you want your followers to take action on your content. 

Tip #2: Emojis

There are SO many ways that emojis can be beneficial to your brand! Not only do they help show off your personality, but because over half of the general population are visual thinkers, emojis help draw followers in to your content. They add pops of color to a very black and white caption block. You can also use emojis to replace an entire word, or add them to the end of a caption to leave your followers more engaged. 

Tip #3: Length

Captions on Instagram have a 2,200 character limit, so it is important to consider how long you actually want your caption to be. Because captions get cut off after just a few lines of text, it is important to place the most important (or at least an enticing lead) right at the beginning. By doing this, you’ll hook your followers and prompt them to tap that “See More” button and read on. That being said, if you have an interesting story to tell, tell it! Taking the time to carefully tell your story will help engage followers in your content.

Tip #4: Hashtags

We all know how important hashtags can be to Instagram content. But, there are some best practices you should consider before using a hashtag. In the caption itself, it’s important to include 3-4 hashtags that are relevant to your post. Although Instagram has a hashtag maximum of 30, including another 12-15 brand relevant hashtags in the first comment of your post is an ideal next step. Placing your hashtags in your post strategically helps to significantly decrease the chance of Instagram shadow-banning you for “spam” content, but still gives you the opportunity for maximum engagement. 

Go forth and write some amazing captions!

Hannah Rose Dominiak