If you’re looking to grow your business online, Instagram is the place to be. It’s an incredibly effective platform that, if used right, can get you tons of new customers (without you needing to have thousands of followers). The key to Instagram success is creating valuable and shareable content, consistently. When we say content, we’re not just talking about the main image you post. That’s only a part of it. We’re talking about the image + the caption.
Captions are becoming increasingly important to generate engagement and shares, which have superseded likes as the main way Instagram rates content. In short, the goal of your Instagram content should be to generate engagement and get people to share your content (not just “like” your pretty photo). In this post, we’ll cover the difference between shareable and selfie content, AND how to create captions that will grab attention, boost engagement, and bring paying clients to your direct messages (DMs)!
The difference between shareable and selfie content
You’ve probably noticed that Instagram has hidden ‘likes’ on its platform. This isn’t a bug. It’s a deliberate step taken by Instagram to shift the value of content from vanity metrics (‘likes’) to value (‘engagement’ and ‘shares’).
If you want Instagram to show more of your content, you need to create more shareable content. Shareable content is content that your audience will want to share (not just ‘like’). This usually means content that provides some sort of value and education. In contrast, selfie content is, well, selfies, or any other images of you and other people.
If you think about it, posting a photo of yourself at the beach or at work MAY get you likes, but it probably won’t be shared by your audience (because it’s less relevant to them). On the other hand, sharing a post with top tips for writing website headlines will probably get saved AND shared by your audience, since it provides clear value. And business owners want to be seen as people that are smart and provide value. Now, let’s dive into how to create valuable and engaging captions for your Instagram posts
4 elements of winning Instagram captions
To create Instagram captions that get noticed, you need to include the 4 elements below. These are based on some of the excellent content created by Vanessa Lau.
4 elements to focus on:
2. Body Content
3. CTA (P.S. Strategy)
The hook is the first 125 words of your caption; it’s the text that readers will see before they need to click ‘…More’ to read.
There are a few ways to write a good hook:
- A counterintuitive statement – Example: What most small businesses do DOESN’T work…
- A question (based on your ideal client’s pain point) – Example: Are you afraid to launch a website that isn’t ‘perfect’ ?
- 3. Attention-grabbing title that is irresistible to your ideal target – Example: How to get 1,000 followers in 7 days
2. Body Content
Now, it’s time to provide the actual value.
Remember, you only have a few seconds to ‘catch’ a reader before they keep scrolling to the next Instagram post, so your posts need to be clear and enticing.
Here are 5 Instagram post ideas that will help you convert followers into customers:
Share the top 3 mistakes that your target audience makes. For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, you can create a post about the 3 big mistakes grooms make when taking their wedding photos.
Here’s an example from Vanessa Lau
Share the top 5 tips from your industry. For example, if you’re a business coach, you can share the top 5 tips for finding new clients on LinkedIn.
These are our favorite types of posts. These posts challenge ‘conventional’ wisdom and provide a new perspective for your target audience. For example, if you’re selling baby clothes, a misconception may be around what size clothing to get for different ages (or something like that).
Here’s an example of a post we did about branding:
Share something that will inspire your target audience; it can be a quote or your personal story of reaching some milestone or success.
Create posts that share an audience testimonial or case study. These posts are less shareable (why would your audience share a testimonial?), but they serve to boost your credibility and attract more customers.
3. CTAs – The P.S. Strategy
The Call to Action (CTA) is the part where you ‘call’ your audience to action – whether it’s to share in the comments, subscribe to your newsletter, book a call or sign up for your course.
One effective way to get your readers to act is to have both a primary and secondary CTA:
Primary CTA: Purpose is to get quick, short-term engagement – DMs, comments, likes and shares – that will boost your post on Instagram.
- Comment below with your favorite small-business book 🙂
- Tag a small business you LOVE in the comments below!
- Shoot me a DM if you want me to review your website for free!
- Drop your favorite WFH emoji in the comments
Secondary CTA: Purpose is to get people to click on your link in bio and drive traffic to something that matters to your business in the long-term, like your website, newsletter subscribe link, or YouTube video.
At the end of your content (Instagram post or even email), you should always include a P.S. with a CTA that generates longer-term engagement.
1. P.S. Want to get the ultimate branding checklist for your business?
Click my ‘link in bio’ to get your free copy!
2. P.S. Need help branding your business? Click the link to watch my YouTube video on branding for entrepreneurs.
Now, the last and final tip for creating high-converting Instagram captions is about using the right structure.
The #1 tip for creating readable Instagram captions is to make sure they’re well-organized and scannable.
Over To You
Now that you’ve learned the four elements of converting Instagram captions, it’s time to get posting!