Post Caption Character CountsApr 27, 2022
Hope your week has gone well so far!
Character Counts in Instagram
Today we're talking about character counts used in Instagram.
Instagram is very particular about how many characters you're allowed to use in your username, bio and in your post captions.
Your username or IG handle is limited to 30 characters, your bio is limited to 150 and post captions are limited to 2,200, including your hashtags.
Your bio will truncate at about 80 characters then showing …more and post captions will do the same at 125 characters.
You can't extend the number of characters you use in your bio but you can be clever with them. Don't repeat words, if your name is in your IG handle, don't repeat it in your bio and vice versa with your business name. Don't use unnecessary punctuation and use abbreviations where possible but only if they make sense in your bio. You don't want to confuse people by using unknown or uncommon abbreviations as you don't have the luxury of explaining them in your bio. For example, I'm teaching people to use IG as an abbreviation for Instagram (Insta Gram) but I've had to use the word Insta in my bio as everyone who looks at it won't know yet, that IG refers to Instagram!
With captions, there are a few ways of getting around the allotted 2,200 characters.
The first method is by putting your hashtags into the first comment on your post—trick with that is that you have to be quick, so that no-one else posts a first comment before you get to post the hashtags. If you have many followers, that may be a bit tricky, as they may have 'eyes on you' at the moment you make a post, so may beat you to the draw. Instagram is also not overly fond of that method of posting, so it may pay to avoid it.
The second way may be to write the first part of your caption using the allowed 2,200 characters and then write the rest of your caption in the first comment. You need to make your readers aware of this fact though, otherwise they might miss the rest of your post and think you've left it incomplete. You also run the risk of someone beating you with a first comment.
Another method I've heard of is by writing a blog post and using the caption to point your followers to the blog post for the whole story. The difficulty here is that you can't use a clickable link in a post unless you pay for it, so you can put the link into the caption but the readers would have to copy it out and paste it into a browser, to get to your blog post. If they're on a computer that's easy enough to do but on a mobile device, that can very easily slide into the 'too hard' basket. One way of getting around this, is by sending the post to your stories and putting a link to the blog into the story, as you can now add clickable links through a sticker. You can create a button image that you can upload to your phone, put the link into your story and then copy and paste the button over the link, so it looks professional. (Sounds like a tip for another day on how exactly to do this if you don't already know! 😊)
You can also limit your caption characters by limiting the number of hashtags you use. Many people say more is better but recently Instagram was trialing only using 3-5 hashtags. It's up to you how many you use but you can't use more than 30 in a post. Also, if you use them repeatedly, you may get 'hashtag ghosted' because you are using them too repetitively or they do not relate to the content that you are writing about. In this instance, your posts won't be shown when people search those hashtags you have used. I generally use between 10 and 15, so if your caption is shorter you can use more and vice versa. It's good to do some research to see which work well and then alternating them for good coverage.
Regarding hashtags, I've also discovered that you don't have to separate your hashtags with a space because they are found even if they're not separated by spaces or commas. Depending on how many hashtags you're using it may give you those 10 or 15 characters you so desperately need to complete your caption!
As far as actually counting the characters is concerned there are also a few things to watch out for. I make a habit of using MS Word to do a character count once I've written my posts and added the hashtags and there are other methods of doing this too by either using Excel, Google Docs or Sheets or an online character counter. The Mac versions i.e. Numbers and Pages also have the same functionality.
I have found though that they all give slightly different counts! A post I wrote recently counted 1,924 characters in MS Word, 1,919 in the online counter (https://wordcounter.net/character-count) and 1,942 in Excel! I pasted the caption into Instagram and got a count of 1,942! I tried this with another couple of posts and it seems that the Excel character count is most accurate—might have to change what I use for counting characters! The character counts in Numbers and Pages also vary slightly.
I know this has to do with hidden 'space' characters that appear in blank paragraphs as well as the fact that emojis count for more than one character so it's almost impossible to get this thing exactly right!
SO, the way to make sure you don't get caught short in IG is to make sure you don't have a character count that goes all the way to 2,200! I find that depending on the number of emojis and paragraphs you are using you can lose up to 30 characters when you paste into Instagram. It also doesn't allow you to go and delete characters once you've pasted your content, it simply chops them off the end!
Well, happy counting and I hope this helps you eliminate the frustration of losing the end of your caption when you paste it into your IG post!
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