• Zoe Barnett

How to write Instagram captions for your small business

Updated: May 23, 2019

Instagram is a wonderful platform for small business marketing. It's highly visual and not to mention, really popular. In fact, most of us spend our evenings scrolling through Instagram (oops) so chances are your potential customers are there. But do you know how to write a good Instagram caption?

We've all been there. We've got a beautiful photo to share. It's relevant. It's going to create engagement. You love it so surely your customers will? Okay, yes they might. But then you realise... what am I going to write for my Instagram caption?

Cue, Instagram panic

"I don't actually know what to write"

Oh gosh, I've even seen photos posted without a caption at all! Don't do itttt!

And you go with the first thing that comes into your head. Or, worse - you write a quick salesly line like "Buy our candles now £7.99".

(Hopefully you added some hashtags).

And maybe the likes roll in. But the question is: are people actually engaged with your Instagram caption?

Probably not. They may be just tappin' and scrollin' as disengaged disingenuous audience members on Instagram. Ugh. The worst.

I understand. It can be really tough to know what to actually write on Instagram. And, where to start. So you just write whatever.

But it doesn't have to be this way!

By following a few simple rules you can craft Instagram captions that will not only promote engagement, but create a brand for your small business on Instagram.

Tips on how to write an Instagram caption

Remember YOUR audience

One thing I've got tattooed on my copywriter mind?


You are talking to your customer - so make sure you use the word "you" to make it sound like you are talking to your audience.

Other ways of talking is using "we" for a collaborative and community feel.

Your least used personal pronoun should be "I".

After all, it's not all about you. Or, "I", should I say?

Be emotive

Appeal to your audience's feeling.

Answer their concerns, worries, queries in your posts.

Say for example you want to advertise scented candles, you should appeal to the emotions your customer will feel when burning a candle. Whether it be vibes of a relaxing retreat or simply unwinding after a long day at work, demonstrate an emotional pull through your words on Instagram.

"Get cosy, turn on the TV and light a scented candle. You'll soon feel the worries of the working day slip away."

Keep it simple

Anyone heard of K.I.S.S.?

Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

When it comes to Instagram, this is very true. Don't waffle on and lose your audience in the first few lines of your caption.

Don't be afraid to tell stories and even create long Instagram captions. But do not over-complicate your copy as you'll soon lose your audience.

I'm a big believer in short sentences with big bite.

Say what you want to say. But keep things easy for your reader. After all, we are all a little lazy (busy) when it comes to reading Instagram captions.

Tip: Use a tool to add line breaks into your posts easily - as Instagram tends to not always get it right.

Hone your brand's voice

Instagram is a great place to develop your brand.

It's a common mistake to think that a brand is simply a logo and some colour palettes.

Although important, your brand is so much more than that.

Your brand is a lot about your voice. How you sound.

When you're writing captions on Instagram always check in with yourself to make sure you're talking as your brand. Not you. Not your colleague. Not your alter ego. Your brand.

Then make sure you check that your brand sounds similar each time. Is the tone conversational each time? Is it friendly? Do you ask questions? Do you make jokes? All these things build into your brand voice and help you easily put together consistent Instagram captions.

Don't forget the hashtags

An obvious one but nevertheless still forgotten.

There are many articles out there disputing the right amount of hashtags. From 4 to the maximum 30 there seems to be no concrete answer.

So my advice to you?

Use as many as possible. You will not be penalised for using the maximum 30 hashtags.

Just make sure to mix them up a bit. Using the same hashtags over and over again can get you in a bit of hot water with Instagram's spam filter.

Hashtag in sand used on Zo Connected online marketing blog about Instagram captions
#sand #hashtaginsand #hashtag #whyuseahashtag #ilovehashtags #sandybeach ...you get the idea.

Tip: if you don't like how hashtags look in your caption you can comment on your own post and add them there so they won't show up immediately.

Finally - include a call to action

What do you want to achieve by posting this on Instagram?

Tell your audience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Sometimes we need a little prompting.

Screeshot of Zo Connected Instagram caption showing call to action
A call to action is simply getting your audience to do something - whether that be interact with the post, contact you or click a link.

So, if you want more people to visit your website encourage them to find out more by clicking the link in your Instagram bio.

Why should you write Instagram captions?

Content marketing is all about being informative. Giving information (kind of) away for free in exchange for many benefits such as improving your Google ranking (SEO) and building your brand as an "authority" in the sector. That is, being trusted as an expert in your field.

When it comes to Instagram, you should have informative and engaging captions to not only encourage an audience to consider your products or services, but to hone your brand.

Think of Instagram as the bit of space you rent on the Internet. You build your home (your brand) through the words you post. And this is so valuable to your long-term business goals.

As well as your short-term goals which may be converting Instagram followers into customers.

Imagine - actual, real-life, breathing customers! How wonderful!

Want more tips on Instagram? My Instagram checklist for small business owners may help.

Hire a copywriter to help you with Instagram captions

Maybe you understand the rules but don't have the time?

Or, you just know that social media marketing isn't your cup of tea.

That's fine. There are people out there who can help you.

Like me! *plug alert*

I can write your Instagram posts for you in an engaging, informative way that suits your small business' brand.

Get in touch to find out more.