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How to Write Effective Photo Captions on Social Media


In a world where approximately 52 million photos are shared daily on Instagram, a well-written caption can make all the difference in driving engagement. Let’s be honest, captioning is the hardest part of uploading a photo. After much reading and research, here are some of the best tips to help you master the art of captioning Instagram photos (and other photos for social media).

  • Know your audience –Will they understand a specific reference? Will the tone resonate with them? Are emojis appropriate? As with any other marketing strategy, knowing your target audience helps you to tailor your message.
  • Provide context – What’s happening in the photo? What story are you trying to tell? What’s the connection to your brand? Captions should enhance your photo. Providing context allows you to have complete control over the type of message you want to send. Don’t let your audience question what it is your sharing or why you’re sharing it.
  • Important info first – With shorter attention spans, useful and/or engaging info should come first! While Instagram does allow 2,200 characters, captions are cut off after a few lines of text.
  • Ask a question – Social media is meant to be social. Post a question in your caption to start a conversation to help drive engagement from followers.
  • Include a call to action – Asking your audience to “double tap (like),” “tag a friend,” or check out the “link in our bio” allows for interaction and engagement. All you have to do is ask.
  • Use hashtags and emojis wisely – Hashtags and emojis can be used to leverage engagement but make sure not to overdo it. Many social media marketers recommend using a max of two hashtags per post. Of course, hashtags and emojis should be relevant to your post.
  • Be consistent – Consistency in how you present your information helps with developing a tone of voice. Are your captions more humorous or more serious? Captions should embody your brand while also reaching your target audience.

If you’re looking for a social strategy or any additional support with captions, we’d love to help!


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