Are your Instagram captions as stunning as the photos you’re posting? If not, your target audience could be scrolling on by. Don’t neglect this small but mighty component of a successful social media post. A good Instagram caption means more Instagram followers, higher site traffic, and more product or services sales. Here’s how to write Instagram captions that capture attention.

How to Structure an Instagram Caption

How long can an Instagram caption be?

Instagram captions can be 2,200 characters. But wait—long captions are truncated at 125 characters for mobile. That means that the start of your caption should either reel audiences in, or convey your message clearly. So, be precise and focused with your words. (If you get writer’s block, our AI writing assistant can help.)

A truncated Instagram caption looks like this. The first image is how mobile scrollers will read the caption.

how to write instagram captions

Example of writing Instagram captions

The second is how desktop users will see the caption or how it appears when you hit “Read More.”

another example of how to write instagram captions

The short answer is that you can’t. At least, not like you do in other platforms.

Links aren’t clickable in organic Instagram posts. There isn’t much point in adding them because followers would need to copy, paste into a new web tab and then visit. Which they probably won’t do! Many accounts will say, “Click the link in our bio,” but if you’re promoting a specific product and your link just drops users on your homepage, you probably won’t make any sales.

PulseLink in Bio

You can up your Instagram caption game by using PulseLink in Bio. This Agorapulse feature can help:

You can also sign up for a free trial of Agorapulse and start grabbing hold of your Instagram marketing.


Let’s peek at some great Instagram captions and see how to steal their style.

How to Write an Instagram Caption

Quick overview

  1. Use trending hashtags and emojis
  2. Nail that first sentence
  3. Include a clear CTA
  4. Tag influencers and customers
  5. Use humor (tastefully, of course!)

On March 17, we’re all about St Patrick’s Day! And on social media that means green emojis like Irish four-leaf clovers for some Irish luck. Banking app Chime kept its caption simple but on trend, with a lucky clover and their signature green card. Look how that worked out:

write better instagram captions example for article

And it’s important to use trending hashtags if you want more eyes on your posts. #Irish has 8,524,238 posts and #StPatricksDay has 7,704,114.

article about writing better instagram captions

Writing tip for your Instagram captions

Plan ahead and include days you know will trend on social media like St Patrick’s Day. This is important for hashtags as well as emojis. With Agorapulse, you can schedule content into your calendar months in advance so you know it’s locked in. Add the short but sassy caption and the right emojis and your caption will pop.

2. Nail that first sentence

We talked earlier about how Instagram hides your caption after 125 characters. So, you need to make the most of your first sentence when writing your Instagram captions. When writing your Instagram captions, remember:

  • Discounts or offer should be in the first sentence. How to get the discount can be in the Read More.
  • Big announcements should convey the main message in the first sentence then expand on it below.
  • Ask a question or make a bold statement. You don’t always need more than 25 characters!
  • Stories should reel in scrollers to stop and hit Read More. You can do this by creating intrigue and teasing about what’s to come.
  • For Instagram Reels and Stories that are fast-moving and mobile-optimized, less is definitely more.

Writing tip for your Instagram captions

Check out Waterstone’s bookstore for some one-line inspiration and a strong buying game. First of all, they tagged the author Margaret Atwood and the direct link to the book in their store. Then you have the first line of the caption that name drops the author, creates excitement, and leaves you hanging wondering what the collection will include.

instagram captions about books

Then the caption continues to include other great authors, a full description and a tap to shop CTA.

article about writing captions for instagram

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3. Include a clear CTA

A CTA (call to action) gives your Instagram caption purpose and intention, but CTAs are often misunderstood. Clients often tell us, “We don’t want to be salesy and include CTAs on our posts.” We hear you. But a CTA doesn’t have to be salesy or even be about making a sale. It’s simply asking your readers to take an action.

Non-sales CTAs include:

  • Comment below and share your thoughts!
  • How are you celebrating *insert day*
  • Tag a friend who needs to hear this
  • Repost to share the love

This cute Instagram caption from Aldi UK encourages fans to click the bio to get the recipe. Raspberry Bread and butter pudding? Yes, please!

write instagram captions image

Then of course you have your more salesy CTAs. These will work better for retailers with physical products to sell as opposed to service based business accounts.

CTAs that generate sales include:

  • Shop the sales with *insert code* for 20% off 🛒
  • ⚡ Flash Sale now on – shop now!
  • Browse our brand new summer range. Hit the link in our bio! ☀
  • Last ones left – don’t miss them! ⏰ (Remember that all important FOMO)

Adding emojis at the beginning or end of your CTA softens the hard sell and makes the caption more fun to look at.

Writing tip for your Instagram captions

Here’s a great example of a non-salesy CTA from Accessorize. People love to comment and share info about themselves, so this is a great way to boost engagement, comments, and account visibility. It’s also a subtle nod to the products they have on offer. (Even as I’m writing this, I’m wanting to comment hair slides, earrings, and purse!) Their Instagram caption “We’ll start” immediately makes the post into a fun conversation or game like you might have with friends. Writing like a human and not like a bot is a very important part of writing Instagram captions that grab attention and engage fans.

how to write instagram captions article

4. Tag influencers and customers

Tagging is great for your Instagram captions. You can tag using hashtags, directly tag other accounts, locations, or products. You can also repost Stories and posts from happy customers, ambassadors, or employees. Tagging works because it opens your post to a larger audience and shows that you’re employing social media listening.

For example, Boots (The UK Walgreens) did a joint post with ambassador @indiyahhp that built hype and expectation on what will come next. With one million followers, Indiyah adds clout to the 1 million followers Boots UK has.

captions that captivate on instagram article

Writing tip for your Instagram captions

Tagging businesses that complement your own is a great way to boost your Instagram captions game. And extra points if that tag supports a charity or good cause!

Check out Starbucks tagging Dress For Success during International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. The CTA to get involved in this community initiative is scoring top marks with me.

caption writing article

Remember: Although you can add up to 30 hashtags into your Instagram caption, it can look spammy and ruin the caption’s aesthetic. Instead, research trending hashtags and those relevant to your post and use them instead. (I tend to just use a few in my Instagram posts.)

5. Use humor for great Instagram captions

Humor won’t work for every brand. That said, appealing to your audience emotionally will ramp up your brand’s engagement. And staying on the lighter side creates a feel good vibe around your brand and its products.

Questions to ask before posting a funny social media caption

Is it too risky?

I trust my instincts on risky captions and usually don’t post them. Fifteen minutes of fame on Instagram isn’t worth upsetting or alienating your audience. An example of this was the Will Smith slap memes. I discouraged our clients from jumping on this trend because it had a dark edge to it. If in doubt, get a second or third opinion.

Is it a complicated joke?

Will your fans get the joke? Or is it something only a brand employee or marketer would understand? Expect radio silence if it’s too complex.

Is it on brand?

Does your brand normally post things like this or is it way off brand? Remember to consult your tone of voice documentation before you post and remember who your audience is.

Remember when Burger King tried to be funny with their “Women belong in the kitchen” tweet. It got a ton of engagement … but it was all negative and goes down in social media history as a very poor attempt at humor.

article about writing instagram captions

Writing tip for your Instagram captions

Sassy brand Wendy’s throws in a large pinch of salty humor with this short sporting caption. Wendy’s is known for trolling other brands, roasting fans, and being sarcastic about competitors. It’s their tone of voice and style, and works really well for them. It won’t work for everyone, though, and it’s important to remember that their captions and posts are well planned and strategized.

example of great instagram caption from wendys

Remember: Being funny doesn’t mean that all other rules fly out of the window. You still need to write great content and proof your Instagram captions for spelling and grammar. Curse words are rarely OK in Instagram captions, even if your brand is on the edgier side.

Your Instagram Captions Checklist

Let’s run through some essentials for writing Instagram captions that grab attention.

  • Check what’s trending and plan for upcoming trends. You can monitor keywords, phrases, and competitors on the Agorapulse dashboard!
  • Remember to write with purpose. What do you want your fans to do? Keep it simple, and don’t ask too many questions or give multiple instructions.
  • Have a library of images ready. You need to be able to see the image to write a great caption. Try to work ahead with an evergreen image library you can caption and schedule in your Agorapulse dashboard.
  • Get a second opinion. With Agorapulse, you can assign posts to team members for a second opinion or edits. If you’re working in the finance space, this is also good for a compliance check.
  • If everyone is unsure then don’t post it. It’s a sign.
  • Monitor the success of your Instagram posts. This is such an important step, but it’s also the most overlooked. An Instagram report takes seconds to generate and will show you your most popular Instagram posts. From this you can take inspiration and craft more winning content for the months ahead.

In Conclusion

Though great images grab attention, an engaging social media caption will direct that attention into an action. Instagram is filled with beautiful images, but how many of them got you to comment, click a link or make a purchase?

Start crafting some amazing Instagram captions, scheduling your posts, and more with Agorapulse. Schedule a FREE trial today!

How to Write Instagram Captions That Stop the Scroll