Instagram limits you to a few actions. That’s the beauty and challenge of the platform. You can post a picture, tag friends, and add a caption.
Instagram captions are a way to extend the power of your amazing images and build an engaged audience.
Think of your images as your jab and your caption as the left hook.
In this post, we’ll explore how to create amazing Instagram captions to increase engagement and followers.
What is an Instagram caption
An Instagram caption is a written companion to an Instagram image or video post that further explains what the post is. It can include text, emoji’s, hashtags, and username tags.
It serves to contextualize the photo for people who may not be intimately familiar with the subject.
For example, you may have a photo where you’re eating out with a friend. You can use your caption to tell your audience why that friend is so special to you, where you are, or a funny story about how you guys ended up there.
Why Instagram captions are so important
The most important part of your Instagram strategy is the content.
Instagram captions are there to reinforce the message or shed more light on what’s going on in your image. They can affect how many people see your post.
The updated Instagram algorithm places images you interact with the most at the top of your feed. They’re no longer in strictly chronological order. The more engagement a post gets, the more likely it is to appear in front of people and get reposted.
A well thought out caption can help you achieve that goal – you may even get to the explore page. We don’t need to tell you what that can do for your follower count.
When you top off a good Instagram caption with an action oriented call to action, you’ll end up with more traffic, followers, and engagement.
Everyone is happy.
What makes a good Instagram caption
A good Instagram caption communicates the value of your image, engages your audience, adds personality, and gets people to perform your desired action.
That’s a lot to ask of a few sentences. Fortunately, Instagram gives you a lot of space to write your message. There’s a limit of 2200 characters which is between 350 – 400 words.
Obviously, you don’t need to use all the space provided to make a compelling Instagram caption. Another thing is that your caption doesn’t come up in Instagram search results so there’s no point trying to SEO them.
If your followers are engaging with your captions then you’re on the right track.
It can be difficult to think of a great caption every time you want to upload a post. What will most likely happen is you’ll have a few good ones and a few lazy ones. That’s because most people do it on the fly.
You don’t build your products and services on the fly so why should you do your marketing on the fly?
To get around this issue, we suggest you schedule your posts in advance so you have time to brainstorm your captions and rewrite them if necessary.
Let’s look at specific tips to create better Instagram captions every time.
Research your audience
Instagram has over a billion active users but not all of them care about you or your brand. You can have a great page with amazing images, but if the wrong people are seeing it then it’s all for nothing.
Research who your audience is and what they resonate with.
The first stop is your analytics data. At this point, you should’ve already connected our Instagram page with Facebook.
That unlocks analytics data for your page which shows you things like age, gender, posting times, etc.
For example, you may have mostly women in the 25-34 age bracket. You’d style your captions differently than if you had men over 45 years old.
Demographic data gives you only a piece of the puzzle.
The next step is to look at what your other people in your space are doing with their captions.
Once you know what works, refer to your audience personas to refine what you say.
An audience persona is a representation of the people that follow you. It’s like an avatar.
When you have these personas, it allows you to check your caption against what they’d like. For example, you have a persona of Sally. Sally is 27 years old, works in corporate finance, and is current on all things pop culture.
If you tell a joke about “This is America” or Drake, she’ll understand you instantly and laugh silently to herself.
Stick to a consistent brand voice
Instagram is an extension of your brand and so is your brand voice.
Brand voice is an essential part of building a following around the things you hold dear. It’s more than the way you type captions. It’s also the values and movements you hold dear as a brand.
How to create a brand voice is a little beyond the scope of this post, but keep in mind the following things:
- What specific words are unique to your brand?
- How would you describe your brand (playful, serious, knowledgeable)
- What’s the tempo of your brand (short clipped sentences or long sermons)?
- Do you use contractions?
- Do you use we or I or Acme Inc.?
Your brand voice is informed by your audience but, in the end, it’s all your own.
Utilize the caption space
Instagram gives you 2,200 characters to write a caption. The problem is that not all of it is visible at first. If you write over 120 characters or 3-4 lines, it’ll be cut off and people will have to click “more.”
You have to give them a good reason to click more.
It’s OK to tell a story or write a longer narrative in your caption space but you need to capture their attention first.
You do this by frontloading the important bits in the caption. Add important calls to action, interesting story elements, or useful information here.
Leave the mentions and hashtags for the other half of your caption. That way, you can be sure the most important part of your message is seen.
Tell A story
Humans are hardwired to love a story. It doesn’t matter if you’re a few miles above sea level, gathered around a fire, or scrolling through your Instagram feed.
A compelling story is always appreciated.
Look at the images you’re about to post on Instagram and think about what kind of story you can tell in the caption.
What led up to that image?
Was there something interesting going on behind the scenes?
Who are the people in the picture with you?
People are interested in more than an image. They’re interested in what makes the image special enough to post on social media.
Copywriters use what’s called an embedded command. They’re statements which tell people to take an action.
They work well on Instagram.
Have you seen those posts that tell you to tag two friends without saying anything? Those are embedded commands.
Even if you don’t take action on them, you think about the people you can tag.
It’s the way our minds work.
The other part of making a statement is standing for a cause you believe in. You can go against the grain and post images about women empowerment, men’s health, or any other cause you champion.
It’s basically drawing a line in the sand. People can rally around you or go against you. It may be polarizing but the ones who follow you are more engaged.
This type of caption has been used a lot because it works. It’s popular on hub pages where they curate the best content on a specific topic.
For example, a page about Bali may show a beautiful beach scene with the caption “who would you take here?”
Our minds start racing to answer the question.
Conversely, you can ask people to choose between two or more options. Fashion accounts tend to ask their followers which style they prefer while numbering the images.
It’s a great way to do psychographic research on your audience while engaging them.
Balance your hashtags
Instagram allows you to use up to thirty hashtags for every post. This includes the hashtags others use in comments.
If you use all the hashtags in your caption or first comment then people won’t be able to add their own in the comments.
A rule of thumb is to use ten or fewer hashtags for every post. That allows you to get maximum exposure while leaving room for your followers. If you decide to use more than three or four hashtags, it can start to look tacky in your feed.
We suggest you put them in your first comment.
Here’s how to do that with SumoGram while scheduling your posts.
Mention other users and relevant brands
The Instagram growth revolves around partnerships. Larger accounts post your content on their page and expose you to their audience.
There are two ways to go about this – pay or tag them.
If you pay, you’re guaranteed to get featured. The only problem is that the larger accounts command a hefty fee.
The other route is to mention brands (and tag them) in your captions. This works best for hub pages. They’re always looking for great content.
Conversely, if you buy something from a brand like clothes, watches, shoes, etc etc. and make a great image or video with it, they’re more than happy to feature you.
After all, it gives them social proof and exposes you to their audience.
Even if they don’t repost your content, it increases the chances of them following or liking your content.
Always add a call to action
Social media is a passive sport. People scroll their feeds, double tap, and possibly share. It doesn’t take much effort.
If you don’t ask them to do something then they won’t.
A call to action in every single post is your answer.
It can be as simple as asking them to follow another account, liking the picture, or commenting.
After some time, sprinkle in calls to action that ask your users to click the link in your bio or perform more involved actions.
Think of Instagram as a TV show and your more direct calls to action as the commercials. If they’re used too often, people will unfollow you.
If used sparingly then they’ll take it as an acceptable tradeoff.
Shoot for a ratio of 5 normal posts to 1 aggressive call to action.
Rewrite it a few times
Almost nothing is perfect (or even good) on the first go around.
This post is a few thousand words, how many times do you think we edited it?
Many people make the mistake of composing their caption on the fly and it shows. Those types of captions lack insight, context, and fail to do their job.
Write your drafts deliberately and rewrite them until they’re nice and polished.
Does this seem like a lot of work?
It can be if you do everything inside the application itself.
We recommend you schedule your posts well in advance and write the captions with thought and care. The added effort you put in will show in all of your engagement metrics.
Instagram caption tools
Now that you know how to write compelling captions manually, there are a few tools that’ll help you automate that process.
Note: If you do decide to go with a tool that allows you to automate some things, be sure to edit whatever the machines give you to reflect your brand.
Alright, here are a few tools to help you make Instagram captions.
Rubric is a caption app for mobile devices that utilizes machine learning and image recognition technology to generate captions for your images.
You’re able to choose from trending content, lyrics, and quotes.
Once you’ve installed the application, all you need to do is find and select the right caption. You have the choice of overlaying it on your image or putting it in the caption space provided by Instagram.
If you’ve already got a good image then use the caption space.
Insta captions is a straightforward app that lets you do what you came for – get captions. They claim to have a database of over ten thousand captions and are adding more to the mix.
They have major categories like selfie, quotes, love, funny etc. You should be able to find a few good captions for almost any situation.
Captiona has over fifty thousand users that rely on it for their caption needs. It’s available as an iOS application and has thousands of captions in its database.
It’s simple to use and is one of the few on this list that invested in a search function. Instead of choosing a category, you’re able to type in a keyword and choose from the ones you find.
It has a custom keyboard you can use within the Instagram app so you can add captions without having to switch between the two.
Captions for Instagram
Captions for Instagram is an Android app which curates hundreds of captions for Instagram and Snapchat. It’s divided into major categories such as life, cool, love, hate, etc.
Transferring the caption to Instagram is as simple as clicking the copy icon and pasting it in the proper place. The major drawback of the app is that, apart from the main categories, you’re unable to search for specific captions.
Grammarly isn’t a caption generator. Instead, it’s an advanced grammar checker.
It’ll ensure you’re using the right punctuation, verbs, and words. Most of the app is free and you can’t go wrong with a second pair of eyes looking at your work.
You can download a Microsoft Windows extension and they’re even compatible with Google docs. If you prefer writing on the web then just install the browser extension for Chrome and you’re good to go.
Examples of Instagram captions to inspire you
Now, here are 250+ done for you Instagram captions across different topic areas. Enjoy.
- He who does not travel does not know the value of men.
- I have an insane calling to be where I’m not
- On a road to nowhere
- Once the travel bug bites there is no antidote
- The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page
- Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind – Seneca
- Travel does the heart good
- We all dream of far away
- Changes in latitude, changes in attitude
- Chase adventure
- Collect moments, not things
- Do more than just exist
- Escape and breathe the air of new places
- Explore, experiment, and evolve
- I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. There’s no going back.
- Who would you take here with you? Tag them.
- Going to places no one knows my name, past, or future is so liberating
- If you come to a fork in the road – take it.
- I always used to think about escape. I finally did.
- Let’s keep going
- Live a great story
Instagram captions for Motivation
- A diamond is a chunk of coal that did well under pressure. What’s your excuse?
- All glory comes from daring to start
- What are you waiting for? Tomorrow is a dream that never comes
- All you have to do is be better than you were yesterday
- Be so good they can’t ignore you
- Be the game changer
- Learn the rules then break them
- Bite off heaps then chew like hell
- Decide to rise
- Do more than just exist
- You were created to do more than pay bills and die
- Do what feels good
- Eat glitter for breakfast and shine all day
- Go out into the world and make your dreams come true
- Grind hard and shine hard
- Just keep going
- It’s not a big change. It’s the little things you do day in and day out that make you a success
- Forget your age. It doesn’t matter
- No sweat, no progress
- Storms don’t last forever
- Be stronger than your excuses
- Become legendary
- Good things come to those who sweat
- No sweat, no progress
- Pain is just weakness leaving your body
- Wake up, lift, sleep, repeat
- The only bad workout is the one you didn’t do
- A strong body is not made in comfort
- Eat clean, train dirty
- Go the extra mile, it’s never crowded
- Kick your own ass
- Progress over perfection
- The best time to start will always be now
- You don’t sweat – you sparkle
- Witness the fitness
- Exercise is life
- Care about health, not weight
- Do it for your future self
- Legend in the making
- Love is a choice, not an emotion
- Fall in love with them everyday
- Healthy obsessions
- When all the love songs are about them
- Love yourself – then others
- I’m wearing the smile you gave me
- Butterflies? I feel the whole zoo.
- Break your rules for them
- What is life without love?
- Magic didn’t exist until I saw you
- I just want to be happy – and naked
- We’ve got history together. We’ve got a story it. It’s what brought us here.
- Real love has no regrets
- Your love could be labeled poison and I’d drink it anyways
- It’s always the simple things in life that matter most
- It’s hard to remember a time before your love
- They doubted us but look at how far we’ve come together. Tag someone who matters
- The way you look at me is all that matters
- Your love is the only scorecard I need
- Consistency is key. Stay bitchy my friends
- In defense of alcohol, I’ve done some pretty dumb shit while sober
- Keep laughing my friends.
- If you take my advice, you’ll eventually end up drunk
- There are kids competing in the Olympics and I still get winded going up a flight of stairs
- That wasn’t funny
- If you don”t laugh then you’re not living
- Real friends look through your broken windows and admire the original leather on the seats
- Friendship isn’t measured in time, it’s measured in quality
- There’s only one ship that can survive all the storms – friendship
- Video games and chill
- Best friends make the good times better and the hard times bearable
- Only real friends know that BTW means bring the wine
- Real friends get drunk together and then argue about who’s calling the uber
- Some people just make the world a bit brighter
- We’ve been friends so long I can’t remember who’s the bad influence
- Real friendship is therapy
- You’re my best friend – you and coffee.
- Friends, the best kind of distraction
- Home is where family and friends are
- Without friendship you have nothing. With friendship, you have everything
- If you truly care then be a friend to me
- A real friend is one who knows when to support you and when to tell you this is bullshit.
- All you need are a few good friends
- I’ll never take a real friend for granted
- You and me against the world. I like those odds.
- There’s no such things as “just a friend.”
- Success isn’t a privilege, it’s my right
- Pay attention to the people who don’t clap when you win
- Don’t ask for permission – ask for forgiveness
- You can fly. All you have to do is master your fear of falling
- Enjoy your success. You deserve it
- Don’t let anyone make you feel like you don’t deserve to be successful.
- You can fall as many times as you want. Just make sure you always stand up.
- I’m dreaming with my eyes wide open
- Failure isn’t permanent unless you stop trying
- Success isn’t about big wins and crushing it every single day. It’s about putting in the work whether you like it or not
- I just awesomed all over the place. It feels good.
- They don’t remember the average people in the world
- Mistakes are proof that you’re trying
- Design the life you love and no one can make you feel like you’re unsuccessful
- Success makes everything look, feel, and smell better.
- Success is the only revenge I need.
- You have wings but they’re useless if you don’t open them to fly
- Sunny days wouldn’t feel so go if it wasn’t for the rain
- I do it, Not to impress you but to impress myself
- Whistle while you hustle. It’ll make everything easier.
Instagram captions for fashion
- Fashion is for today – style is timeless
- I’d rather be stylish than timeless
- I want my future kids to look at my pictures and say I was one smooth Muther***
- Dress like you’re already the boss
- There’s no excuse not to dress well
- People think it’s expensive to look good. It’s not. Good style is an investment in your esteem, your reputation, and your career. It’s more expensive to look like a slob.
- Slayqueen? I’m a god with this sh*t
- You’re shining like a fifth avenue diamond
- I have no desire to fit in. Like, zero ambition.
- Don’t try to be a trendsetter. Do you and people will follow.
- The world always notices the original
- That moment when you notice someone who’s classy and hood all at the same time.
- I just make it look easy
- Your style is like your business card. It says who you are before you ever speak.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks
- Trendy is the last stage before tacky. Forget the trends, set your own pace
- We never go out of style.
- Everything we do is trending
- Fashion is easy – buy a copy of vogue. Style, now that’s hard.
- I’m too old to be fashionable
- The song of my life
- It’s always more than just music
- Music is life
- Music is the universal painkiller
- Have you tried to overdose on music. That’s right – you can’t.
- Music is my motivation
- Good music never expires
- If you look around and listen, you’ll hear the music in everything
- Flight of the Bumblebee 2.0
- Songs + memories = life
- Put on some gangsta rap and handle it
- The world won’t wait for you. Turn on your favorite playlist and put in the work
- Music is the only magic that’s left
- Listen to the music – not the words
- What are your favorite songs? That’s the key to who you truly are
- Without music, there is no me
- I was raised on soul music, developed on rap music, and came of age through pop music.
- Music defines every major moment in my life. Without it I’m lost
- I am music
Instagram captions for Girls captions
- Sweet and salty
- Easy for a good girl to go bad
- Lady in the streets….. you know the rest
- Everyone is watching her but she’s into you
- Goddess of the Sun…. and moon and stars and everything in between
- Booty on fleek
- Eyebrows on fleek
- Note to self: you’re beautiful just the way you are
- She’s a drug to take in moderation
- The beach is calling
- Boss lady
- Wife material
- Young & free
- Changing the world one sequin at a time
- Queen without the drag
- Be yourself until they close the fucking coffin
- Sea nymph
- Strong women don’t need permission
- Famous in my own mind
- Cry? I kick ass
- We don’t miss people as much as we miss the memories
- It may be over but I still feel it in my heart
- Sometimes it’s too painful.
- I wear my heart on my sleeve. Don’t hurt it
- Sometimes, I’m a little weak but life goes on. I do it because I refuse to lose
- The past is something you can never let go
- Sometimes I don’t want to dream because of the pain I’ll feel if I fail
- I died a little more inside every day
- I was loyal to you but you were always lying
- All it takes is one betrayal before you start to question everything
- Your love is too expensive for me
- I’m not sure they ever loved me. It was all a lie
- I’ve been through heartbreak and betrayal but I’m still ready to love again
- I’ve abandoned love
- I can’t stop crying because I know what once was
- If only we’d lasted a little longer
- My face is a doorway to my emotions. I can’t hide anything but then again, I don’t want to
- There’s no place I’d rather be. I could live in these feelings forever
- There’s a void where you used to be
- Selfie season
- I woke up like this
- Coffee and confidence
- It’s not a phase, it’s who I am
- Self-love is the most important love
- You see that smile? There’s nothing you can do to remove it
- I’m happy. That never goes out of style
- When you take a selfie so good you can’t believe it’s you
- Yea, I know I look good
- Give people a reason to stare
- I’ve decided to live more and worry less
- I’m a nightmare but I look like a daydream. Are you sure you want some of this?
- When you look this good, the details don’t matter
- You do you and I’m going to do me
- You don’t know the real me
- I wasn’t born with a silver spoon. I didn’t have connections. I’ve done everything through blood sweat and tears
- Never cry for the same thing twice
- Hello world
- I laugh a lot. It’s good for me
- Boom! I can’t help it. I’m awesome like that
Instagram captions are a great way to increase the power and relevance of your Instagram posts. We’ve covered a lot of ground and equipped you with a lot of Instagram captions you can use whenever you want.
Be sure to follow the guidelines we’ve outlined and you’ll be sure to thrive on Instagram.
Let us know what you think in the comments and don’t forget to share.