Instagram blog part 2 how to get the most out of your caption

Instagram blog part 2: how to get the most out of your caption

Managing social media accounts requires a well thought out strategy and a good knowledge of your marketing goals. One of the most important social media channels is Instagram, a medium perfectly fit for artists and record labels. Learning all there is to know about Instagram is not as easy as it seems; constantly changing rules by Facebook / Instagram and continuous developments on the technical side make this a challenge, to say the least.

That is why we have made this weekly recurring blog: to help artists and labels improve their Instagram marketing activities.

Last week we spoke about content marketing. This week we will cover everything you need to know to create the perfect caption.

The use of emojis in the caption can increase engagement up to 1,32%

Research by Socialinsider showed that, depending on the type of post, the use of emojis increased engagement by 1.32%. For photos, the engagement went from 2.15% to 2.72% when emojis were used. For carousels, this increased from 2.52% to 3.06% and for videos from 1.88% to as much as 3.20%.

All profiles average engagement rate per posts with emojis vs posts without emojis

Why emojis increase engagement

Emojis equal to the human face

Research shows that when people look at an emoji their brains behave in the same way as when they look at a real human face. In other words: emoticons are considered equal to the human face by your brain. This explains why posts with emojis have higher engagement than posts without emojis because people think differently about emojis than they do about a text.

Emojis correlate with happiness

A study showed that when a person uses an emoji, he/she experiences pleasure, happiness, personal interaction, usability and richness of information. Thus, emojis are both pleasant and helpful in communication. The audience interacting with your post will feel happier, which is, of course, a great way to get your message across!

Easy and fast to process

The human brain has the capacity to process images 60,000 times faster than text. Since emojis are images, they are also faster to process than text. In other words: an emoji is worth 60,000 words and therefore also a fast way to get your message across to your audience!

How many emojis should you use?

Don’t be afraid to use a lot of emojis, because the same research by Socialinsider showed that the following number of emojis per type of post works best:

  • 23 emojis for video posts
  • 24 emojis for carousel posts
  • 20 emojis for photo posts
All profiles average engagement rate by number of emojis

Use hashtags to generate more awareness and increase engagement

What is a hashtag

A hashtag is a word or phrase that begins with ‘#’ and is used on social media to identify a message about a specific subject. Hashtags are an effective way to get attention and grow your account. Using only one good hashtag can increase engagement by up to 12.6%! So it’s definitely worth developing a good hashtag strategy if you want to grow your account.

Types of hashtags

There are 3 types of hashtags: Community-hashtags, Brand-hashtags and Campaign-hashtags. It is important to understand how the different types of hashtags and their audiences help to develop an effective hashtag strategy.


Community-hashtags connect like-minded users around a specific subject. The use of these hashtags is a good way to improve your searchability, connect with others, gain more followers and grow your own community. There are 9 different types of Community-hashtags:

  • Hashtags indicating a niche or branch, such as #progressivetrancedj or #technoproducer
  • Hashtags with acronyms, such as #AMA (Ask Me Anything) or #FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)
  • Hashtags that use a location, such as #madeinamsterdam or #chicagohouse
  • Hashtags that indicate a product or service, such as #album or #vinyl
  • Hashtags for Instagram-communities in your branch, such as #producersofinstagram or #composersofinstagram
  • Hashtags for certain events or seasons, such as #ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event) or #miamimusicweek
  • Daily hashtags, such as #throwbackthursday or #newmusicfriday
  • Hashtags with emojis, such as #🎶 or #📀
  • Hashtags with phrases relevant to what you do, such as #staypositive or #trysomethingnew

It’s recommended to use different hashtags for your posts and stories, so you can reach different communities. The best way to find community-oriented hashtags is to see which hashtags your audience or favourite accounts use.

If you want to create your own community hashtag, keep in mind that the smaller the scope of the hashtag, the more users will be involved. So don’t be afraid to find a niche interest or topic you want to build a community around.

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A hashtag with a brand name is unique for a certain company or brand. It can be as simple as a company/brand name, slogan, or the name of one of your products or campaigns. It can also be a hashtag that has nothing to do with your brand name, but with brand identity.

While Community-hashtags are meant to increase the reach of your message, Brand-hashtags are designed to connect themes for you and your audience. They can be used to promote a campaign or to collect User-generated content.

The key to being discovered by new audiences on Instagram is to encourage people to use your Brand-hashtag in their posts and stories. Once the Brand-hashtag is created, make sure to use it in your bio, posts and stories. This way your followers can tap on the hashtag and view other posts about your brand.

Tip: follow your own hashtag to keep track of what new content is being shared. React and like these posts also to interact with fans!


Although hashtags for brands and communities are meant to last longer, Campaign-hashtags are mostly for short term and usually run for a few days, a season or a year.

The reason why Campaign-hashtags are short term is that they’re usually connected to specific campaigns, like product launches, special events or partnerships.

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How many hashtags should you use?

Many blogs and websites have their own claims and theories about how many hashtags you should use. However, none of them mentions what these numbers are based on. So how many should you really use?

Socialinsider conducted a survey in which the looked at 649,895 posts from over 6,700 accounts of varying sizes to see what the data tells them about using hashtags to improve Instagram performance. This showed that depending on the number of followers of your account, hashtags should be used differently:

  • Accounts with less than 5k followers: 6 hidden hashtags1 in the caption resulted in higher engagement, reach and more impressions.
  • Accounts with 5k – 10k followers: 5 hashtags shown in the first response increased engagement (despite the range and display rates)
  • Accounts with 10k – 50k followers: 2 hidden hashtags in the caption increased engagement, reach and more screenings
  • Accounts with 50k – 100k followers: 8 hidden hashtags in the caption increased engagement, reach and more impressions
  • Accounts with more than 100k followers: 6 hashtags shown in the first response increased engagement, reach and more impressions

1: Hidden hashtags means that the hashtags are only visible when ‘more’ is pressed. You can hide your hashtags by using the dot (.) + enter trick.

How to find the best hashtags

It’s advisable to conduct good hashtag research to determine which hashtags are most effective. Search for keywords that are relevant per branch, location, event or brand. Also, include other social media channels! By searching (relevant) hashtags that attract people through multiple channels, you are more likely to discover keywords that are highly responsive.

Use Google

Trending topics usually translate into good hashtags. It’s easy to do a simple check and get ideas from Google’s results and suggestions.

Check hashtags in the Instagram app

When you search for hashtags in the Instagram app you will immediately see the total number of messages using that hashtag and the messages themselves. Consider whether that hashtag is too popular or unpopular for your purpose. Do the previous posts match the type of content you want to post? Will it be shown to the right audience?

Look for other posts and other social media channels

Other posts on other social media channels can help you get inspired. You can find inspiration and stay up to date on the latest popular or viral topics by regularly scrolling through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Follow influencers for inspiration

Find influencers who are in the same niche as you and see which hashtags they use. When you click on those hashtags, write down what those discovery pages look like. Are there a lot of posts, so a lot of competition? Or aren’t there that many posts, but do they look a lot like your posts? Try to choose a hashtag that best fits your goal but with as little competition as possible.

Discover page dj on Instagram
As you can see the hashtag #dj is being used a lot and there is no actual ‘DJ’ photo in Top posts. In this example, this hashtag is less relevant if you want to post a photo of yourself playing at a gig.

How to get an advantage in the Instagram algorithm

Because Instagram is such an engaging platform caption is almost as important as your photo or video itself. A caption should add value, meaningfully contribute to your story and draw fans a little deeper into your world. The main purpose of your caption is to encourage fans to leave a comment on your post; this will ensure that you are prioritized in the Instagram algorithm. So a good caption tells a story, starts a conversation, leads to discussion or asks a question.

Tell your fans a story or an experience related to your music. Ask their opinion about something. Get them to vote on something (like the setlist for an upcoming performance). You can even use captions to find out more about your fan base. Ask them questions about their interests and which other artists they like and save this information for future promotion ideas.

Tag the location or event in your photo/video

Just before you post a photo or video Instagram allows you to add a location. Adding your location not only gives more context to post but also increases visibility. Using a location tag also increases your reach in that specific region and can even lead to more gigs and press opportunities.

Tag other Instagram users in your photo/video

As with location tags, Instagram allows you to tag other Instagram accounts before posting a photo or video. This can be a studio, other artists, labels, designers, etc. For example, are you going to post a photo of a performance? Then tag the venue, organization, label and any other artists. Your photo will appear in their tagged feeds. This is good for everyone, because everyone gets more online attention and it can even lead to extra bookings and more followers.

Instagram post by Markus Schulz

In the next blog, we will cover everything you need to know to create the perfect Instagram bio. Stay tuned!

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