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It's All About the Instagram Captions: More Leads, Sales, & Brand Savvy

By The Leadpages Team  |  Published Jun 03, 2020  |  Updated Oct 06, 2023
Leadpages Team
By The Leadpages Team
Instagram captions

Adding links to Instagram captions is a good way to increase conversions. When your Instagram account hits 10K followers, it’s verified, and you have access to some special features. One of those features is Swipe Up, allowing you to include links to your stories, and so get people to visit your website.

But only 14.7% of Instagram accounts have that privilege. So, does that mean it’s impossible to make money from Instagram if your account hasn’t cracked the magical 10,000-follower milestone?

Absolutely not!

Data Chart
Number of followers—Source: Mention

Number of followers—Source: Mention

Because you have a powerful feature at hand, which can help you drive leads and sales like crazy. They’re called Instagram captions.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money trying to find a shortcut to get your account verified. You just need to create your Instagram captions the right way, and your business is set for growth. That means more followers, more traffic to your website, more leads, and more sales.

A great Instagram caption will get customers to stop scrolling their feed and focus on it. The more a customer loves what you share, the more likely they’ll engage in your captions and the longer they want to stay with you. That helps your post gain a better rank on Instagram.

In this post, we’ll give you all the information about Instagram captions, why they’re important for small businesses, and how to write a compelling caption that your followers can’t ignore.

Dive right in or skip ahead:

1. What is a photo caption
2. Six elements of an Instagram caption
3. Why Instagram captions matter
4. Instagram caption ideas for small businesses
5. Five good Instagram caption examples

What is a photo caption?

In simplest words, a photo caption is a written description of a photo, giving more context about the photo like what it is or where it’s captured.

An Instagram caption has the same purpose. Here is an example:

Milk and Honey on Instagram
Source: BSJ Bracelets

Source: BSJ Bracelets

Instagram captions can be short or long, humorous or serious, and everything in-between, depending on the purpose you’re trying to achieve.

An Instagram caption can include characters, hashtags, and emojis. But it doesn't necessarily need to have all of these components. Sometimes it just includes hashtags/emojis or even has no caption.

Take a look at this example:

Kate Von D, Instagram

The brand KVD Vegan Beauty puts a popular hashtag at the beginning of their caption, which helps immediately turn heads. After all, who doesn't want the best deal?

6 elements of an Instagram caption

A beautiful photo captures your audience’s attention, but it may not drive conversions. But a well-crafted caption can make a significant impact on your Instagram marketing campaign.

Here’s an anatomy of a typical Instagram caption.

1. Caption length

The character limit of an Instagram caption is 2,200 words or roughly 360 words. After 125 characters, the caption will be truncated, and viewers will need to click the “more” link to view the full caption.

The length of an Instagram caption should depend on how much you need to say. If you can convey the meaning of your message in a single paragraph, keep the caption short and don’t draw it out unnecessarily. But if you need more to tell your story, don’t cut it short to save space.

According to Hubspot, engaging Instagram captions are often kept in the 500-1000 and 1000-2000 characters (including hashtags).

Caption Length Data

However, some accounts get a lot of engagement with a one-line caption. As long as your caption resonates with the audience, that’s fine.

Mango photo on Instagram
Source: @fruitsnrootz

Source: @fruitsnrootz

2. Hashtags

Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags in a caption, which is more than enough for a small business. You can put hashtags in the comment as well, but 87% of brands prefer using them in the caption.

To understand why hashtags are important, think of them as the SEO (search engine optimization) of Instagram.

You do SEO with the hope of being found when people search for a specific keyword. Similarly, you include hashtags because you want your content to be seen by Instagram users.

The Instagram account @cakes2cupcakes did a great job of using hashtags in their caption. Let’s take a look at what hashtags they used:

Happy Birthday Cake
Source: @cakes2cupcakes

Source: @cakes2cupcakes

  • Branded hashtags: Relate to your brand name, brand slogan, or brand products. It’s unique to your business. In the above example, the branded hashtag is #cakes2cupcakes.
  • Niche hashtags: Refer to hashtags that are specific to your target audience. And, a targeted audience means a higher chance of quality engagement. In @cakes2cupcakes’s caption, niche hashtags are #cakedecorating, #birthday cake, #instacake.
  • Geotags: Mean you’re placed in the geotag page of a place. The better your post natively performs, the more likely Instagram will push it toward the top of the said page. Geotags are great if you also have a brick-and-mortar store. The Instagram account @cakes2cupcakes use three geotags, that is, #sydneycakes, #sydneycakedecorator, and #sydneycakedesigner.

3. Emojis

Emojis are a visual language and a non-verbal cue that can be used to convey meanings. They also have emotional functions. Specifically, negative emojis are negatively correlated with emotional stability, while positive emojis are positively correlated with extraversion.

That’s why using emojis in Instagram captions is beneficial.

Facial Rejuve on Instagram
Source: @facial_rejuve

Source: @facial_rejuve

A single emoji can convey emotion for a photo and contextualize it in less time than it takes to read a sentence. It shows your current mood, brand personality, and add a blast to your caption. It makes your words warm and sweet. It’s also an excellent way to point out the most crucial part of your caption by using arrows, fire, or a megaphone icon.

However, don’t overuse emojis because it can lead to misunderstanding and annoy the audience.

4. Format

People don’t read every word of a blog. Hence, they probably don’t read every word of your lengthy caption.

Moreover, 90 million photos and videos are posted on Instagram every day. Users just have time to skim and scan the caption.

These are the reasons why you should format your caption in a way that makes it as scannable as possible. Here is a good example from @thelittleblueranch:

Flowers for Mrs. Roussi

There are no rules for formatting an Instagram caption. But many brands often follow these to format their captions:

  • Use line/space breaks to separate paragraphs.
  • Use emojis to create visual interest (or to create a bullet list).
  • Use long leader dots or dashes.
  • Use brackets, all caps, or *asterisks*.
  • Place hashtags strategically placed hashtags.

5. Call to action (CTA)

You have only one clickable link in your profile. To get the audience to click on that link, you have to give them a direction. This is where a good CTA can help.

A good caption is a caption with a clear, compelling call to action. You can ask people to click the link in your bio or offer a discount code to encourage them to visit your website. That works well for nearly every type of action: reading a blog post, downloading a freebie, buying a product, watching a video, or signing up for something.

Goal setting notebook
Source: cute.bujo.trackers

Source: cute.bujo.trackers

Besides, you can try other CTAs to increase engagement, such as “What is one word to describe…”, “Can you relate?”, “Have you done this?”, “Have you tried this?” or “Vote for your favorite: A or B!”.

A worthy note is that in the feed, only the first few words of your caption are shown. Hence, a good idea is to start with a question or a call to action. It’ll catch your audience’s attention and make them want to click “more” to read the whole caption.

6. Voice

Your brand has its own unique tone of voice. Before posting anything on Instagram, first, do thorough research on your target audience, understand the tone of voice they prefer, and the type of content they’re eager to see on their feed.

Depending on your target audience, you might want to be funny, serious, neutral, or emotional. However, too serious or too humorous content would lead to unfollows as your audience would think you’re not professional in running your business. Also, your voice should be consistent across all of your captions.

Mother working out with her baby
Source: @kaiafitsierra

Source: @kaiafitsierra

If you’re selling an app, of course, your captions should be different from that of an eCommerce store owner. If you’re selling to women between the ages of 20 and 28, you’ll have different ways of formatting your content and voice to appeal to them than you would if you’re talking to women aged from 30 and 40.

No matter what your brand voice is, you should write the caption in the same way as you’re talking to them. It’s better to use a friendly and conversational tone because doing that helps your brand become more relatable and trustworthy for your audience.

Why Instagram captions matter for small business

Let’s look at the most liked post on Instagram ever:

Source: @world_record_egg

Source: @world_record_egg

It’s an egg. Yes! Just a regular egg you scramble every week. Nothing personal or special.

But the egg has got over 54 million likes, making it the most-liked Instagram post ever.

So why does that happen?

The answer comes down to the caption. It gives people a reason to like, comment, and share. It's the reason the post went viral. Without that caption and a cultural frenzy, it wouldn’t be “a fluke that caught the world’s attention.”

A picture is worth a thousand words, and with a platform that’s so focused on visuals, it’s easy for businesses to overlook captions. If that describes you, you’re missing a huge opportunity to create a conversation between you and your followers.

For small businesses with unverified Instagram accounts, captions are just the only way to generate website traffic, leads, and sales. You can add a link to your Instagram bio, but unless you write a compelling caption, no one goes to your bio to check your link.

Instagram caption ideas for small businesses

If you just get to know Instagram captions and don’t know how to get started, we have some ideas for you. Take a look at them and choose one to kick off your Instagram marketing, depending on your purpose.

1. For product launch

You can write an Instagram caption to introduce a new product. In this case, you need to include some excitement and a bit of mystery in your caption, so you can make people curious about your new arrival and get them to anticipate it. It's also good to reveal a few interesting details that your potential customers would be interested in.

Here is a good example from @twolittleredhens:

For product launch

This caption is good because it reveals the ingredients of returning favorite cakes for the fall and types of cakes that will be available in the store, which makes followers excited!

2. For announcing sales

For the announcement of the sales, you should make your Instagram captions as compelling and persuasive as possible. You can create a sense of urgency, such as limiting the period of your offering or the number of products in stock. This makes your target audience excited about the sale and possibly go to your website to check it out.

Case in point:

Sale Sale Sale caption on Instagram
Source: camylot_styles

Source: camylot_styles

You can try these:

  • Flash Sale Day! Hurry! Shop the dress for only [$X].
  • Don't miss out - this [$X] collection is only [$Y] and available for a limited time. Shop now, link in bio!
  • Take [%X] off our [your product]. Use code: MUSTHAVE at checkout! Available in only one hour!

3. For contests and giveaways

Running a giveaway or a contest on Instagram is the key to increase brand engagement. Big brands have implemented this marketing tactic for years!

Purse Giveaway
Source: Queen May Jewelry

Source: Queen May Jewelry

You can start your caption with a prize to attract attention. Then, provide details about how your followers can join the contest, what rules are, when it takes place, and when the winner is announced. Read this social media giveaway playbook to learn the strategy step by step.

4. For events

If you plan to host an event in the future, be sure to write a post about it and publish the post on your Instagram.

Source: @j.umi_thailand

Source: @j.umi_thailand

Provide details about the event such as date, time, purpose, dress code, and venue. Also, be sure to include information about how your followers can join and end the caption with a CTA inviting them to attend.

For example, you can write "Join us for [event] at [venue] on [date + time]. Link in bio to register."

5. For celebrating a milestone

Share your first sales, the 50th sales, or whatever milestone you have with your target audience. If your story triggers their emotion, you have a chance to involve them in your business.

Jelly_knots on Instagram
Source: @jelly_knots

Source: @jelly_knots

When sharing your achievement, you can mention why you started your business, how you overcame rejections, what you've learned through your business so far, etc. Try to make use of storytelling techniques and create an emotional connection with your prospects.

6. For sharing reviews

Social proof helps you build trust and establish a relationship with potential customers. That's why adding testimonials or reviews in your Instagram caption can help boost conversions.

Conatural on Instagram
Source: Conatural

Source: Conatural

Whenever a customer shares with you a photo or tags you in their post or mentions you in their story, make sure you save it or repost it if you can. It's valuable user-generated content that helps diversify your Instagram profile and promote your business for free.

5 good Instagram caption examples from small business

The times when you google “best Instagram captions” and find creative, original ideas are over. With hundreds of thousands of search results, you know you’re not the only one using these captions. Your audience quickly gets bored of seeing one and the same content on different Instagram pages.

The number of searches for the “best Instagram captions” keyword is 74,000 per month. Meaning? You’re not the only person who is looking for them.

It’s time to be original and think of your own unique captions. An engaging Instagram caption often comes as naturally as it should have, but most of the time, making such that caption takes hours.

If you’re stuck with Instagram caption ideas, here are 5 good examples that will inspire you:

1. Motawi Tileworks

Motawi Tileworks on Instagram

Why this caption works: Motawi Tileworks’ caption is short and has no emojis as well as hashtags. But it’s effective because it focuses on sharing a picture of the products captured by clients. The brand made use of social proof to build trust with their audience.

2. Bracelets By Keara

Bracelets by Keara on Instagram

Why this caption works: It helps Bracelets By Keara find out which of their products are their customers’ favorite and get their input on a new product. It also increases engagement and gains valuable insights into the opinions of customers.

3. Revive Superfoods

Revive Superfood on Instagram

Why this caption works: Revive Superfoods starts a caption with the hashtag #giveawaymondays, which instantly helps draw in their audience. It conveys excitement while providing as much detail as possible.

4. Living The Gourmet

Living The Gourmet on Instagram

Why this caption works: It sparks audiences’ imaginations through storytelling. Instead of writing a generic description of crisp cookies, Living The Gourmet starts with “These slightly sweet, buttery pastries are filled with a fruit jam and served traditionally for Purim.” This immediately makes their followers imagine eating perfect Hamantaschen cookies while enjoying the Jewish Purim festival.

5. The Honest Company

The Honest Company on Instagram

Why this caption works: A good bit of humor lends itself well to this caption. Humor is often a welcomed way to promote a product on Instagram. It helps break down the purpose of promotion and make the business seem approachable and more human.

Now, you’re the master of Instagram captions!

Hopefully, you’re coming away from this post with key takeaways about how you can craft awesome Instagram captions that will drive leads, sales, and conversions for your own business.

Questions? Any Instagram caption tactic you’ve seen that work well for Instagram? What types of Instagram captions have you found to be the most engaging for your audience? Share with us in the comment below.

And, don't forget to follow us @Leadpages to keep updated with fantastic guides (like this one).

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