Instagram captions, 9 cliches you shouldn't be afraid of @notaboutthekids

Instagram captions: 9 cliches you shouldn’t be afraid of

My most read posts on Pinterest (come and say hi, let’s follow each other there) are about writing for Instagram. It’s funny (peculiar funny) that I find writing difficult to write about. Huh? I think many of my blog posts are about things that I have recently learned. The anatomy of composing or taking a photo for example, or mastering a social media platform. But writing has long been a comfort zone activity for me. A bit like talking! So I’m going to try again to break it down and bring writing within your comfort zone. So let’s look at some Insta caption cliches and how to embrace them. 

The does what it says on the tin

Underused and underappreciated. If you are lost for ideas, just say what’s in your image. It can be more interesting than you think. If I was to do that for this photo I’d write; 

These are daffodils in the park at the end of my road. I took the long way home from the school run to walk through it and felt lucky to have an extra 5 minutes in the fresh air. I learned this morning that this camera angle is called a worm’s eye view. I love that. What’s the best hashtag you’ve found recently? #wormseyeview

The inspirational quote

Perhaps best used with caution, but we can definitely use it. I blurry love a good quote. Good for when: you have nothing left to give.

Example. I was struggling to come up with the words to describe a recent workshop I’d held with Elevate (my bit on the side). I was exhausted and emotional and aware that it may only be interesting to the people who’d attended. So I pulled out a quote I’d used in my presentation that had resonated with people in the room that day. 

“Let things take as long as they need. Trust the simmer” thank you @thetiffanyhan #weekendwisdom

Here’s another post about writing, more about nuts and bolts and tone of voice.

The call to action

These posts may not do as well as their chattier, funnier friends, but they serve us well in the long run. Have you got an email list? Tell people to sign up. New blog post? Trail it (trail it more than once!). Running an event? Show us where to click for tickets. 

This is one that I’ve only recently come to appreciate is actually really important. Lots of what you will read about Instagram and social media generally will tell you that it is not a salesy place. And that’s true. Think of the process more as a meaningful flirtation. However, what is the point in it all if you don’t ever talk about what you DO?

The recommendation

Not every caption has to be imbued with deep vulnerability or earth-shatteringly meaningfulness. Far from it. If you are lost for words, just talk about something good. I recently recommended this book and the post got great engagement. The image was saved by people dozens of times, my most bookmarked post ever.


I simply recommend to you How to Own the Room, women and the art of brilliant speaking by Viv Groskop #bookstagram #howtoowntheroom #bookrecommendation

The tell me something new

People will always be happy to learn MORE about you (they will, they are!), so if you are low on ideas share something unusual. Where you went on your gap year, the food you really cannot stand, a strange job you once had, why you named your cat Aladdin? People particularly loved it when I shared the fact that we have a dedicated chocolate drawer in our fridge on Stories. Trivia is a total winner.

The tell me something old

You really really can repeat yourself on social media. If there is a topic that has gone down well with your followers in the past OR one that is super close to your heart recycle it. Re-jig it. Re-hash it. Typically, we miss 70% of the posts on our Instagram feed every day*, so the chances are your followers will never have seen your previous posts on the matter. And if they have, are probably happy to chat about it again.

Even this blog post is a re-jig because I know that writing is a challenge that resonates with lots of us. 

*I pulled that fact out of a great post explaining the Instagram algorithm by Buffer, click here for a read.

The weather

I’m British! Seriously though, anything seasonal works brilliantly on social, whether it is in pictures or words. Because really what you are talking about is what’s now So anything current, that’s big in your life right now, or out in the world, or trending on social media. Have your say.

Blossom is shameless Instagram click bait. All you really need to say is, isn’t it beautiful?

The no caption just hashtags

I dare you (I’ve never dared).

And the question

Not sure about how your followers feel about certain topics, whether it’s something that will resonate or is fall flat? Ask them! Are you interested? Would you choose X or Y?  People always appreciate being invited into the conversation, don’t you agree?

And if you are still stuck for ideas, click for 14 days of Instagram caption prompts.

Also, while you are here, I’ve updated my About Me page (just the hardest things to write aren’t they?), let me know what you think of it.