In the MENA region, the number of people using the internet is much higher than developed markets and growing quickly. So it’s no surprise that social media is one of the most popular marketing mediums used in the region.

Social Media Stats in the region

The MENA consumer, and more importantly the GCC consumer, are among the most connected and digitally savvy in the world. In particular, UAE and KSA have some of the highest levels of Internet, smartphones and social media penetration globally, while in Egypt, users spent the most amount of time online.

Facebook continues to be the most popular social media platform, across all regions but Instagram is catching up quickly. In the Middle East alone, there are almost 509K of active Instagram users who engage with e-commerce companies’ account with a 24.35% engagement rate.

As such, Instagram has slowly positioned itself to be the number one marketing tool for businesses of all sizes.

In the Middle East alone, there are almost 509K of active consumers who engage with E-commerce companies’ social media accounts with a total of 24.35% engagement rate. Moreover, from all the different social media platforms available Instagram is the most widely used by the e-commerce industry with a rate of 77%.

Content on Social Media

On Instagram, captions are the most underrated part since it’s such a visual platform.

But this is a big mistake!

A picture with no context on why it matters is nothing beyond “pretty” to your customers. The captions help provide context to your great picture and makes it meaningful to them!

When marketing on Instagram and other social media platforms, content and communication is now more important than ever. A consistent voice will help you distinguish your brand from the others and strengthen your brand image.

Great aesthetics and high quality pictures will give you a stronger chance to attract a huge number of followers, but it’s the conversations you have with them that’ll make your followers stick around.

Captions are the difference between your audience leaving a comment or scrolling past your photo.

This is why it’s important to take that extra 5 minutes to write an engaging caption for every post you put up.

Crafting the best Instagram caption takes skill. You need to invest time and thought to help write the message that you’re trying to convey, just like how you take the time to create visually appealing posts.

We know how difficult it can be to write up great caption though so we dissected Casper’s Instagram marketing to come up with 3 tips to help you write Instagram captions that your followers will love.

1. User Focused

The most important thing to consider is to ensure that you know who your users are. As time consuming as it is to create user personas, taking the time to understand the different types of users you have will only stand to benefit you.

But what are user personas?

The authors of Universal Principles of Design define personas as the following:

“Personas involve the creation of profiles for a small number of archetypal users, each profile representing a composite of a subpopulation of users. […] Each persona is typically represented with a photograph, name, description, and details about specific interests and relevant behaviors.”

But user personas aren’t just limited to design of the product, any communication with the user needs to consider their personas.

This is because understanding your users’ likes, dislikes and pain points helps you better understand what content they will click on, what they would engage with or even just give a double look. This will help you write captions explaining how the image matters to your followers.

The more specific you can be about who your audience is, the more clearly your message will reach across to them.

Taken from Casper's Instagram grid

For instance, Casper is an absolute favourite when it comes to marketing and that’s because they’re killing the marketing game. If we look at these three posts by Casper taken from their Instagram grid, you can see that they cater to three very different audiences. The first post is clearly targeted at families, the second at young adults and pet owners, and the third at college students. This is further strengthened by the captions they’ve put for each photo.

When you create content, you need to ensure that they target at least one of the user personas you have created. Your visual content needs to tie in with your caption, both focused at a targeted user persona.

Asking yourself these questions will help you do so when writing any piece of content:

  • Who is this caption targeted at and what are they trying to accomplish?
  • What part of this caption work? What doesn’t work?
  • Who might this leave out or offend?
  • What don’t people need to know?
  • Will people understand the terms I have used here?

2. Keep it short!

Your followers are scrolling past hundreds of images all day. You have a very small window of opportunity to catch their attention!

So your captions need to be short and to the point, not a rambling essay. It shouldn’t be longer than a couple of sentences, unless it’s important information. Simple. Clear. Focused.

If it’s longer than a few sentences, it should probably be posted on another platform. Maybe your twitter account? Or your blog? Or Linkedin!

If at all you have to put up something and the caption is longer than a few sentences, make sure that the most relevant information is in the first line. Hook your audience’s interest, if you want them to read the rest.

Otherwise, rest assured, you’re writing that caption for nothing.

Casper keeps their Instagram captions short and to the point

We’ve always heard how our attention span is getting shorter and shorter. In a world of constant distraction, you can only catch your follower’s attention for a few minutes at best. So you need to make sure your captions cater to that. Keep your followers interested. Keep it short.

3. Master the art of readable content

When writing captions, you need to think about how readable it is. Particularly when writing in English within the MENA region, since it’s a second language for most here. Arabic being the more common first language.

UAE is the only country out of the middle east where English content does better than Arabic content. In UAE, 59% of their e-commerce content is written in English.

What does readable mean?

First of all, you need to make sure that you use words that are easy to understand. More complex words may make you sound smart, but what’s the point if your followers don’t understand your message?

If your caption is going to be a little longer, you also need to think about using white spaces to make it easy to read. No one likes a wall of text, so break it down into paragraphs of not more than one or two lines.

You can also make it more digestible by using more punctuations such as questions marks, ellipses and full stops.

Emojis are also a fun way to add a little colour to your captions, especially if it’s a longer one. Emoji’s, when used right, can add a visual appeal to your captions. It can also help keep your captions short since a picture is worth a thousand words.

Emojis > Sentences

Emoji’s are a universal language that everyone speaks!

It make you human since they allow you to convey emotions better than words, which is important for businesses. It’ll make you relatable to your customers. But also beware, there’s a fine line between casual and cheesy so don’t overdo the emojis either.

BONUS TIP FOR CONTENT: Consistency is key

As a company, you should develop your own voice and tone so that it’s consistent across all platforms. This will help set your brand apart because it shows a greater depth to your core mission and brand.

A consistent voice also shows a greater understanding of your brand throughout the company.

Let’s go back to Casper. They took something as boring as buying a mattress and made it an enjoyable experience. They did this through their product, but their product was only strengthened through their marketing and the experience they built around the product.

They are consistently funny, pun-ny and light, so much so that it is easy to tell a Casper post apart. Their text change subtly depending on their platform but their voice always remains the same.

Casper’s voice remains the same on all of their social media platforms

This does not mean that you need to have the exact same voice. All it highlights is the importance of creating a voice and personality for your brand.

Having a clear voice and consistent branding helps you engage with an audience who cares about the same things you do.

If you’re going to brand yourself as a ‘transparent’ company, ensure that this is evident in every aspect. From the information you put on the website to your social media posts. You need to be transparent every step of the way and this is conveyed through content.

To position yourself as a ‘problem solver’, don’t sell the product but instead the problems you’re solving for your customers.

Decide what core values you want associated with your brand and play to that with your content.This is what will help you build a brand that people will google.

Would you agree? What are your favourite Instagram accounts in the region? Are there any tips or tricks you use when writing Instagram captions? We'd love to know!