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  • Jamie

How-to Write Great Social Media Captions That People Actually Want to Read

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

The thing about captions - visuals make me stop, but captions make me stay.

Captions are so important for your social media marketing posts. They build on your photo or video and help further develop your message. Still, a great social media caption isn’t always easy to write. Captions have requirements and objectives, and on top of that they demand your creativity.

Art depicting Instagram Like | How to Write Great Social Media Captions
Visuals Make Me Stop, Captions Make Me Stay

Caption Length: Long or Short?

First things first, should social media captions be short and sweet, or longer and more detailed?

For years I only wrote quick, concise captions for social media posts. I still do most of the time, because habits, ya know? Recently, I’ve been experimenting with slightly longer posts for myself and my clients as well.

The thing about captions - visuals make me stop, but captions make me stay.

A contributor to the Hootsuite Blog ran a similar experiment on long v. short captions. She found her longer captions did perform well.

In that Hootsuite blog post, Brayden Cohen, who manages the Hootsuite Instagram account said he thinks longer captions are effective. “Overall, I think longer captions provide better engagement on Instagram. There is only so much information, copy, and context you can put in an image,” says Brayden.

Later’s Blog agrees, “One of the biggest trends to hit Instagram in 2021 was creators and brands tapping into the power of long-form captions to engage and connect with their followers – and we expect this trend to continue in 2022. But just how much are Instagram captions growing? Well, according to research by Fohr, the average caption length has more than doubled since 2016.”

The verdict? I’m not sure, but statistics suggests captions are trending longer. The safest bet is to tell your story in a meaningful way, whether that’s in 20 words or 120.

Essential Elements of a Good Social Media Post Caption

A good caption has a few key elements that are essential to keep your audience on your post and can make or break your post’s engagement.

Hook – Write your first sentence to capture their attention. This is the only way to get them to click “read more”.

Body - Know who you are speaking (writing) to and what you want to say. Let this guide and determine what you write.

Call-to-Action (CTA) – Use a strong CTA in your caption to help keep your audience engaged with your marketing content. (More on CTAs here)

Hashtags - Hashtags help make you findable. Include a few well-researched hashtags in your captions to help your post's reach.

Hints & Tips To Write Great Captions

  • Jot down a quick outline of the points you want to make to guide your caption's draft.

  • Write your captions in a word processing app first to help catch any big typos or grammar mistakes. I batch all of mine in a single document before scheduling.

  • Break up the caption so it’s scannable and easy to read.

  • If appropriate, use emojis.

What to read next: How to Begin Using Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing to Reach Your Customers


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