Today's post I wanted to talk about why certain Instagram captions are making me cry, and not in a good way. There's so many people who are doing it right with Instagram captions but there are also so many people who I feel are really missing the mark. This post isn't about "how to double your Instagram following" but more about how to create meaningful connections with those who are currently following you or are potentially going to follow you. These are based on my personal experience of both posting online as well as creating a connection with people who post engaging content.
1. All about you
First thing first, you need to have a clear understanding of who you are as a business and what you're trying to talk about to your audience. It's too easy for your content to look scattered and for your Instagram audience to feel confused about who you actually are and what you do. I recommend you look over my brand definition post from my free marketing series, Refresh, this will really help you define who you are as a business.
Someone who knows exactly what her business is all about is Emily Rowan Studio.
Emily's business is based around promoting stitching for mental health whilst being very open about her own personal mental health. Not only that, she also provides amazing tips for supporting others who are going through mental health issues too. Emily sells a range of embroidery in her shop and is currently working on a range of stitching kits for those who need support with mental health.
2. Who is your audience
More specifically, who is your audience on Instagram, because not every social platform will hold the same audience and therefore you may need to reword your captions on Instagram slightly. I sometimes find people are writing their captions to completely the wrong audience and really missing the mark when it comes to creating engaging content for the people who will buy a product or service from them.
I recommend you have a read through the two posts below to help you work out who your current audience is or who you want them to be. This will give you a better understanding of who you're going to be talking to in your Instagram caption.
Someone who knows their audience well is Carrie from Mère Soeur. Carrie is clothing designer with her mother led clothing range, not only this but she champions women's rights and womenhood. She knows her audience so well that captions such as the one below allow her to grow a community of like minded people and in turn create sales for her brand.
3. What Value Are You Adding
When I see a caption that says something like "look what I made today..." with nothing else of value, it makes my heart sink. Don't get me wrong, if you just want to post an image like that, then go for it. However when your whole feed is just full of "look at what I made..." then you're not really bringing any value to your audience.
You're most likely on Instagram to get something for your business such as sales or clients. What if you can get these sales or clients in exchange for giving away something of value to your audience.
One person who does this well is Sarah Akwisombe, the creator of No Bull Business School. Sarah often includes inside information about her business and gives tips such as the ones below. You know that following No Bull Business School you're going to gain a range of free content for you to grow your business and Sarah will in turn create a community of people who could go on to purchase a range of her courses.
4. What are your call to actions
At the end of the day, every call to action should link to promoting your service or product in some way because that’s what your Instagram account can do for you. For example you're a wedding cake baker, your call to actions might include
- Visit my website to find out my prices
- Visit my website to book in your order
- Visit my website to see my full gallery of cakes
- Sign up to mailing list to receive behind the scenes cake builds
Now don't feel your whole captions has to be like "BUY MY CAKES, VISIT MY WEBSITE". It can be a bit more engaging than that by using the points from this blog post, but when you have an idea of your core call to actions it'll make both choosing your photos and having a plan why you're sharing those photos that much easier.
Someone who does this well whilst promoting her cookbook is Katherine Sabbath. She's not one to push it in your face but entices and excites the possibilities if you were to purchase the book.
5. Ask a question
Now, this is a hard one because sometimes you just want to post a beautiful photo and not want to give a call to action or ask a question. The reason why you want to ask a question where possible is to allow your audience to feel involved and that you're not just talking at them, you're including them and you're therefore working to create a community.
The questions you ask shouldn’t be hard, they should be fun and thought provoking. Don’t feel disheartened if people don’t answer, the fact that you’re being open and trying to start a conversation will make people feel far more connected to you than those who don't ask questions and want you to be involved.
A person who does this well is Lauren from Lauren Aston Designs. Not only does Lauren have THE COOLEST NAME ;) but she also lives really close to my hometown in the UK so I love championing Devonshire people! Lauren has an amazing community and whenever I read her captions, I always feel like I'm being spoken to directly. Lauren's got Instagram really down to a T, her questions aren't always related to her business but she keeps her images consistant by featuring her knitting.
Overall, I can't stress enough how you shouldn't get too hung up on Instagram, enjoy it but be mindful if you're expecting Instagram to give you something such as an increase in sales, then you need to be tactical and meaningful in the way you use it. If you're finding it hard coming up with ideas for your Instagram captions, you can download my free prompt sheet below.