Caption this: Social media content writing made easy

By Hannah Massen

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or totally off-the-grid) for the last few months, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about Meta changing the Facebook and Instagram algorithms. It’s now harder than ever to generate engagements, but there’s still hope for those of us who aren’t influencers – you don’t need to learn a bunch of TikTok dances to reach your target audience. Facebook and Instagram may favor videos and Reels, Stories and live streams, but the core elements of great content are still the same: great visuals, strong CTAs, (calls to action) and compelling captions.

Have a distinct brand voice

Picture your business as a person (stay with us here): What would they wear? What would their interests and values be? Who would they be friends with? And, most importantly, what would they sound like? Your answer to that last question should define your brand voice, or the tone and language you use across all of your brand’s platforms. Using a consistent brand voice on your website and all social media channels will build your business’s identity and relationships with its supposed “friends,” or your customers. 

Lead with a hook

The average person lingers on any given post for only a few seconds, which is where your stunning visuals come in. But if they do decide to read your captions, it’s important to capture their attention just as quickly. At the risk of sounding like your middle school teacher, always lead with a hook. This could be a quote, a bit of humor, a strong statement or an announcement – whatever’s relevant to the goal of that post. Speaking of middle school…

Write to an 8th-grader 

The average national reading level is that of an 8th-grader, and you want to reach the most people possible. Therefore, you should only use words and sentences that a 12-year-old would understand. Ditch the jargon and buzzwords and write like you’re chatting with your followers over coffee, using casual language and simple sentence structures. Writing in the active voice (i.e. when a sentence has a subject that acts upon its verb) can also improve clarity. 

Always end with a CTA 

While you might enjoy sitting back and watching the likes and comments roll in on your latest selfie, chances are you’re not posting on your business account just for fun. You want your followers to take some sort of action after seeing your post, whether it’s visiting your website, clicking a link or tagging someone in the comments. That’s where a strong call to action comes in: a message that prompts your followers to engage with your business in some way. This can be a clear directive that prompts them to take immediate action (“click,” “sign up,” “subscribe”), a statement that creates a sense of urgency (“limited time offer,” “don’t wait!”), or a request for contact as an intermediary step between your social platforms and making a purchase (“DM us,” “call now,” “send us an email”). 

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