Jan 24, 2018

The number one mistake when posting on Instagram

Ever wonder why your fantastic Instagram shots are pulling lackluster likes? Simple, it’s not the photos that have a problem, it’s the writing. The number one mistake that crops up time and time again is writing that describes what is going on inside the Instagram post.

This stems from not fully understanding the purpose of the Instagram’s caption. It’s there to enhance the feelings or imagery that the photo is eliciting in it’s viewers. When you use the caption to simply describe the feelings or imagery in the photo, then you are not adding anything, you are simply trying to mirror the same message. A few short words will not be able to compete with a large photo, you need to use the caption to enhance it.

Example Instagram 1

The original caption of this photo was:

Raise your glasses to the first weekend of the year. Make it a good one!

When you look at the image, it is clearly two people enjoying a celebratory drink at some fancy rooftop location. It gives the feelings of hopefulness, freshness, joy and motivation. The original caption tries to capture these feelings at the end with ‘Make it a good one!’ The beginning however redundantly explains what is already clear to the viewer, that they are clinking glasses.

Imagine if you were the one holding one of those glasses, picture yourself at that fancy restaurant. In that moment in time what was said just before you clinked those glasses? A toast. Now let’s use that and change the caption.

To the upcoming new year, Let’s hope it’s a good one. Cheers!

Now the caption reads as if this moment depicted in the Instagram is shared between the poster and the viewer. It pulls you into the scene, making it a little easier for you to imagine the breathtaking view and the refreshing taste of the champagne.

Example Instagram 2


The original Caption of this photo was:

A private viewing of the city of stars. Where do you dream to go in Los Angeles?

Again, we get a plain description of what is happening in the photo, a view of Los Angeles. Pictures of grand landscapes rarely traverse the awe-inspiring aspects of seeing it with our own eyes. Views like this are also always much better after a long journey, the view from the top of a mountain you just hiked up is always better than the one taken from the 50th floor of your office building. To try and capture a little essence of what it must be like to stand on top of that hill, we need to employ a sense of journey into the narrative.

From the city to the Hollywood sign, a fascinating drive through Los Angeles ends with this stunning view. Where do you dream to go in Los Angeles?

This imagery of a drive through Los Angeles helps you to imagine how far the photographer must have come. As we can see a tiny city way in the distance of the photo , you can imagine the sights along the drive as it goes through the city, suburbia, to the hills filled with mansions and finally the peak. All along the way making you picture yourself being in the city of Los Angeles, something that the poster, in this case an airline, would want very much.

Next time you are stuck writing a caption, take a step back and look at your Instagram Photo. What make’s it unique? What is the narrative behind the photo? What is the ideal feeling you want to convey to the reader? These simple questions hold the key to great captions that will elevate your Instagram posts. And always remember, never describe your photo in the caption!

Thanks to @pacificplacehk and @cathaypacific for the example posts. Even giants can learn to improve their writing. Message us here.