- 1. Definition of an Instagram caption
- 2. Overview
- 3. Advantages and disadvantages
- 4. Relevance to influencer marketing
- 5. Best practices: How to write a good caption
Table of contents
Definition of an Instagram caption
A caption is a short description that is usually placed on or a near an illustration to bring more attention to it and describe it succinctly. On Instagram, captions are referred to as Instagram Captions.
Any Instagram user can add a caption to any image they post to make the subject of the photo clearer. Captions on Instagram can include but are not limited to, tags and hashtags.
Including captions on photos are a pivotal part of influencer marketing on Instagram, as they help an account (Instagram User) stand out from the rest. On Instagram, people see a lot of the same photos day in and day out but what they don’t see is a lot of informative and entertaining captions. Instagram Captions can help set one brand apart from another while entertaining, and not boring, the followers in the process.
The caption option on Instagram has been around ever since Instagram first appeared in October of 2010. Originally, captions on Instagram were short and sweet but a new trend has appeared over the last year or so, where brands and popular influencers are using longer captions, to the extent that they almost appear as short blog posts.
What has set Instagram apart from the rest of the social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter is its emphasis on visual content. Since its inception very little has changed in that regard, yet these days more and more users seem to be using longer and more descriptive captions to get their photos message across. This could be a new influencer marketing method to set their brand apart even further from the rest, which is the main reason Instagram Influencers use captions in the first place.
Instagram Captions were originally designed to “add” to the photo but it appears that now they have the ability to spur up a response or even a conversation, which is ideal for influencers seeking more engagement from their followers.
One more area in which influencers have been using captions is in the area of influencer management. Many of them test their captions against one another through Instagram’s platform analytics and in this way can see which type of ones elicit the best response. Once they are armed with this information, they are better equipped to plan out future photos and captions for their audience.
Advantages and disadvantages
As far as captions on Instagram are concerned, the advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages. To use or not to use is really dependant on the type of photo that is being presented. Sometimes a particular picture is so telling that adding anything else to it, in this case, a caption, would only detract from its meaning and the moment.
First impressions mean everything on Instagram, especially when it comes to influencer marketing, so it is important to know if, how, and when to use captions to enhance a photo.
That being said, the following Pros and Cons of Instagram Captions are given below.
- They help a picture stand out. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when someone sees a thousand pictures a day, those are a lot of the same words being repeated time and time again. Captions can break the monotony of seeing the same picture or same style picture on a day-to-day basis.
- Clears up confusing photos. When trying to stand apart, influencers often use off-the-wall photos to grab attention. While this may seem like a good idea, as some of these photos definitely do grab attention, they can also confuse the viewer. In this case, using captions can help clear up the message and turn a confusing situation into a highly entertaining and engaging one.
- Captions are great for any influencer management tool. As was stated earlier, influencers and marketers on Instagram can use captions to test their campaigns and find which type of photos and captions capture their readers' attention the most. In so doing, they can cut down the process of constantly testing out captions, as they already know which ones work and so can spend their time coming up with new ones along those lines.
- Increases credibility in the eyes of Instagram. The new Instagram Algorithm weighs engagement (likes & comments) very highly. Captions can be used to enhance engagement. With a strong Call-To-Action (CTR) in a caption, viewers are more likely to respond and so Instagram will reward that post with higher feed boosts. A post with really good engagement may even end up being displayed on Instagram’s Explore Page.
- Hashtags can be used on Instagram Captions. It is widely known among influencers that hashtags produce the most likes and the best part of using captions in Instagram is the ability to include hashtags along with a caption. As the caption box is more predominant than the comments section, it is better to place hashtags there.
- Tags can be used with captions. Tags are the second-most used influencer management tool used on Instagram. They rank right behind hashtags for their ability to increase likes, and just like hashtags, tags can also be included within the captions space for better visibility.
- Instagram has and will probably always be a visually-engaging site. That is what sets it apart from other social media platforms. However, with more and more people using Instagram each day, the ability to differentiate one influencer’s messages from the other has become muffled. To clear this up, influencers have begun to overuse captions somewhat taking attention away from the visual display which should always be the main focus of the message.
- For those living outside the U.S., captions can be a problem as many times these users cannot read them. While this may not seem like a big deal, over 70% of all Instagram users live outside the U.S., meaning that a lot of them captions are irrelevant and many times irritating, and therefore an influencer can run the risk of losing a large portion of their followers by using too many captions.
- Creating captions can be time-consuming It is hard enough for influencers to produce, find, and edit photos and videos without having to come up with suitable captions. There is really no way to ignore attention to details when thinking what to say as a poor caption can severely hamper engagement to an otherwise highly-engaging video or photo.
Relevance to influencer marketing
The impact Instagram Captions have on marketing cannot be overstated. More engagement, more leads, more followers, and more conversions are why influencers and online marketers do what they do. Captions have the ability to produce each and every one of these results which makes it one of the most effective tools to use for marketing on Instagram.
While pictures and videos do a great job of driving interest, captions can further enhance that interest by detailing what the video or photo is about, as well as help in giving the sender a unique voice, which ultimately helps to build their brand.
It has been said that a photo without a caption is like a book without a title. While the title may not improve the content, it is what everyone remembers when sharing it with others. Captions ultimately give a name to the photo, which can help it go viral.
The three general results attributed to captions are as follows:
- Understanding (Explains What, Why, Where, & How)
- Promotion (Calls-To-Action)
- Entertainment (Engagement Through Wit)
Best practices: How to write a good caption
When it comes to captions, the best advice is to make the caption as good as the photo. This is done by giving or providing context, inspiring action, and creating a consistent personality. The best ways to achieve these three objectives are as follows:
- Using a call-to-action: Some of the main ways to implement a call-to-action within your caption is by tagging a friend, providing a link to a website, answering questions, and branding hashtags. Be sure not to include a call-to-action in all of your captions as this will look spammy.
- Consistent Voice: Don’t change styles too often when it comes to captions. Changing the style of messages (a.k.a. personality) disrupts marketing as followers expect a certain style and tone from you and your messages. Your voice is why they followed you in the first place and changing it may cause them to unfollow.
- Avoid spelling and grammar mistakes: This should be quite obvious as nothing looks more unprofessional than a piece of content with a bunch of errors in it. There are a host of tools that can proofread your caption before you send it out. This extra but simple step will keep you in good graces with your following.
- Send clean captions. This further expands upon the guideline listed above as it is all about avoiding looking bad in the eyes of your viewers and followers. Too many hashtags, links, emojis, and other “extras” can really disturb the flow of your message and will likely label you as a spammer.
- Do not forget to inform or entertain, whichever the case may be. Captions are used to provide more information or ad wit to the photo If these elements are not incorporated into the caption, then there is no use in sending one. Just using call-to-actions and extras like branded hashtags, links, tags, and emojis does not really provide any value to the recipient. Captions need to provide value in order to establish and cement your brand.