The Ultimate Guide to Writing Long Instagram Captions in 2020
We know that Instagram is an incredibly visual social media platform. The focus has always been to create visually appealing content in the form of photos, videos and now graphics/illustrations. And for a long time, that seemed to be enough.
However, these days, visual content is not enough to drive traffic to your website or to help you sell more products. It is also not enough to help you retain and build a loyal base of followers and customers. So why is that?
Well, nicely curated, highly edited pics are dime a dozen these days, and it’s incredibly difficult to build a connection or carve out a niche with something so saturated and inauthentic. To cut through, users and businesses are having to shift the way they communicate. They are having to embrace a more conversational, engaging and honest tone by writing long-form captions that dig a little deeper into their what, where, when, why and how.
No longer should you be aiming to keep your copy as succinct as possible (and as an FYI - did you know Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long?). No? Well, you do now…
Here’s everything you need to know about writing long Instagram captions in 2020.
Why Do Long Instagram Captions Matter?
Before we get into it, it’s important to understand why you should put the effort into constructing well-written, long-form Instagram captions. The story you tell on Instagram through words should be as important as the images or videos that go with it. You can provide context and express your personality in ways a photo cannot. Captions are what inspire people to share their own story, spark conversations and encourage users to take actions like purchasing your products/services or visiting websites. Authentic, engaging conversations and interactions are how you build connections IRL, so it makes sense that it’s the best way to do it on social media too. The higher engagement on your posts, the higher the chance of your content to pop up in the Explore feed. But, you don’t have to use a long Instagram caption for absolutely everything - especially is a pic speaks for itself. Short captions might work well if you’re sharing a coffee photo or a meme.
Our Tips for Writing Long Instagram Captions
Ready for our top long Instagram captions tips?
Have Important Information At The Top
Remember that a user will only see the first 125 characters of your caption until they have to click ‘more’, so make that content count. You want to entice and grab the attention of your followers to get them to keep reading. Spark your followers’ interests with a stat or share an offer, or include a teaser as to what people can expect if they read through the caption.
For example, if you are running a competition, the first part of your caption could look like this:
⭐️ GIVEAWAY TIME ⭐️ To celebrate the launch of our latest product, we are giving some lucky followers the chance to try it out before ANYONE ELSE! How can you enter our giveaway?
Including phrases like ‘competition alert’ and ‘giveaway time’ at the start of your caption will capture your followers’ attention and get them to read on.
If you want to tease your audience with a new product or service in advance, you might write something along the lines of:
Who loves free stuff!? 👏🏻 We will be launching our FREE eBook, ‘Writing for Instagram’, next week. Here's a little snippet!
Break Up The Text
Because you are going to be writing more content than usual, you want to make as easy as possible for your users to digest. For instance, content that either offers your followers a set of tips or instructions to a competition could really benefit from breaking up your text into paragraphs. To do this, avoid writing your text into the actual Instagram app. Use tools like Notes on a MacBook or a social scheduling system like Sprout Social, and when you’re ready to share onto Instagram, just copy and paste. You may find with your text that the invisible line breaks don’t work all the time. Once you type the last letter, punctuation or emoji for that particular section, hit ‘enter’ or ‘return’ straight away and avoid hitting the space button.
Include a Call-to-Action
A call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your Instagram caption is the best way to invite your followers to head to your website and check out what product or blog post you are talking about in your caption. It is also a great way to encourage your followers to sign up to your newsletter. This is especially true if you write a long, engaging post that resonates well with them.
Try Writing As if You’re Talking
If you’re constructing a caption where you’re trying to create a conversation, your caption needs to read like a conversation. The best way to do this is not be too formal. Write how you talk. Not sure you’ve nailed it? Read back over it out loud, or even in your head will do. Does it sound conversational? No? Try again. The next couple of tips will help with this too.
Encourage Engagement or a Response
The best way to encourage engagement or a response to your long-form caption is to ask questions. For Lance Montana, if we were to write a post giving our top ways to boost your business’ engagement levels on Instagram, we might finish it with a question like, “What are your tactics for increasing engagement levels on Instagram? Let us know in the comments below!”.
There are a few types of questions you could ask your followers. You could ask them for feedback on a blog post your latest product, you could ask them to give a yes/no/single emoji answer if they agree with what you said in your caption, or you could get them to share their story or experience related to the caption.
Emojis Show Personality
Everyone loves an emoji! 🙃 They are a great way for businesses to show off their personality, especially when writing long Instagram captions. They can also break up long blocks of content and are particularly useful in place of bullet points. Remember to use emojis that are relevant to the caption and to not overdo it. You want a sprinkling of them, not an even split between text and emoji.
Need Help With Writing Long Instagram Captions?
Stuck on how to write long Instagram captions or generally need some assistance with writing social media content? We can help! We can also help your business develop an effective social media marketing strategy including content creation, account management and social advertising. Please get in touch and let's see how we can help you out!