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Instagram’s founders decided early on that they didn’t want the feed of their revolutionary social media platform to be dominated by images entirely. After testing an image-only version of Instagram, they decided that captions were absolutely necessary.

As an image centric platform, Instagram is the ideal social media channel for photographers, painters, and other visual artists, as well as anyone with a product or service to promote. But don’t underestimate the power of Instagram as a medium for writers, poets, or text based content in general.

Today, Instagram captions are an important component of the perfect Instagram post—and not just for web poets and writers who take full advantage of the 2,200 character limit per caption. Even meme queens and image focused Instagram users understand the potential impact of the right caption. When executed correctly, Instagram captions add a lot of value to the user experience of scrolling through a given account. Below we’ll discuss the 5 best ways to engage your audience through Instagram captions.

Here are the 5 best types of Instagram captions

1. Call to action

With a call to action, you invite your audience to engage with your content. According to influencer marketing experts, engagement is the most important measure of success when evaluating an Instagram post. So why not draft a caption that encourages participation? A couple examples of how to do this:

Double tap if you agree!

By adding this simple statement onto the end of your Instagram caption, you will inspire people to double tap on a post, which has the same effect as tapping the outlined heart symbol right beneath it (i.e. “liking” it). This is a clever approach to generating more likes.

Tag a friend / Tag someone who gets it

When your followers tag their friends and family in the comments, your post is seen by people outside the scope of your follower base. This kind of call to action is a savvy way to get your post in front of people who aren’t necessarily following you—yet.

2. Take your audience behind the scenes

People love knowing what’s going on behind the scenes. There’s even a popular hashtag for such posts: #bts. The very idea of a #bts post is to invite your viewer in on a secret. By using the caption to tell your followers what’s going on just outside the frame of the post they’re looking at, you’ll make them feel in the know. Alternatively, you can share something about your post that they wouldn’t know simply by looking at the image you’ve shared. Make your audience feel special by providing them with a juicy tidbit, essentially.

Instagram Captions

3. Start a dialogue

By using your caption to start an interesting dialogue, you can generate a compelling stream of comments. Simply ask your audience a question or say something like, “Tell me what you think about [insert topic].” With the right prompt, you can encourage commentors to respond to your caption and also engage with each other in a commenting back-and-forth, thereby driving up your total comment count (and overall engagement) even further. As an added bonus, asking people for their opinion makes them feel as if you genuinely care about their perspective.

4. Be funny

Humor goes a long way on Instagram. You can use a funny caption to offset the seriousness of an image, or to augment a funny meme or photo. The options are limitless when it comes to humor. Just look to your favorite meme accounts for inspiration if you’re eager to inject some humor into your feed. With a combination of jokes, sarcasm, fun hashtags, and carefully selected emojis, you can really draft a laugh-out-loud (#lol) hilarious Instagram caption.

5. Be authentic

One of the most underrated ways of building a sense of community is to just be yourself. Use the caption to spill your guts or to describe exactly how you feel about something you’ve posted. So much of social media is about glossing over the truth or glamorizing reality, so if you’re truly authentic, your caption will automatically stand out. People relate to real experiences, so consider telling it as it is rather than pretending as if your life or a given situation you’re posting about is more wonderful than it seems. You do you, so to speak. Your audience will surely appreciate it.

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