Instagram is an awe-inspiring marketing platform — it boasts half a billion users a day, after all. But you already knew that. Chances are good that you’ve got an Instagram account up and running to connect with your current clients and attract new ones.

While it’s easy to focus on the visuals (as you should!), you can’t afford to sleep on your Instagram captions. They’re a necessary part of your Instagram marketing efforts, and they should be working hard for you.

Instagram has a unique style that you need to understand in order to use it to your advantage. Learn how to navigate the space with a few Instagram caption tricks, and you’ll be able to ramp up your branding, showcase your brand’s personality, and win even more attention from your Instagram followers.

Proven Instagram Caption Tricks

While photos rule on Instagram, they lack context, clarity, and flavor unless they’re accompanied by a great caption. Otherwise, how would readers know whether your latest shot is meant to showcase a great haircut or to promote a new service?

Instagram captions allow for 2,200 characters, two dozen hashtags, and more emojis than you’ll ever need. But that doesn’t mean you should use up all that space — only the first three lines of a caption are always visible. And when only 30% of posts receive views, a thoughtful and well-structured caption might make quick scrollers pause.

If you want to get more engagement from people who see your business captions for Instagram, try these helpful captioning techniques:

1. Ask followers to tag friends.

When promoting your small business on Instagram, never assume readers will see your post and send it to their friends without a nudge in the right direction. You’ll have to outright suggest it. Try using a caption that asks followers to tag a friend in a comment to enter a contest you’re running for a free appointment, for example.

2. Lean into the power of the quote.

How many times have you double-tapped on an inspirational quote in your own feed? You know firsthand that words can inspire emotions just as brilliantly as photos. When you post an eye-catching photo of your work, use positive quotes in your captions that encourage commenting and likes or pick noteworthy sayings that back your company’s core beliefs. Of course, make certain to properly attribute your quote within your caption, and aim to use quotes that relate to the photo.

3. Give your community involvement some press.

Do you have a presence in your community through service work, partnerships, or other action? Are you passionate about a certain cause? Show it off on Instagram. Post photos accompanied by captions detailing your work and tagging the groups you work with. Use the space Instagram gives you to add a heartwarming story to pictures of work that means a lot to you.

4. Host question-and-answer sessions.

Let’s say you keep getting asked the same customer questions. Why not turn the questions into images and answer them in the captions for your business Instagram? If it works well, make it routine and ask your followers to DM you some questions to answer in upcoming posts. This could be where that excess character count comes in handy, especially if the questions you get can’t be answered in a sentence.

5. Prompt readers for their comments.

User-generated content, also known as UGC, has become a hot commodity on social media because it possesses an impossible-to-imitate air of authenticity. Is it any wonder that UGC is almost seven times more engaging than other types of content? Ask readers to comment about their own experiences with the kind of work you’re showcasing in an image.

6. Challenge followers to be creative.

In addition to comments, photos are another type of UGC. Ask followers to post their own images and use a specific hashtag, and then you can repost that image on your own feed. You can even put free or discounted services behind this challenge as a contest: the best picture of a bad hair day gets a free cut. Then, when someone wins the contest, you can use your caption to say why the winner was the best fit for your prompt.

7. Pique viewers’ interest by celebrating sales, special occasions, and more.

Running a booking discount? Post about it on your Insta. Do you sell products? Try featuring new, updated, or sale-priced items occasionally to spark interest among your followers. Use your caption as the advertisement: Describe your new offer or discount and ask your followers to click on a link that takes them directly to your offer page. Your caption should end up looking something like this: “Discount alert! Get $10 off your next styling service if you book in the next two days. Link in bio!”

8. Offer shoutouts to your best followers.

As you track your Instagram engagement rates, make note of the followers who always seem to have your back. Then, repost their pertinent content, using the caption to give credit and explain why you appreciate them. If one of your clients posted a photo of her new hairstyle after an appointment with you, for example, you could repost her photo with a comment like, “Swooning over [follower’s handle]’s new cut from [your brand name]! We love making you feel ready to take on the world — whatever comes your way.”

9. Pull back the curtain.

How much do your customers know about your day-to-day operations? Use one of our favorite Instagram caption tricks: Show your true colors to the world with a behind-the-scenes caption revealing your brand’s untold story. What better way can you illustrate the real-world aspect of what you do than by giving a sneak peek?

10. Have some good-natured fun.

While you’re into storytelling mode with your Instagram captions for business, remember to bring along your sense of humor. People like to laugh or be surprised by clever comedy. This is where the emojis come in: Use them to make your posts lighthearted and trendy.

Now has never been a better time to get comfortable designing business captions for Instagram. Track your results as you go to figure out what works: Look for higher numbers of comments on posts with specific captions or more followers after you post. Work those elements into your posting schedule, and you’ll be one step closer to reaping the benefits of Instagram marketing for business.