The Trick to Writing Engaging Instagram Captions

As popular as photos have become in social media marketing, they only tell part of the story about your business. Real results are best measured in interactions. Getting customers to actually like, comment, tag, or share your business’ profile often requires putting in a little extra effort. When using Instagram for business, that back and forth can be facilitated with a great caption.

Los Angeles-based artist and textile designer Erin Dollar helped entrepreneurs build and grow their brands and businesses when she taught Connect with Your Customers on Social Media. In the class, she shared her top recommendations for engaging Instagram followers and growing your business.

Ask a Question

Many businesses use photos as a way to introduce new products to customers. However, the post can fall flat if customers aren’t sure if feedback is welcome. Dollar suggests using the caption to ask a question to initiate a conversation.

“I might say, ‘I’m thinking about developing this new product, what do you think of this color?’” Dollar says. “Otherwise it would just be a new product, but now that they’ve been asked a question, hopefully people are going to come in and offer their ideas.”

Give Context

A photo of an object or person without context can be confusing. But when you use your caption to tell the story about that object or person, you draw people in. It begins to build a connection with your followers, letting them know what’s going on in your life or with your business.

Gather New Fans

Hashtags are a fun way to join conversations and create new conversations. When you add a hashtag to your post on any social media platform, your post is listed along with all of the other posts on that topic. This means that anyone who clicks over to read all of the posts with a specific hashtag will see yours and possibly follow your account as a result.

Give and Receive Shoutouts

Instead of limiting the conversation to your own followers, invite someone else to join the conversation. Use @ mentions and tagging to call a particular post to someone’s attention. On Instagram, you can do this either in the caption or the comments.

“I try to make a point when I’m visiting friends at their studios, I’ll share that I’m there,” Dollar said. “I’ll @ tag whoever’s studio I’m visiting or whatever event I’m at and make sure they know that I’m trying to build them up. Sometimes I’ll get some reciprocity from that.”

Captions and hashtags can make your visual content more effective. When your photos and captions work together to tell a story, your online followers are more likely to respond. For more information on how to engage customers on social media, check out the complete class.

Stephanie Faris

Stephanie Faris is the Simon & Schuster author of 30 Days of No Gossip, 25 Roses, and the upcoming Piper Morgan series.