Mastering the Art of the Caption: Telling Small Stories for Big Results

By Taryn Anderson Sep 4, 2019

Social media management may seem simple enough, but a nuanced and tactical approach is necessary to successfully grow your following, gain new leads, and truly appeal to your audience. There is no "if you build it they will come," and definitely no "set it and forget it" when it comes to social media growth. You have to work for the social media engagement and the followers you seek.

Sharing social media content without a strategy can have ill effects on your engagement rates, not to mention create a confusing an incoherent brand experience for your fans. Social media marketers must be precise about their social media plays. Consider not only the type of content you want to publish, but how to maintain visual aesthetics to present a cohesive theme, who exactly you are trying to reach with each post, and what times are best to post at for optimal engagement among other things when designing your social strategy.

But what is arguably the make-it-or-break-it, most crucial component of a social post?

The caption.

The words that accompany your visual content can weaken or strengthen your brand message, so choose them wisely! 

Great captions can explain the purpose for a post or the meaning behind the visual content, encourage your customers to take action, increase the shareability of the post, and help build a loyal following with your fans. Captions should never be low priority—they’re the perfect tool for inspiring engagement and interactions with your followers.

When writing a great caption, present the important information—a story about your brand, its products, or a service you offer—early on. Although Instagram captions, for example, have a maximum character count of 2,200 characters, it's important to note captions are cut off after three lines of text when viewed in user feeds. It's important to keep your captions short enough to be displayed in their entirety to viewers, and intriguing and witty enough to encourage them to like your posts and click into your profile to view more. You have only so much space and time to say what’s important in a caption, so get to the good stuff first.
 
Hashtags are also an important tool to make use of when crafting social media copy. Instagram let's you use up to 30 hashtags per post while other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter don't limit your use (note- this doesn't mean you should inundate your viewers with superfluous hashtags!). Use relevant hashtags to categorize your posts, helping social media algorithms determine who to show your posts and feed to and interested parties come across your posts. 


Another hallmark of a great caption is that it features a call to action. If you create a narrative in your post, keep the user experience interesting. Ask your followers to participate by prompting your followers to answer a question or tag a friend. You can even keep it simple with a phrase such as, “double-tap if you agree.” The possibilities are endless, and with each call to action comes a new way to increase your post’s share potential, successfully engaging followers along the way.

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