How to Write Good Instagram Captions: 5 Great Tips to Improve Engagement

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Instagram tips to improve engagement

Here’s a riddle: What’s only 125 characters long, yet has the power to get you sales? Instagram captions! Today I’m writing about Instagram captions. You will read about what they are, why they matter, and what makes a good Instagram caption. By the end of this article, you’ll have five captions you can use on your Instagram page. And don’t worry -these captions work for supplier photos, professional product shots, and everything in between. So whether you’re just getting started or already an Instagram heavyweight, you’ll find these captions super helpful.

What are Instagram Captions

Simply put, Instagram captions are the written descriptions below an Instagram photo. They can contain text, emojis, hashtags, and tags. They can’t contain clickable links. Instagram captions are limited to about 330 words or 2,200 characters.

Why Do Instagram Captions Matter

Well, if you’re in e-commerce, the whole point of being on Instagram is to get seen so you can get sales. When it comes to getting seen, you need to publish Instagram photos that get engagement. When I say engagement, I mean photo likes, comments, and shares.

Instagram’s new algorithm favours posts that get a lot of engagement. So if you post a photo on Instagram and it gets a lot of likes and comments, Instagram will show that photo to more and more people. Compelling captions are a great way to get more engagement.

Done well, captions can get people to leave a comment on your photo, share your photo with their friends, follow your account, or even click a link and purchase your product.

Instagram captions are so important that companies pay copywriters hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars to write them. If your budget doesn’t allow for a social media pro, no worries. I prepared five captions that you can use whenever you post on Instagram.

Let’s write some captivating captions.

Instagram Caption #1:
The open-ended question

If you want your Instagram photo to get seen, you need to get comments. And if you want to get comments, there’s no better way than by asking open-ended questions.

Open-ended questions aren’t yes-or-no questions. Instead, the best open-ended questions on Instagram ask for users’ opinions.

How to Write Good Instagram Captions: 5 Great Tips to Improve Engagement

For example, this post by backpack designer P. Mai prompts Instagrammers to share what they’re reading these days. Users weighed in with their reading material, including books and to-do lists.

Let’s say we’re selling oil diffusers, and posting photos of our product. Here are some good open-ended questions we could pose in the captions:

  • What scented oils do you want to try?
  • Why do you love your oil diffuser?
  • Where do you use your oil diffuser?

You can use these captions too. Just substitute “scented oil” and “oil diffuser” with your store’s products. Or, start selling oil diffusers and use these captions just as they are.

Instagram Caption #2:
The multiple choice question

Unlike open-ended questions, multiple choice questions give users a few answers to choose from.

How to Write Good Instagram Captions: 5 Great Tips to Improve Engagement

For example, if you’re selling a product that comes in multiple colours, you can write a caption that asks: “yellow or green?” as Topshop did here.

Users can engage with this caption by leaving a one-word comment. This makes it easier — and more likely — for users to leave a comment in the first place.

How to Write Good Instagram Captions: 5 Great Tips to Improve Engagement

Say you’re selling this Fries Before Guys phone case. Here are some good multiple choice questions we could pose in our Instagram captions:

  • What’s your vote: Fries or guys?
  • With ketchup or without?
  • Waffle fries or curly fries?

Now, you’ll notice that even though we aren’t selling french fries, we’re talking about them in the caption. That’s fine. Someone likely to buy a fries-before-guys phone case is also likely to have strong opinions about their fries. If that’s the kind of topic that’ll get them commenting, a riff on it in your Instagram caption!

Instagram Caption #3:
The call-to-action caption

A call-to-action, or CTA for short, is when you ask the user to do something. Want users to like your photo, leave a comment, or tag a friend?

Well, just ask!

Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Before you ask users to take action, you have to appeal to their emotions, make them laugh, or give them something valuable.

instagram tips

For example, the caption asks users to tag a friend to brighten their Monday. In essence, the caption gives Instagram users a chance to connect with a friend and bond over a cute video.

And here’s another example:


On Oberlo’s Instagram page, they frequently tell people to leave a comment in exchange for a free eBook.

Let’s say you’re selling printed hoodies online. Any of the following call-to-action captions would work:

  • Tag a friend who would look fierce in this hoodie
  • Like if you’re feeling ferocious, this Friday
  • Leave a comment for an exclusive holiday discount code

Again, you can change these captions, so they’re relevant to the product you’re selling.

Instagram Caption #4:
The minimalist caption

A picture is already worth a thousand words. Why pile on? Some of the most powerful Instagram captions contain just a few words. But you have to pick the right words. The key is to go for emotional words. Words that trigger dreams, ambitions, or passions.

Montblanc does this perfectly. Their single-word caption, Limitless, perfectly captures the success-driven tone of their brand.

Let’s say you sell athletic leggings online. You can post photos with minimalistic captions the evoke fitness, strength, and grit, such as: Find the power within. Stronger every day. Maximum effort.

Instagram Caption #5:
The descriptive caption

The last Instagram caption on our list is one of the easiest to write. There’s just one catch.

Do you remember when you were setting up your dropshipping store?

You wrote detailed product descriptions for every product in your store. You highlighted product features, you gave product specs, and you described how each product would benefit your customers.

If you already wrote great product descriptions, good news: You wrote great Instagram captions too!

But here’s the catch: Instagram’s character limit means you can’t just copy and past product descriptions into Instagram. Only the first 125 characters of a caption appear automatically. Instagram users have to click “More” if they want to read captions longer than that.

Don’t make users click more! Instead, edit product descriptions so that the most valuable information appears first.

Alternatively, edit descriptions, so they fit in 125 words like Ted Baker does here.

How to Write Good Instagram Captions: 5 Great Tips to Improve Engagement

So if you’re selling, say, watches, you can write a caption like Featuring a marble face and a slim leather strap, these watches are minimalist cool. Also, I recommend you read this article about which watches are worth selling.

With that, you’re ready to write great Instagram captions!

What did you think of our list of caption ideas?
What are some of your favourite kinds of captions?
Share them in the description below so IHow to Write Instagram Captions can learn from one another.

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