How to Write Compelling Social Media Captions
Got your Instagram post? Check. Charismatic video? Sorted. Pinterest images perfected? Definitely! You're just missing one of the most important pieces of the puzzle: your social media caption.
Captions aren't an afterthought. Sprinkled with hashtags and keywords and full of riveting copy, writing captions for social media can make or break a post. Indeed, a lacklustre caption is the difference between a viral post with tens of thousands of likes and shares and lingering in double digits.
Don't believe me? In this article, we're exploring how to write captions for social media – and we'll explain why they're so important. Let's get started.
Why Do Social Media Captions Matter?
After lockdowns, social media is now the go-to way for businesses to reach customers – especially small businesses. As the tide of online shopping inexorably continues, there are fewer and fewer opportunities for small and local businesses to connect with customers in real life.
With a predicted 4.41 billion users by 2025, social media is fast becoming the dominant form of online communication. You don't even need to market across multiple platforms. A single major platform contains more customers than you could ever hope to sell to. You're literally spoilt for choice.
Consider that 75% of internet users use social media to research brands, and you can see the potential. Dollar signs float before your eyes. Moreover, each follower becomes your very own brand ambassador. They'll like, share, and tweet about your brand to their followers. In fact, 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend it to their friends and family.
That means every aspect of your posts, from pictures to captions, must be on point. Only through your captions and hashtags will you get noticed. For Instagram, imagery captures user attention, and captions drive engagement. That's true on other platforms.
Writing Captions for Social Media
1. Have an intent
Why do you post on social media? For the hell of it? You post because you want your followers to do something. You could be selling a product, drumming up attention about your new course, or building brand awareness.
Whatever your intent, ensure your social media captions work towards this goal. For example:
To generate brand awareness, you should include your tagline or a specific hashtag to encourage sharing. You could even pose it as a contest or challenge.
To increase sales, you'll need to provide a product link alongside info about size, colours, materials, and more. You might also include a discount code in the captions alongside the link. Add an end date to generate a sense of urgency.
Set challenges, ask questions, and spark a conversation if you want more engagement.
2. Use storytelling techniques
Humans are wired to love stories. We always want to know how they end. Connecting to your customers – and humanising your brand – involves using the storytelling technique. You could post a picture on Instagram and tell the story behind the photo. Maybe it's the day you opened or your first-ever store.
Many companies use brand characters as a storytelling device. Think Ronald McDonald or the exploits of Aleksandr Orlov – the meerkat from Compare the Market. You could also speak to customers who've used your product or service. Let them tell the story of how your brand changed their life – beauty brand Dove is the queen of this.
3. Get to the point
Most social media platforms cut off your captions, with followers needing to click a "See More" or "Read More" button to catch the rest. While Twitter limits your captions to 280 characters, there's a pseudo-limitation on most other platforms.
You'll need to stack your first 2-3 lines with as much WOW factor as you can muster. Use influential words like "giveaway," "challenge," "offer," or "introducing" to convince your followers to take a closer look.
Some social media caption writers think this limitation means your captions should be shorter. But why? Frontloading your captions with important content or calls to action can convince followers to read the rest like a hook with bait.
4. Provoke a response
More brand interactions can only be a good thing. Active followers are likely to translate into customers. Nor do you want your social media account to be one long monologue. That misses the potential of the medium.
Posing questions is a fantastic way to boost engagement – and get valuable audience insights. Here are some questions to sprinkle into your next social media caption:
What do you think of our new product?
It's Mother's Day. What's something you value about your Mum?
Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?
Some platforms – like Twitter – even allow you to turn questions into surveys. You could ask customers which is their favourite product or what they want to see next.
Try not to limit responses to closed questions where the answer is either yes or no. Open questions allow for discussion. For example, rather than saying, "Did you like our new product," ask, "Tell us what you think of our new product?"
5. Master your hashtags
Hashtags are the key to connecting with users around a particular topic. At their best, hashtags allow brands to spark a viral trend, rapidly expanding their reach.
There can be no doubt: hashtags raise engagement. But how many do you need for success? Here's what the data shows:
Twitter. Given Twitter's stringent character limit, add no more than one or two hashtags per tweet. The best posts integrate the hashtags naturally into the body of the text.
LinkedIn. You won't be able to add clickable hashtags in articles. In posts, we advise a sprinkling of one to three hashtags. Avoid overdoing it; it comes across as annoying and unprofessional.
Facebook. Restrict your hashtag use to one to three hashtags on the internet's biggest platform.
Instagram. Go wild! You're allowed up to 30 hashtags per post, and you should use as many as you can. More hashtags mean greater reach.
6. Use emojis
Emojis expand your lexicon. Going beyond language barriers, their meaning is universal. Best of all, they're just plain fun. Emojis add flavour and flair to your captions. These colourful little cartoons allow your captions to pop out of the page, and they've become so ubiquitous even "serious" brands use them.
While some brands try to be clever, constructing entire sentences out of emojis, it can come across as annoying. Plus, it defeats the whole point of social media – getting your message across. Use a handful of emojis per post to add a little zing to your caption for the best results.
Want a Trusted Social Media Caption Writer? Look No Further
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Looking to inject some personality into your social media captions? Look no further than Impeccable Writing! Our team knows exactly how to craft captions that capture your brand's unique voice and engage your audience.
Book a free consultation with us today and learn how we can help you stand out from the social media crowd. Banish boring captions - schedule now and let us bring your brand to life!