You set up your Instagram profile, you’re building a name for yourself and you think you’re pretty damn interesting – so that should work, right? You obsess about what you’re doing every day, and you want other people to take you seriously.
But now, a few months into posting consistently you’re annoyed you’re not getting anywhere business-wise besides spending a lot of time scrolling on Instagram.
Let me ask you:
- Is all the time you’re spending on social media worth it for you?
- Are you getting a return out of the posts you painstakingly post?
Compare what you do versus what the people you follow & look up to, do.
Their content is probably epic. And if yours isn’t just yet, it’s time to get on their level.
You might be consistent, but maybe you’re just not doing the right things.
It’s time to level up your Instagram game.
And I don’t just mean in terms of posting pretty pictures. I mean your captions. Yes, it’s time to level up your copywriting skills!
Because don’t be mistaken, selling can be found in how you communicate on a day to day basis.
Even when you’re not selling, you’re selling.
You’re always selling yourself, your values and your vision.
You might be ‘selling’ or offering your latest article, video or item you want people to discover online.
Maybe you want people to join your waitlist for your new upcoming program or join your giveaway.
All of that, even just the act of people reading your caption, is sales!
And today I’m going to teach you how to write captions that convert your followers to clients.
You might be thinking:
- “But Amy, I don’t like writing a lot of words”
- “I don’t like selling”
- “Long-ass captions? Don’t like them!”
- “I don’t want to market myself. I just want people to enjoy my work”
- “I don’t want to push my product on them”
- “They’ll come when they come”
- “Emojis are stupid”
- “I don’t want to put time and effort into my captions”
Look, I hear you.
But here’s the thing: Instagram, your followers, and the algorithm need to know that you are creating value.
If you’re writing short, irrelevant captions, or long-ass unreadable captions without a call to action, fewer people will read them.
There’s too much noise online. You need to stand out, not contribute to the noise.
However beautiful your images, the captions that go along with it are equally important.
I see far too many influencers or creators do what used to work when Instagram was just about sharing photos. They post a beautiful pic with a meaningless quote. That’s not going to get you clients, or sell your ebooks. Newsflash: unless you’re cheating, that isn’t going to bring you places (unless you’re a special unicorn who got famous by being famous). Kylie Jenner is a great example: she’s got one of the biggest accounts on the internet. She can post a nice selfie with her product, and it will fly off the shelves and make her millions of dollars, because she’s Kylie Jenner.
You are not Kylie Jenner.
Unfortunately, you can’t just post a selfie at a cute cafe and expect the orders to come flooding in and your shop to run itself. There’s a strategy behind it.
Here’s how I used to plan my Instagram. I’d find a nice pretty picture that I wanted to post, and then I’d think of a caption to write. Now, I do it totally differently. I first think of the value I want to bring into the world, and then I think of an image to go along with that. Maybe that’s an image of me, maybe it’s a quote, maybe it’s an infographic.
Why are captions so important?
1. Instagram measures time on post.
The algorithm knows how long people are looking at your post. Good, valuable captions = more time that people spend reading your caption.
2. You want to engage your audience.
People engage with you and what you are saying, feeling and putting out there consistently. They want to relate to you. If you put effort into your words, people will start feeling like they know you more and incorporate more of you into their lives.
3. Your followers need to value you.
People think they shouldn’t share too much online, because that’s not fair to the clients, or because their audience won't have a reason to buy from them. But look at it this way. If you keep all your value locked behind the doors of your company and only put meaningless shit out into the world… how will anyone know you can actually help them? You need to put EXPERIENCE upfront. That’s like when I’m sharing meaningful tips and you think “aha, this Amy chick really knows what she’s talking about. Look at what I learned about sales from her”. You trust me, and then you buy from me. If I didn’t put out free, valuable information, you would be waaaay less inclined to trust me to buy from me. So have people EXPERIENCE your value. You can find out more about that in episode 7 when I talked about my content to client framework. People then think to themselves, “wow, if I can get this for free, imagine what I’d get if I were paying for something!”
4. You want to lead your audience to your end goal – and they will not get there by themselves.
Your words will have to guide them. Often we create content, but we’re forgetting to guide people to do what we want them to do, like download our free guide. So many people make captions and then actually forget to ask, “hey, do you want to buy my shit?” — so then the people who do want to buy from you don’t know how.
Now, let’s move on to actually fixing your caption.
I always tell my clients that a great way to learn is through seeing what’s out there on social media. When you follow and account or buy something on Instagram, why is that? Is it because the person shares a lot of information about their personal life, so you feel like you know and trust them? Is it because they hook you in with a really strong story? Take a look at your own actions, and see how you’re influenced.
We’ll be going through my 4 step framework for writing captions that convert.
The four steps are: hook-lead-content-action.
1. Hook them at the start of your post
Try using a headline, just like you would with an article: “3 Easy Ways to Beat Procrastination and Overwhelm” or “Sleep Better Instantly with These 5 Strategies”
Your hook makes your reader curious about what’s coming up. What makes you click on an article?
Is it because it uses numbers? Or adjectives? Maybe it’s very specific in terms of what you’ll gain from reading it: tricks, hacks, secrets? Maybe it makes a promise, like “triple your revenue within 30 days”?
Try combining each of these things, and you’ll get something like this formula:
Number or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise
“5 Ways to Triple Your Instagram Followers in Under 24 Hours”
“How You can Effortlessly Triple Your Instagram Followers in under 24 Hours”
What also works well is introducing a personal story. You could try something like “My dad always used to say…” or “I never knew I could feel this way”. You make people curious about what’s coming, so they open up your caption and get ready to read.
2. Lead them to your content
Rather than just diving deep in your content straight off the bat, you’re going to lead into it. Start with an opening that stops your reader in their tracks. Try and start with one of these 4 things: facts and dates, a struggle, a personal story, or frequently asked questions.
Format them in a way that makes people want to read. Use CAPITALS to emphasize certain parts of your text (don’t overdo it though). Place emojis strategically, because colours grab attention. Make an Instagram series so that people come back and ‘follow up’ in their reading: try Day 86 of 365, or Post 4/10.
When writing the opening of content, I like to think of how you would see the beginning of a Disney movie. You would see the main character, for example Belle, doing her thing every day and the birds singing etc. Or Little Red Riding Hood is happily going for a walk. It’s setting up the scene for what’s going to come next.
3. Place your content in the middle
Once you’ve provided your opening or intro, make sure you provide something of value in the middle of your caption. You can create value by making content that does one or more of these four things:
Educational content could include tips, how tos, or a summary of an important topic. Make sure there’s a clear topic for your audience as your go-to. Most of my content and visuals with tips fall under this category. My podcast is also educational.
Entertaining content either makes your audience laugh, or is very pretty and nice to look at. The original fashion influencers are great at creating pretty content that’s beautiful to look at. For me, Pingu memes fall into this entertaining category.
The third value pillar is to engage. Try and create content and captions that are very engaging, like emotional storytelling that people can relate to, or something really polarising. Content that people really feel the need to comment on and engage with is what this pillar is all about. Examples include personal topics, discussing your feelings, and political topics.
Finally, you want your audience to feel inspired and motivated through your content. Most of my own posts are educational, where I’m informing people, or inspirational, where I’m talking about topics like mindset and confidence.
You always want to provide value. Ask yourself if people are benefiting from your content. Are they feeling inspired, educated or entertained? If you’re posting a selfie and nothing else, the chances are, your audience won’t care.
Whatever type of value you’re choosing to provide, make sure you’ve formatted your caption nicely.
Use spaces in between your paragraphs so that your caption is very readable. If you just pour all your text in there, it looks like word vomit… and no one is going to want to read that.
Instead, create spaces in between sentences and add paragraphs. Instagram often messes up your formatting, but there are a few easy tricks for fixing this.
Make sure there aren’t any extra spaces after your last word or punctuation.
When you type a sentence, place your punctuation sign right after your sentence and immediately hit return. Do not add a space after your punctuation sign and then hit enter, because when you post your caption, your structure will not turn out nicely.
You can place a punctuation sign or emoji in between your paragraphs and hit return again immediately all over again to start your next sentence.
Do you want the space between your paragraphs to be white space instead of punctuation marks? Copy the space between these brackets and paste it: [⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀]
Pay attention: make sure there are no unnecessary spaces after pasting this for the paragraph you are creating. If you add extra spaces, you will end up without structure yet again.
You could also start new blocks with an emoji or colour, and use this to guide people’s eyes.
4. Ask for something back – your CTA
The last part of your shiny new caption is your CTA – call to action. You can include multiple CTAs in your caption, but most people don’t even include any. It’s great that you made your brand new guide, but if you don’t include it, people won’t know! If I didn’t tell you to go and listen to my podcast episode, you wouldn’t do it! Use words like “buy now”, “sign up now”, or “enroll now”.
Essentially, that’s how you convert. Having a kickass caption is great, but it also needs to convert people into clients.
You could include 2 call to actions in your caption:
- One for engagement and
- one for your end goal
For engagement, this means: ask your audience to comment/like/save if they agree, for example:
- Double tap if you agree
- Comment <3 or a certain type of emoji if you feel the same way
- ‘Save’ to remember for later
You can add these either at the beginning or at the end of your post
For your end goal, include another call to action at the end of your post to guide your audience’s actions (this is why it’s called a call to action).
- P.S. Do you want to read the 5 strategies for you to implement this? Click the link in bio right now.
- Or: Watch my Instastory for more tips
- Or: Swipe up in Highlight xx to grab your free guide
I get it, you don’t want to be too spammy online. But it’s my duty to sell online. If I’ve created an amazing podcast or an amazing guide, I have to promote it. I owe it to the world to put it out there! It’s not spammy. You’re not asking people to chop off their arm.
If you say “swipe up to join the mailing list” and people don’t want to join it, guess what? They won’t fucking swipe up.
It’s that simple!
Stop being afraid of being pushy. If people don’t care, they’ll just close your post. It doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily unfollow you. You can’t please everyone. You need to help people to take action. Kylie Jenner isn’t afraid to ask people to swipe up to buy her cosmetics, because she believes in them. I believe in my products. I have an amazing new program coming out, and I’ll have zero resistance to promoting it, because I know it’s awesome.
If you don’t include a CTA, no one will take action.
Give with your content, and at the end of your content, you can ask. Give 80% of the time, and ask 20% of the time. If you combine it with a lot of value, you can do whatever you want. Whether or not people buy from you, they’ll still be getting value.
So to recap:
- Hook your reader at the start with a powerful headline
- You open a.k.a. you relate to your audience and ‘lead’ them so they will want to read more. The opening is your ‘lead’.
- Then you give value in the middle. This is your ‘jab’ or ‘give’.
- At the end you ask for something back: that’s your call to action (known as CTA).
If you thought this was interesting, I highly suggest you go and listen to episode 7 of my podcast. And if you’re afraid of losing followers, go and check out the episode before this one, about how I lost 15.000 followers and it transformed by business – in a good way!
Go and grab your captions cheat-sheet and downloadable guide at https://fastforwardamy.com/captionsthatconvert. It’s available in Dutch and English. Go and print it out and stick it on your wall, so you remember the facts and figures, and how to sculpt the perfect caption!
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