Captions harassment, Instagram narcissism and Copywriting myths

You know that good old saying the truth will set you free? Well I think today the truth might make you seriously reconsider your instagram strategy. Specifically, the truth surrounding a particular copywriting myth. 

Now, I’m not calling you predictable or anything, but if I were a betting woman I’d bet that you’ve probably been told more times than you can count that you need a clear call to action in all your Instagram captions. 

You’ve probably learnt a recipe for creating the perfect caption and you follow that recipe religiously every time you post. 

But let’s break that down for a second.

In its purest form, copywriting is words that sell. But do all the words you write need to constantly serve the purpose of selling?

Cool mums know best!

The reality of the world is that you cannot bombard people with your offer and demand that they should want it. As John Green said, “the world is not a wish granting factory”. We cannot force our offer down people’s unwilling throats and wonder why they choke on it. 

Now I know this may be a bit controversial and maybe other marketers will disagree with me, but let me just paint a picture for you (with words not paint. I cannot paint).

If you met a real life person and had a real life conversation and in this real life scenario this person was blatantly trying to sell their services to you at the end of every 30 second interaction you had with them, would you think:

A) Gee! This person can’t manage to stop talking about their offer so it must be truly majestic. I better buy from them before I miss out!!

Or 

B) This person is most likely a narcissist. Maybe even a sociopath. How do I block someone IRL?

If you had never heard of Apple before and you came across an ad for a $4000+ laptop and the caption was full of ‘salesy’ and disingenuous calls to action attempting to create the allure of scarcity, would you honestly buy that laptop? I’m gonna guess no. 

The same goes for just about anything and everything else that exists on the internet. Instagram filters, dirty politicians and cheating ex partners have made us an inherently distrustful species. People want desperately to be shown what your brand is all about rather than to be told

Consider sharing a testimonial on your instagram page simply because you’re proud of your clients kind words. I dare you not to add the cheesy and typical “If you want to achieve the same kind of results as Miranda then message me now!!”.

Share a photo of your morning coffee just because it was delicious. Post a photo of a dream holiday destination and share with your followers why you’ve always wanted to go there. Build a community who knows, and more importantly, who cares what you do, so when you do have a clear call to action in your captions, it will be well received rather than ignored. 

Now please don’t mistake this as an invitation to be vague and, well, useless on instagram. Engaging captions that highlight your value proposition with clear and upfront calls to action are incredibly important to any brand’s instagram strategy. But too much of a good thing is not a good thing. 

It’s critical you strike the perfect balance between captions that provide insight into the values, quirks and characteristics of your brand, and captions that call people to enquire about your services, take advantage of your offers or respond to your questions. 

So when you do go to write your next caption just image you’re in that real life scenario we talked about earlier. Have you already been pretty heavy on the ‘salesy’ captions this week? Is another one gonna be complete overkill? If the answer’s yes, then it’s probably time to share a relatable quote and call it a day. 

I won’t end this blog with a call to action because that would make me a hypocrite and totally defeat the purpose of this message. So I’ll just leave you with this: 

I write captions and lots of other kinds of words for businesses who either have no clue what they’re doing, don’t have the time to do it themselves or just want a professional to take care of things. If you want, I can do that for you too. If you don’t, that’s fine.

See? You can hardly call that a call to action…. right? 

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