How do you write engaging Instagram captions for business that stand out among all the noise?
It’s no secret that our attention spans on social media are becoming shorter and shorter so how do you create captivating copy that stops a scroller in their midst to say damn this really spoke to me?
One thing I’ve learned from six years of blogging, both for my personal blog and for businesses that I’ve worked with, is how to write Instagram captions for business in a way that’s authentic. In fact, finding ways to connect with an audience online is one of the things I love most about what I do.
And my clients tell me they love it too 😉
So… how do you come up with captions on Instagram?
1. Know your why
Simon Sinek is an adamant believer that people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it. I’ll repeat it again for all my biz owners in the back. It’s not primarily about what your service does, it’s about why you get out of bed in the morning to do it.
Sure, there’s money to be had but you could easily earn money picking up litter off the street. What specifically about what you do sets your soul on fire - and why should other people buy into it?
I sell coaching packages for busy mums.
Okay but why?
So they have the confidence to leave their jobs and create an income that frees up time to spend with their kids.
Now that’s more like it.
2. Pick themes to follow
There are a number of different areas we can theme with captions, but first things first you should create a content calendar for your account. Following a pattern will not only help to inspire the pictures on your grid, but will also give you daily prompts on what you should write about.
Once you’ve got a content calendar worked out - you can do this on Google Cal or even with good old fashioned pen and paper - pick 3-10 content themes.
An example of some of my themes are:
I have about eight in total and I cycle through these in order to deliver my message over and over again.
Further than that you’ll want overarching themes that go back to your why. What’s your message? Do you want to inspire, entertain, educate or convince? Instead of just telling people to buy from you create content that falls under one of these categories. Every time you create content ask if it falls under one of your overarching themes and if not, tweak things a little so it does.
3. Know your target audience almost as well as you know yourself
Know her pain points, her desires and what gets her going.
I spent my first few months of blogging writing about myself for myself before realising that what I was writing was interesting to NO ONE. I soon pivoted and started directing my writing to my ideal reader, who at the time was a broke university student.
That meant I stopped sharing random movie quotes and started sharing recipe tips and ways to make money. Sharing my struggles with mental health and how to make friends at university. Before I knew it people were messaging me asking for advice and I got my first feature in a print magazine.
The lesson learnt here is that no one gives a f*ck about you or your business… unless you give them a damn good reason to.
4. Write it down in a journal
I’m in the process of incorporating daily journaling into my morning routine. Maybe it’s not something you want to do daily (although I recommend it) instead do it whenever you feel like it and use those thoughts, wishes, doubts and fears to create winning copy that sings to the heart of your audience.
Some people like sticking to short captions. Me? I like to take that space up and use it to paint a picture and colour a story. Think of your Instagram caption like a microblog. If you’re someone who constantly struggles with what to say here are some prompts to get you started:
Write three words to describe your brand
Write three words describing how you’re going to add value
What did your business look like when you first started?
What do you want your business to look like in the future?
Why do you do what you do?
What do you do?
How do you do it?
What makes you different?
What’s an achievement you are proud of?
What’s a challenge you’ve overcome to get to where you are now?
5. Stop writing to everyone
As a chronic people pleaser with an added generous dash of anxiety you can bet I struggled with this golden nugget to begin with. People not liking me… on purpose? The horror.
Now, I understand that some of the things I say are going to trigger some people - and that’s okay because if they do, we probably wouldn’t work well together anyway.
I recently made a post on Instagram talking about how constantly chasing 10k followers was doing a massive a disservice to your existing audience, and even further than that citing Kevin Kelly’s theory that - you only need a small number of devoted fans to make an impact.
Someone politely disagreed with what I was saying, but I stood my ground because I truly believe it. If you come to me looking for a quick way to get to thousands of followers I’m not the right woman for you.
If on the other hand someone comes to me asking how they can grow their audience and provide massive value then we’re on to something. My mission is to help my audience inspire others and share their gifts with the people who need it most, not just to check off another box.
Here are some other accounts that take a firm stance in what they believe:
GaryVee - Loud, self promotional, obnoxious & king of the hustle
brainsoverblonde - Coined the phrase ‘flex your female’ and has a no bs attitude to women stepping into their power
There are probably a handful of people who’ll hate what they do and won’t be scared to voice it. But you can be sure they have a devoted army of ‘their people’ who absolutely adore them. These people will be the first to sign up to their mailing lists and be refreshing their websites until they can buy their products.
This is why it’s important to take a stand.
6. Become an avid storyteller
People love to hear stories and it’s one of the best ways to put your offer out there in a way that just flows naturally. Get vulnerable with your readers and take them step-by-step through a transformative story.
What challenge or obstacle did you overcome and how can you make their lives easier by helping them to do the same? Most people who read your captions aren’t envisioning your life, they’re reading the information you share and relating it to themselves.
7. Say it out loud
I learned from memorizing presentations in university that the best way to make sure what you’re saying sounds authentic… is to say it! It’s easy to just type a caption hit all the check boxes and think it sounds good to go but take an extra minute to read it aloud.
Is this how you would talk or does it feel weird and icky in your mouth?
8. Start a conversation
Last but not least don’t put in all of this effort and forget to actually engage your audience. People love to talk about themselves, so let them! Encourage them to leave a comment whether that’s asking for feedback or getting to know them on a more personal level. As an added bonus comments in the first hour help the Instagram algorithm determine how many people to push out your content to. #winning
Remember social media is about being social so don’t just talk AT your audience and wonder why no one is engaging with your content.
If you really want to make an impact make your account a space where they can be part of the conversation.
Psst - wanna keep the party going? Come follow me over on Instagram for more biz tips!
Still not sure what to write, or not got the time to spend crafting your own posts and captions?
I love helping my clients share their stories so they can free up time to focus on the big picture. Book your free Instagram consultation with me to see how we can get started!