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Sharpening your image

TOP TIPS FOR WRITING INSTAGRAM CAPTIONS

With its focus on bold, creative imagery, Instagram is one of the most powerful social media sites around. And alongside its growing appeal for businesses, it’s also overwhelmingly popular with young audiences: 70% of its user-base is under 35.

But, while most people think long and hard about the images they choose, the words are often rushed out or overlooked entirely. Follow these five simple tips to boost engagement and make your posts as Insta-friendly as possible:

1. Be informal without getting ‘down with the kids’
Talking across generations is always tricky, and Instagram is no exception. When posting for younger audiences, it’s tempting to slip into more youthful language or slang. But this is the first way to come across as out of touch. Or to end up losing your tone of voice altogether. Be informal, chatty, but (above all) be true to your brand.

2. Emojis are 😎 😎
Emojis are here to stay. Not only a simple way to grab attention, they also make text-heavy posts less daunting. Instead
of including a few random smiley facesat the end of your post, try using emojis more creatively. This could mean dropping them in mid-sentence, as line breaks or as substitutes for words (“I wandered lonely as a ” is still undeniably Wordsworth). Be wary of flooding your copy with them, however. More than two per post is a bit, well, 😎

3. Question everything
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to boost engagement is to ask open questions. These encourage your followers to take specific action and interact more closely with your posts. Start with a strong opening line or hook – a bold opinion or a topical reference – then ask your audience what they think. If a question doesn’t leap out at you, try asking your followers to engage with your image in another way – such as “Tag a friend who would love this pic!”

4. Schedule for success
Equally as important as the wording of your Instagram captions is when your post is published. Newer posts are prioritised by Instagram and therefore attract the most engagement. You can schedule a post to go live at peak times of the day (usually around 5pm) based on your audience demographics. Of course, always make sure you keep your brand integrity intact by accurately reflecting the time of day in any pre-scheduled copy (so you might want to drop that ‘Good morning’ line from anything that goes out in the evening).
And don’t forget, quality trumps quantity. Too many posts in a short period of time could exhaust your audience and put them off your brand.

5. Emojis are 😎 😎
Emojis are here to stay. Not only a simple way to grab attention, they also make text-heavy posts less daunting. Instead
of including a few random smiley facesat the end of your post, try using emojis more creatively. This could mean dropping them in mid-sentence, as line breaks or as substitutes for words (“I wandered lonely as a ” is still undeniably Wordsworth). Be wary of flooding your copy with them, however. More than two per post is a bit, well, 😎

5. Question everything
One of the simplest yet most effective ways to boost engagement is to ask open questions. These encourage your followers to take specific action and interact more closely with your posts. Start with a strong opening line or hook – a bold opinion or a topical reference – then ask your audience what they think. If a question doesn’t leap out at you, try asking your followers to engage with your image in another way – such as “Tag a friend who would love this pic!”

Schedule for success
Equally as important as the wording of your Instagram captions is when your post is published. Newer posts are prioritised by Instagram and therefore attract the most engagement. You can schedule a post to go live at peak times of the day (usually around 5pm) based on your audience demographics. Of course, always make sure you keep your brand integrity intact by accurately reflecting the time of day in any pre-scheduled copy (so you might want to drop that ‘Good morning’ line from anything that goes out in the evening).
And don’t forget, quality trumps quantity. Too many posts in a short period of time could exhaust your audience and put them off your brand.

Tag your work
Engagement is built on traffic. And hashtags are a great tool to make your posts visible to your target audience. But there’s a key balance to be struck. Always use hashtags sparingly making sure they’re relevant to the content and your audience. If you just throw a few generic hashtags onto the end of each post, you may not reach the customers – and communities – you really want to connect with.
Remember, too, that Instagram guidelines advise that any posts containing sponsored content must be disclosed as ads by using the #Ad or #Advert hashtag.

“One billion monthly users. 200 million users visiting at least one business profile daily – with one third of the most viewed stories from businesses. These Hootsuite stats show why companies should be making the most of Instagram with engaging captions, as well as inspiring pictures”

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