This article has been contributed by Haley Osborne.
Browsing social media posts has become a regular part of our everyday routine. But we don’t actually take notice of all the posts we see, simply because there are so many of them.
People have become picky in what they choose to watch or read. As a result, a caption for a social media post that’s been quickly thrown together is not enough to attract the attention of a wider audience.
These days, you need to be aware of what makes a great caption that will grab the attention of users and get them engaged with your content. But don’t panic – we have prepared a step by step guide that will help you craft unique captions for social media.
How to write social media captions that engage & grow your audience
1. Understand the Needs of Your Audience
To grab the attention of your audience, your captions need to resonate with them. You will need to analyze your customers to identify their motivations in buying your products, as well as their general interests.
Talking about the benefits they get from your products, rather than boring product specs for instance, will hook them in and get them engaged in your content.
In the post below, Lush appeals to the desire of their target audience to wear an exclusive fragrance that no one else will be wearing. This shows that they understand the needs and motivations of their consumers.
2. There Is Beauty In Simplicity
Most people scroll through social media posts at a rapid pace. Let’s face it – you’re probably the same, right?
That’s why you’ll need to keep your captions short, offering a quick piece of interesting information or an inspiring quote. This often draws the audience in and leads to them engaging with your content.
Also, remember that some social media platforms have a limit to the caption characters that will be displayed, after which characters are hidden and users have to tap “More” to read the whole post. For example, the criteria for Instagram is 125 characters or fewer.
Such a simple and catchy caption on Starbucks’ posts creates a good mood for the day.
3. Use Important Words First
To make your caption sticky, it has to include a great variety of informative points, the main task of which is to stimulate curiosity in the audience.
If your writing skills are far from perfect, try your best to develop them. Take a course online or face-to-face. Keep in mind that this will be useful not only for caption writing but also for your personal growth.
The New York Public Library places the when, where and what of their post content in the first sentence of the caption, immediately delivering vital details to followers.
4. Connect With Your Community
In order to make a strong community, you have to establish a connection with your audience. The experts from Forbes Communications Council have found that people enjoy being involved in something and appreciate it when their feedback is important to your brand.
One way of connecting with your audience is to ask a question and use your followers’ answers to improve your brand and offerings. This has the added advantage of getting more information about your customers and how you can better meet their needs and successfully appeal to their tastes. Plus, their interactions with your post will improve your social media performance and help you reach a wider audience.
In the post below, Intel uses this exact approach, thereby connecting with their audience, learning about their tastes, finding a name for their new robot and improving the reach of their post.
5. Include a Question
As seen above, one of the best ways to engage followers and get them to interact with you is by asking a question. Using this method not only allows you to make a strong connection with your audience, but it may also give them food for thought. As a result, you’re more likely to get feedback.
Depending on what your question is about and how you phrase it, this is also a great way of catching the mood of your audience and getting new ideas for content development.
By asking a question in the caption of their post below, NYX managed to spark a lively discussion in the comments.
6. Add Humour
No one likes a downer, so as experience shows, audiences are always eager to follow brands with a good sense of humor. Using jokes or funny phrases can make your caption more appealing and engaging.
Friendliness and sincerity are key points in strengthening communication between people. Jokes will make your caption memorable and will increase the likelihood that your audience will read the full text to the end.
The TacoBell team does know how to make their followers laugh.
7. Visualize Your Content
To increase the readability of your caption, you can use lists. People are more likely to read and take in information when it’s structured, making lists a great way to ensure your message gets across.
Also, don’t forget about emojis. The animated icons can help draw the reader’s eye in and are a great way to add a bit of personality.
Creating a neat image, structuring the information, and using emojis has helped Starbucks to better deliver their message below.
8. Use Photos Wisely
Sometimes even a perfect caption can be easily skipped because of incongruous photos. To avoid this issue, we recommend you pay attention to details such as image quality and relevance.
Professional writers recommend adding colorful photos or some other kind of visual element. Jeff Richards, Head of Content at Essay Tigers and psychologist suggests the following:
“Even color can attract or reject one’s attention, that is why the choice of photos can really help the caption to be noticed.”
While encouraging followers to purchase their product, PetCube did a great job of showing its benefits.
9. Remove Hashtag Distraction
The most common mistake that social media newbies make is to use hashtags at the start of middle of their captions. Instead, use them at the end and separate them from the main caption. Alternatively, you can write them as a new comment right after you publish the post.
Both methods tend to bother readers less, don’t distract from your message, and still allow your hashtags to be included for proper indexing.
Cluse uses relevant hashtags at the end of their caption, separated by multiple lines. This ensures their post gets featured in the right category, so potential customers can easily find them.
10. Analyze and Improve
Hopefully this is obvious, but once you’ve written your draft caption, don’t forget to reread it. It might a little more time but it’s worth it. You’ll pick up any mistakes you may have made, and also have the opportunity to see if you can use any more of our 10 tips to enhance your caption.
It can also be a good idea to ask someone to edit your draft – two heads are much better than one.
As you can see from the tips above, it’s not that difficult to create a great caption for your social media posts. Though some tips are simple and perhaps obvious, not everyone pays attention to these details and as a result, you can easily make your posts better than your competition’s.
About the author: Haley Osborne is an active freelance writer with interests in management, web design and writing. She regularly touches on the topics of self-development and modern trends, always with the aim of providing quality, inspiring content