By Devon Brown
Even though I take terrible photos, I was able to build an Instagram audience of over 6,000 followers who actually interact and comment on my posts, want to know how? Captions! For those of us who flunked photography, Instagram gives us 2,200 characters to redeem ourselves. Here are some tips to help you write captions that will engage your friends, build your audience, and make sure your posts get noticed.
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Most people view Instagram on their phones, which means you should design a post made to scroll. One way to catch a reader’s eye is to start small, very small. A single word is almost impossible not to read, follow that with a few more words of interest and you’ve got them hooked.
Pyramid Opening Example:
all my fault.
Many people who use Instagram keep their captions down to a few words, but if you want to build an audience that keeps coming back, go deeper. Tell a real story, why you took the photo and why you think others might like it.
The Real Deal
Social media is well known for its false depiction of real life. If you want to stand out in the crowd, in addition to going long, keep it honest. People know that life isn’t perfect. If you share your screw ups and hang-ups, with a sense of humor, people will connect to you and want to know more.
This is not a term paper. A good Instagram caption is about interest, engagement and fun, which is basically the definition of an emoji. Emojis also allow your readers to imagine the words you would use. When people are able to put your thoughts in their own words, they will feel more connected to you.
Repeat readers are the best way to have an active and thriving account. A great way to get readers to come back is to tell a story with a cliffhanger because everyone wants to know what happens next.
Everything was perfect until I told him the truth about my…
TO BE CONTINUED
A great measure of a successful Instagram post is the number of comments it receives. If you want to get a lot of comments on your post, invite people to take part by asking a question. Make sure it’s a question that is easy to answer. The best questions allow people to share their opinions without too large of an emotional investment.
Good Question: Would you tell a truth that could ruin your relationship?
Bad Question: What truth have you told that ruined a relationship?
Note: Once you have built a strong community, you can and should ask more difficult questions, but keep in mind only a few brave souls will answer.
Instagram may be a photo-sharing app, but building community is at its core. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but an extra 2,200 characters keeps people connected.
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