If you’re a small-business owner, chances are you’ve found yourself in this situation before:
You’ve put off posting to your social media pages, and when you finally find a few minutes to sit down and write a caption, your mind goes completely blank.
(Frustrating, to say the least.)
This happens to the best of us. And while it’s one thing when it happens from time to time, when it keeps recurring, that’s when an “off” day can turn into days, weeks — even months — of neglecting your social media presence.
I’ve definitely found myself in this place plenty of times, but here’s the thing: I’m not typically hung up on what to post but how to post it.
For caption ideas, I rely heavily on my content pillars: 3 to 5 go-to topics that I cycle through regularly that encompass my brand, business, and life overall. But even if you’re tuned into your content pillars and keep track of what posts drive the most engagement, it can still be challenging to craft a clever caption.
My suggestion? Always opt for a high-quality visual to grab their attention and, from there, give yourself a structure or template for writing fool-proof captions.
After years of creating content for clients in different industries, I’ve discovered four specific tactics that consistently drive connection, so let’s take a closer look.
- Get personal. Even if your post is business-related, making your content about you goes a long way. If you’re sharing advice, tell a story about something you’ve been through and how the tip helped. Want to give people some insight into your product or service? Share some background on how you came up with the idea. And if you just want to share a personal message or some facts about yourself, do it. The more personal the message, the more engagement you’ll get. (I guarantee it.)
- Keep it simple. Don’t get me wrong — I love a long-form caption when the situation calls for it. But that doesn’t mean every post has to be a novel. In fact, I suggest breaking up your captions, and incorporating some short and sweet posts to keep things light. A simple photo with a “Happy Friday!” or “Monday again?” caption isn’t a bad post. In fact, add a simple question to the end that’s a great way to engage your audience!
- Start a conversation. Think of your IG account as your company billboard. Your page should show people what it’s like to work with you, which starts with your tone. Write in a conversational, casual way, and keep your audience in mind. What topics can you talk about that will relate to your followers? Speak to them directly, ask questions, and invite them to share their stories or hurdles — all fool-proof ways to boost engagement.
- Always be educating. No matter what type of caption you’re writing, always insert a little snippet of helpful info into every post. And if the post is inherently education-driven, share it in a way that’s easy to process and helpful. The best way to do this? Break it down into steps, tips, things “not to do” — whatever helps to turn long-running content into must-know information that people will save for the future.
From there, keep these extra tips in mind no matter what type of caption you’ve created:
- Grab your reader’s attention fast. Remember: people scroll quickly (really quickly) on social media. This means you have to grab people’s attention from the jump. Open with a captivating fact, a question, a bold statement, or just something fun. Also, because IG only shows the first 125 characters, a catchy opener will get them to tap “More” and read the rest.
- Add emojis and hashtags. Emojis are a great way to visually break up your caption and bring in a little fun. Just use them sparingly; 2–3 in a longer post is plenty. Also, including hashtags at the end of your post will make it easier to find when people search on Instagram. So do a little research and pick relevant hashtags that make sense for your brand and are easily searchable and active.
- Don’t forget the CTA! It might feel unnatural to ask people to take action after reading your caption, but doing exactly that is an incredibly effective way to boost engagement. A few of my favorites include: “Double tap if you feel the same way”, “Leave an emoji if you agree!”, “Share your favorite in the comments”, and “Head to the link in my bio for more information.” You can also ask them to save, like, share your post, or tag someone who might like it in the comments.
- Adapt your captions for different platforms. While there’s absolutely no reason to write completely new content for Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn (seriously, who has time for that?), you should tweak your captions to make them appropriate for each platform. We’ve already talked about Instagram, but:
> For Facebook, cut down your text length, remove hashtags (Facebook doesn’t use them), and change your CTA to correspond with Facebook formatting and rules. (Ex. Change from “Click the link in bio” to “Click the link below.”)
> For LinkedIn, remove some of the bells and whistles. Take out slang or casual lingo, cut down the number of emojis, and remember that media isn’t as important, so it’s perfectly fine to post an engaging, text-only post. Also, LinkedIn hashtags are completely different from Instagram, so swap yours out for those you’ve researched and used on the platform.
When all is said and done, remember: You only have 2,200 characters per Instagram post, so make the most of them!
Instead of making your social media posts an afterthought (or something you neglect altogether), think about what you’re trying to accomplish with your caption and create something worth reading.
Just a little forethought and planning will help you write posts that will entertain, educate, and engage and ultimately impact your business!