The elements of good Instagram captions.
Instagram captions are not just about content, they’re also about aesthetics and confidence level. Reference the principles of design thinking as you build your posts, and they will pay major dividends.
Embrace the breaks and white space.
Remember — copy is a design element. Whether they’re under your post in the feed or on your image or video, your words are a part of the sum of a piece of content. Your captions should be aesthetically pleasing as well as engaging.
When possible, keep text to 40 characters or fewer. Or break long captions into smaller paragraphs, sometimes across multiple clips in a Story. Allow for negative space. You don’t always need to fill an image or post with text explaining it. A picture of you and your friends enjoying a restaurant doesn’t need to say, “Summertime: Good food, good friends.” The image can stand alone.
Place them in the right spot.
Most people put captions at the bottom of a Story image or video, but that isn’t a requirement. Place captions in an area that calls attention to them without distracting from the image.
If you’re just trying to add in a subtitle track, Instagram’s auto transcription feature can be useful. Or you can try the extremely accurate transcription services in Adobe Premiere Pro with the Speech to Text feature.
Don’t forget to have a call to action. Whether that’s redirecting viewers to your Instagram bio or telling them to watch the latest episode of a Netflix show and sound off in the comments — a good CTA is a great use of cool captions.
Keep it light.
Some pieces of content deal with difficult topics or challenging ideas. Keeping it light doesn’t mean you can’t engage with something serious — it simply means keep the narrative flowing and be conversational. “Be yourself, be fun, and be human. So many people are comparing themselves to others on social media, so if you’re relatable, it’s easier to form connections,” says Rhoades.
Regardless of content, an Instagram photo, video, Story, or Reel with captions should have an easy flow for the reader. Images with text-dense captions, hard-to-parse sentences, and confusing emoji use are likely to be skipped over. Keep language simple, customize text with readable fonts and layouts, and use the color gradient slider to maximize the visibility of text.
Reinforce, show proof, and emphasize.
Creative or cute Instagram captions can work wonders for your video and still image posts. You can use them to replicate or enforce the meaning of the spoken word, adding rhythm and lyricism. Highlight messages from your post with them too, or show proof points or callouts.