4 min read
When you’re searching for the perfect image to post to your professional Instagram several times a day the captions can often become a rushed afterthought. After all, images are king on Instagram and if the image quality isn’t there you’ll have a hard time growing your audience, engaging followers and getting leads out of it.
Keep in mind the purpose of captioning is to add context to your visuals, to give your business and brand a voice and personality, to get your followers to take action and regularly engage with you.
It can also be tricky to know whether your captions are achieving maximum effect and complementing the images you’re posting as well as they could. It can be helpful to think of each caption as a new opportunity to engage with, inform and delight your followers.
6 ways to improve your Instagram captions:
1. Draft your posts
As with most written work, when putting together captions for Instagram it’s important not to rush into it. Take a moment to write up a couple of drafts for the one image and select the strongest, funniest and most engaging one. Even try polling your colleagues, partner or kids to see what line they think is best.
Scheduling all your Instagram posts in advance using programs such as Hootsuite or Later, allows you to take your time to draft all your posts and develop the perfect captions, so you’re not put on the spot later when the ideal time to post arrives.
2. Put important info first
With the way Instagram posts are truncated in the home feed you need to make sure your followers see your CTA and the important information in the first glimpse of your post. Be sure to include the important messages or CTA in the first 3-4 lines of text so your followers can read it in the truncated version and they’re then enticed to click through to read the full post.
For example, when promoting an upcoming open for inspection include the time and address first so the important information doesn’t get cut off and a throw to the link in your bio to view the full listing on your website, so interested followers can easily access more information if they need.
3. Add a call to action
Captions with calls to action (CTA) help you to get more comments and shares, which directly impacts upon the success of your Instagram marketing strategy. A CTA asks your followers to actively do something after reading your caption. You don’t have to aim for a CTA in every single post, but the occasional CTA can work wonders to get your followers engaging with your brand.
A CTA could ask your followers to:
visit your website, subscribe to your newsletter, watch a video or view your latest blog via the link in your bio
enter a competition
respond to a question or share a story in the comments section
‘double tap’ if they like the post
add a caption of their own
tag a friend
include a branded hashtag in their posts
4. Minimal hashtagging
Hashtags are an essential part of targeting, discovery, gaining exposure and connecting with users that are interested in real estate in your area. In fact, studies show that posts with at least one hashtag averaged 12.6 per cent more engagement that posts sans hashtag.
When it comes to using hashtags on your Instagram it’s not a good idea to hashtag #every #single #word #in #your #post. Even though Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags, keep your hashtags to a minimum. Too many hashtags interrupts the flow of your captions, distracts from the key message and makes it harder to read in general.
You also need to ensure your hashtags are relevant and strategic. If there’s no reason to click on the hashtag and join the conversation, then don’t include it. It’s a good idea to search any hashtag before using it to see what chatter already exists around the topic, and to connect with and follow other users in your area. This can give you inspiration for other closely associated hashtags and the ability to become known as the local expert by joining local discussions.
Post images of landmarks or pretty scenery in your area, a coffee at your favourite local coffee shop, happy vendors after an auction or a just listed property always with a hashtag and geo-tag for your service suburb/s. This shows off your success to followers and increases your visibility with other users who can see you really understand and are active in that specific area.
5. Add emojis
The simple reason you might use the occasional emoji in your Instagram captions is to inject some personality and fun into your profile. Emojis are also a great way to draw the eye, add emphasis to your CTAs, convey a particular emotion quickly and highlight important information in your caption, such as ‘Link in bio’ or a ‘new blog post’. Limit your emoji use to no more than four per post, as too many can be overwhelming.
6. If in doubt keep it short and sweet
You’re limited to 2200 characters per Instagram caption, but that doesn’t mean you have to use them all. A short and specific caption is generally the best way to go to keep your audience’s attention, encourage comments and increase tagging. Long winded self promotional posts or captions describing listings can be off putting and disruptive when users are scrolling through their home feed.
Over time with some hard work and trial and error, you’ll get a feel for the types of captions and posts your followers respond to best. Try tracking each post in a spreadsheet recording the number of likes and comments you get to easily identify the tactics that work best for you.