The Dos and Don’ts of Creating Great Captions for Instagram Posts


Simple as it looks, it’s not so easy to write great captions for Instagram posts. Thinking up new, engaging, and intriguing captions can feel like a chore on top of everything else you have to do.  

But developing Instagram captions that complement your visuals can impact your marketing efforts for the better. And it becomes much easier when you follow a proven plan. It’s all about knowing the right approach to capture your audience’s attention and keep them engaged.

Why Bother Creating Great Captions for Instagram Posts?

According to the 2022 RivalIQ Benchmark Report, the Instagram engagement rate has dropped 30% this year, and the decline is consistent across all industries. The same report also suggested that carousel posts on Instagram performed better in terms of engagement.

This data provides actionable insights so that you can drive more engagement to your profile and posts. You can start by writing great captions for Instagram posts.

Here are some of the benefits of doing so…

1. It Grabs the Audience’s Attention

Instagram tops the list of the best social media sites for marketing. This platform uses visuals as its primary method for conveying your brand message to the audience. However, an image can only convey so much—you must give it more lasting power with a captivating caption that supports the imagery.

Whether they’re trying to sell or share a story, captions spark conversations about the visual.

2. It Encourages Engagement

Compel your audience to engage with your posts by writing witty or intriguing captions. Great captions for Instagram posts pique your audience’s interest. So, give them something to talk about or discuss with you. Ask questions and even use pop culture references.

It takes a bit of A/B testing to determine what your audience will respond to. Once you figure out the right formula, though, you can bank on it to boost your engagement level.

3. It Allows You to Connect More Deeply with Your Audience

The best Instagram captions are those that help you connect with your audience. Use it to showcase your brand and reinforce your voice in all forms of brand messaging, including social media content.

Think of it as a method to converse with your audience, and make sure you always write great captions for Instagram posts with intent.

It’s no surprise that influencer posts on Instagram have a higher engagement rate of 1.42%, according to the same Rival IQ Benchmark Report. That’s because influencers have developed a connection with their audience.

How to Write Great Captions for Instagram—Dos and Don’ts

Don’t you wish there was a formula that you could copy when writing Instagram captions? We have the next best thing for you—a list of dos and don’ts for writing great captions for Instagram posts.

In the Instagram Report for 2022 by Mention, including captions to any content format on Instagram can drive engagement from 4% to 6%! Many other factors influence engagement per post, so take the time to understand these strategies for success.

1. Don’t Write Fluff Captions

A Hootsuite experiment revealed that longer captions drove more engagement than similar posts with shorter captions. However, you should refrain from writing fluff just to make your captions longer. Every word must have a purpose and add value to the caption.

There is a high character limit to Instagram captions (2,200 characters). However, they are truncated, so make sure you start strong to hook your audience immediately.

The post below from Misfits Market offers an excellent example of a no-fluff caption. It provided tips on how to use fresh herbs and prevent food waste in a few lines with a suggestion to check the link for more ideas.

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A post shared by Misfits Market (@misfitsmarket)

2. Do Keep It Simple

Adding value should always be your top priority when writing great captions for Instagram posts. However, you want to keep it simple and easy to digest.

The caption in the ghd post below keeps it simple yet effective. It shares how the brand campaign has raised funds to support breast cancer research. It is effective because it appeals to the audience to purchase from the brand to support a fantastic cause and make an impact.

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A post shared by ghd hair (@ghdhair)

3. Don’t Go Off Brand

Always think of your brand voice when writing great captions for Instagram posts. Consistency is the key to making it easy for your voice to resonate with your audience.

The post below by Inika Organic, a vegan cosmetic brand, best demonstrates consistent branding through its caption. The caption reinforces what makes their natural and vegan cosmetic products stand out from others in the market.

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A post shared by INIKA Organic (@inikaorganic)

4. Do Spruce It Up

Don’t be afraid to use emojis and acronyms when writing your Instagram captions. You don’t have to worry about making your brand look unprofessional. The best captions are the ones that have personality and can compel your audience to engage.

Including emojis helps add emotions to your captions in a way that words cannot. Acronyms like “ICYMI” or “FOMO” are commonly used by Instagram users. Make sure you speak their language by using these acronyms—in moderation and within the proper context, of course.

5. Don’t Write Big Paragraphs

The 2,200-character limit on Instagram allows you to write longer captions if you feel it will add more value to your post. However, make sure to break up the text into smaller chunks of paragraphs or bullet points to make them easy to read and visually appealing.

This post by Matador Network talks in detail about a particular location. But instead of writing one long paragraph, the caption is broken down into two smaller paragraphs for easy reading and higher engagement.

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A post shared by Matador Network (@matadornetwork)

6. Do Ask Open-Ended Questions

Great captions for Instagram posts don’t just ask any old questions. Make sure to ask open-ended questions to encourage a conversation in the comments section.

In the post below, author Laura Briggs starts by asking an open-ended question. This is an excellent use of this technique; it incites a reaction from the audience and encourages followers to share their ideas about the topic.

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A post shared by Laura Briggs (@authorlaurabriggs)

7. Don’t Forget to Use Data

The best place to turn to if you want to boost engagement is your analytics. This will provide you with actionable insights, so you know what’s working and what isn’t.

Without looking at your analytics data, you’re shooting blind. Use the data to tell you what type of posts your audience is responding to so you can plan for future posts and captions.

8. Do Pull on the Heartstrings

Make sure you appeal to the emotions of your audience as well. This post by The Knot is a good example of using emotions to generate engagement. The caption is short, but it gets to the point. It does a great job of depicting the feelings shown in the video content.

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A post shared by Laura Briggs (@authorlaurabriggs)

You can use the Instagram search function to look for other similar posts to see how they capture the emotions of their audience through captions.

9. Don’t Forget to Add a CTA

The most effective caption must include a call to action (CTA). When writing captions for a brand page, you want to achieve your goal—whether it’s to get more clicks to your website, to increase follower count, or anything else.

If you write a compelling caption, convincing your audience to respond to your CTA should come naturally. Don’t just add the “click the link in bio” statement at the end. Be creative when writing your CTAs!

This CTA by Dyson on their Instagram caption is a creative and straightforward example.

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A post shared by Dyson (@dyson)

Final Thoughts

These helpful tips about how to write great captions for Instagram posts boil down to this: Write a caption that feels authentic and is consistent with the message you want to convey. That’s how you’ll know your captions will be successful.If you need an objective viewpoint when analyzing your social media content and overall marketing strategy, Viral Solutions is here to help! Take advantage of our free 50-point marketing audit to help identify what’s missing in your existing campaign so you can take it to another level.


At Viral Solutions we are committed to seeing YOU succeed. It is our goal to grow your business with proven digital marketing strategies that will help your business for the long haul.

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Filed Under: Social Media

About Lauren Zylyk

During her time working for Walt Disney World, Lauren quickly grew a social media presence on platforms, mainly through Instagram. With a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing paired with her passion for marketing, Lauren grew her audience even more by creating a blog and through use of other social media platforms. She loves the impact that social media has and how quickly it can get information around worldwide.
When she is not busy keeping up with the latest trends online, she can be found baking cookies in the kitchen, watching hockey, or at the gym. She loves hot yoga and trying out any new dessert recipe. She can’t cook, but she can sure bake!