How to write Instagram captions

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Writing good Instagram captions are worth planning and executing with some thought. There are 1.48 billion Instagram users, as of 2022, that's almost 20% of the global population a brand could reach on this platform. Instagram users make up nearly 30% of total online users. This is a huge potential for pushing traffic to a dropshipping website and converting sales.

This article will look at key steps to writing engaging Instagram captions.

Tips for writing good Instagram captions

Test the length of your captions

Is there an ideal length for Instagram captions? Well, we did some research and it turns out there's no definitive answer. A 2019 study by Quintly reviewed 5.9 million posts to analyse the performance of 34,100 Instagram profiles. From this data, they found that posts with 1-50 characters in the caption had more interactions.

Instagram accounts with 0-1k followers received a similar number of interactions for posts with captions that were 1-50 and 300+ characters in length.

Overall, the best way to decide how long to make your dropshipping Instagram posts is to do some testing. Compare the number of interactions for long and short captions to find the optimum length for your posts.

Decide whether to use emojis

A study published by Human Behavior and Emerging Technologies, 2022, found that when emojis were used by brands for their social media adverts, announcements of new product launches, and when replying to customer posts on social media, customers were happy to see them used. According to their research, brands using emojis convey ​​"more creativity and innovation".

Context is important

There is a wrong time to use emojis, says the study. If brands used emojis for social media posts that were of a negative message, such as a callback of a defective product, customers saw them as inappropriate. In moments of seriousness, the use of emojis should be avoided.

Consider your customer personas

The age of your target audience is also a factor in whether emojis should be used by brands. Younger people and women in the survey used emojis more in their daily life and found them to be more appropriate.

The average number of posts with emojis

Referring back to the Quintly report, they discovered that 52.3% of all Instagram posts they analysed didn't include any emojis. You can decide based on your typical customer profile and the context of your products, whether emojis will be relevant to your dropshipping brand.

Choosing the right number of hashtags

For brands just starting on Instagram, around 11 hashtags per post are ideal to gain interest without cramming too many in the caption, says Hootsuite. Instagram currently allows up to 30 hashtags per post, however, it is worth deciding if maxing out on this limit is necessary.

Avoid getting shadowbanned

Using too many hashtags, the same hashtags in all of your posts, or irrelevant hashtags can get your brand shadowbanned on Instagram. This means that Instagram restricts your content visibility to anyone using the app.

The most common number of hashtags

In the Quintly study, between 1 and 3 hashtags were most commonly used and using between 1 and 10 drove higher engagement.

Instagram profiles with an extremely large following of 10 million typically use between 0 and 3 hashtags. Using no hashtags at all drove the most engagement for these accounts.

Brands that are starting on Instagram should consider using between 10 and 11 hashtags to push visibility and brand awareness to build the number of followers. Quintly found that accounts with less than one thousand followers had more interactions from Instagram users when more than 10 hashtags were used per post.

When the total number of followers is between 1k and 10k, the number of optimum hashtags drops down to 1-3.

Consider the tone of your brand

The tone and language you use in your brand's Instagram captions will depend on your industry and the products you sell. Ecommerce brands that specialise in products seen as more serious or that want to appeal to an older audience should consider using fewer emojis, using a neutral to formal tone, and full and correct sentences.

Most ecommerce products for a B2C market won't fall into this category, however, it's worth reviewing your branding strategy and customer personas to decide on what your Instagram captions will say and how you will say it.

Cut back on the sales talk

As part of choosing what to say, it's good marketing best practice to hold back on the hard sales talk. Worldwide, those aged 25 to 34 are the largest advertising audience on Instagram if we use information from Data Reportal, 2022. These users are Millennials and prefer brands to engage with them less formally:

  • Good, short storytelling
  • Genuine and authentic content
  • Social, political, environmental causes supported by your brand
  • Quizzes and polls
  • User-generated content
  • Micro-influencers
  • Tap into their fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • Create urgency with limited-time sales
  • For the younger generation, Gen Z, being more playful, creative, and fun is even more important, says Sprout Social.

    The first sentence is the most important

    Instagram squashes longer captions to just show the first sentence before users have to click to read more. Make the most of this space to write something interesting and useful.

    Scanning instead of reading

    It has been found that internet and social media users often scan-read. Researchers at the Nielsen Norman Group reported that since 1997, people rarely read online. This is important for how ecommerce and dropshipping businesses should write their social media content. Here are some tips:

  • Keep sentences short and to-the-point
  • Don't pad out content with unnecessary waffle
  • Use plain language
  • Avoid jargon
  • Use bullet points where needed
  • Write for people that don't want to waste time and effort
  • Remember that social media users have a short-attention-span
  • Decide the call to action

    What do you want Instagram users to do once they have read your post? Instagram doesn't allow any links in the post captions, so if you want to redirect users, you can ask them to click the link in your bio. Other posts might be to promote a new product launch, share user-generated content, promote a sale, or highlight the benefits of certain products.

    Examples of a call-to-action for your captions:

  • Click the link in our bio
  • Tag your friends
  • Ask a question eg "which scent would you prefer?"
  • Shop our spring selection
  • Shop the sale here: Link in story
  • Use this code for 10% off: CODE10
  • Remember that not all your Instagram posts need a call to action. You will want to mix the purpose of your posts between pushing sales, being informative, and sharing something creative, funny, or interesting.

    In short

    Instagram is first and foremost a visual platform. The most important part of your Instagram strategy will be to have impressive, high quality, beautiful photos and videos. The captions that accompany these can potentially reach hundreds of thousands of users. This is a content marketing opportunity you don't want to miss. Follow our tips to take advantage of Instagram captions and win customers.

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