Instagram is a key tool for many companies looking to reach out to their audience and catch their attention. With 1 billion active monthly users, of whom 83% say that they discover new products and services on Instagram, companies have a great opportunity to market themselves and their brand (Facebook, 2019).
However, Instagram can be a tricky platform for companies to utilise effectively. In the past, emphasis has been put on the quality of your image, and the overall cohesiveness of your profile. Of course, these aspects still matter, but we’d like to shed some light on the Instagram caption as an under-utilised resource for businesses to create strong engagement.
What does the data say?
Instagram captions are growing in length, with the average caption length doubling between 2016 and 2019 (Fohr, 2020). We are increasingly seeing influencers use their captions as mini-blogs.
The same study found that this increased length is yielding results – Instagram captions over 500 characters long have a higher engagement rate than those that are shorter. Engagement is one method of quantifying the connection that you have had with your audience, but it also improves your post’s visibility on Instagram, reaching a wider audience and boosting your profile.
How much should I write?
So, should you be writing essays? You might be worrying how much time it will take to write these long-form captions, but it doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes. As a rule, try to aim for three posts per week with a caption of at least 70 words.
If this seems intimidating, try dropping the number of posts you prepare each week. Maybe move from 3 posts a week to 2, making sure one of those reaches your caption length target, and analyse your engagement each week. You might find that you are getting more engagement across your 2 posts than you used to across all 3.
What should I write about?
It might be hard at first to adjust and you might find yourself sitting with your phone, stuck on what to write. If you experience writers block, look for inspiration from the companies and influencers who are doing it really well. How are they crafting their stories? What makes up the bulk of their content?
Many influencers are adding value to their long-form content by adding educational material. By inserting interesting facts or specialist knowledge, they give their audience a reason to return to their account.
Another method is to write personal stories, giving a ‘behind-the-scenes’ glimpse of their lives. Maybe as a contrast to their carefully curated image, their caption takes a frank and down-to-earth tone. This can be used to nurture more personal connections with their audience, which makes for stronger relationships.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new in your social media strategy, you may find out some interesting things about your audience which you can use for future campaigns.
Ultimately, a picture may tell a thousand words – but an extra 70 wouldn’t hurt!