What you’ll learn
A kickass Instagram caption vibes with your target audience and echoes your brand voice. From strategic hooks and CTAs to brand-aligned storytelling and SEO—learning how to write Instagram captions that are as poppin’ as your visuals is non-negotiable.
Now that IG has evolved past #FoodPorn and mirror selfies, it’s become a potent tool for marketing your small business or large enterprise—but that’s only if you harness every part of your Instagram posts, especially your captions.
At Lyon Content, we craft effective strategies that have seamless branding across all content, including social media captions. Together with our in-house Instagram queen, Elji Isidoro, we’ve compiled all that wisdom to bring you a comprehensive guide for how to write Instagram captions that ignite interest and engagement.
Why are Instagram captions important for marketing?
Today, Instagram leads the charge over social media apps like TikTok, X (formerly Twitter), and Pinterest. With more than twice the number of monthly active users (2+ billion, to be precise), you have a rich opportunity to get your biz in front of a massive audience.
So, where do captions fall into the mix? With a little strategic finesse, they have the power to:
- Add depth and context to visuals
- Showcase your brand voice and persona
- Increase visibility with #hashtags
- Boost engagement from target audiences
- Foster a community with active followers
- Make your biz relatable, accessible, and memorable
- Boost SEO when indexed by search engines
- Drive action with compelling calls to action (CTAs)
Long story short: Your captions should be a top priority, not just an afterthought. So, ready to unlock the formula for how to write Instagram captions? You know we’ve got you.
How to write Instagram captions that are actually good
Knowing how to write a post on Instagram that’s relevant and entertaining is a great start. But are you infusing strategy? Does it align with your brand voice? Is it offering your audience value? These are just some linchpins of a high-powered caption.
Let’s dissect ‘em further. First up: hooks that are impossible to ignore.
Hook them in with the first sentence
The Instagram app allows 2,200 characters for captions, but it only previews 3 to 4 lines on mobile devices. And who isn’t scrolling via their smartphone nowadays?
That means the first thing your audience sees after your visuals is your hook. This could be a question, quote, witty pun—anything that grabs their attention and entices them to stick around.
Here’s how one attorney whips up fresh business captions for Instagram that reel her audience in from the jump:
Both hooks immediately speak to her target audience’s pain points (not knowing what to do after an injury claim) and prompt them to keep reading.
Here are some strong Instagram hooks you can try:
- “Calling all ….” (identify a specific audience like e-commerce brands, beauty enthusiasts, digital marketers, etc.)
- “Did you know ….”(share a relevant stat or industry update)
- “Hot take: …” (share an unpopular or controversial opinion about your niche)
Hooks more irresistible than a Taylor Swift bridge? Check. Now, follow up with value they can’t get from anyone but you.
Add value to your Instagram post
That killer hook means nada if you don’t back it up with actual value.
Keeping with our example from before, here’s how this personal injury lawyer did just that with her business captions for Instagram:
She effectively builds upon the groundwork laid in her hook, following through with actionable advice backed by her niche experience. She also maintains the same level of urgency.
The caption is consistent, relevant, and helpful. Then she ties it all together with a compelling CTA (we’ll get to those in a minute).
Here are three Instagram caption ideas for reinforcing your hooks with value:
- Follow up a stat or industry update with actionable advice based on your niche knowledge.
- Describe a strategy or practice for success that your audience can emulate.
- Share insider secrets that audiences aren’t privy to otherwise.
Alright—back to those CTAs.
Include a CTA to get your ideal audience engaged
Your CTAs take your audience from reading to doing.
There are two types of CTAs on Instagram:
- One that invites engagement
- One that converts leads (usually via a link in your bio).
Should every caption include a call to action? If you want people to do something (like sign up for a newsletter or book a discovery call), then abso-friggin’-lutely.
Check out one of Lyon Content’s recent posts Elji whipped up. Here, she encourages our audience to guess between AI, human, and AI-human writing:
As you can see, we dropped two CTAs here: one directing audiences to the link in our bio and another sparking conversation in the comments.
Some no-fail CTAs you can sprinkle into your captions are:
- Direct audiences to a link in your bio
- Invite them to discuss further in the comments
- Encourage followers to tag a friend–everyone’s invited to this party!
What about social media SEO?
Use hashtags to be more searchable on Instagram
Hashtags categorize your content and help people search Instagram posts by caption.
As for how many you should use? Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags but suggests 3-5 per post. The reasoning? As IG beefs up searchability, hashtags help index your content. Fewer hashtags could mean more reliable self-categorization, but that’s just a guess.
But you know we like doing things our own way.
“I experiment with 10-15 [hashtags] to avoid looking too spammy. For those, I include hashtags related to each brand, focusing mostly on those relevant to the topic. I also avoid using shadowbanned (or blocked) hashtags,” explains Elji.
If done right, your hashtags can boost visibility and rake in more sales.
Take Coke’s #ShareACoke campaign that encouraged audiences to purchase personalized bottles and give them as gifts. Not only did this generate serious buzz, it brought an 870% surge in traffic to their site. 😯
As for how to write a post on Instagram that embodies your brand persona again and again, we’ve got three words for you: brand messaging strategy.
Top 4 tips for brand consistency on Instagram
When we talk about brands learning how to be consistent on social media, we aren’t referring to their posting schedule (although HubSpot says that helps, too). We mean your brand persona, voice, and overall messaging.
“Brand consistency on IG is paramount,” says Elji. “Uniform visual aesthetics, tone, and messaging create a cohesive brand identity, fostering recognition and trust.”
Just think about your favorite brand marketing examples. They probably have an unforgettable brand identity. Think Redbull’s bold, edgy, adrenaline-fueled persona or embody’s fun, sassy, relatable voice.
Here are four tips to help you cultivate your signature vibe on the ‘gram:
1. Understand how your ideal audience interacts on IG
You can’t start writing high-powered captions without understanding who you’re writing for. To dig deeper, use Instagram’s built-in analytics (we’ll come back to that) or third-party tools (like Hootsuite) to better gauge audience behavior.
Other options include:
- Experimenting with different forms of IG content
- Assessing user-generated content related to your brand
- Researching and analyzing your competitors’ audience
- Seeing how audiences respond to related content
“I explore platforms like Quora and Reddit. These offer valuable insights into relevant questions and discussions pertaining to a brand’s niche,” she says. “I also frequent different blog posts to gather inspiration and ensure a well-rounded approach to crafting engaging and informative content.”
With this intel, you can tailor every caption to match your audience’s expectations and interests.
2. Create an Instagram caption template
We know IG gives you up to 2,200 characters for captions, but you don’t have to hit that cap every time. Elji says length should vary based on topics, but that brevity is best.
Remember, Instagram users scroll through post after post in their Instagram feed. You have seconds to stop them in their tracks and keep their attention. Make your caption too long-winded, and you risk a swift scroll-by. 🌪️
Just peep these engagement rates for different caption lengths:
Oh, and boring, corporate-speak or soulless robo-writing? That ain’t going to fly with your IG audience.
3. Use storytelling and always write like a human (not a bot)
As we’ve learned, when it comes to Instagram marketing, relatability takes center stage. That means your captions need to be authentic and human AF. AI-generated mumbo-jumbo? Leave that to your rivals.
Take this caption from Rare Beauty’s post announcing their retail partner’s upcoming sales event:
This caption feels natural, like something your BFF would say. Now imagine if, instead, it said something like:
“Sephora Savings Event until November 6th. Use code ‘TIMETOSAVE’ for discounts: Rouge (20%), VIB (15%), Insider (10%).”
Doesn’t quite hit like the OG, does it?
As for how effective your captions are, the proof is in the data.
4. Monitor your Instagram metrics and stay nimble
Instagram is a dynamic platform, and staying adaptable is a must. Those built-in analytics we mentioned earlier are a goldmine of actionable data, such as:
- Reach: number of unique accounts that have viewed your content
- Engagement: percentage of followers that have interacted with your content
- Traffic: amount of clicks your content links generate
- Saves: number of bookmarks on your posts
- Shares: amount of times users share your content with others
- Growth: how many followers you lose or gain per day
- Peak post times: your “Best Time To Post” for engagement and interaction
When creating content, Elji also pays special attention to click-throughs and profile visits, as these indicate your content is sparking curiosity among audiences. 😉
Your metrics tell you what works best (and when) for your target audience, so monitor them regularly as you perfect how to write Instagram captions.
Lyon Content: Caption Like a Boss
You don’t just want good Instagram marketing; you want it to be legendary.
Now that you’ve mastered the art (and science) of how to write Instagram captions, it’s time to open your Insta and unleash your magic. Craft hooks that captivate, deliver value only YOU can offer, and tie it all together with irresistible CTAs.
Still drawing a blank? Don’t sweat it.
At Lyon Content, we don’t just dish advice and turn our backs.
We empower brands to make a tangible impact in their digital presence. If going it solo feels like too much (we get it, it’s a lot), our top-tier social media content writing team boasts the expertise to make your IG a hub of engaging, true-to-you storytelling.
Ready for a roar of Instagram engagement?! Team up with our Instagram caption copywriters today.
Natalie is a beauty and lifestyle writer at Lyon Content, born and raised in sunny Miami, Florida. She’s passionate about crafting personality-driven copy that helps brands build a ride-or-die following with their audiences! Like a true Cuban, she runs on XL cafe-con-leches and loves horror movies, houseplants, exploring new places, and snuggling up with her SO and fur babies.