Instagram is touted as a visual network, but words have their own power here too. In feeds filled with images captions hold their own – often, the longer, the better.

A lot of marketers I have interacted with tend to spend a lot of their resources – time, money, brainpower – on creating beautiful, artistic photographs to upload on Instagram. What they, surprisingly, ignore completely are the captions.

Instagram limits caption length to 2200 characters (that’s enough characters to market the hell out of each image you post and then some).

Instagram’s official account has long captions accompanying its images and who knows Instagram marketing better than them.


The Many Uses Of Long Captions On Instagram

To Sell

Several small businesses use Instagram very effectively to sell their products. Here’s an example from @prepobsessed, a boutique in Florida that uses the captions to sell its store wares within minutes.

To Tell Stories

The best way to connect and engage with people on Instagram is to tell a story. For brands, this could be a behind-the-scenes while individuals can share the story about the image (where it was taken, how it came about to be taken and so on). There are several accounts that are only story accounts, where only the captions matter and the images are supplementary. Here’s an example of one such account:

To Promote

If you have an upcoming campaign or launch, want to announce something that’s going to happen in the near future, use the captions. Here’s an example of how @cremacrema used their caption to market their upcoming new coffees. The comments they received were all about the description and people saying how they couldn’t wait to taste the new flavors.

To Engage

A lot of long caption writers tend to ask questions – a simple and effective way of getting more engagement. As a business/brand that is a strategy you should adopt too. There are cool images aplenty on Instagram. Your caption is what will help you stand out, and if you are a brand well-written captions can help with branding and recall.

To Educate

Long captions can also serve as mini-tutorials or lessons. For instance, there are several cooking-related accounts that give out recipes in captions. NASA does an excellent job as well.

To Build Awareness

NGOs, socialpreneurs and brands doing CSR can use their Instagram captions to build awareness about the causes they support or are active in. Charity Water does this extremely well, as does NatGeo.

Tell A Story

The easiest way to write a good, long caption is to tell the story of the photo or a story related to the photo. By story, I do not mean the “Once upon a time…” kind. I mean a descriptive, engrossing tale of the photo in question. The photo by itself will generally tell the “What” of the story, you should use the caption to tell the “Why, When, Where and How”.

Quotes Can Be Effective

Don’t refrain from using quotes in your captions. If they fit in the theme of your photos, many quotes can actually enhance the overall impact of your Instagram post.

To conclude, I hope I’ve driven home the fact that captions are the way to go. Maybe, not always, but most of the time. Do share this post to show your great find with other social media enthusiasts. Also, do check out Instapple – an excellent scheduling and marketing app for Instagram. Adios!