Pictures speak a thousand words. Yes, absolutely. However, does this mean words don’t hold the same importance? A good copy can make a reader feel excited, happy, angry, sad, eager, or any other human emotion. When done well, social media captions hold this power, and brands want readers to experience the post’s intention.
We understand that visually appealing images and videos are essential to social media platforms, whether on Instagram, Twitter, or any other platform. However, captions have a lot of potential to provide the right context to the reader.
The right hashtags have started online revolutions. And the right words can change how a brand is perceived too. If you are here, we know you want to explore the possibilities of social media captions, and in this blog, we will tell you all about them.
What are social media captions on posts?
A social media caption is the text part of a social media post. You can tag other social handles, add emojis, links, and hashtags. It could describe the post’s image or even provide more value to a post beyond the graphics.
Here is a social media post caption example:
In the image below, you see a Twitter post by Duolingo. The circled part that adds context to the post’s video with a CTA to download the app is the caption.
Why are social media captions on posts important?
Social media captions add context to the images. But why is context important when the image already exists?
Here are five reasons why they are important. They add context by:
- Encouraging users to engage with the posts
- Adding value to your images and videos
- Giving users a Call-to-Action (CTA) in the description
- Allowing you to drive traffic to your website with the CTAs
- Increasing brand value by tagging relevant people in your captions
How to create good social media captions for posts?
Social media platforms are free. This means everyone creates content and writes captions for their posts. But the challenge isn’t to churn out copy for social media but to understand how to write good social media captions that drive engagement.
To help you in this process, here are 18 social media caption tips:
1. Speak as your target audience would
You want to be relatable to your target audience. Additionally, you want users to engage with your content. To do this well, you have to speak their language. This is the voice of your brand.
You must research your customer demographic to figure out the brand’s voice and tone. This includes their age, gender identity, location, personalities, etc. You need to understand who you are talking to. If your target audience is people from the younger crowd and you run a beauty brand, then you want to keep the tone of your descriptions that reflect this identity.
Here are some social media caption examples:
Below, you see a valentine’s day post by Instagram. This probably sounds like an unknown language for someone out of touch with the GenZ lingo. However, Instagram has 70.8 billion users under the age of 35. This is why it makes sense for them to pick up some common words used on social media today. This makes them relatable.
In the second example, you see a post by Four Seasons Hotels. They provide luxury hotels for their customers. This means they want to sell comfort to all age groups. You can see how this reflects in the tone and language of the caption.
In the third example is a post by the beauty brand Fenty Beauty. They sell makeup products and are popular among younger crowds. Their caption reflects their demographic, which sounds casual, exciting, and peppy!
Your brand’s tone and voice help foster your identity on social media, and it associates your brand with how it talks to its users. You want to build this unique identity, and it will allow people to remember you better.
2. Imbibe the latest trends and conversations in your captions
You want to stay on top of trends so you can participate in the latest discussions on social media. When you understand who you are marketing for, it becomes easier to keep track of such trends. Write your captions with such objectives in mind.
Here is an example of Duolingo utilizing Rihanna’s Super Bowl performance for an interesting post.
3. Involve your audience
Engaging your audience is crucial to growing your account. One of the most effective ways is to interact with your audience.
When you write social media captions, involve questions and ask them for suggestions. You could even create fun posts and ask them to choose “this or that” and give them choices, “caption this” to a fun image, and more. You could also ask them open-ended questions to widen the scope for replies.
In the example below, you can see Chipotle asking its audience to choose between a utensil. This is a simple post, but it encourages everyone to respond.
In the next example, Costa Coffee asks their users an open-ended question in the caption. The image is simply supporting the post.
4. Use captions to generate curiosity
Social media is a great place to launch new products and services. Use your captions to generate curiosity for these launches. Give them hints, make it a riddle, give them options, or any other fun way you can interact with your audience. Whatever you decide, keep them guessing for the correct answer.
Here is an example of Freddy’s Steakburgers social media caption. They have an image for a hint, but they also have interesting descriptions in the caption to keep the users guessing.
5. Add CTA to your captions
Before you dive into writing amazing captions, align yourself with business objectives. What do you want out of this account?
Do you want to drive traffic to your website?
Do you want to increase engagement on social posts?
Do you want to increase sales through social media shopping platforms?
Whatever your goal may be, your CTA should reflect it. You can add a “link in bio” or tag the items shown in the picture with a purchasing option depending on the goal.
However, it is essential to remember that you don’t want to sound too pushy. Make it about the user, the product, about the image, and then mention the CTA. Subtlety is your best friend while writing a good CTA on social media (most of the time).
In the example below, Ring Concierge talks about the celebrity wedding first. They congratulate the couple and then ask users to check out the details of the tagged jewelry.
6. Keep it simple
Overcomplicated sentences are hard to read. They are harder to engage. At first glance, you want readers to resonate with your content. This is why you need to keep your sentences short and snappy.
Good writing is not about using big words; it’s about using simple words in a significant way.
In the example below, Teva uses a simple caption to talk about their footwear. There is no fancy jargon about how the footwear is, but rather what it can be used for.
7. Use the length available for captions well but not too well
Every social media platform has character limits. Twitter’s is 280, LinkedIn’s is 700 characters, Instagram’s is 2,200, Tiktok’s is 140, and Facebook’s is 63,206.
While the limit differs for each of them, you want to know how to use them well. Your social media captions should have a healthy balance of short captions and sometimes longer ones.
Longer captions do get good engagement on Instagram often. A report shows a rising trend of captions with the length 500-1000 and 1000-2000 characters gaining engagement.
However, when you use long captions, remember to break up the sentences with emojis and space. You want to make it easy to read for your audience.
In the example below, you can see how in Sprout’s caption, they wrote a long caption, but also kept it interesting with emojis and space.
8. Add humor to your captions
Being funny is always relatable. This also encourages people to share your content. You might see people sharing funny memes on their social media accounts all the time. If you want to be one being shared, then be witty in your caption.
In the example below, you can see Freddy’s Steakhouse make a witty remark about the image in their caption.
9. Avoid sounding like a sales pitch all the time
Sometimes you have to be direct about your products in your captions. But if you do that all the time, you are making your captions about you rather than them (your audience). Making salesy captions also decreases your likeability.
You remember the sales hoardings you ignore because it screams ‘BUY NOW!!!’. Yeah, you don’t want to do that to your audience, either.
In the example below, Sprouts talks about some of the products they sell, but it is done through a recipe. It is indirect yet effective.
10. Sound personal and address customers directly
You may not be Taylor Swift and have an army of Swifties to address them with a name consistently, but you can make it personal by using first and second person in your sentences.
In the example below, you can see how Costa Coffee addresses their customers by using “you” in the caption and asking a fun question. This makes the caption more personal.
11. Be intentional with your captions
Images and videos are great tools. However, don’t let them carry the weight of engagement. Be intentional with your captions and add value through them. Before posting, ask yourself what you want to convey through this post. Does your caption reflect this intention? Does it add value?
No? Then you can rewrite it.
In the example below, Mind Body Green talks about oil pulling in their post. They have some actionable steps in the photo. But their captions also add value and context to the post.
12. Use images to draw attention and use captions to make them stay
Use creative images that quickly draw the attention of your audience. Then use the caption to provide more value and information to the reader. This helps you create longer captions that draw users as they are already invested in it because of the image.
In the example below, you can see how Mind Body Green has added a quote in the image, and they talk more about it in the caption with a CTA.
13. Ask them to tag friends!
Use captions to bring more people to your social platforms! Craft your posts in such a way that allows more engagement. Create giveaways or lucky draws and encourage participation by tagging people.
14. Incorporate hashtags well based on each social media platform
Hashtags can be immensely useful in your captions. However, here are some rules to use them well:
- Find the sweet spot of numbers to use hashtags. According to a report, you don’t want to use more than six hashtags on Instagram, or else the engagement of your posts will decrease.
- Add hashtags relevant to your post – don’t add hashtags just because they are trending.
- Research well and find out which hashtag relevant to you has more reach and followers.
- Use hashtags using your brand’s name to create a brand identity.
Use these rules well, and you will notice that hashtags also improve your discoverability on social media. You will be doing future you a favor.
You can notice the same in the example below. Lululemon created the hashtag #lululemonstudio. Many of their customers and collaborators use the hashtag in their posts.
15. Interact with your audience with emojis
Emojis can be a fun element to break the monotony in your social media captions. Emojis also add creativity to your caption.
You could use them to break longer sentences as well to increase readability. More importantly, posts with emojis have seen better engagement.
However, remember to have a reasonable balance of emojis. You don’t want to overuse them. Look into the tone and voice of your brand and conclude what would work well.
Here is an easy online platform that gives you a list of emojis to write your captions in advance.
In the example below, you can see how Teva have used emojis to make their captions more animated. They’ve also used the arrow emoji to direct the audience’s attention toward the CTA.
16. Most important words come first – make the most out of them
The attention span of your audience is relatively small, especially in the world of endless scrolling. You constantly fight with everyone else on social media for your customer’s interest.
Whatever is most important to the post, say it in the beginning. Even if some people don’t read all the way, they would’ve read the most significant parts of the post.
In the example below, you can see how Chipotle’s caption talks about the $6 entree right at the beginning. People will read this and spend time on the post. This is also a great hook.
17. Don’t write the caption for the first time while you are posting
You might be a pro; however, even pros can make mistakes. This is simple social media hygiene. Write down your captions elsewhere, and check for grammar and spell check.
Save your captions on a different document so that even if you lose your social post drafts, you will still find them there.
When you grow your followers, there is less room for errors. Some errors could also lead to you losing out on some business. Therefore, always proofread well!
18. Be descriptive through words
If you want people to buy your products, or try your services, don’t just tell them what you offer. Make them experience it with your words. Be as descriptive as possible and show them a story.
Are you selling cold drinks? Tell your audience what it feels like to gulp a sip of that cold drink on a hot Monday afternoon—selling a swimsuit? Tell your audience how nice it would feel to swim in it by the beach. Do not waste caption real estate. Provide value-packed information to your audience
In the example below, Fenty Beauty’s post talks about their new lipsticks. They also describe the comfort you’d feel while using it.
Go ahead and write those social media captions confidently!
These were the 18 tips for you to ace your social media caption game. Despite learning all the best practices, remember to monitor your social media posts consistently. That is how you will learn what posts work well with your audience.
Additionally, remember to experiment and try something new with your caption. You never know which post could get you the highest engagement. That random idea you get at midnight has the potential. Trust it.
Most importantly, have your audience’s perspective at the center of all decisions. Write for them and focus on readability.
Your next best social media post is waiting to be written; good luck!
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