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Text Matters: How to Write Engaging Instagram Captions for Online Stores

10 min read

People love Instagram. From filters and fanatical influencers to an endless sea of puppies and food blogs, Instagram is the place to see and be seen. In fact, more users interact with brands on Instagram than on any other social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube.

At the same time, content overload is a very real danger for e-commerce businesses. To be successful, we need to make sure our content is going to the right people at the right time with the right message. And learning to craft a great caption is a good place to start.

well-crafted Instagram caption can be a powerful thing. Good captions generate comments, and more comments mean more reach from Instagram’s algorithm. The more your followers engage with your post and your caption, the more Instagram will promote your post to its users.

Check out our Instagram caption tips to learn how to write short, clean, and informative Instagram captions that engage your followers.

Things to remember before you begin:

  • Captions are limited to 2,200 characters
  • You can add up to 30 hashtags
  • Text previews are cropped to the first two lines in the Instagram app.

How to sell online
Tips from e-commerce experts for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
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1. Format Your Captions

Because most Instagram users scroll through their feeds on their phones, reading captions can become quite a chore with the app’s tiny text and spaceless line formatting.

For some users, it’s easier to skip reading a caption altogether than trying to decipher Instagram’s meandering, spaceless text blocks.

To make your captions more readable, try using emojis and numbers to add bullets and paragraphs to your text.

To add line spacing to your text, try tools like CaptionMaker, or write your copy in the Notes app first and then copy it to Instagram.

Good Instagram Captions

@naturally_sarah uses emojis and spacing to format her recipes

2. Include a Call-to-Action

A great caption doesn’t just engage your followers — it encourages them to do something. Your call-to-action (CTA) is your closing appeal. It prompts your followers to engage with your store in a meaningful way by driving traffic to your website to learn, participate, or shop.

Action verbs like “tap,” “tell,” “use,” and “share” are the key here. For example, “Check out the 5 best tips for wrapping presents in our blog — link in bio.”

Good Instagram captions

@topshop includes a CTA to encourage followers to use a code for free delivery

3. Show Your Brand Personality

Chances are, you know your audience pretty well at this point. Try speaking their language. Good Instagram captions humanize your brand, enabling users to create a personal connection with your store. Show your followers that you share their values and interests with a friendly, recognizable voice.

Good Instagram captions

@hm adapted a trending challenge to remind followers of the brand’s values

Learn more: How to Sell on Instagram: Complete Guide for Beginners

4. Place the Most Important Information First

As we mentioned earlier, the app crops the caption to the first two lines. That means you have less space to catch your followers’ attention.

No user scrolling their feed is willing to tap “More” on a post they find boring or non-informative.

So make sure your Instagram captions present a reader with the most important information first. If your store has some special offers, let “sale” be the first word your followers see under the picture.

Also, it’s a good idea to give your caption a title (even in capitals), so that you catch your followers’ attention right away.

Good Instagram captions

The first sentence in @airbnb’s post tells followers about the things they’re most interested in: location and host’s rating

5. Encourage Followers to Write Comments

To keep the interaction going, ask questions or start discussions with your audience. Ask your followers to tag their friends in comments (“tag a friend who would like this,” “tag a friend who’s always late”) or to choose one of the variants.

For example, which product is the best gift for a mom, which product from the gallery do they like more, or which product packaging idea do they prefer. Ask for feedback — and use it later in a post with customer reviews. Share the latest industry news and let your followers exchange opinions on it.

After all, Instagramis still a social platform, even though it focuses on the visual part of posts.

Good Instagram captions

@sephora offers to vote for a product in a simple way — with an emoji

6. Clearly Explain the Rules of Contests and Challenges

Instagram is a popular platform for all kinds of giveaways, challenges, and contests. Users actively participate in them, so you don’t really have to fight for their attention in this particular type of post.

What you should do is make sure the rules are simple, clear, and don’t leave room for misunderstanding.

Also, since rules are often quite long, use emojis and spacing to make them more readable. Don’t forget to add a CTA and encourage tagging friends, for example, “Join to win” or “Ask a friend to join you to increases your chances of winning.”

Good Instagram captions

@mcdonalds marks each step of the contest with an emoji

7. Be Emotional About User-Generated Content

Posting user-generated content is a way to personalize your feed and show your followers you appreciate their support. That’s why captions should include more than just a mention of the picture’s author.

Tag the follower who posted the photo, thank them, and say a couple of words about the picture itself. Tell your followers what’s special about it, or describe how you feel looking at it. And at the end, encourage your followers to visit the author’s page.

Using user-generated content well encourages more customers to share pictures of your products, creates content for your profile, and promotes much-needed brand awareness for your store.

Good Instagram captions

@cakesafe posts a photo from their customer and adds an emotional caption

8. Use Location Tags

Location tags can help increase a post’s engagement by 79%. Geotags make it possible for potential local customers to find your business, which in turn leads to an increase in revenue.

Instead of writing in a caption where the picture was taken, use a tag and talk about other important things. Do you deliver to the tagged location? How long does it take? Do you have a showroom? A phone number to elaborate on the details?

Good Instagram captions

@asos adds a location tag to show where the picture was taken

9. Use Hashtags

Even one hashtag increases engagement by 12.6%. However, don’t expect that if you use all 30 hashtags, it’ll boost interactions imminently.

The optimal number of hashtags is 11+.

If you feel like long lines of hashtags make your Instagram captions look spammy, you can put them in a comment.

Don’t forget about branded ones — they are unique to a company or a marketing campaign. They help people to find brands and encourage them to share their feedback. So definitely come up with one: it can be the name of your company, a tagline, or even something creative like a play on words.

Good Instagram Captions

@zara uses only one hashtag — a branded one

Do you find it difficult to create captions for Instagram? Or maybe you have any go-to tips you would like to share? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments!


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About the author

Lina is a content creator at Ecwid. She writes to inspire and educate readers on all things commerce. She loves to travel and runs marathons.

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