ultimate checklist for writing business instagram captions

It’s easy to assume that eye-catching images are the only thing that matter on Instagram. But if you want to get the best results for your business on the platform, it’s important to get those captions right too.

After all, a great visual might attract your audience to your post. But it’s that caption that will engage them and nudge them to visit your website, download your freebie, or comment on your post.

This engagement isn’t just critical for driving your business forward and helping you actually get something out of the time you spend promoting your biz on Instagram. It also tells the Instagram algorithm that your content is worth engaging with. And you know what that means—Instagram will show your posts to more people.

The result? You’ll reach an even bigger chunk of your audience. And you’ll be able to get MORE traffic on your website and, ultimately, MORE leads and sales.

How do you make sure the captions for your Instagram posts contain all the right ingredients for high engagement and lots of clicks?

Scroll down to find my ultimate checklist for writing business Instagram captions.

You’ll learn everything from how long to make your captions to how many hashtags and emojis to include.



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1. Start with your most important info

Technically, your business Instagram captions can be as long as 2,200 characters. But—and here’s the important part—only the first 3-4 lines will show up initially. Your audience will have to tap to expand the caption so they can see the rest of it.

Why does this matter?

It means that you have to use those 3-4 lines to successfully hook and engage your audience. If those first 3-4 lines don’t interest them, they won’t bother to take a look at the rest. And if your key message or call-to-action (CTA) is buried in the rest of your caption, these people won’t see it.

That’s why it’s strategic to put your most important content at the beginning of your business Instagram captions. This way, you’ll have the best shot at convincing people to read the rest of your captions. And even if they don’t, they’ll still get the most critical info in your captions within those 3-4 lines.

So what’s most important to pack in within those first 3-4 lines? Your key message and CTA. It also helps to make this copy highly engaging so that your audience can’t help but read the rest.

Save hashtags, emojis, and @mentions for later on in your business Instagram captions.

Related: How to write social media copy for 5 different platforms + 7 free social media copy templates

Example: See how Amy Porterfield places a CTA right at the beginning of this caption.



Amy Porterfield COVID-19 email


2. Think about length

As I just mentioned, your business Instagram captions can be up to 2,200 characters long. But remember, you’re not writing an English essay for school. You don’t need to use up all the space you’re given to guarantee that you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

Over time, feel free to experiment with captions of different lengths to see what your audience responds to best.

But if you don’t have a good sense of what your audience wants and don’t know where to start, try keeping your captions short.


Data shows that Instagram captions produce the best results when they’re 138 characters to 241 characters. So it can be strategic to practice some minimalism by keeping your business Instagram captions brief.

Related: 13 effective ways to use Instagram Stories to promote your business

Example: Innocent keeps the caption of this text-heavy post incredibly short.



Innocent COVID-19 post 1


3. Combine your brand voice with a casual tone

Writing business Instagram captions is VERY different from writing posts for LinkedIn. After all, Instagram is a more casual platform where people go to build emotional connections with a brand. In comparison, LinkedIn is a platform for professional networking and sharing industry news.

But this doesn’t mean that you should sound like a completely different business on Instagram than you do on your website or other social media platforms. No matter where you’re connecting with your audience, you always want to maintain your brand voice—the overall personality of your brand.

So how do you make your business Instagram captions jive with the platform’s more casual and approachable feel? By using a casual and approachable tone.

Confused about the difference between your business’s voice and tone? Check out my deep dive on brand voice vs. brand tone and how to choose the right ones for your biz.

Example: The Ten Spot uses a fun, relaxed tone in this caption.


Example of business Instagram captions



4. Make it easy to read

When you’re writing for the web, it’s incredibly important to make your content easy to read. No one wants to wade through large blocks of text, especially when they’re scrolling their Instagram feed on a smartphone.

Aside from keeping your business Instagram captions short, how can you make them easy to consume?

Use line breaks.

Line breaks let you break up one large block of text into smaller, less intimidating chunks. This also has the benefit of making key points stand out by placing white space around them.

Related: Scannable copy: How to write for your audience online + free scannable copy checklist

Example: See how Melyssa Griffin uses line breaks to make her key points more salient and the caption easier to digest.





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5. Include a call to action

If you’re on Instagram to market your business, you’re probably looking to get more than just likes, right? You probably want to drive traffic to your website, build your email list, or sell products or services.

So what’s absolutely essential to include in your business Instagram captions? A clear CTA.

CTAs tell your audience what you want them to do AFTER they read your post. Do you want them to check out your latest blog post? Download a freebie? Shop your new collection?

Whatever it is that you want your audience to do, include a CTA to make it crystal clear.

Keep in mind that although you might usually want to direct your audience to click a link to your website, blog, or landing page, you can, alternatively, ask them to answer a question in the comments section of your post or tag a friend.

Also note that unlike on other social media platforms, you can’t include URLs in your business Instagram captions. Most businesses get around this limitation by directing their audience to a link in their Instagram bio.

You can either update your bio’s URL each time you share a post (which is annoying and time consuming). Or you can use a feature like Later’s linkin.bio.

Linkin.bio creates a link that you can place in your bio’s URL. It takes your audience to a clickable version of your Instagram feed that allows people to tap on any post that you’ve shared and get directed to a unique URL that you’ve specified for that post. This makes it easy for your audience to access a webpage, blog post, or landing page for any specific post. And it means that you don’t need to keep changing the link in your bio every time you share something on Instagram.

Related: How to write social media CTAs that boost traffic, leads, and sales + 80 CTA templates

Example: Tangerine uses a clear CTA to tell their audience what to do after reading this post.



Example of business Instagram captions


6. Include hashtags

Hashtags might just be more popular on Instagram than they are on any other social platform. And they increase engagement by 12.6%. So when you’re writing business Instagram captions, be sure to include hashtags.

Because hashtags boost your visibility on Instagram, some people advocate for using the max number of hashtags per post—30. But according to data from TrackMaven and CoSchedule, using 9–12 hashtags is the sweet spot.

No matter how many hashtags you include, make sure that they’re relevant hashtags. Using generic hashtags like #happy and #love might get you a few extra likes. But they won’t help you connect with the people who are looking for content that’s specific to your niche. So for example, if you sell balloons for birthdays in Toronto, try specific hashtags like #TOballoons or #bdayballoonsTO.

Think hashtags look spammy? In addition to keeping your hashtag count modest, place them at the end of your caption under a line break. Alternatively, stick them in the first comment under your post. This way, you can get the benefits of including hashtags in your business Instagram captions without compromising your reputation.

Related: What to include in your posts on 5 social media platforms + 7 free social media copy templates

Example: Whole Foods uses 11 relevant hashtags to strike the right balance between visibility, reach, and impact.



write good Instagram captions


7. Add @mentions

If it makes sense for the type of post you’re sharing, use @mentions to tag another Instagram account. For example, if you’re launching a product collaboration with another business, you can @mention them in posts you share to promote the product line. This will help you connect with other brands and promote your businesses to each other’s audiences.

Example: Sorrelle and Co use an @mention to credit the photographer of this photo.



social media post


8. Have fun with emojis

Want to have some fun with your business Instagram captions? Add some emojis.

Emojis help you inject personality into your copy while breaking up your text with fun visual elements.

Wondering how many emojis to include on Instagram? According to data from CoSchedule, 3 emojis is the optimal number.

Curious about how many hashtags and emojis to use in your posts on other social platforms? Check out my post on the optimal characteristics of posts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Example: California Pizza Kitchen uses emojis to up the fun (and drool) factor of this caption.



Example of business Instagram captions


9. Check for typos

Even though Instagram might be more casual than LinkedIn and other platforms, it’s still not a place for rampant typos. Sure, a mistake here and there probably won’t be a big deal. But if your business Instagram captions repeatedly feature typos, your audience will have a hard time taking you seriously.

So do yourself and your biz a favour by taking the time to proofread your captions.

Related: 8 proofreading tricks to nix typos from your copy and content + free list of 476 power words

Make your business Instagram captions soar

Getting meaningful results on social media can feel like a bit of a mystery or a tough code you need to crack. Fortunately, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to succeed with marketing your business on Instagram.

Instead, you can boost your engagement and conversions on the platform by using the business Instagram checklist I’ve shared above. It’ll help you make sure that you include the ingredients that make captions on Instagram soar.



Need some help writing powerful Instagram calls-to-action your audience can’t resist?
Download my 80 free call-to-action templates.

Send me the templates







Need help creating Instagram posts that get your business results? Grab my ultimate checklist for writing business Instagram captions that actually work + get my 80 CTA templates.

The ultimate checklist for writing business Instagram captions + 80 free CTA templates

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