The 8 Steps to Writing Engaging Instagram Captions

How to Write Instagram Captions – Instagram tips -  Instagram for Business – How to Use Instagram – Social Media -

Have you ever been in this situation... you've been busting your ass to take and edit the coolest, trendiest, most beautiful photos. After hours of monkeying to get them juuuuust right, it's finally time to post. When you open your app, your mind goes blank. You have NO IDEA what to caption your perfect photo. You end up slapping a few emojis on there and calling it a day, feeling majorly let down about the outcome. Not anymore, my friend. Today, I'm going to walk you through my steps to creating amazing Instagram captions that get epic engagement.


If I'm totally honest with you, when I first started my Instagram account, my captions were a hot mess. Either I would post a picture of a coffee mug with something like "BUY THIS MUG!" five days in a row or just an emoji or hashtag. I had NO idea what to post in my captions.

Cut to now, the captions are my favorite part of the post (... and I know that my audience feels the same way. My posts that have a really well-written caption do so much better than the ones that don't).

Here's my Instagram caption writing workflow for creating captions that convert and engage.


1. Start with the purpose.

Why are you creating this post? Yes, sometimes maybe you just have a visual that you totally love, but can you think of a reason for posting it? Is it to educate your audience? To inspire them? Is it to entertain them? Is it to humanize yourself so that you're giving a face to your brand? Or maybe it's to promote a product or service that you're offering. What's the purpose? What's the why? This is where you want to start. This is number one.


2. Determine your call-to-action.

Do you want people to comment on this photo? Do you want people to head to your website and read more about this topic on your blog? What is the action that you want them to take after reading your post?


3. Write your caption.

When you're ready to begin crafting your caption, grab your phone and pop open the Notes app. Hit the voice to text dictate button (looks like a little microphone) and start talking through whatever you want to say in your caption. This will take your words and turn them into typed out text. Writing in this way gives you an informal conversational style (which is how I like to talk to my audience and I found works best).

NOTE: Of course you can skip this step and just type if you want to not be so crazy.


4. Make edits.

Voice to text is not a completely perfect feature, so you've got to go in and add in grammar, check your spelling, etc. Just make sure it's legible.

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5. Format. 

Copy and paste your caption it into this website. This is going to make it nicely formatted with line breaks (yay!). This is another step that can totally be removed if you don't care about having line breaks in your caption.


6. Hashtag.

Think of about two or three different buckets of hashtags that your post fits into (ex. female entrepreneurs, bloggers, and Michiganders). From there, determine hashtags that correspond with each bucket.

If you want to speed up the process a little bit, check out Tagomatic. It's a totally free app and it completely rocks. If you have your three hashtag buckets, you can search for hashtags related to each of those buckets and very quickly you can put together a list of hashtags.


7. Put it out there.

Post that thang! After you post, the fun really begins. It's not just a drop-the-mic-walk-away situation, it's interaction time. Stick around for that first 5-10 minutes after you post to hang out with your people. If someone's commenting immediately, comment back to them.

The post is the start of the conversation, not the end.

By engaging in realtime, the interaction will feel more like a natural convo (which we all love, right?).

8. Watch the analytics.

Don't get too obsessed and drive yourself crazy, but keep an eye on your insights and analytics to see what your audience is digging and what flops. If you let your audience lead the way and shape your social strategy accordingly, you are bound to grow.

To recap, here are my eight steps to writing an awesome Instagram caption that converts:

  1. Start with why.
  2. Determine your call-to-action.
  3. Write your copy.
  4. Edit grammar.
  5. Format for posting
  6. Hashtag.
  7. Post and interact.
  8. Watch your analytics.

Want to explore caption writing a little bit deeper? Join my FB group by clicking the button below!

What's YOUR Instagram caption writing technique? Do you love captioning or totally dread it? Let's start a convo in the comments!


Chris Emmer

Graphic Designer / Branding and Social Media Strategist / Yoga + Meditation Guide / Your New BFF.

West Michigan based, small business + wellness obsessed.