How To Write Instagram Captions That Generate Engagement (And Sales)

With 1 billion users as of 2018, it’s difficult to ignore the potential of building an audience on Instagram.

Just a small slice of that pie could have a dramatic impact on your business.

Here’s the problem:

Most brands struggle to maintain an engaged audience. It’s hard work, I get that.

You could have a huge amount of followers but that’s not going to benefit your business if they aren’t engaging with you.

You need engaged followers. And it’s those engaged followers that will be more likely to buy from you, and become brand advocates.

So, what can you do to encourage engagement?

In this post, you’ll learn why Instagram needs to be part of your social media strategy, and exactly how to frame your Instagram captions so they get more engagement.

Let’s jump right in:

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Why Instagram needs to be part of your social media strategy

Aside from the fact that an estimated 71% of businesses use Instagram and you could be losing sales to your competitors – this number increased significantly since 2016.

As E-Marketer has shown in the graph below, in 2016 only 48.8% of businesses used Instagram:

Percentage Of Businesses Using Instagram
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And since 2016, a mere two years ago – we’ve seen that number double.

The secret sauce to get customers to interact and engage with your content on Instagram lays within a few strategic tactics you can easily add to your social media routine.

These tactics that businesses use (which we will jump into shortly), will bring massive engagement.

And if you’re not getting a decent amount of authentic engagement from your followers – you’re missing out on gigantic amounts of leads.

Why is engagement important?

If you have 100,000 followers, but only a tiny percentage actually care about you brand and engage frequently – it’s unlikely many will follow through and purchase your products or services.

While it’s important to grow your Instagram followers, there is more to it than that.

And if they don’t “like” or comment on your posts, they’re surely not going to take the time to take a gander at your profile.

These days, if you have a Instagram business account – you can have your profile jam-packed with extra content.

Using Instagram tools, like Linktree, you’re able to have one link that goes to a premade landing page where you can have unlimited links. On this landing page you can have a list of any links you’d like your customers to follow!

It’s quite a handy Instagram tool especially as a business owner.

Alternatively you can create your own mobile-optimized “Instagram landing page” with a drag & drop landing page builder. Visit Colin’s article to learn more about landing page tools.

Let’s face it.

Whether you’re personally a fan of Instagram, or not – it’s an integral part of today’s marketing. And if you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon – there’s no time like the present.

Now, let’s dive into how to craft the perfect caption that drives engagement, leads, sales, and more money for your business!

Prompt your customers to engage

An effective strategy to ensure your customers will engage with your business on Instagram, is to ask questions in your captions.

People are far more likely to write a comment on your latest post if you prompt them to.

All you need to do is ask! You’d be shocked by the amount of engagement you can achieve by simply asking a question.

Everyone wants their chance to be heard. And if what you’re asking them is relevant to them in particular – they’ll love to jump in with their opinion on whatever you’ve asked.

This is where knowing your audience comes in handy.

You need to know what resonates with them, and what is going to capture their attention.

An Instagramer, 6 Figure Chick, uses questions in many of her captions to bring engagement to her posts:

thesixfigurechick Engagement Questions
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She actually goes for the double-whammy. She asks a question in the first sentence, and then she uses a CTA (Call-to-Action). Both are excellent ways to see results.

Always use a CTA (call-to-action) in your captions

It’s proven that people are more likely to take action if they are driven to do so.

Just like in your content marketing strategy, you always throw in a Call-to-Action at the end of each article you write. There’s a reason for this.

Well, the same goes for posts on social media; especially Instagram.

A Call-to-Action can be many things.

You can directly invite something to purchase your products or services, or you can be more subtle.

Here’s an example from Intel, where they clearly show an effective Call-to-Action:

Intel Effective Call To Action
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What type of call to action should you use?

  • Ask a question
  • Encourage them to leave a comment
  • Ask for their thoughts

No matter what type of Call to Action you decide to include – just make sure you do include one! Using a CTA can boost your engagement like nobody’s business.

Inspire emotions

Something tells me you know a thing or two about content marketing.

And if that’s the case, you’re probably no stranger to using this tactic.

But if you’re not familiar, let me explain:

When we as humans see something online that spurs urgency or peeks our curiosity – we’re likely going to look at it or read it.

We just can’t help it.

It’s been proven, time and time again: emotions influence what we purchase.

They’re much more powerful than you’d think, and in the business world: emotions are your best friend.

There are certain emotions that are well-known for being incredibly effective, especially when used on social media platforms – like in Instagram captions.

4 key emotions you want to use in your captions:

  1. Urgency
  2. Curiosity
  3. Inspiration
  4. FOMO

When we see our favorite brands posting deals that lasts for a very limited time, chances are, we’re going to click through and make a purchase. Mainly because we don’t want to miss out on deal that’s only available for such a short time.

This is called the Fear of Missing Out, also known as FOMO.

The Fear of Missing Out is so effective, that it’s said to be the reason 60% of millennials have bought something.

Another brilliant strategy is using curiosity or anticipation.

There’s nothing that gets customers rolling in like using curiosity and creating hype around a product or service!

You can use this emotion in various ways, it doesn’t have to be directly related to your products and services. Although, that is a great tactic to use in your Instagram captions.

Jeffree Star, of Jeffree Star Cosmetics used this caption to build anticipation and major curiosity for a new product he was launching:

Jeffree Star Cosmetics New Product
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Alternatively, you can choose to Inspire your audience. This is another biggie for Instagram.

And it’s not just for fitness coaches or motivational speakers. Although, they are famous for using inspirational quotes and captions on Instagram.

However, it doesn’t matter what niche your business is in – you can still use inspiration as a form emotion.

You can easily write a quick caption that gives your audience a boost of confidence or a nugget of inspiration for the day – even if you’re far from the “inspiration” niche.

Gabby Bernstein is the queen of inspiration and motivation on Instagram. Here’s an example of one of her posts where she’s wrote out a thoughtful, inspirational post:

Gabby Bernstein Inspirational Post
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As you can see, Gabby received over 18,000 likes on this very simple image.

My guess why?

Because she gave her audience exactly what they needed: a small dose of inspiration.

You’d be surprised what kind of engagement you can achieve by provoking emotion in your customers on Instagram.

Overall, conveying emotions in your captions should be your number one strategy when you’re coming up with enticing captions to turn prospects into customers and/or clients!

Know your customers inside and out

It’s no secret that having a specific target customer will give you far more leads and conversions than shooting in the dark and guessing who your customer base is.

Instagram is a marketing powerhouse, and if you’re not using it to its fullest capabilities – you can bet your competitors are. And they’re raking in the dough doing so.

As a business owner of any kind, you need to know a couple critical things about your target customers.

What you need to know about your target customers:

  • What are their biggest challenges?
  • What are the largest pain points that your products or services can do or solve?
  • What are their greatest desires, wants, and needs?

Once you get a clear picture of what your customers want, it not only becomes super-easy to create products or services that will help them. But it will also be much easier to create content on Instagram and other social media platforms.

Your customers should always be thinking “ how did so-and-so know exactly what I was thinking”?

That’s the power of results-driven market research.

You don’t need to spend a dime to get to know these things, either. You can do your research right on Instagram.

Find out what types of content your target customer enjoys by checking out who they’re following. You can also look at the types of hashtags they’re using to get a clearer picture.

Once you’ve gotten inside their heads, you’ll be able to tailor your captions on Instagram so that you see more engagement, more leads, and eventually more conversions from this platform.

Include personal stories to make your captions more relatable

Including some sort of personal story to your captions is always a winner on Instagram. Whether you’re a small business, marketer, or larger business – it can be done!

PCOS Support Girl on Instagram is constantly getting massive engagement because of her heartfelt stories she adds in her captions.

Here’s an example of one of those inspiring personal story captions:

PCOS Support Girl Personal Story
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You don’t have to make the entire post about your story, like this popular Instagramer did – you can start off by telling a story and lead it into something relevant to your business.

Try it out – you’ll be shocked how well your followers and customers respond to a relatable story that makes your business more than just a brand!

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Wrapping it up

After launching in 2010 – Instagram quickly became almost every businesses go-to for affordable marketing.

There’s no need to spend a fortune on marketing for your business.

Social media has changed the game. Now that you have robust platforms at your fingertips – it’s making marketing simple.

And as a plus, you don’t have to spend money on ads. Although, you can. Instagram does offer an option for ads, just like Facebook does. However, you certainly don’t need them to be successful.

But with stunning images that catch the eye, and carefully crafted captions that pull your customers closer to you – you’ll begin to see fantastic results.

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Alee King

Alee King

Alee King is a freelance writer for hire. She works with B2B & B2C businesses to create compelling content that attracts and converts. When she's not writing and downing copious amounts of coffee, she's chasing her rambunctious 5-year-old around.

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