The Three Cs – Captivate, Captions and CTAs
Remember, from Part I, that the primary goal of the algorithm is to maximize time users spend on the platform. With that in mind, you are going to want to extend a view past a visual or photograph. In other words, we want people to “stop their scroll.” I always liken it to a book (in the days of book stores). I would circle a section and the cover of a book would grab my attention. I’d pick it up and read at least the first few lines of what the book is about, on the inside jacket. An Instagram post is kind of the same. The photo or visual grabs your attention and the caption either pulls people in or they move on.
Captions don’t have to be mini-blogs, there is no right or wrong length. They do, however, need to tell the why or how, not just the what. They need to invite your audience in and to engage. A good Instagram caption is one that provides context, shows your personality, and inspires your followers to take action.
Here are some tips that may help you write better captions:
CAPTION TIP #1 – Grab their attention. Try starting with something that'll make your followers stop and say "wait, what?", and want to read more.
CAPTION TIP #2 – Ask questions People love to share their opinions (even when not asked!) Try asking a question that you know your followers will feel comfortable answering or give them a choice of “this or that,” that prompts them to share.
CAPTION TIP #3 – Educate people on something that they would want to know. What kind of people make up the brunt of your following? What would benefit them? Don't underestimate the power of sharing value through your caption.
CAPTION TIP #4 – Be Real. Be vulnerable. Some of my highest engagement has come from posting a simple quote, and explaining in the caption why it speaks to me. In these caption, my true feelings are usually ones that people can relate to.
And finally, a CTA, or Call-To-Action. Every post should have one. It can be as easy as inviting your audience to:
· Double-Tap (click the heart) if they agree
· Comment or Share
· Answer a “this or that”
· Visit your link in your bio
· Visit another person’s profile (Check out @abc for great tips)
· Tag someone who you know will appreciate this
· Save this post for when you need it
· Share this post
Even if people don’t always do it, you need to keep inviting them to take action. You want to train your audience, and eventually, as you build your relationship with your followers, they will feel comfortable commenting. The more action they take, and engaged they are with your posts, the longer they spend on the platform and your content will be shown more to them, more to people like them, and even on the explore page!