You’ve snapped the perfect picture and can’t wait to share it with all of your followers. But before you post your Insta-worthy moment, the pressure of coming up with a witty caption creeps up on you. There are a million wheels turning in your brain that are making you question the entire narrative of the post. “Am I telling the right story? Is this the message I want to get across? Will people think I am clever or funny?” The art of crafting social media captions may be silly for us to dedicate an entire blog post to, but caption anxiety affects people everyday. And if you have a knack for it, you may find yourself telling stories for brands in exchange for a pretty penny.
If you’re still asking yourself why captions matter, we are here to break it down for you. Let’s start with how Blenders Eyewear shredded the competition through its Instagram tactics. This San Diego eyewear brand skyrocketed last year by reaching 42 million people through Instagram! Grace McLaughlin, marketing manager, explained how the brand owed a majority of its success to content creators and brand ambassadors: “We have a loyal community of content creators and brand ambassadors out there that help the brand come alive, and Instagram is their personal social media platform of choice. That means that all of our original and user-generated content has already been made specifically for Instagram and makes it easy to leverage for ads.” 
Blender’s content creators were able to generate highly engaging copy that made the readers feel something and take action by buying their eyewear line. Without compelling captions that brought their brand alive, users would probably keep scrolling which would result in a loss of sales and poor return on advertising spend (ROAS).
Now do you understand why we care so much? Even though most of us don’t think of social media captions as an art, we think that the copy is just as — if not more important than the image or video itself. A quality caption tells our audience what they might not immediately see, encourages them to look more closely, or urges them to do something. No matter what your objective is, we’ve compiled some tips that we use every day to craft the perfect captions.
Paint a Picture
Whether you are trying to elevate your personal profile or launch a new creative campaign for a client, chances are you have experienced the vicious cycle of typing, deleting, and typing again.
Instead of getting sucked into a whirlwind of writing and deleting, try taking a step back and think of the story you want to tell your readers. It doesn’t have to be the next cover story for The New York Times. It can be a paragraph, a couple sentences, or even one word. At the end of the day, decide how you want your audience to feel.
A great way to get the wheels turning is by seeing what other people are doing. When you read other people’s captions on social media, analyze them and think about what they want you to feel. “The ability to identify with audiences and post content that reflects those feelings and beliefs is one of the most underrated skills of today’s top social media managers.” 
Cut to the Chase
Keep it simple! Remember, these are social media captions, not theses. After all, according to an article written by Shane Snow , 75% of U.S. adults read just above a fifth grade level. Every sentence should entice your audience to keep reading, even if that means shortening your captions.
Since copywriting on social media is different than writing for blog posts, real estate is limited and you have a very short amount of time to grasp your readers’ attention. That means if a sentence doesn’t add anything to your message, leave it. So, cut to the chase, avoid the fluff, and get to the heart of the message.
Pro tip: Slap in a few emojis here and there to enhance your post even more. 😉
Proof, Proof, and Proof Again
So you have the first draft of your caption(s) written (yay!), but you’re not done yet. Put down your phone, grab a snack, take a walk… and after you’ve cleared your mind, pull up those captions again.
When you proof your own work, start by looking for the obvious, like typos and grammatical errors. Then, cut out words that are unnecessary. Those are the basics, but we challenge you to dig deeper. Revisit the “story” you had in mind in the beginning and put yourself in the readers’ shoes. What will your audience feel? Think? React?
Once you’re confident in the work you’ve done, have someone else review it. And (just for good measure) review it one last time yourself.
Finally take a deep breath and hit that “Share” button!
Each of the tactics discussed above are tricks we use to create our art. Without witty one liners, or captions that make readers dive deeper, 42 million people might never have known what Blenders Eyewear is.
— BROOKE BINGHAM, Digital Media Coordinator
— EMILY LI, Outreach Coordinator