It can be difficult to keep track of social media platforms’ ever-evolving character limits and caption best practices—so read our roundup and use a high-quality scheduler.


Social Media Caption Best Practices by Platform

When promoting your business digitally, choosing the right words is essential—not only in achieving a cohesive brand, but in effectively reaching a wide audience. To ensure that your content is entering the feeds of as many potential customers as possible, it’s important to consider the social media algorithms and character limits that impact viewer engagement. 

This doesn’t mean fixating on any one number, but instead, focusing on the format that will optimize a caption’s intended impact on each respective platform. 

To help guide you in these formatting decisions, we’ll cover the platform-specific limitations and establish baselines for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Facebook Posts

Of the three, Facebook has the most generous character limit, allowing up to 63,206 characters in a single post—that is, for standard posts to a business page or profile. (We should clarify: we don’t recommend this.) For ads, the Facebook character limits fall significantly; paid posts that exceed the following character limits may be truncated by Facebook:

  • Headlines: 40 characters (18 for carousels and 27 for videos)
  • Body text: 125 characters
  • Description: 27 characters

Keep Ads Short and Sweet

Sticking to these character limits is especially important for paid posts, because excess content will automatically be cut short by an ellipsis which will force viewers to click “see more” to read on. 

Though it may seem insignificant, this extra click is a deterrent, and it will substantially decrease the number of viewers who ever reach the ad’s offering or call to action. And to lead those viewers into your sales funnel, they need to see you call to action. So keep those captions short, captivating, and accessible. 

Posts under 100 Characters Drive Engagement

Most Facebook professionals and business users find that posts between 40 and 80 characters, and especially below 100 characters, achieve the highest levels of engagement. 

Of course, as with most social media guidelines, this is just a general standard—a starting point. Especially when it comes to Facebook, which remains centered in personal networking, what matters most in eliciting user engagement on this platform is formulating a message that connects authentically with your set of viewers and facilitates friend-to-friend engagement.

This 2019 study by BuzzSumo—still widely referenced as one of the most recent and trusted studies of its magnitude—shows that word choice and thematic relevance impacted engagement scores more than other formatting specs.

Instagram Posts

If you’ve never attempted longform on Instagram, its 2,200-character count may come as a surprise, given its notoriety as a visual-based platform. But this isn’t just a number; short and sweet isn’t the only way.

Instagram’s distinctive photo-sharing capabilities have been leveraged by users to share complete, visually impactful stories; and what successful users have discovered is that their stories were best received when photos were supported by well-crafted captions—even the 2,000-character ones.

Whatever You Do, Include a Caption

The most definitive finding from this 2022 caption-length analysis was a reduced engagement rate associated with posts containing no caption at all. The report shows a substantial drop in engagement from 6% to 4%.

Another notable finding was a minor engagement boost on posts with captions of either 1–20 characters or of 2,000+ characters. Our takeaway: if you don’t have a story to tell, don’t force it; but if you do, tell it well, and tell it completely.

Micro-Blogging: The Latest Trend on Instagram

Instagram’s story-centric platform lends itself well to a form of microblogging that has quickly gained traction across the platform. As more and more consumers find themselves prioritizing value-alignment and seeking to meaningfully connect with the businesses they support, a culture of human-to-human connection and story-telling is expanding. 

Readers want to know who you are, what you do, and why you do it. And microblogging is how many business owners have found success sharing it. This has proven especially effective for businesses that maintain a particularly personal brand or face-to-face engagement with their audience—we’re looking at you therapists, realtors, and designers.

Keep Instagram Ads under 125 Characters

Much like Facebook posts, Instagram captions that go beyond 125 characters will be cut off, forcing viewers to click the “more” button to see the remaining text. So save the microblogs for posts, and again, keep those ads simple!

You can expect the following Instagram character limits on Ads:

  • Headline: 40 characters.
  • Body Text: 125 characters.
  • Link Description: 30 characters.

Twitter Posts 

Twitter was founded on the concept of brevity, initially enforcing 140 characters per Tweet, but in 2017, the platform jumped to 280 characters per post. 

Despite the increase in character capacity though, Twitter’s focus on short, powerful messages has not changed. Users come to Twitter with this intention—quick, thought-provoking or easily-gratifying reads. This is the experience you should try to provide users with every Tweet.

Several records have shown that posts whose captions fall in the short–medium character range attract the highest levels of engagements. 

Be Concise, but Don’t Force It

In the end, there’s not a lot of wiggle room for Tweet length at all; they’re all short. What’s important is that your Tweets are short because they were intentionally crafted that way, not because they were meaninglessly cut down.

Craft your message to be as short as it can be while sustaining interest. If that runs closer to 280 characters, don’t stress. That’s why Twitter chose to implement this buffer—so that quality content wouldn’t suffer in pursuit of a character count.

Why You Should Use a Social Media Manager to Prepare Your Posts

Keeping track of word counts and formatting with intention can be cumbersome when posting to multiple profiles. What if your Instagram or Facebook post is too long for Twitter? What if you want to put your Instagram hashtags in the first comment rather than the body of the post?

When maintaining a consistent social media calendar, high-quality platform management tools will save you enormously. Any management software worth its salt will enforce character limits and help you draft content across multiple platforms simultaneously.

We have been impressed again and again by Sked Social’s tools for social media management. Not only does Sked offer linked accounts to publish across multiple platforms, but it allows our entire team to work together with our clients to curate top-tier content for their businesses.