Janet A Johnson's Business and Lifestyle Blog

How to Use Captions: Your Brand Voice On Social Media

Posted: April 15, 2021

If you use Instagram you should be familiar with using captions. So, what exactly is a caption?  Simply put, a caption is merely the words you place under a picture in an effort to provide context or describe the picture. In the world of social media, know how to use captions is key to telling your stories and engaging your audience. Considering this, it is not much of a surprise when the first page results of a google search of  ‘caption’ are Instagram related. Depending on the context in which the term ‘caption’ is used, it is synonymous with heading or title. The combination of a caption and a photograph increases or decreases a readers interest in what you are talking about. A great photograph with a terrible caption can make the reader lose interest in your article or post instantly.

How to use captions for social media posts

Captions are multifunctional in some cases, especially on social media platforms. They describe the picture as well as act as a  heading or are the entire post. In cases where the caption is the entire post or summary as the case may be, it is important to hook the readers with the first few words to ensure the reader reads the post to the end. For cases where the caption is also the heading, it is important to craft a great caption that would capture your readers’ at first glance and make them want to read the entire post.

Having a great caption doesn’t only capture the readers’ attention, it also gives a voice to the picture and allows you to reach out to the readers in more ways than you can with only a picture. A caption is an excellent way to showcase your brand’s voice and will attract more people to your business if done right.

What does ‘Brand Voice’ mean?

Brand voice refers to the personality and emotion a business uses to communicate. A business’s brand voice is usually integrated into every means used to reach out to customers, from images to captions, posts, videos, press conferences, tweets, replies down to the very words used. What is your brand voice? How do you want your customer to perceive you? What feelings or emotions can be associated with your brand?

For Coca Cola, their brand voice can be defined by these three words. Experience, joy, friendliness.  Nike is associated with inspiration and motivation. From their motto ‘just do it’ to their ads and the campaigns they engage in, the brand voice of Nike is the same. In showcasing your brand’s voice consistency is key and Disney brand voice consistency can be seen in all Disney products, movies, pages, and theme parks. With Disney, everybody knows and expects to be transported to a different world which is what Disney is about. Are you consistent with your brand voice across your posts, videos, ads, and captions or you are always changing your brand voice? If your brand was a person what word would people use to describe it’s personality?

Showcasing your brand’s voice through captions

Having clarified what a brand voice means and identified your brand voice let’s see how it can be applied to captions. Remember that a caption describes what the picture is about therefore you must ensure that the caption you are crafting is related to the picture you want to post alongside it. Before creating a caption, ask yourself the kind of message you want to pass across. Once you have settled on the kind of message you want to pass across, proceed to draft  the caption. Now you know what you know your brand values are and the way you expect your brand to come across to people does your caption reflect that in any way? Perhaps you have identified your brand voice as funny and informative, if someone that isn’t you read that caption would they think the caption is funny or informative? If yes proceed to post the caption if no reword your caption in such a way that it reflects your brand voice. 

In addition to ensuring your caption reflects your brand voice, an important to keep in mind is the platform on which your caption will be posted. For example newspapers, blogs and magazines tend to carry a more formal and serious tone while social media platforms tend to carry an informal conversational tone. Posting a caption with emojis on a social media platform would be welcome depending on the content while doing the same on an online newspaper or magazine can cause your readers to regard your business as unserious.

Final Thoughts

Know how to use captions for social media is critical to capturing and engaging your audience. Writing great captions that reflect your brand’s voice takes time, consistency and constant practice the more you write captions that reflect your brand’s voice the better you get at it.

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Janet A Johnson

Hi, I am Janet A Johnson a Management Consultant and Life Coach with over 15 years strategic program/project management and business management experience. I am the owner of StrategyNook LLC, a consultancy agency specializing in strategic project management, business management, web development, branding, internet/social media marketing, life coaching and stress management. Schedule your free consultation today and let's talk strategy and customized solutions.

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