Instagram is notorious for making it difficult to create clean-looking captions with line breaks and paragraphs (and don’t get me started on our inability to hyperlink URLs in Instagram posts – but that’s an issue for another day).
So how are people getting around this limitation to create line breaks and separate paragraphs in their posts? And how are they using line breaks to push their hashtags further down so you don’t have to see them right after the caption?
As a social media manager for wineries and restaurants, I’ve tested a lot of workaround methods. Below are the ones I think work best!
Adding line breaks to Instagram posts
For some reason, when you press the enter button to create a line break in a caption from within the Instagram app – even though it shows up while you’re typing, the line break disappears when the post is published. However, if you draft your caption OUTSIDE of the Instagram app, such as from within the Notes app on an iPhone, and use the enter button there, and then paste your caption into Instagram, THEN when you publish, the line break will still be there!
Unfortunately, for this to work, there needs to be at least one character in any of your blank line breaks. It can be a space, an emoji, period, or other character, but something has to be there, otherwise the line break will still disappear when you publish your post (are you infuriated by the complexity, yet?!). In addition to the Notes app (which has always worked well for me), there are apps specifically dedicated to helping you with this, such as “Make Use Of” and “Captions for Instagram.”
I like to keep a template with line breaks saved in my Notes app for copying and pasting into Instagram whenever I need a caption to look more clean.
February 2020 update: There are quick ways to create captions with clean line breaks without having to include a period or other character in them. Websites like IG Linebreak Caption Generator allow you to paste your caption with regular line breaks (typed with the enter/return key) and then convert that text into hidden characters that will maintain the line breaks when you share on Instagram. Save their website as a shortcut on your phone so you can easily add line breaks to captions on the go!
Separating Hashtags from Captions in Instagram
Okay, now that you know how to create paragraphs and separate lines in captions, here’s how to use those workarounds to hide your hashtags. In the Notes app (or whichever caption-drafting app you’d like to use), create several consecutive line breaks, followed by your hashtags. When it’s time to post on Instagram, draft your caption (either in the Notes app, above these line breaks, or in Instagram itself). Then paste the line breaks and hashtags you just typed out into Instagram after your caption.
Psst – unsure which hashtags will help you reach the right audience for your winery? See my blog post on How to Promote Your Winery with the Right Hashtags on Instagram!
Now, there is another way people like to separate their hashtags from their captions. While the above system with line breaks is my preferred method, many people also publish their Instagram posts with just the caption and no hashtags, and then comment immediately on their post with their hashtags. The argument for this system is that not only are you creating a clean separation of hashtags from your caption, but you’re also creating an instant comment on your post, which theoretically the Instagram algorithm will view as fast engagement on your post (even though it’s just you), therefore showing your post higher in your followers’ feeds because your post got good initial “engagement.”
The Instagram algorithm is notoriously murky, so it’s hard to say for sure if this works. But it’s also insanely smart, so my bet is, they’ve found a way to filter out engagement that comes from yourself when determining where your posts show up in your followers’ feeds. (Furthermore, since I schedule many of my winery clients’ social media posts, I like using the line break method because it still looks clean, but I can include the hashtags in the scheduled post and not have to go and comment them later.)
Have you found a new way to create line breaks or make your hashtags look cleaner? Got more questions on how to make this work for your winery or restaurant? Feel free to get in touch!
Meaghan Webster is a wine and food photographer, marketing consultant, and results-based social media manager for wineries in Washington, DC, Virginia, and New York. Learn more about her services at meaghanwebster.com or see her latest work and tips at instagram.com/meaghanwmarketing.