It's All About Captions, Duh!
Are you on Instagram? Sure you are. Everybody is. Are you posting photos just for fun on your private account or are you doing social media for your clients? For both cases - but especially for the latter - I would like to share some useful advice about how to do it right.
It is easy, you say? Just posting the photo of a cute cat? Because everybody loves cats! Adding a caption saying “cute cat” and the hashtag “cutecatsofig” and off you go? Yes, could work, and some people do social media like that. But if you are in the writing department you can do much better. Put some elbow grease into entertaining your community – and your community will love you for that!
Learning from one of the best: Sophie the Model
As soon as Sophie quits modelling I will offer her a job as a copywriter. This black cat has perfected the interaction between photos and captions. One of my all time favourites is a not so flattering photo of Sophie yawning.
sophie_the_model knows how to do spelunking
The caption tells a totally unexpected story and turns an already funny photo into a hilarious one: “Welcome to Sophie Caverns. The crab salad scented formations on the ceiling are called stalactites and the formations on the cave floor are stalagmites. If you are planning on spelunking, please wear your hard hat and necessary safety gear and always watch your step on the slippery surface.”
It is not enough to post a photo of a cute cat – if you want to entertain your community then you have offer more than just a photo. Tell a story by adding a crazy or surprising caption and some hashtags like Sophie did #iyawnedsohardmyearspoppedoff.
Cheers to that
You don’t want cork debris in your new bottle of wine? Perhaps you want to use The La Flute corkscrew: it was awarded with a silver medal at the Korean Exhibition of Patented Technologies for avoiding exactly that. If you follow them on Instagram the company entertains you usually with humorous insights about the consumption of wine.
And then there is this photo showing a van with the words “free wine” printed all over it. And the following conversation “Me: show me the wine first. Then I’ll get in the van. I am not stupid.”
thelaflute offers an entertaining interpretation of wine on IG
Have you had a good laugh? Me too, but La Flute is not done. The caption is the real bummer: “The one time I was on a milk carton.” Evolving an already good joke into something even better is some kind of art. And I drink to that.
Are you planning to attend next year's SXSW? If the answer is “yes” and if you are into Mexican food you should make a detour to El Arroyo. They say they like to goof around and like to have a good time, but one thing they don’t joke about is their food. I haven’t eaten there yet, so I don’t know about the food part, but I know they are funny as hell. Need an example? They regularly post photos of their landmark sign. All of them are funny af, but I especially love the following one: “My wife said I never listen to her or something like that.”
Don’t mess with Texas or with elarroyo_atx
Please wait for the caption. It simply reads “what?”. On an explanatory note I have to add that I am a happily married man and because of that I don’t know what El Arroyo is talking about. On second note I must say: I had to laugh so hard. #hihoney
It is not really important why you're using Instagram – but especially if you are a copywriter working for clients’ social media accounts you should do some thinking before posting! Rule number one: Choose a cute, beautiful or a somehow special photo.
Now the caption – and this is where the real work starts: Please offer your followers something, anything. There are so many accounts on IG posting photos with no captions at all. A caption is better than no caption, but a good caption is not only the mere description of what the user is seeing anyway. Think twice and think hard: Do you have some valuable information you could share? Could you think of something emotionally touching or some brain food? Could you tell a totally crazy or a hilarious story? This is rule number two: Please try to write a crisp caption that evolves a good photo into something better!
And now back to work, guys. #pickyourbrain #andnotyournose #youarewelcome
Caption: “What was I thinking.”
Torsten Pollmann is ECD at Havas Düsseldorf