Need ideas for your Instagram captions? Want your posts to deliver better results?
In this article, you’ll discover 18 caption ideas for Instagram, ranging from engagement and conversation to education and entertainment.
Long-Form Captions vs. Short Captions for Instagram
Instagram captions have a limit of 2,200 characters, which equals about 400 words for the average copywriter. That gives you a ton of space to deliver your brand's message, connect with your audience, and prompt the action you want followers to complete.
Of course, you certainly don't have to fill the available space or write anything approaching the 2,200-character limit. But should you aim for longer or shorter Instagram captions?
To write the best Instagram captions, it's helpful to look at Instagram trends. According to Later, 5 years ago, captions averaged about 140 characters. But over the years, they've gradually gotten longer. In 2022, the typical Instagram caption has essentially tripled to more than 400 characters.
It's no coincidence that Instagram captions have become wordier. In many cases, the type of engagement your caption inspires depends on the length and nature of the caption.
According to a Hootsuite study, short Instagram captions with fewer than 100 characters generally get a lot of likes. But if you want more meaningful engagement like comments and conversations, longer Instagram captions with 400 or more characters are generally a better choice.
In other words, it's all about your Instagram marketing goals. If you write punchy, short Instagram captions, you'll probably get a lot of likes and boost awareness levels. If you write long, detailed Instagram captions, you'll probably get more thoughtful comments and drive consideration.
No matter what Instagram caption length you favor, it's in your best interest to write original Instagram captions. As Instagram increasingly prioritizes unique content over repurposed content, authenticity is more important than ever.
It's also a good idea to keep testing options. As Instagram focuses more on short-form video, engagement trends may continue to evolve in unexpected ways.
Curious how to fine-tune your Instagram captions for different types of engagement or goals? Check out the examples and tips below.
How to Write Instagram Captions for Likes
For more likes, write Instagram captions that truly speak to your audience. Think about their demographics and interests, and talk about what they like.
#1: Channel Your Audience's Inner Feelings
Customers love feeling like your brand gets them. That's why creating content that truly resonates with your audience is such a great way to get likes on Instagram without having to ask for them directly.
In the reel above, @madetoplan sets the scene for a cozy Friday night filled with journaling and planning. In the caption, the creator explains that dark winter evenings can sap motivation. The creator goes on to explain that using the time to plan something exciting helps regain motivation—a perspective that's likely to inspire and resonate.
The Conference You've Been Waiting For
As a small business marketer, you can probably only pick one or two events to attend each year. Get an unbeatable conference experience and expert training at Social Media Marketing World in sunny San Diego, California—from your friends at Social Media Examiner.
🔥 As a valued reader, you can save $600 on an All-Access ticket if you act now! Sale Ends Tuesday! 🔥CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE
#2: Tout Your Mission and Values
Your audience follows your Instagram account for a reason. In most cases, that's because they like your brand, the products and services you offer, or the mission you're working toward. That means sharing or reiterating your values is a great way to get followers to react positively.
For example, the @among.the.flowers Instagram post above highlights one of the apothecary's skincare products. The caption explores the product's simple makeup and most notable ingredients. By clarifying that the product doesn't include fillers or additives, this Instagram caption reinforces the brand's values, attracting likes from happy customers.
#3: Thank Your Customers
From major product launches to milestone anniversaries, celebrations are much more rewarding when you get your audience involved. By sharing your celebrations on Instagram, you can invite loyal customers and longtime followers alike to join the fun.
In the Instagram video above, @deliciouslyella celebrates the brand's 10th anniversary and highlights several milestones. The caption looks back on the plant-based entrepreneur's beginnings and expresses the brand's appreciation for longtime followers, which is a great way to attract likes naturally.
How to Write Instagram Captions for Comments
To get more comments, encourage followers to speak their minds. Asking questions in your Instagram captions is always a good place to start.
#4: Ask for Follower Input
Your Instagram followers can be a great starting point for market research. Is your business planning to develop new products? Are you thinking about expanding your company's footprint? Find out what your audience thinks by adding a concise question in the caption.
In the Instagram post above, @drinkkoia keeps the brand's question short and sweet. By asking what city needs the brand's billboard, the beverage producer can get a better sense of where its customers are located. Sure enough, the post has dozens of comments ranging from specific cities to general messages of support.
#5: Seek Insights and Opinions
Open-ended questions can lead to a surprising range of answers, which can be a good thing. But when you want your customers to choose from a certain set of answers, you can give them specific options instead. Make it easy for followers to reference your answers by giving each one a unique number or emoji.
In the Instagram post above, @homedeco asks followers for input on their preferences. By giving followers five interior design options, the plant accessories brand can learn more about what its audience likes. Then the brand can use insights from the comments to create more content its audience is likely to enjoy.
#6: Offer Fun 1 to 1 Engagement
You don't always have to ask a serious question or poll your audience to get comments. You can also get comments by asking lighthearted questions or encouraging fun responses. Make sure the prompt you provide fits your brand so you can use the opportunity to share your values.
For example, @goodiegirlcookies asks followers to leave a smiling emoji in the comments in the reel above. In exchange, the brand promises to respond with a positive mantra. The call to action (CTA) fits the brand perfectly and reinforces its “good” approach.
How to Write Instagram Captions for Shares
For more shares, give your audience a reason or incentive to send your Instagram content to their friends and family.
#7: Help Your Followers, Help Others
When you create truly helpful content that can benefit anyone, it's a good idea to encourage your audience to spread the word. Whether you have a huge following or you're just starting to grow your audience, shares can help your content reach the people who need to see it most.
Above, the Instagram post from @asana serves as an important reminder during Mental Health Awareness Month. The caption details the telltale signs of burnout in a short checklist. In the caption, the project management app also encourages followers to offer support by sharing the post with a friend or co-worker.
#8: Spread Positivity
In addition to getting help to people who need it, Instagram content can also spread positivity. In fact, Instagram posts are ideal for sharing quotes and revelations. To leverage this format, add an eye-catching statement to the creative and then elaborate in the caption.
For example, the @marieforleo Instagram post above highlights a short, catchy statement. The caption encourages followers to remember how much control they have over their outlook. The entrepreneur then urges followers to share the post with a friend who could use a mini pep talk.
Attention Agency Owners, Brand Marketers, and Consultants
Introducing the Marketing Agency Show–our newest podcast designed to explore the struggles of agency marketers.
Join show host and agency owner, Brooke Sellas, as she interviews agency marketers and digs deep into their biggest challenges. Explore topics like navigating rough economic times, leveraging AI, service diversification, client acquisition, and much more.
Just pull up your favorite podcast app, search for Marketing Agency Show and start listening. Or click the button below for more information.
#9: Incentivize Contest Entries
Do you have an incentive to offer followers? It's even easier to get shares when you can give followers something they want in exchange. For example, giveaways can be particularly helpful for driving shares on Instagram.
In the Instagram post above, @collegeceliackc invites followers to enter a giveaway featuring a variety of brands. As the caption explains, followers can gain 10 additional entries for the giveaway by sharing the post to Instagram Stories. By encouraging shares, the blogger can boost visibility, increase brand awareness, and attract more giveaway entries.
Instagram Captions to Educate
Want to share information with your followers or teach them how to do something? Use the examples below to educate your audience.
#10: Show Off a Helpful Solution
Your followers are seeking answers for their concerns and your business has just the solution. In your Instagram caption, make it clear that you understand the issue. Then show them exactly where to find the solution, ideally by watching your short-form video.
In the reel above, @misfitsmarket explores a common problem: the limited shelf life of fresh produce. The caption assures followers that a simple solution exists. Then it uses a simple CTA (“Watch Now”) to share the process.
#11: Compile a List of Useful Tips
When you post images rather than short-form videos, options for sharing tutorials and tips are a little different. You can create an image-based carousel and prompt followers to scroll through for the details. Or you can put all of the copy in the caption and increase your character count at the same time.
For example, @evernote regularly shares tips for improving organization and productivity. In the Instagram post above, the company provides a full list of decluttering tips in the caption including details for using the app to boost productivity.
#12: Encapsulate a Complete Step-by-Step Guide
If you're used to writing shorter Instagram captions, you might be tempted to keep your how-to copy concise. After all, you can always prompt followers to tap the link in your bio to access related blog posts and lead magnets.
But if you want to make longer Instagram captions work for your business, put everything your audience needs to know in the post. You probably won't end up with as many website visits but you could get more saves, shares, and engaged followers.
In the reel above, @healthynumnumblog shares a healthy dinner idea. The text overlay prompts followers to check the caption, which includes the full recipe and the complete ingredient list.
Instagram Captions to Entertain
Prefer to make your audience laugh or create content they'll want to share with friends? Follow the tips below to write entertaining Instagram captions.
#13: Tell an Insider Joke
Your brand doesn't always have to take itself seriously. Humor can go a long way toward helping you make an authentic connection with your followers.
For example, the @shopbando reel above pokes fun at the idea of basing a personality on a single item—in this case, strawberries. The caption jokes about the brand's affinity for the fruit while highlighting several of its strawberry-themed products.
#14: Make Fun of Your Brand
Are your customers just as obsessed with your brand as your team is? When you make fun of yourself, your content is likely to hit home with your followers.
For example, the @zapier reel above features a skit about overindulging in the brand's automation app. When prompted to name three hobbies, the creator can only name one: “automating repetitive tasks.” The caption jokes, “When Zapier becomes your only hobby.”
#15: Play Off Of a Meme
When you want to make your audience laugh, memes are a great choice. From likes to comments to shares, memes can drive tons of engagement. Since they rely on shared cultural experiences, memes are ideal for connecting with your audience in a new way.
For example, the @crunchgym Instagram post above features several gym-themed memes using Met Gala runway photos as source material. The caption, “Here's the #MetGala meme dump some people were actually asking for. Part 2.,” references a previous post captioned, “Here's the #MetGala meme dump no one asked for. Part 1.”
Instagram Captions to Convert
Need to get your followers to fill out a lead generation form or make a purchase? Take a look at examples of conversion-focused Instagram captions.
#16: Set Up a Use Case
Recipes and tutorials are great for teaching your audience something new or helping them solve a problem. Because they show your followers how to get value from your products, they also work well for driving conversions.
In the Instagram caption above, @counterculturecoffee shares a detailed recipe for a seasonal coffee drink. Followers who are eager to try the recipe can tap the post's product tag to browse the coffee company's Instagram shop.
#17: Add a Clear Call to Action
To encourage customers to buy from your brand, make it as easy as possible for them to convert. In your Instagram captions, include a clear CTA that tells them exactly where they can learn more, sign up, or start shopping.
In the reel above, @ftlofshop highlights several earring styles in a collection. Since the reel includes product tags, followers can easily tap to shop. But the caption clarifies that the reel highlights just half of the complete collection. Then it uses a clear CTA to prompt customers to shop via the designer's website.
#18: Tease a Lead Magnet
With the right combination of caption and creative, you can generate leads with organic Instagram captions. For lead generation, it's helpful to tease the offer in your caption and creative. Then prompt followers to DM you for details or tap the link in your bio.
For example, @shopifyplus shares tips for live shopping in the Instagram post above. The eCommerce platform provides snippets of tips and stats in the post's carousel cards. To access the full list of tips, the caption encourages users to visit the link in the brand's bio.
Whether you want to get people to engage with your content or purchase your products, the caption can help. Use the examples above as inspiration to write more effective captions for Instagram posts, and start making more progress toward your marketing goals.
Get More Advice on Instagram Content Strategies:
- Learn how to plan, create, and optimize Instagram content for your business.
- Find eight distinct ways to share links on your Instagram profile and posts.
- Discover the four primary Instagram changes happening in 2022 that you need to know about.
Stay Up-to-Date: Get New Marketing Articles Delivered to You!
Don't miss out on upcoming social media marketing insights and strategies! Sign up to receive notifications when we publish new articles on Social Media Examiner. Our expertly crafted content will help you stay ahead of the curve and drive results for your business. Click the link below to sign up now and receive our annual report!
3 Days of World-Class Training—Zero Travel!
Travel to Social Media Marketing World off the table? Get all of the great content at a fraction of the price with an On-Demand ticket.
That’s full access to recordings of every keynote, workshop, and session—the ones people travel thousands of miles to see. Don't wait. Get your On-Demand ticket and enjoy actionable content that you can watch anytime, anywhere.