Written By: Kayleigh Alexandra of MicroStartups

Instagram doesn’t make it easy to drive engagement to your online store. The stories function and visual presentation of the app are some of the strongest assets any social platform has. However, there’s one aspect of ‘The Gram’ that haunts all social marketers, the inability to link from captions. Bio links mean getting people to your store isn’t impossible, but making the best use of the captions requires a bit of creativity. For those that enjoy the challenge and experimentation of social marketing, here are some techniques to try in your captions.

Use Strategic Calls to Action

Instagram calls to action need to try a little harder. Since you can’t place the link in the caption it needs to be strong enough to convince people to go to your profile and click in the bio. A well-crafted CTA should offer a fantastic new product or a unique deal to grab the user’s attention. 

Create some immediacy with your CTAs. Go beyond the offer being available for a limited time and give the deal some Instagram exclusivity. Let people know they’re not just getting something special for clicking through, but by committing to your brand on Instagram. When they click through, make sure they’re seeing the right page and getting the offer clearly, so as not to lose trust in your future captions. 

Hide Answers Behind Links

Human nature means that if we see a question, we want to know the answer. On social media we’ll often find ourselves clicking a link, doing a quiz or agreeing to advertise just to see an answer, even if we aren’t followers of the account or brand posting it. Instagram is a fantastic platform for taking advantage of this to get people in your store. 

The visual nature and presentation of the platform make it easy to grab someone’s attention, even with words instead of pictures. A big bold question posed to the reader can pique their interest and be the beginning of a customer path. The image makes them want to read the caption, the caption sends them to the bio, the bio offers up the link containing the answer and then before they know it they’re on your store. Use their need to know answers to create a new customer.

Place the Most Important Info First

There’s an art to writing the perfect Instagram caption. You have a maximum of 2,200 characters to use within the caption, but you shouldn’t even get close to that limit. Our attention spans are limited at the best of time, and on social media, you have even less time to grab a user. Don’t waste the chance to drive engagement through burying the most interesting and driving part of the caption in a wall of text. 

Not only do users ignore long comments from brands, the ones who do stick around lose interest with every line. A short, snappy comment with a clear link as soon as possible helps users understand what they’re supposed to do. People want to spend time on interesting websites and stores, not read about them in an essay on Instagram. 

Tease the User

Many of the best Instagram captions give users just a small piece of the puzzle and hide the rest behind a link. Teasing the user is vital for building interest and intrigue around your brand and store. In the same way, people want to know the answers to questions, a little teaser of a new product, range or deal can get a customer’s mind racing. 

This can be used in tandem with the image. Have a photo showing a select amount of a new product, then use the caption to build interest with a little description or a playful hint. If you don’t give too much away you’ll hook people who may not even be interested otherwise. Play to people’s curiosity and they might just find more they like once they’ve clicked the link.  

Use Emojis Strategically 

A smiling face with its tongue out might not strike you as professional practice at first, but the attraction of emoji’s is undeniable. Many social marketers have used emoji’s in captions to their advantage, making their brands more relatable and directing user habits in creative ways. A well-placed emoji caption can help break up your caption from a wall of other users. They’re also great for appealing to how a younger audience communicates. The link emoji, for example, is a fantastic way of instantly letting them know you want them to go to the bio. 

Have a Strong and Consistent Brand Voice

While a brand voice itself won’t directly drive people to your website, it will help build a readership of your captions. The most successful brands on social have distinctive voices with a certain set of expectations. Start to build an audience that will be as invested in your written content on Instagram as they are the images. They’ll no longer scroll over your posts, making a point of reading the caption. Now when you are looking to drive engagement to a link in the bio you have a greater and more invested audience. 

Subverting expectations in your captions is a great way to develop your brand’s voice. In this oversaturated and over-experimented world of social media there’s little new left to do, but being ironic or tapping into a younger way of communicating can improve your captions’ ability to drive traffic.

Your captions won’t become engagement machines overnight. It can require you to re-think your strategy and spend a good amount of time defining your voice. Considering the popularity of Instagram though it’s worth investing the time into and can be a key marketing tactic.

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