Do you want to avoid writing bad Instagram captions?
Long gone are the days when building an Instagram presence was an option for businesses.
With over one billion active users, 90% of whom follow at least one business on the platform, Instagram is a goldmine for brands of all sizes and shapes.
Instagram is a visual platform, but simply posting photos from time to time isn’t enough to attract the attention of your target audience and achieve strong results.
Just imagine: 25 million businesses and 2 million advertisers bombard Instagrammers with brand content from all sides. Simply put, modern users are picky, so you need to combine the power of visual content with persuasive words to hook their attention.
In short, you have to write good captions to reach your target audience, improve social media engagement, and make your content more visible.
And if you find Instagram writing difficult, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve collected the list of 6 bad Instagram caption ideas and their good solutions to give you a clue on how to write amazing Instagram posts.
Let’s get started!
#1 Publish Inspirational Quotes
What do you feel when you see another inspirational quote on social media?
Back in 2010, when Instagram was launched, posting inspirational quotes was a great way to increase engagement, trigger an emotional response, and reach more people. Plus, it was an easy way for small businesses to come up with an Instagram post idea without putting much time and effort.
With the great number of quotes from brands and common Instagrammers, quotes are often irrelevant and overused. Just take a look at this post by La Pollita Eats:
What is the connection between selling tacos and getting ahead and Mark Twain? Just another proof that using an inspirational quote in your caption is a bad idea. If you want to grab the attention of your target audience and engage your followers in conversation, finding a quote on the web isn’t enough.
It’s important to go the extra mile and create something interesting and unique. What’s the solution? Boost creativity and develop your brand voice and put it into action when writing Instagram captions. Let’s take Old Spice, for example:
The company always creates funny and memorable captions, so it’s no wonder that they often go viral on social media. Obviously, it takes time and effort to come up with your unique brand voice and tone. But it helps to engage your audience and give your followers a reason to spread the word about your company.
Key takeaway: Let your creativity run wild and create new caption ideas that resonate with your target audience.
#2 Writing Long-form Instagram Captions
As a marketer or business owner, you know your product from A to Z. It doesn’t take much time or effort for you to write a long-form text that explains all the benefits of your product. Since the Instagram caption limit is 2,200 characters, it can be tempting to write a lot about your product or service.
But if you think it is a good idea to add all this text to your Instagram caption, take a look at the following example from State Farm first.
One question: Did you manage to read the whole text?
Since Instagram is a visual platform and 65% of people are visual learners, it isn’t the best place for long-form captions. If you want to keep your audience hooked and engaged, it’s important to keep your caption short and sweet.
The latest Planable study on social media captions found that Instagram posts with short captions of under 10 words bring the highest average engagement rate per post of 2.56%.
If you want to increase engagement without putting much effort into writing captions, draw inspiration from Krispy Kreme. The company publishes a short-form caption and puts text on the image to hook the attention of followers who are scrolling the main feed:
While using Instagram for business, it’s important to remember that people perceive visual information first. And when you write a photo caption, let the image speak words. Thus, keep your text short and sweet.
Key takeaway: Instagram is a visual platform, so writing long-form captions is a bad idea. To improve the readability of your caption, put some information on the image.
#3 Adding a Link in the Instagram Caption
Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with the most engaged user base. So it’s no wonder that brands want to drive website traffic with their followers. Since the majority of accounts are limited to one clickable link in the Instagram bio, businesses try to promote their links in captions. However, it’s a bad idea that can turn your followers off.
It’s no secret that links in comments and captions are not clickable, so companies like American Express use short links:
However, visiting your caption link requires effort from your followers. Why? Instagram doesn’t allow users to copy anything if you browse content on your smartphone. Since the majority of people access the platform via a mobile phone, the only way your Instagram followers can visit the mentioned link is to remember it, and the chances are low.
So, what’s the solution? If you want to drive website traffic, you can include a link in a bio and add a CTA in your Instagram caption. Check out how MadeWell did it:
Using a link in your Instagram caption is a waste of time and effort as it won’t link followers anywhere. Thus, you can add a call to action that encourages followers to check out your bio link or run Instagram ads to promote a post as only advertisers can add links directly to photos.
Key takeaway: Including a link in the Instagram caption is a bad idea. It looks spammy as people can’t tap on it. To take care of your followers, you need to go the extra mile and insert a clickable link in the bio and write a call to action in your caption.
#4 Put Your Product First
As a marketer, you want to boost brand awareness and increase sales, right? It’s more likely you want to spread the word about your product, so you keep a focus on it when writing your caption.
Look: people don’t bother about your product or company unless you can satisfy their needs and wants. Putting your product first is a waste of time. Any proof needed? Check out the following post from Clek:
Having a solid following of 69.2k people doesn’t mean your followers will be engaged. With 116 likes and 11 comments, the above-mentioned post achieved an engagement rate of 0.18%. Why? People don’t care about your products.
It’s no secret that people buy solutions, not products. Thus, companies need to keep a focus on their target audience, their values, and their pain points. And it’s a great way to use emotional marketing and evoke customers’ emotions. Using storytelling is a proven way to appeal to your target audience.
Check out how Nike shares stories to engage followers and get a deeper connection with the audience:
What can we learn from Nike? Using a quote is a great way to bring authenticity and hook your audience to encourage followers to read the whole story. Plus, the company doesn’t mention its products in the Instagram caption, but you can see product placement in the image which means a great way to remind readers about your company without being salesy.
Key takeaway: Your potential customers buy solutions to their problems (not your products), so keep a focus on their pain points and use the art of storytelling to establish a connection with your audience.
#5 Adding Geotags of Popular Destinations
No matter how many Instagram followers you have, increasing your reach is a must to attract more potential fans who can become your customers. With the power of geotags, many businesses try to reach their target audience when writing captions. How? They geotag popular destinations for a chance to get discovered by more people.
Here’s how Maria Bonita Salon & Spa adds geolocation of a popular restaurant, Katz’s Delicatessen to promote its hair services. The question is simple: What is the connection between food and hair?
Although popular geotags attract many people who are checking them out regularly, it doesn’t mean promoting your business. Why? If people tap on a restaurant’s geotag, they expect to find more information about the restaurant, not your hair salon.
If you want to make the most out of geotagging and attract the right audience, add a location-specific tag, just like WholeFoods did it in the below example:
In honor of a new store launch, Whole Foods Market created a new specific geotag for this location to make it easier for followers to discover it on the map. As a result, the company targeted its local community well.
Key takeaway: If you want to reach a target audience that lives or works within your area, create your custom Instagram location and use it in your captions.
#6 Using Dozens of ‘Popular’ Hashtags
Who else wants to make the most out of trending Instagram hashtags?
Although it’s a great idea to find top hashtags to increase reach, using dozens of popular hashtags doesn’t mean increasing user engagement. Let’s take TreatWell, for example. In the following post, the company used many popular hashtags, but it got only 15 likes (the company has 21k followers):
The bottom line? If you use too many popular hashtags your content will get buried in the main newsfeed which means you won’t reach your audience, no matter how many hashtags you use.
However, you can get wonderful results if you create and use 2-3 relevant brand hashtags. For example, Gymshark has two hashtags it uses when promoting its content:
Having a unique brand hashtag is a great way to avoid competition and attract people who are genuinely interested in your company and products. If you want to come up with a great and creative hashtag, analyze your competitors on Instagram to find out what works best for your potential customers.
Key takeaway: Create 2-3 brand hashtags and use them when writing Instagram captions to help your potential followers discover your content with ease.
Now Write Some Good Instagram Captions
Instagram is extremely popular among users and brands that crave the attention of their target audience. If you want to cut through the noise, you need to stay creative and come up with amazing Instagram caption ideas that capture your followers’ interest.
The above-mentioned examples will give you a better idea of what your perfect Instagram caption should look like. Since it can be difficult to keep everything in mind, I recommend that you create and use a social media manager checklist and put all your tasks on the list. It’s a great way to avoid coming up with bad caption ideas that turn your target audience off.
Do you know how to turn bad Instagram caption ideas into good ones? What captions work well for your audience? Please leave your comments below.