It's been several months since I was interviewed about instagram and while many of those tips still hold up today, I've added a few more. Things change quickly!
Keep it Short
While you should never post a photo on Instagram without a caption, keep your captions as short as you can. The real star of instagram is the photo. The bottom line is: Nobody reads long captions. While there’s not definitive data that short posts work best, the top brands on Instagram keep their captions short and simple.
Short, universal hashtags perform better.
Hashtags serve two purposes: 1) to make posts searchable and more likely to be found by users that don’t already follow you, or 2) to add comedic impact or context. While I’m a fan of using long, complicated hashtags to add sarcastic comedic value to my personal posts, these types of hashtags don’t work well for business and too many of them will make your posts too long.
Limit your hashtags.
Some Instagram users will end a caption with an endless string of hashtags to get more followers. While some evidence shows that the more hashtags you use, the more engagement you will get, too many hashtags will damage your user experience. (It looks annoying, pathetic and spammy.) And while you may gain a few followers, you’ll also likely lose some.
The cartoon-like characters available on our smartphones can (at times) add a little bit to a caption and the colors will likely grab users’ attention.. They can be used at the end of a sentence like punctuation or in the middle to bring attention to something important. But if you use too many (IMHO more than 3) and people will not only be distracted by the length and cluttered nature of your post, they may think you’ve been hijacked by a 10 year old girl. Also keep in mind that. not all emojis can be seen by every user. Pick an emoji that isn't universal and people will see a blank white box.
(Full disclosure: I personally find emojis annoying and juvenile. Maybe that makes me biased against them but keep in mind that for everyone who thinks they are cute, there's someone out there that doesn't like them.)
Use a location.
A recent study by AdWeek found that Posts with a location get 79 percent more engagement.
1- Limit your post length.
2- Use 3-5 short hashtags. (see #1)
3- Limit Emojis.
4- Use a location.