How To Write Great Instagram Copy: 6 Essential Things

16 Min Read

Writing copies for social networks is a skill all startup owners need to master. Or at least to have a professional who will do that for them.

Out of those copies, an Instagram copy is probably the most difficult because of Instagram’s complexity. That is why we created a complete guide on how to write great Instagram copy for small businesses.

From our guide, you will learn what key points you focus on when writing Instagram copy and how to target the audience that will represent the best fit for your business. We’ll also show you how to make the synergy between Instagram images and text to have a perfect copy.

Among the tricks we will reveal to you in this article are:

  • Length of captions
  • How to properly use emoticons
  • Where to implement a CTA (call-to-action)
  • How to choose hashtags
  • Some professional tips

If you implement all of the tips and tricks we provide you in this article, you will be able to write great Instagram copy that will engage your audience and help your brand stand out on social media. It will be a great addition to your marketing strategy that includes content marketing.

How To Write Great Instagram Copy
Source: Shutterstock

Writing for Instagram: how long should my caption be?

As you already know, Instagram is all about visuals (pictures, collages, videos), so keep your copy short and on the point. People don’t want to read a novel in the caption. Aim for one to three concise sentences that get your message across.

When writing Instagram copy for small businesses, remember to be witty and preferably put the most important things within the first 125 characters. That is the visible part of your copy, the rest is seen only if a user clicks the button. But no one will click on something that hadn’t found interesting enough.

In general, shorter captions tend to perform better on Instagram, as users tend to skim through their feeds quickly. But, if you have a more complex message you want to share, you can make use of all the 2.200 characters you have at your disposal. If you decide to write a longer caption, try to break it up into smaller paragraphs or use bullet points to make it easier to read.

Because of the limited space, every word needs to be in the right place. Many users just scroll over the content, and your message must stand out if you want it to be seen.

You would like to copy the structure of the post that caught your attention. Try to find several of those and see what do they have in common. Then think about your audience. What could possibly attract their attention? Then use that for your copy.

When using an Instagram copy for promoting your business stick to short captions. There are two main reasons why that is a proper way of advertising:

  1. Nobody has the time to be reading long-form social copy on Instagram. Short copies will grab your audience’s attention quickly while still providing enough context to make your post engaging.
  2. If you don’t reveal too much but arouse interest among your audience, that will impact their curiosity. Don’t make the same mistake as filmmakers do when launching trailers from which you can find out all the plot. Use captions to tease and provide just enough information to intrigue.
instagram copy for small business
Source: Shutterstock

What should I write in my Instagram copy for small businesses?

The content of your Instagram copy will depend on the purpose of your post, your audience, and your company’s goals. Always keep in mind what you want to achieve with the post before publishing it.

The advice we can give you here is to get to know your audience and to create several drafts of your copy before going with the best one. Now we will look more closely into those recommendations.

Get familiar with your audience

Before you do anything and whatever strategy you choose, you must know your audience. When you identify your customers, you can find the most appealing way to approach them. There is no good Instagram copy if you are not familiar with the people you will address it to.

Imagine what their Instagram accounts might look like and what would your average customer be. Where they live, how old they are, and what their habits and preferences are. What motivates them and drives them forward? What are their hopes and expectations?

Every social media copy needs to be precisely targeted to the proper audience. Only you will have a successful campaign, and you will convert viewers to customers.

Perfect your post by writing several drafts

A golden rule when you want to know how to write great Instagram copy is to take your time. You don’t need to rush as you are usually not faced with tight deadlines. Surely, numerous times you remember something that would be an excellent addition to an already published post.

Yes, you can edit your old post, but the benefits of that are highly questionable. It is already live and viewed by numerous accounts. There is a very slim chance some of them will want to view it again, so you already lost a portion of your audience.

That is why you should use the trick of the old art masters. Write several drafts before making the final one. You can use them as the foundation of your Instagram copy or just as a practice set.

The point is to carefully plan your posts, and don’t rush the whole process. If you have enough time to collect ideas and inspiration, you will surely deliver engaging Instagram copy for small business.

best instagram copy
Source: Shutterstock

How to use emojis when writing Instagram copy?

From the first days of instant messaging systems to modern-day social networks, users tend to use text to express feelings or announce events. Emojis, which first appeared in Japan during the 1990s, represent an evolutive step in communication between users.

With one or a few of these tiny pictures, you can say and show a lot more than with thousands of words. They also come in handy when using social networks where you are limited with number of characters.

Emojis add personality and emotion to your captions. But you need to use them sparingly and appropriately, because if you overdo, you will look unprofessional and childish.

When you can express sarcasm, irony, excitement (without using numerous exclamation marks), sadness, and every other emotion that comes to your mind, you get more maneuvering space to reach your audience. It is enough to just insert the appropriate emoji, and users will know your intent.

Using emojis within your Instagram copy for small business is a great way to add a touch of personality to your post. You can get your followers excited about a sale, celebrate reaching a business goal, or praise loyal customers.  

Take a look at this example: world-known Liverpool FC avoided the written word entirely, promoting their recent Cyber Monday deals with simple two starry-eyed faces.  

Liverpool FC using emojis on Instagram to promote Cyber Monday sale.
Image: Instagram

There aren’t strict rules about placing emojis in your Instagram copy; you can add them at the beginning or the end. You can even place them in the middle of a sentence if you think that would emphasize the message you want to send. But always keep in mind that you have 125 characters before your copy is truncated, so use emojis wisely.

Add a call to action

Recent research on human behavior toward online content showed that many people prefer a call to action within the text. They want to be engaged, and that pitch is considered the most efficient.

So, encourage your followers to take action by including a call to action in your Instagram copy. They are the best way to increase shareability and tell your audience about the next steps you want them to take. For example, you can ask them to like, comment, or share your post.

One of the best call-to-action invites you can use in your social media copy are:

  • Asking questions can encourage engagement and start a conversation with your followers.
  • Put clickable URLs in your user bio (they can be inserted only there) and direct users there to visit your store or website.
  • Create a contest for your viewers and invite them to participate. Giveaways are a great way to get your users engaged, and even attract new ones. The prize didn’t need to be expensive, just worth the time. People like to win something.

Here are two examples of CTA you can add to your Instagram copy for small business:

(1) Are you a new business owner looking for a way to include social media in your marketing strategies? Check out the link in our bio and learn how to write great Instagram copy.

(2) Click the link in our bio and earn a chance to win a great prize. More details can be found on the link we provided.

Do I need to use hashtags?

Hashtags can help your posts get discovered by new audiences. Hashtags expand your Instagram audience by categorizing your content and increasing its reach, meaning your posts are visible to more people interested in content similar to yours.

To make the most use of hashtags, you need to research relevant ones and use them in your captions. Of course, because of 125 character limitations, you need to use them optimally.

Be careful when choosing hashtags. If you use the wrong ones, you can do more harm than good to your Instagram copy. But the benefits you can achieve when choosing appropriate hashtags will always outweigh the potential problem you can experience if you pick the wrong ones. That is why our advice is to not skip adding hashtags to your Instagram copies.

One of the more prominent hashtags people like to search for on Instagram is #foodstagram:

Hashtags like #foodstagram are a great way to target your posts to millions of interested users.
Image: Instagram

You can see that under hashtags #foodstagram are millions of posts (and many accounts) that promote the same interests. Of course, if you want to promote your business through Instagram, you will look for more specific hashtags that don’t have much competition and have a good reach.

Instagram analytics showed that an optimal number of hashtags are 3-5 per post. When looking at our topic, “How to Write Great Instagram Copy” we can use some of these hashtags:

  • #businesscopy
  • #socialcopy
  • #startup
  • #instagramcopy
  • #smallbusiness
  • #socialmarketing

Take advantage of user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) is a great source of content you can use to save time and resources. With proper use of UGC, you can boost your social account and increase its reach. That will benefit your overall marketing strategy on social networks.

The great perk of Instagram is that users love to share other people’s content. You can use this to your advantage by reposting what others have said about your business on your story or grid. Stick to the positive stuff because here bad publicity doesn’t work in your favor.

To further promote your business, ask satisfied customers to write testimonials you can put in posts, or to promote your product/service on their Instagram accounts. Not only this is a free promotion but people will value your company more if they see organic reviews from real-life users. That will be your best advertisement.

User-generated content gives you a lot of positive impact on the Instagram ecosystem, and your job will be much easier if you incorporate it into your business marketing strategy. You will also get an appreciation of your customers because you will engage them and make them feel important to you.

The synergy of UGC, emojis, hashtags, and CTA are the way for making a great Instagram copy for small business.

instagram copy tips tricks
Source: Shutterstock

How to write great Instagram copy for small business: final thoughts

Although many business owners still see Instagram as a place for photoshopped pictures of people seeking attention, it is a powerful marketing channel. You cannot overlook Instagram when creating a marketing strategy for social networks because it has over 1 billion active users.

To write great Instagram copy, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and feelings in your captions, or write a personal story or experience. But always keep in mind who your audience is and what you are selling to them. You can share a behind-the-scenes look at your business to get your users more engaged.

Writing social copy for Instagram is a challenge, but with these top tips, you will perfect your Instagram copy in no time.

Share This Article