Instagram is an image-first social platform. If your photos and videos aren’t up to scratch, you’ll have a hard time finding success.
The best Instagram captions add context to your posts, show off your brand’s personality, entertain your audience and/or compel people to take action.
They can be up to 2,200 characters in length and include up to 30 hashtags.
That said, most captions are nowhere near that long or stuffed with that many hashtags. No matter the length, the important thing is for your Instagram captions to grab attention and be easy to read and follow.
This blog post will help you start crafting winning Instagram captions in four ways:
- Use our free Instagram caption generator (powered by ChatGPT);
- Choose from our list of 264 pre-made Instagram caption ideas;
- Write your own caption using our list of best practices and tips;
- Learn how to use Hootsuite’s social media AI writer, OwlyWriter, to write captions on all your social posts (not just Instagram), turn blog posts into social captions, and get ideas for what to post before you even start writing.
Choose from a list of 264 creative Instagram captions below OR use this free AI-powered Instagram caption generator to quickly and easily write unique captions of your own.
Pro tip: Make your description specific for best results.
Please note: This tool may display inaccurate or offensive material that doesn’t represent Hootsuite’s views. You’re solely responsible for use of any content generated using this tool, including its compliance with applicable laws and third party rights.
Want to write your own? Watch our video with our best psychological tips and tricks for writing Instagram captions:
Short Instagram captions
Short Instagram captions are the way to go if you want followers to see your whole caption without having to tap More.
- All the things
- Bucket list
- But first, coffee
- Coming soon
- Days like these
- Don’t quit your daydream
- Dream big
- Girls just wanna have fun
- Go big or go home
- Good vibes only
- Laughing on the inside
- Launch day
- Let’s get it started
- Like a boss
- Limited edition
- Nailed it
- New look
- Normal is boring
- Opening soon
- Show your sparkle
- Small pleasures
- This just happened
- Times like this
- Weekend vibes
- Why not me?
- Wild and free
- Work hard play hard
- Yes or no?
This example from Vancouver-based pizza shop Grano proves that sometimes, two words are just enough:
One-word Instagram captions
Want to go even shorter than short? Try a one-word caption. You may want to boost these captions with an appropriate emoji.
Bonus: Download a free checklist that reveals the exact steps a fitness influencer used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive gear.
Funny Instagram captions
Funny Instagram captions might not work for every brand, but when the time is right, a little humor can be just the thing to inject some life into your Instagram feed.
- Cake is the answer, no matter the question
- Everything happens for a raisin
- If you don’t have anything nice to say, just post on Instagram
- In my defence, I was left unsupervised
- It may look like I’m not doing anything, but in my mind I’m pretty busy
- I’ve been on a diet for a week and all I lost was 14 days
- Let’s taco ‘bout it!
Spring Instagram captions
As the weather starts to improve, Instagram comes alive with flowers and sunshine. Here are some captions to add some pizazz to le printemps.
- April showers bring May flowers
- In like a lion, out like a lamb
- It’s gonna be May
- Make hay while the sun shines
- May the fourth be with you
- Raindrops on roses
- Spring cleaning
- Spring fever
- Spring forward
- Spring has sprung
- Spring is in the air
Summer Instagram captions
Perhaps the most Insta-worthy season, summer offers plenty of great photo ops—and the captions to match.
- Bluebird days
- Dog days of summer
- Feelin’ hot hot hot
- Good day sunshine
- Girls just wanna have sun
- Gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day
- Here comes the sun
- My place in the sun
- Nothing but blue skies
- Soak up the sun
- Summer daze
- Summer lovin’
- Summer nights
- Summer vibes
- Sunlight is the best disinfectant
- Sunshine is the best medicine
- The livin’ is easy
Fall Instagram captions
As you’ve already seen, seasonal Instagram captions can help you keep things fresh throughout the year. Here are some great options for fall.
- After the rain
- Autumn leaves
- Back to school
- Fall back
- Fall for fall
- Leaf peeping
- November rain
- Pumpkin spice season
- Sweater weather
- Turkey time
- Under my umbrella
Winter Instagram captions
Snow, lights, the holidays—winter is full of special moments to capture for the ‘Gram.
- A snowflake is winter’s butterfly
- Baby, it’s cold outside
- Keep calm and winter on
- Let it snow
- The weather outside is frightful
- The winter of our discontent
- Winter is coming
Look at this adorable snowy caption from Lee’s Donuts:
Beach Instagram captions
From sunny summer days to moody winter storms, beaches provide loads of material for Instagram content.
- All the best drinks come with umbrellas
- Beachy keen
- Catch a wave
- Happy place
- Life’s a beach
- Resting beach face
- Sail away
- Sun, sand, sea
- Sun’s out, guns out
- Surf’s up
- The ocean is the best hair stylist
- Toes in the sand
- Vacation mode
- Vitamin Sea
- We dream in colors borrowed from the sea
- Where it’s at
Birthday Instagram captions
Whether it’s your birthday or you’re wishing a happy birthday to a fellow Instagrammer, birthdays are a great excuse to celebrate on Instagram. Not your birthday? You could also celebrate the anniversary date of a product or business.
- All about the cake
- Another trip around the sun
- Cake day
- Candles just want to get lit
- Fire hazard
- Happy, happy birthday, baby
- Next-level wisdom achieved
- One year wiser
- (S)he’s a jolly good fellow
- Sweeter than a cupcake
- Too many candles
Instagram captions for selfies
Ah, the ubiquitous selfie. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ve got to caption ‘em.
- A selfie a day keeps the doctor away
- Beast mode
- But first, selfie
- Confidence level: No filter
- First I drink the coffee, then I do the things
- Just me
- I’m kind of a big deal
- I speak fluent sarcasm
- Life is too short to be boring
- Living my best life
- Me, myself, and I
- Messy hair don’t care
- Personality cannot be added with a filter
- Ready for my closeup
- Some days are better than others
- Swiped right
- There’s always a wild side to an innocent face
- Why hello there
- Woke up like this
- Work it
- Worth it
Instagram captions for couples
If your significant other tends to share your Instagram space, check these Instagram captions for couples.
- Always on your team
- Couple goals
- Everything I do, I do it for you
- Just us
- “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” – Aristotle
- Love you to the moon and back
- Partners in time
- P.S. I love you
- The best bad influence
- You make my heart sing
- You’re my lobster
Instagram caption quotes
Sometimes, someone else’s words perfectly capture everything you want to say.
- “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz
- “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.” – Henry David Thoreau
- “I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” —Michael Jordan
- “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” –Maya Angelou
- “If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton
- “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” – Walt Disney
- “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon
- “Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth
- “Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m possible!” – Audrey Hepburn
- “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.” – Dr. Seuss
- “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- “The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” – Tony Robbins
- “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” – Vidal Sassoon
- “The road to success is always under construction.” – Lily Tomlin
- “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
Hashtags for Instagram captions
We’ve got a whole blog post explaining how to use hashtags effectively in Instagram captions, but here are 10 popular hashtag picks to try, along with the total number of postings for that hashtag.
- #travelgram (123.3 million)
- #goodmorning (117.1 million)
- #streetphotography (78.43 million)
- #foodstagram (69.98 million)
- #naturelovers (65.67 million)
- #entrepreneur (64.40 million)
- #outfitoftheday (52.83 million)
- #sundayfunday (50.80 million)
- #momlife (50.18 million)
- #positivevibes (48.72 million)
Here’s everything you need to know to create your own original Instagram captions that work.
1. Know your audience
The better you know your audience, the easier it is to tailor your Instagram marketing strategy to their needs and expectations.
Instagram demographics tell us that the largest group of users is 25 to 34 years old, and that women very slightly outnumber me on the network. But those are the broad strokes. In order to create the best Instagram captions for your audience, you need to understand who’s following you and seeking out your content.
How old are they? Where do they live? What sorts of jobs do they have? What do they do outside of work? Our post on social media audience research can help you figure this out.
To further define your audience, it’s a good idea to create audience personas. This helps make sure you think of your audience as real people with real preferences you can speak to.
Once you know who you’re talking to, you can answer questions that will inform what you put in your captions:
- Will my audience understand this reference?
- Are emojis and netspeak appropriate to use here? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
- Do I need to add more context to this post?
- What hashtags does my audience follow?
This example from bidet producer Tushy showcases the brand’s good understanding of their following. This type of edgy humor wouldn’t necessarily sit well with other audiences:
2. Use Hootsuite
Did you know that Hootsuite comes with OwlyWriter AI, a built-in creative AI tool that saves social media pros hours of work?
You can use OwlyWriter to:
- Write a new social media caption in a specific tone, based on a prompt
- Write a post based on a link (e.g. a blog post or a product page)
- Generate post ideas based on a keyword or topic (and then write posts expanding on the idea you like best)
- Identify and repurpose your top-performing posts
- Create relevant captions for upcoming holidays
To get started with OwlyWriter, sign in to your Hootsuite account and head to the Inspiration section of the dashboard. Then, pick the type of AI magic you want to see in action.
For example, if you’re not sure what to post, click on Get inspired. Then, type in the general, high-level topic you want to address and click Get ideas.
OwlyWriter will generate a list of post ideas related to the topic:
Click on the one you like best to move to the next step — captions and hashtags.
Pick the caption you like and click Create post. The caption will open in Hootsuite Composer, where you can make edits, add media files and links, check the copy against your compliance guidelines — and schedule your post to go live later.
And that’s it! OwlyWriter never runs out of ideas, so you can repeat this process until your social media calendar is full — and sit back to watch your engagement grow.
3. Identify your brand voice
If you haven’t identified your brand voice as part of a broader social media marketing strategy, ask yourself: ‘What are the qualities and values I want my brand to embody?’ Make a list and use it to shape your voice.
You might also try jotting down a few adjectives that describe your business and use those to find the right tone. “Bold,” “curious,” and “authoritative” might make sense for a travel brand, for example.
In general, Instagram users don’t expect a formal or serious tone. Of course, it depends on the industry and audience, but you should strive to keep things light, use humor where appropriate, and show personality. For some Instagram post inspiration, check out this episode of Fridge-worthy, where our social media experts break down why this sparkling water company’s brand voice is SO GOOD:
4. Place the most important words at the beginning of the caption
If you want your entire caption to display “above the fold,” stick to 125 characters or fewer. After that, followers will have to click More to see the rest of your text.
So, don’t bury the lead. If you’re going to use a longer caption, make sure to put the most important and attention-grabbing info right upfront. Put any @mentions and hashtags at the end.
In this example, it only makes sense that information about the giveaway is front and center. After all, that’s what this post is all about, and the bold intro helps grab the audience’s attention.
5. Use hashtags wisely
Use hashtags that are relevant to your post and target audience. Don’t use so many that they crowd your copy and make it difficult to read.
If you want to use several hashtags but don’t want to clutter your caption, group your hashtags in one “paragraph” at the end of your post.
6. Ask a question
Asking a question in your Instagram caption is a sure way to spark engagement with your post. Engagement is a key component of the Instagram algorithm. It also creates a great opportunity to interact with your audience.
You won’t likely want to ask a question in every Instagram caption, but this is a good strategy to employ from time to time. Just make sure that you monitor your comments and get engaged in the discussion your question sparks.
7. Use a call to action
If you want people to take a specific action after viewing your post, don’t be afraid to say so. If you want people to visit your website, direct them to the link in your bio.
In this example from clothing brand Frank and Oak, the caption includes a call to action asking the brand’s followers to post pictures using a branded hashtag.
Interesting note: We recently ran an experiment and found Instagram posts that included the phrase “link in bio” in the caption slightly outperformed other posts.
Or if your post is shoppable, encourage users to check out the featured products.
Easily manage your Instagram presence using Hootsuite. Manage all of your social profiles in one place, schedule and publish posts, monitor performance and much more. Try it free today.