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Level up your caption game on social media

Today, we’re talking captions in terms of social media. Up until around 2018-ish, when followers got sick of seeing overly edited pictures, feeling bad after scrolling their feed with unrealistic ideals and ultimately the lack of connection from the people they were following and thus the peeps finally wised up!

People began to unfollow influencers who weren’t keepin’ it REAL.. They were craving raw, unedited photos, real experiences, life as it is in all its natural beauty and chaos. They wanted to know that they, as an imperfect human, were not alone.

Many brands heard the cry of their followers and were strategising how to connect with them on a deeper level and realised it’s in the CAPTION.

Sure, a visual of a post stops someone scrolling in a feed but, a caption is what keeps someone engaging with your post – for a longer time. (Which the algorithm definitely notices – hint hint 😉)

Not surprisingly, each year we’ve seen a shift in brands where captions have gotten longer and longer. Although, it’s said that longer captions are actually better, but refrain from waffling on and make sure the content is of value to the audience.

Storytelling in your captions goes beyond just pushing product information and selling your services. It’s about higher engagement rates that results being featured in the Explore page of Insta and getting in front of new followers to make new CONNECTIONS (resulting in more sales and conversions).

We totes understand writing isn’t for everyone and writing about yourself or your business can definitely be hard. Heck, Dom has been writing captions for VDM and our clients since 2014.

In fact, as a rough estimate our VDM team have probably written or proofed close to 28,000 captions over the years #noexaggeration

What’s our recipe for a great caption? Well, we can’t give away all our secrets 🤫 but what we will say is, we believe it’s best to follow a certain flow using a strategy formula – think of it as your caption blueprint if you will.

Our magic formula is to focus on 6 areas:

  • Promote – here is where we want to build awareness around the services your brand offers; building on the established and trusted reputation your brand may have in the local community. Example posts could include introducing your team members – putting faces behind the names and the roles they fulfill.
  • Community – sharing mentions of your brand in the local community goes a long way. Example posts might be involvement in charity events or activities, supporting the local community, sporting teams and local events.
  • Educate – a user should be able to learn something about your brand/business from this type of post. For example, if you own a hospitality business, you may want to educate your customers on where your produce comes from or even the meaning behind your business name.
  • Entertain – provide a light-hearted, warm, approachable insight into your business and who you are. This could be in the form of humour, or sharing team member’s news and announcements.
  • UGC (User Generated Content) – this is a great way to build on your established and trusted reputation with reviews and testimonials from clients (can be anonymous).
  • Inspire – share the reasons why people should want to work/shop with you, or perhaps share a quote that resonates with your brand/business.

Captions aren’t just about getting users to stop mid scroll and stay on your post, they’re also about encouraging engagement – remember the more engagement your post receives the more the algorithm is going to love your post and in turn rank it higher in other users’ feeds.

We only have to think back to the Instagram Egg to see how powerful a caption can be – and if you have no idea what we’re on about, in early 2019 an image simply of an egg🥚 was posted to Instagram with the caption:

“Let’s set a world record together and get the most liked post on Instagram. Beating the current world record held by Kylie Jenner (18 million)! We got this 🙌”

2.5 years on and 55.2 million likes later, that humble egg still holds the record for most likes received on an Instagram post all because of the caption! If that doesn’t show the power of a caption, we don’t know what will. 🤷‍♀️

So next time you’re writing your caption, consider adding a form of action into it whether it’s by asking users to like or share the post – we can’t promise you’ll get 55 million likes too – or by including a question that prompts them to comment their answer.

There you have it, VDM’s magic formula to creating the ideal caption.