5 min read

How to write social media captions that grab attention

Written by
Anisa HImly
Published on
February 1, 2024

What are the two main things you look at when you first view a post on social media?

Our eyes first look at the picture or video posted and then at what's written underneath. That is where creating an attention-grabbing caption comes into play.

It can be quite challenging to write appealing captions that make your audience click on that post.

Yes, a picture can speak a thousand words, but it alone is not enough to draw engagement.

Without the relevant captions, the message you want to convey to your audience won't be as effective.

Therefore, in this blog, you will find the basics of what captions are, why we need them, and how to create them to help us in writing better captions.

What are captions?

A caption is a descriptive title or description that goes along with a photo/video posted online. Its objective is to expand on the story or message behind it. 

As a part of your content creation, writing strong captions are required to drive good user engagement.

 Captions can include:

  • Text
  • Hashtags
  • Mentions
  • Emoticons 
  • Links


Highlighted example of a caption

Why including captions matter

Here are some reasons why including captions on your posts are needed:

  • A great social media caption can draw in, engage, and convert followers.
  • Search engines may crawl and index the text in your captions, making your photos/videos more visible on searches both within and out of the platform.
  • It can lessen some of the competition
  • Drives brand awareness
  • A well-crafted caption interprets the visual image much further
  • They encourage your followers to act on CTAs (Call-to-Action)
  • Easy to read through and understand
  • Boosts audience attention
  • Improves your content's accessibility
  • Helps to summarize important information

Character limits on social media platforms

When you are crafting a caption remember to write them within the character limits. Though in some social sites the character lengths are much longer, it doesn't mean you have to use it all up.  

Different social media platforms have different character lengths as mentioned below:

Social media post character limit statistics

How to write eye-catching captions for social media

With over 3.96 billion people who use social media. The competition among brands and businesses is fierce and growing by the day. 

Unless you have a huge following like a celebrity or a popular account in which posting a picture/video itself is enough to get interaction, you will need to include captions.

So, how do we write winning captions that grab attention and stop social media users in their tracks while they're scrolling?

Here's how:

Understand your audience

One of the very first things you should do, in knowing how to write social media captions is to consider the type of audience you attract and the type of audience you wish to attract before composing your caption.

By figuring out who your target audience is, write your copy with their interests in mind. Put yourself in their shoes. You may need to create a different type of caption depending on their age, gender, demography, and other factors.

Your content must strike a chord with them. You'll need to research your clients to understand what motivates them to reach out for your products or services. And what their general interests are.

Create Captions with intent

The next step in writing a caption that engages your audience is to consider why you're sharing it.

What is it that you want to make your audience understand or take away? Do you want to just simply share a thought? Or make them take an action? 

Thinking about these questions will help you find out your intents which will help you in creating relevant captions. 

Use the opening line as your hook

Our attention spans are short, so the first few lines will be the reason that will make your followers continue reading or exploring for more. 

You need to capture them right from the beginning. Towards the start of your caption, place the most important words first.

Write in a conversational tone

Personalize your captions that make the readers feel like you are speaking to them directly. No one likes to read a post in a dull tone that sounds like a robot. 

Show your emotions through words that resonate. 

Add humor to your captions

Keep it lighthearted. Even as a business, not all posts should be serious. Show your fun and witty side by adding your sense of humor to your texts and the use of emojis.

Humor can go a long way as it makes the reader more interested and radiates positivity. Make entertaining captions.

Don't be too concerned about the caption's length 

It's okay if a lengthy description is required for the photo/video to make sense. While you should attempt to be as clear and brief as possible, don't be afraid to provide more information in your caption if it will be helpful. 

If you need to make use of the full character lengths go for it! People will read them as long as you bring value to them.

Choice of vocabulary

You don't have to go all Shakespeare or sound too professional. You need to sound relatable and approachable. Use minimal jargon in your captions as using complicated and uncommon words will confuse the reader.

One method of checking if it sounds right is by saying it out loud to yourself.

Placement of hashtags & Links

Placing your #hashtags like this in #between your texts will irritate your audience and disturb the flow of their reading.

Put your hashtags at the end of your caption, where they won't get in the way but will still serve their purpose. 

Likewise, for links, place them at the end. On some posts you can opt to keep the URL to appear while mostly it will vanish, leaving behind a clean preview image. In the case of Instagram, you will want to direct them to your bio.

Placement of emojis

Like hashtags and links, use your emojis wisely. While they can be fun and entertaining the best captions will seldom use them. 

Also, if you're trying to give out a message only using emojis unless it is very direct and clear try not to use them by themselves. Your followers will be confused by emoji-only captions.

Include a CTA

One of the most effective strategies to develop your business is to persuade your followers to take the next step. And that's something you'll have to tell them.

A strong caption will end with a call to action, such as encouraging users to:

  • Comment on a post
  • Share 
  • Follow
  • Tag
  • Subscribe 
  • Download
  • Sign-up
  • Buy
  • Click on the link in your bio and so on...

Break down your texts

If your caption is a single long paragraph, your audience is unlikely to read much of it. Divide your texts into short sections with enough space between them to make them easier to read.

Try to keep them short and simple as much as you can. Readers do not want to spend more than two minutes reading a caption. 

Encourage conversations to boost engagement

People like to feel that their thoughts and opinions are heard. Create social media captions that tempt your audience to reply by encouraging conversation.

Ask open-ended questions to prompt them to answer. It can be either a direct one-line answer or as simple as a yes or no. This can also provide you with valuable audience insights.

Add Value

Maybe it's the motivation of the day you would like to share, some tips, a small piece of information, an inspiring quote, or something helpful. 

Adding value to your audience's day is a great approach to engage with them.

Tell a story

Sharing a story is a great way to connect with your audience. Tell about your successes, hardships, solutions, or any other experience that your ideal followers may relate to.

By telling a story, it will allow you to express your personality while also allowing you to make genuine connections with your audience.


It's worth it to write something that's enticing to your audience and useful to you in terms of building relationships, engagement, and conversions. 

Do you feel like you are all set to write great captions now? Or Are you already using some of the ones listed above? If not, now that you know how to write social media captions that standout, start now!   

I hope you found this helpful. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

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