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How to write a great caption

Writing captions is more of a science than an art. You might be bad at it right now but it's nothing you can't learn. To use an overused cliché, it's like learning to ride a bike.
Mirelle Hassler
Last Updated
October 22, 2021

Why are great captions important?

People usually see the caption after they see the image or thumbnail of the link you attached in the post. So it plays a supporting role to the main content that you've posted.

What are the different building blocks?

1. A hook 🪝

This should be a captivating sentence that makes you think. Don't try to overhype the content and don't make it too clickbaity.

For example:

  • Use numbers: 3 tips for your resume (pro-tip: use irregular numbers)
  • Make a promise (but don't overpromise): This is an easy-to-follow formula that will set you up for social media success
  • Ask a question: Want to generate leads with LinkedIn?
  • Arouse curiosity: What if we told you ...
  • Start telling your story: Twenty years ago, I was invited to the Big Meeting.

Your hook is super important, because social media platforms only show about 2 lines before the 'See more' button appears.

2. Reel 'em in 🎣

Give your audience something before you start asking anything.

For example:

  • Engage: tell something people can relate to
  • Educate: give some tips, create a how to, summarize the article ...
  • Entertain: show your funny side
  • Inspire: tell something inspiring or motivating

3. Call To Action (CTA) 🤙

They're in so deep, you already proved your value, now it's time to make your audience do something.

  • Ask for engagement on your post: leave a comment, share it or tag someone
  • Generate leads: download the ebook, apply for a function, contact me ...

Want to do things differently? Try to add your CTA before the 'See more' button appears (+- 2 lines). Make sure to include what people can expect.

4. Hashtags #️⃣

Last but not least: use hashtags for more engagement. You can add them in your caption or at the bottom of your caption, #as #long #as #you #don't #do #this. 😉

What hashtags should you use?

Try to use more niche hashtags that your audience is interested in instead of overused hashtags with millions of followers. For example #smallbusinessmarketing instead of #marketing.

You can easily see how many followers a hashtag has on LinkedIn by typing in the hashtag in the search bar.

How many hashtags should you use?

This depends on the channel:

  • LinkedIn: 3
  • Facebook: 1
  • Twitter: 2
  • Instagram: 7 to 30

Hashtags in Willow

Sometimes you just sit there, thinking about hashtags, but nothing comes up... + you probably didn't do the research on what a good hashtag is. So: take some time once to do the research and add the hashtags to your Willow Account:

  • Click on your logo
  • Choose 'Settings'
  • Click 'Hashtags'
  • You can add them here, one by one

Hit the refresh button and click +New Post: now you can add them to your post by clicking the #.

5. Link 🔗

  • Place your link at the end of your caption after the hashtags. This will cause the ugly URL to disappear, leaving only a clean preview image and your caption in the post.
  • Add the link in the comments of the post instead of in the caption. Experts say that this can increase the reach of your post.
  • Links on Instagram? They don't work in your caption. If you have to, direct people to your profile with something like 'See link in bio' in your caption and place the link in your Insta bio. Or use something like Linktree.

Other useful tips

  • Don't make your paragraphs too long, people like to scan everything. +- 3 lines per paragraph is enough
  • You can use emojis to grab someone's attention or to structure your caption.
  • Don't talk at people, talk to people: involve them in your narrative and already try to make them answer a question about themselves, even if it is just inside their heads.
  • Use conversational language: don't make things too hard and try to avoid jargon.
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