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Instagram Captions: Don’t Make These Caption Mistakes

There are two parts to an Instagram post: the image and the caption. Captions are important because they create a story. Not to be a downer but I see a lot of people doing it wrong. Here are the top five mistakes people make with their Instagram captions.

#1 Instagram Caption Mistake: Irrelevant Captions

A strong Instagram caption draws people in and has a clear tie-in with the post you’re sharing. If your post seems unrelated to the content, you’ll confuse your followers – making them less likely to like or comment. 

Whatever you share, make sure the image and the caption align with your brand aesthetic. As a rule, your Instagram caption should always answer one of these three questions:

  • What you do
  • Why you do it
  • Why it’s important 

Check out how Stacy A. Barnes uses an emoji at the beginning of her Instagram caption. The stop sign emoji is a subtle touch, but it effectively grabs the attention of people whizzing through their Instagram feed. 

 

Stacey Barne’s Instagram photo that has a line through stand out with the bold word attract.

 

By tying your Instagram caption and image together you’re also more likely to spark conversations. A great example of this is Scott’s caption. He gives his followers a succinct summary of the elements he uses to create his one-of-a-kind etchings, and that inspires them to engage in the comments. 

 

A garden full of purple alliums at the Missouri Public Gardens.

 

#2 Instagram Caption Mistake: Captions that are Hard to Read

Think about how many times you’ve tried to read an Instagram caption only to give up when it was too crowded or rambling. One of the best ways to encourage people to read your Instagram captions is by adding white space after key points.

Try to think about the flow of your caption. What are the points where you want people to pause? Or want to make a stronger statement? Maybe there’s an emoji that can help you add a pinch of creativity. 

Take a look at how Melissa spaces out her Instagram captions so it’s easier to read. Melissa knows she only has a few seconds to grab her follower’s attention, so she makes her captions as skimmable as possible. 

 

Melissa stands next to her daughter on a front porch as she holds a small lettered board.

 

Another great example of well-spaced Instagram captions is Dr. Michelle Mazur. Fun emojis at the end of each paragraph help to set the tone for the post. Plus, it encourages people to keep reading until they reach her strong call-to-action at the end of the post. 

 

Instagram photo of a white graphic that says if I’m too strong for some people that’s their problem.

 

#3 Instagram Caption Mistake: No Hook

Whatever you’re reading – blog post, book, newspaper article – there’s always a hook. Instagram captions are no exception. A strong hook draws people in, and encourages them to keep reading. 

You only get 70 characters before people have to tap on “read more.” Give them a strong reason to keep reading. Think of it like an email subject line or blog post title. What’s going to peek people’s interest? 

For example, Cyrissa often shares a question at the beginning of her post. It draws her followers in, and puts the purpose of the Instagram post front-and-center. 

 

Cyrissa holds her iPhone up in front of her as she snaps a selfie.

 

Kara also does a great job using a strong hook in her Instagram captions. The caption is so witty that people might not even realize at first that it’s part of a promotion. This is how you sell on Instagram without being overly salesy. 

 

Multi-colored pillows and colorful home accessories are arranged in a light pink room.

 

#4 Instagram Caption Mistake: Random Info

There’s a fine line between sharing authentic, heartfelt Instagram captions and random ramblings. At the end of the day, every Instagram caption should bolster your credibility as an expert in your industry niche. 

Sharing lessons, hacks, tips, or resources can go a long way in establishing credibility with your followers. Ultimately, you should condition your audience to come back since they know that you’re the go-to person to help with their pain point. 

#5 Instagram Caption Mistake: No Call-to-Action

Drafting a beautifully crafted Instagram post is great, but it won’t help your chances with the algorithm if people don’t know what you’re asking them to do. There should be no guesswork when it comes to Instagram captions. 

It’s your job to tell your followers exactly what you want them to do. Whether it’s reading your latest blog post or leaving a comment, your call-to-action should always be clear. 

Here’s a great example from Squeeze. Using a combination of white spaces and a numbered list, Squeeze clearly lays out easy-to-follow directions for their giveaway. No guesswork here. 

 

Two squeeze bottles sit on a wooden tabletop.

 

Nicte is another Instagram account that always uses strong calls-to-action. Even when she doesn’t have a giveaway or product to promote, she encourages people to comment on her posts so engagement remains strong. 

 

A yellow Instagram graphic that says the more I learn the more I want to give.

 

Pro tip: Take the conversations from your feed into the Instagram Direct Message

More Creative Ways to Format Your Instagram Posts

If you’ve spent way too much time trying to format your Instagram posts, I’ve got the caption cure for you. This FREE copy + paste download will give you four creative format options for your captions. This resource will help you get perfectly spaced captions every time.  

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