According to several researches and blogs, if you want to grow followers on Instagram, you need to let your audience in. Meaning, showing more of your true self. Instagram is still about a cohesive aesthetic; smooth looking feeds, high-quality photography etc. But nowadays, just posting a flower on a white background because it fits your feed won’t cut it. Compared to when Instagram launched, it simply isn’t as easy to get more followers. Today Instagram is a competitive place with over 1 billion monthly users, a super smart algorithm and clever and creative people. 

A big trend for Instagram in 2020 is to become even more authentic. Allowing your followers to learn more about you, your mission and your brand. So how are you going to achieve that? Writing longer and stronger captions will help you get there. An influencer research by Fohr pointed out that the caption length on Instagram has more than doubled since 2016.

How Instagram caption length impacts engagement

Maybe you’ve already spotted some of the Instagram accounts you’re currently following, writing big chunks of copy under their posts. In 2020, your feed will be filled with captions of an average length of 405 characters – that’s 65 to 70 words! You can make it even longer, because Instagram allows you to use 2200 characters in captions. Time to give a voice to your visuals and work on your writing skills. 😉

Here are 5 tips for writing stronger Instagram captions to increase engagement.

  1. Maintain your tone-of-voice
  2. Match your copy with your visual
  3. Improve readability with line breaks
  4. Dress it up with emojis
  5. Use relevant #hashtags

1. Maintain your tone-of-voice

If you want to make a difference with authenticity, then your own tone-of-voice is a must. It defines who you are and gives you or your brand a recognisable digital voice. In my case, you can tell that I’m not afraid to make jokes, be a bit silly but still stay professional. Once you’ve decided on what your tone-of-voice should look like, blend it in with the social media channels. Every channel has its own tone. For example, LinkedIn is more formal and jargon-heavy copy fits perfect there, while on Instagram the same tone won’t work as well. It’s better to keep your Instagram captions light and digestible, fun and human. 

2. Match your copy with your visual 

A good Instagram caption explains what your visual is all about. Think as a storyteller – what’s the story of your visual or what visual matches your story? Do you want your followers to take action? Do you want to inspire or educate them? Or maybe just entertain them by cracking a joke? Whatever it is, set a goal and define a subject for your copy. Make a couple of drafts and choose the best one to go with your visual. Or like I’ve said before, the other way around. 

3. Improve readability with line breaks

This is a quite important tip because if you start writing your life story directly into the app, it will end up as a big chunk of unattractive text with no breathing space at all. So how do you let your text breathe more? Easy, use the notes app on your phone. Whenever you feel like adding a line break in your text, copy and paste this: 


The invisible spaces are between the brackets. Paste it multiple times of you want to add more than one line break in your text. Then when you are about to publish your post, remove the brackets from your caption. And voila! Improved readability. 


4. Dress it up with emojis 💁🏻‍♀✨

Emoji’s are so integrated in our digital world, they’ve become unthinkable. Those little cartoonish visuals can help you explain yourself better and add personality to an Instagram caption. Plus, they’re fun to look at. 😍 Lots of brands adopted emojis into their Instagram bios and captions – even the ‘more serious’ brands. Put relevant emojis in your text to make your caption even stronger. 💪🏼 Or replace some words with emojis if you need more space to ✍🏼 copy. 

5. Use relevant #hashtags

Relevant hashtags work. If you want proof, check out how it helped to grow my dog’s Instagram account 100% organically. I’m not implying that hashtags did it all, it’s teamwork off course. Your visual, copy and hashtags are working together and have different roles. Relevant hashtags help you to get your content out there and gain exposure. It allows people to discover what you are posting. In order to grab someones attention your caption must be catchy and your visual must be appealing. So yeah, relevant hashtags are super important if you want to increase the exposure of your post. But to increase engagement and followers your content must speak to people it reaches. You reach what you preach, right?


More than anything… just dare to be the authentic you. Research what you love, what your fans love, what is relevant for your brand or profession and find that sweet spot to create engaging content and win the heart of your followers. Long captions work. But don’t forget the synergy – creation of a whole that is greater than the simple sum of its parts.


Need help to improve your Instagram?

    Freelance creative Aksana Mikhalap