A picture’s worth a thousand words, but why stop there? Mastering the art of the long-form caption can help you tap into an Instagram marketing strategy that’s oftentimes ignored. Sure, Instagram is the photogenic cousin of Twitter: short, snappy, and easy to digest. But flipping that model on its head has been proven successful by a number of professional accounts.
Below, we’ve included five examples of long-form captions with suggestions for how you can incorporate this Instagram strategy into your own daily practices.
63mph is the story of “finding your own speed and following it,” as told by Matt, traveler and proud owner of a 1986 Volkswagen Westfalia Vanagon – whose top speed, as you may surmise, is 63 miles per hour. Many of @63mph’s photos provide a backstory to support the snapshot. Quotes, characters, and anecdotes all come together in Matt’s long-form Instagram captions.
The Takeaway: Give the backstory to the snapshot.
Crema: The Blogger’s Instagram
Crema, a favorite coffee shop here in Nashville, does a great job of using their Instagram account to direct users back to their blog. Their creative, thoughtfully composed images are a large part of what makes this Instagram strategy tick. However, including an excerpt from the post and finishing with a yes/no or agree/disagree question also helps!
The Takeaway: Borrow a quote from your blog post to drive traffic to the blog. Note: Instagram captions do not support hyperlinks. Use a very short and memorable URL, or write “Link in Profile,” and include a link to your blog in your user profile. You can also include your website link as a fake geo-tagged location (see an example here).
National Geographic: Information Dense
National Geographic’s long-form Instagram captions take full advantage of the 2200 character limit. Many Nat Geo posts are like reading downsized magazine articles, complete with the who, what, where, why, and how.
The Takeaway: If you have a fascinating image that needs some explaining, take a moment in your caption to answer the questions you think people may have. This is a great opportunity to showcase yourself as a leader in your field.
Jon Krakauer: Words As Art
Jon Krakauer, author of bestsellers Into the Wild and Into Thin Air, posts some fine paragraphs via his humorously and ironically titled account, @krakauernotwriting. If you consider yourself a writer, don’t be shy about flexing those talents in your Instagram captions.
The Takeaway: Love to write? Experiment with your prose as you hone your Instagram strategy.
ThisWildIdea: Statement of Purpose
Photographer Theron Humphrey is known for his impeccably well-behaved and patient dog, Maddie, who famously strikes poses all around the United States. This photo (not of Maddie) tells a heartstring-tugging story that the photographer uses to reaffirm his statement of purpose before the audience.
The Takeaway: Every now and then, select an image that reminds your followers who you are and why you do what you do.
Have your own long-form caption Instagram marketing tips? Share them in the comments below.