If you’re spending more time worrying about your words on Instagram than you are editing your images, unable to plan your content with specific objectives in mind, or not seeing the results that you’d like to on your Instagram account, this blog is for you.
Since its birth, Instagram has been known as the most visual of social media platforms. Originally it was the platform’s USP, its MO its raison d’être. But those of you who have been paying attention will have noticed that as Instagram grew, so did the length of the captions people were using. This is a brilliant evolution of the platform, a great opportunity to get the message out about your business, but it can leave you struggling for both the perfect image and the perfect words to accompany it. Your image will grab someone’s attention, but it’s what you say about it which will enrich their experience, help them understand you better and, most importantly, drive them into action.
Here’s our five-point plan for improving your text output on Instagram:
- Understand what you’re aiming to do by using Instagram for your business
Instagram is the place to really tell the story about your business. It’s an informal space and, with the exception of sponsored posts, not the place to make a hard sell. Always remember that LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest serve distinct purposes for business; Instagram is about inspiring people and making connections with them.
So, if you’re generating content without having first properly thought about your audience, you’re very much in a cart-before-horse situation. Write your captions with your audience in mind, making sure that this communication channel has a distinct place in your brand’s marketing strategy. Your aim is to build brand awareness and foster engagement, but through conveying what makes you tick, your story and your culture.
- Make sure your brand identity is distinct, and clear
Once you’ve clarified what you’re aiming to convey and prompt via Instagram, you’ll be part of the way down the path of developing your identity. This is another crucial first step when it comes to writing captions because until you’re sure of your voice, you’ll find yourself starting to type and then doubting wither what you’re saying is right for your brand.
Your objective is to build trust (and more of that community we mentioned before) with your customer, your followers, your clients. People do business with people they trust. In order to develop this trust, you need to be consistent with your visual and verbal output. And in order to be consistent you need to find your voice.
Think about how you want to be perceived by your audience. Go back to the core story of your brand and its aims. Don’t copy what your competition are doing or what individuals’ expectations might be. Develop what is genuine and meaningful to you and develop a bank of words which accurately describe you. This consistent voice will become your touchstone.
- Focus on real connection, not just ‘engagement’
You might be racking up the likes and see your follower numbers ticking steadily upwards, but if this interest isn’t converting the way you want it to or you’re not getting comments or DMs from your audience, you may not be making enough of a connection.
Instagram engagement is what all the social media experts talk about, but if you’re getting engagement from people who simply don’t need your product or service, you won’t be generating the leads that make your business prosper, and you won’t be making the most of the networks Instagram can provide you with.
In order to overcome this, reach out to your audience on a personal level. When you’re planning a post, don’t just pop it up and disappear to go and do other work- stick around on the app for a while and get to know the people who are liking your content. This is your moment to do a bit of networking and make connections- they could be local, in a nearby town or city or even overseas. Talk to your audience and provide them with something they value, rather than approaching this as a selling exercise.
- Use the caption to really tell your story- beyond the image
If you’re a natural storyteller, this is where you can really get stuck in! Your image might show a line of pretty, painted beach huts, but your caption can be based on much more than the description ‘pretty painted beach huts’. The image is the starting point- write about why the huts caught your eye, what you were thinking during your stroll along the beach, where you were headed or where you’ve come from!
A lot of people struggle with making this leap, and that’s fine, painting pictures with words isn’t everyone’s natural gift. But if you can paint a picture for your follower, enrich their experience or give away a bit of behind-the-scenes information, they will understand, and trust, you more each time you post.
If you have a product, talk about why it was designed the way it was, if you have a business, talk about the story behind the services you provide or the added value you bring. You’ll be giving your audience a glimpse into your working life and what makes your business tick.
- Be consistent and keep at it
Building up a profile on any social media platform takes time and commitment. It’s okay to grow slowly, in fact, strong organic growth is much more powerful and lasting than any followers you can buy (this is something we would never recommend!) There are no tactics to help you gain followers or connection or engagement overnight. No magic hashtags.
However, there is plenty of inspiration out there. As you learn more about other platform users and identify good practice which you think will work for your business, try out different approaches (within your brand voice!) and keep going. Initiating your own conversations in the Instagram community will bring engagement to your page. Keep providing content which gives value and gradually you will notice the first leads coming in. Consistency and perseverance are key!
Keep going after connection in preference to engagement, be clear on your brand voice, and use a schedule to plan your content and make it a manageable part of your marketing plan. This will give you the time and space to write the captions that you really want!
Still not sure where to start?
Be More can help you find and understand your brand story, equip you with the tools to build and develop your social media accounts and help you grow! Contact us today to find out how.