12 minute read
Instagram Microblogging: The subtle art of writing meaty captions
Updated on October 2, 2020 by Rezvan Golestaneh
Why spend time and energy writing lengthy captions on Instagram when photos and videos seem to be enough?
A study carried out by Contently revealed that 75% of us prefer to read articles that are less than 1,000 words (around two pages). That's disappointing, especially for bloggers who are accustomed to writing long articles and now want to start microblogging on Instagram.
Does this mean you should only write one or two sentences for the caption and then leave the photos to speak for themselves? No!
Actually, HubSpot analyzed more than 81 million Instagram posts and found that the more lengthy the caption, the more engagement it receives. So, as you can see, our preference for reading shorter articles is actually a good thing on Instagram!
Source: HubSpot Instagram Engagement Report
Moreover, despite the increasing demand for flashier content such as infographics and podcasts, 83% of marketers prefer textual content formats.
Although blogging has many benefits for businesses and marketing, you can't ignore the ever-growing importance of using social media. Whether you use Instagram to promote your business or build your personal brand, knowing how to microblog correctly is a must, as textual content is one of the essential parts of every Instagram marketing strategy.
In this article, I'm going to walk you through microblogging on Instagram and give you tips that'll help you to do it better.
- What is microblogging on Instagram and why does it matter?
- Blog vs. Microblog: What's the difference?
- How to start a microblog on Instagram
- Instagram microblogging tips
Before we jump right in, here's an infographic if you want to cast a glance:
What is microblogging on Instagram and why does it matter?
Microblogging on Instagram is the art of writing informative captions using the 2,200 characters (around 370 words) that Instagram allows. Technically, as the name indicates, it's pretty much similar to blogging, only on a much smaller scale.
You have probably seen influencers who microblog on Instagram. Here are some examples of post topics that microbloggers use:
- How to plan a trip to London
- Tips to cook a delicious ravioli
- The best ways to market a book
- Top 5 podcast episodes about achieving goals
Source: Instagram - @dani_the_explorer
Microblogging can be a powerful tool for those who want to establish a brand on Instagram by sharing thoughts, knowledge, writing style, and, most importantly, their stories.
It might not be obvious, but storytelling is one of the main keys to be successful on Instagram. Behind every photo that you share, there's a story worth telling. And the best part is, if you manage to narrate it charmingly enough, your followers will devote three minutes of their precious time to read your caption.
Think about it; why do people pay more to buy from brands such as Nike when they can find the same quality products in other less-known brands?
Because major brands know exactly how to tell a story! Take a look at this post from Dior and pay attention to the words used in the caption. How can you not feel great when you buy a Dior cosmetic and relate yourself to "perfect skin," "defined eyes," "a shiny lip," and "powerful look?"
Source: Instagram - @dior
Blog vs. Microblog
If you already run a successful blog and now want to start blogging on Instagram, it's good to point out how microblogging on Instagram differs from traditional blogging.
Microblogging on Instagram is more dynamic compared to blogging
Compared to traditional blogging on the web, microblog platforms such as Instagram are dynamic and fast. With its practical engagement tools like commenting, DMing, and Instagram Stories, Instagram smooths the two-way communication for the blogger and followers.
Source: Instagram - @jasminestar, @jennakucher, and @yesandyesblog
The advantage of push notifications
Although you can set up notifications for a blog, push notifications are more common on Instagram. The Instagram algorithm may not allow all of your posts to appear on your followers' feed, but if you ask them to turn the notifications on, they will definitely see them.
And don't be afraid to ask your followers to turn on the push notifications. A study by VWO revealed that about 57% of people preferred to receive push notifications from social media, whereas only 9% preferred to accept them on a blog.
Push notification is a useful feature that makes users engage with your post within the first hours of publishing, and as a result, you'll get more engagement.
Be creative and give them a good reason to turn their notification on! Brain Giniewski, who is a handmade pottery maker in Philadelphia, talked about Instagram push notifications on Quit Your Day Job Podcast:
"We started developing some strategies on Instagram where we were selling one of a kind pieces directly from the Instagram post...this was right around the time when Instagram was rolling out the post notification feature. A lot of people were turning on the post notification ‘cause they wanted to be the first person to see it. So we find the initial engagement, or the number of likes and comments that we received within the first few minutes of posting rose really sharply from that point…we're still doing some flash sales where we sell in seconds."
Source: Instagram - @brianginiewski
More saves and shares on Instagram!
How many times have you saved a blog post or sent it for your friends? Now, compare that number to the number of times you saved a post to your collection or shared it on Instagram.
When you create savable content on Instagram, it's much easier for people to save and even share it.
Instagram enables users to create collections on the app and then add posts to those collections whenever they come across a related post. Also, it only takes two taps to share a post, story, or feed.
As a microblogger, you can easily see the stats for the saves and shares for each post using Instagram insights to find out which type of content your followers prefer the most.
How to start a microblog on Instagram
In case you haven’t started to microblog on Instagram yet, here's a quick step-by-step guide for you:
Step one: Define your goal and target audience
It's good to start with a clear goal. Ask yourself, why do you want to start a blog on Instagram? Is it to boost your sales? To establish your personal brand? To increase brand awareness?
Luckily, with its one billion community members, you can definitely find your audience on Instagram. Even if your niche is rare.
Source: Instagram - @babysitting_guide
When you know your goal and who your followers will be, it's much easier to plan the rest.
Step two: Set up your Instagram account and optimize your bio
If you don't already have one, set up your account and remember to use a suitable username. It's better to include your niche in your username, display name, and bio so that your page becomes search-friendly.
For example, if you make cakes and want to set up an Instagram page to start microblogging about it, make sure you use the keyword "cake" in the username and display name if possible.
Source: Instagram - @thecakeblog
Also, it's a good idea to add your secondary keywords to the bio. In this example, The Cake Blog used the terms "baking," "recipes," and "DIYs" to optimize its bio.
Step three: Switch to the Instagram Business or Creator Account
Switching to Instagram Business or Creator Account, you can access Instagram insights, which shows you essential stats is a straightforward way.
Instagram insights allow you to see your audience demographics, when they are most active, and which posts they find interesting.
To see how to use Instagram Insights in more detail, click here.
Step four: Start microblogging!
Now you are ready to start microblogging on Instagram. If you're already a blogger, you may find it easy to write and share on Instagram; however, there are some essential things that you should consider when microblogging on Instagram.
In the following, I'll mention some tips that help you to build a great blog on Instagram.
Instagram microblogging tips
If you started a blog on Instagram, there are many measures that you can take to ensure you are doing a great job. Here are some of them:
Caption is the most important part
If you want to be a good microblogger on Instagram, you need to pay extra attention to your caption. That means spending more time and writing extended captions.
To make sure that people will read your caption thoroughly, you need to use a hook at the very beginning of the caption.
It's vital to grab your visitors' attention right at the beginning because Instagram only shows the first 125 characters of your caption on the feed; that's like one or two sentences. Also, it's a good idea to include a call to action (CTA) if you can.
The more you write, the more time your followers spend on your post, and eventually, the more engagement you get. However, the important thing to remember is that you don't have to use all 2,200 characters and write long captions every single time. Don't drag the text just to make it lengthier as it only makes your followers tired.
Sometimes, it's better to keep it short and lead them to your blog or YouTube channel:
Source: Instagram - @loveandlemons
Make more alluring visuals
Although textual content is the central pillar to microblogging on Instagram, you shouldn't forget that this social platform is primarily a photo-centric one. That's why you must think about the aesthetic part of your page too.
Source: Instagram - @kyliekatich and @helloemilie
Without a great photo, your captions will be useless.
Source: Instagram - @jesspennartz
Also, infographics and illustrations can come handy, especially If you're a B2B Instagram blogger.
Source: Instagram - @hubspot
And how about videos? Did you know that videos on Instagram receive twice the engagement as photos?
Source: Instagram - @cathy.heller
Don't share the whole story
Do you worry your blog loses its glory after you start microblogging on Instagram? Don't be; Instagram is not a threat to your precious blog. Actually, it can even give more leads to your blog!
The secret is, you should not share EVERYTHING on your Instagram. Always leave something undiscovered, so that you encourage your followers to dig more.
Use a suitable CTA to each post and tell them to find out more about the topic on your blog.
Source: Instagram - @reneeroaming
Share parts of your personal life
In a platform where many tend to post superficial beauties, sharing the raw and authentic photos of your personal life is an excellent approach, because it proves your honesty. Also, sharing a part of your daily life is a perfect bedrock for your storytelling.
You need your followers to trust you, right? Then what is better than putting a face beside your brand so that people are attached to you, not only as a brand but also as a human being.
But exactly how much should you share on your Instagram?
Jenna Kutcher is a microblogger on Instagram and in her "Goal Digger Podcast," she explains:
"One of the biggest misconceptions is that I share everything. People come up to me, and they don't even ask me about my life because they assume what they see on social media is everything. But here's the truth: I share just enough to feel you connected to me, and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm actually a very private person, and I cover my time with my family and my friends so deeply, you probably don't see a lot of that on social media."
Source: Instagram - @goaldiggerpodcast
Sharing enough personal stories is one of the reasons why many travel and lifestyle bloggers are successful on Instagram. By reading about their stories, people can relate to them more easily.
Source: Instagram - @heykelseyj
Don’t copy your original blog
Many microbloggers make the mistake of copying exactly what they posted on their blog on Instagram. Don't do that!
Instagram is a different platform, and you should adjust your blog content to Instagram's standards.
For example, you can explain in very specific detail the delicious lemon cake that you made this weekend and write 1,000 words about it. Obviously, you can't tell the whole story on Instagram too; it's called a social media microblog for a reason.
Also, you might use a gorgeous panoramic photo on your blog, but you want to keep all of your Instagram photos at the 1:1 ratio. In this case, you should use another photo to fit your feed.
Sometimes, it's better to share content that is unique to Instagram, like Lives, videos on IGTV, Instagram Stories, and Reels.
Another essential thing that microbloggers on Instagram should pay attention to is consistency, both in the type of content they are sharing and the amount of activity.
One of the biggest mistakes you may make as a microblogger is not defining a target audience. It's an exciting thought to attract all types of followers, but it does not work well in reality. You need to find out exactly who your audience is, and then try to find them on Instagram.
Moreover, consistency in publishing content on Instagram is another important tip to remember. You may not have enough time to write lengthy captions for every day of the week; however, you can publish daily stories or even quotes to stay connected to your audience.
It's hard to master every social media platform. My advice to you is to stick to one like Instagram, and add social media links to Instagram. Luckily, Instagram is a perfect microblogging platform with a wide range of tools and a huge community of users.
TOPICS: Social Media Marketing