The Caption Writing Formula to Increase Instagram Engagement

The Caption Writing Formula That Helped This Social Media Agency Increase Instagram Engagement by 130%

Photo of Danielle ReadDanielle Read Posted

You’ve sat down at your desk, looked at a blank screen and dreamed… ‘if only a caption writing formula existed!’

Thinking up new, exciting and engaging captions can be the worst. Sometimes it takes hours. And even then, you might’ve only created a few posts.

It’s enough to drive you insane. But it shouldn’t be difficult. In fact, we’ve put together an easy-to-follow caption writing formula for you to start using today.

The Caption Writing Formula To Increase Instagram Engagement

This caption writing formula is designed to save those precious hours, while increasing your engagement rate.

At Readcity, we’ve used this exact formula to increase our agency’s Instagram engagement rate by 130% and we believe it can do the same for you.

What You’ll Find In This Post:

Content Planning Essentials

Before we get stuck into caption writing formulas for your agency, let’s touch on your planning.

Alongside these caption writing techniques, we use Sked Social to ensure all our content is curated, researched and strategised ahead of posting. Here are the main elements we focus on.

1. Image Selection

  • We source, create or capture imagery for our social media accounts. We then upload them to Sked Social
  • From here, we arrange the visuals of our Instagram grid using the preview function

Readcity Instagram Planning Process

2. Captions

  • Captions are added in once we’ve arranged the images. This allows us to plan out the different types of captions we’ll be using ahead of actually writing them
  • We use Sked Social’s Calendar view to add in our captions (using the caption formula we’ll share with you shortly)

3. Hashtags

  • We use Sked Social’s Template Manager to separate our hashtags into different lists
  • Hashtags are added to each individual post within the calendar view section

4. Scheduling

  • We then add images via the Queue feature and schedule each post while checking our ideal posting times on Instagram
  • Posts then go out automatically, without lifting a finger

Sked Social Instagram Calendar View

Now that we’ve got the basics covered, let’s jump right into caption writing formulas for your agency.

Start with your Post’s Focus

Don’t you hate it when the best part of a caption is right at the end? Maybe you don’t… Because you’ve never read that far down to notice.

We don’t blame you.

Leaving the best until last rarely pays off. It gives your agency’s audience little motivation to read the entire caption.

What’s the point? Why should I care? Will I actually get anything out of this?

Instead, cut to the chase. Place the focus of your caption at the beginning. Clearly establish what you’re talking about, right from the start.

Then, the people who are interested will read on.

They’ll know what the topic is from the get-go.

And will subconsciously realise what they’re forming an opinion on while reading.

Sked Social Step 1 Caption Writing Formula

Keep this part of the caption writing formula in mind when writing for your agency, or your clients. It takes out a tonne of guesswork for your audience. Plus, it kind of acts as the headline in a newspaper. So make it count!

You might find it easier to add the focus word or phrase to the beginning of the caption, once you’ve written the rest.

Use Storytelling Techniques

No matter if your social media agency is super professional. Laid back chillers. Or somewhere in the middle. Everyone connects with a story.

Don’t hold back from telling:

  • Personal stories
  • Agency-related stories
  • Opinionated stories

It’s easy to fall into the trap of removing yourself from the caption (whether long or short). We get it, if you’re a one-man show or multi-level agency, you want your audience to respect you. See you as an expert (or experts) and build an idea in their mind about who you are.

But newsflash, people connect with people.

They connect with stories.

They connect with your unique story, interwoven into your business.

Story Telling Techniques Caption Writing Formula - Sked Social

To see this in action, let’s do a little test. Which of these captions do you prefer?

1. “Instagram can be a tricky place. Head to the #linkinbio to download our free guide.”

OR

2. “I’m seriously excited to finally announce that our Instagram for Business E-Course has now released!

… And I’m pretty sure my partner is too (so I’ll stop talking about it!!)

When I set out to create this course, I asked what you guys wanted – video or written content. It was a 50/50 split every time *wipes sweat* So I made both.

Take your pick, choose what suits your learning style and I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Instagram can be a tricky place, but it doesn’t have to be. Are you ready to stop blaming the algorithm and start seeing some real success on socials? Yeah, you are!

Click the link in bio to check it out (because everytime that little bell goes off, my partner gets a little less annoyed with me and a little more excited too – haha!).

Can’t wait to hear from you!”

 

See how the second caption builds a connection by sharing real-world information about the course creator? It’s far more engaging than option one.

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Include Your Reader

 

This next one’s not so much a caption writing formula, but it’s definitely a key point to keep in mind.

“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.”
Meredith Hill

While this is more a point about understanding your audience, we see it as applicable for caption writing too.

When you never acknowledge your audience in your captions, they may as well not be there.

People want to feel included, spoken to and heard. By using pronouns like ‘you’ instead of omitting them altogether, you can quickly see how connections are drawn faster.

Asking questions and requesting feedback from your audience are also two great ways for your agency to build engagement.

Include your reader caption writing formula - Sked Social

Worried about not coming across as professional? Fear not! Some of the most successful brands include their reader in their captions.

You only have to look at Frankbod and Virgin to see that.

Increase Instagram Engagement - Sked Social Increase Instagram Engagement Example - Sked Social

Use Bullet Points and Line Breaks

Like we’ve done in this blog post, use bullet points and line breaks to:

  • Make the content easier to read
  • Draw the eye to different areas of the content
  • Cater to the skim-readers among us
  • Make the content more appealing to the eye

Tests have shown that 76% of people don’t read – they just skim. So don’t over-complicate your agency’s captions. This will turn people away from reading through your entire post.

However, if the caption appears easy to read (perhaps even fun), you’ll have more eyes on your agency’s copy and a higher chance of engagement.

Include a Call To Action

Let’s face it. While social media is a powerful (and basically essential) element to digital marketing… It’s not everything.

We bet your agency has their fingers in all kinds of pies. Whether it’s blogging, podcasting, email marketing… Or even traditional marketing, like newspapers and radio.

Like any marketing platform, there are formulas your agency can use for your captions on social media too.

You see, social media isn’t too different from these types of marketing.

In a newspaper? You’ll likely have a phone number to call or website to visit.

A blog? An opt-in for your freebie to grow your list.

And at the end of your agency’s podcast, it’s likely you’ll remind listeners to head to your site for the show notes. Or to check out a resource you discussed, on your website.

So, think of social media in a similar light. You want your agency’s reader to take the next step. To click through to your website, build trust with your brand and eventually work with you.

Marketing Strategies for Call to Actions

But it can feel icky asking people to ‘view your products’ every time you want someone to click the link in your bio. And essentially, social media isn’t really for that (after all, there are shoppable posts for a reason).

Some other calls to action to get people clicking over to your site are:

  • [Excerpt from latest blog] continue reading via the link in our bio
  • [Announce new freebie] get your mitts on this bad boy via the link in our bio
  • [Quote from podcast] continue listening via the link in our bio
  • [Snippet of your story] meet the rest of our team via the link in bio [about page]

Call to action caption writing formula - Sked Social

How This Formula Has Helped Us

By implementing this caption writing formula in our own agency, Readcity’s engagement has increased by $130%.

BEFORE

Readcity Writing Before Caption Formula - Sked Social

AFTER

Readcity Writing Caption Writing Formula After - Sked Social

We’ve found that personal imagery performs well for us. We’ve found the same across all client accounts too. People just love seeing the face behind the brand. They love connecting with your stories and the reason you’re in business.

By putting this caption writing formula in place, we’ve found that:

  • 25% more people are clicking through to our website
  • Engagement on our posts is more authentic
  • More people are reading until the end

At the end of the day, having a 5-figure social media following does not equal guaranteed sales and clients. But an engaged following? That’s where the sweet spot is. By building a loyal and interested audience through clever social media strategies, captions and engagement – you’re one step closer to having your marketing work for your agency – not you for it.

The Ways This Formula is Helping Our Clients

New clients have seen huge improvements in their post engagements. By using this caption writing formula, a new client has seen a 10.65% increase in engagement over just 7 days.

Focus HR Engagement Increase - Sked Social Focus HR Engagement Increase 1 - Sked Social Analytics

How Sked Social Makes It All Happen

By using Sked Social, we’re able to pre-plan all our content. We know what we’ve posted and what’s coming up.

Increase Instagram Engagement with Captions - Sked Social

This means we’re able to make sure upcoming posts complement our posting strategies. While also following our caption writing formula.

To recap, our caption writing formula includes:

  • Start your caption with your focus topic
  • Use storytelling and don’t be afraid to be personal
  • Include your reader
  • Use dot points and line breaks
  • Include a call to action

Ready to take your social media success to the next level? To get organised and avoid that last minute scramble to post on social media? Start your free 7 day trial of Sked Social today!

Photo of Danielle ReadDanielle Read

Danielle Read

Danielle is the Founder of Readcity Writing, a copywriting and digital marketing biz helping small businesses reach wider audiences through edgy online marketing strategies. When Danielle's not writing articles, creating social media campaigns and wistfully looking out her window, she's playing drums in a band and hanging out with office cat Larry.

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