How To Write Captivating Captions For Social Media (2022)

Small but mighty, the caption is often overlooked. But wield it well and it can work wonders for your social content. Here’s how.

Captions shouldn’t be tacked-on as an afterthought. A good social media caption has the power to attract, engage, and convert fans.

So why aren’t brands putting more focus on their caption content?

In this article, we’re going to look at how to write captivating captions for social media and which brands are doing captions very well.

Digital marketing, specifically social media, skyrocketed in 2020 with consumers stuck at home and physical stores closed. And social media is on an upward trajectory with a predicted 4.41 billion users by 2025. Global lockdowns pushed businesses to focus heavily on their social media strategies and revaluate their sales and marketing models.

So, that means more opportunities for online sales or conversions, but it also means more competition from rival brands.

To capture attention and stop social media users mid-scroll, it takes a great image and a winning caption.

“On Instagram, strong imagery is what stops users in their feed. However, captions are what drive engagement,” says Stephanie Cartin, co-CEO at Socialfly, a New York City agency.

Whether you want more fans, increased revenue, or virality, captions can deliver. And it’s not only for businesses.

Charities, news reporters, and photographers use captions to drive brand awareness.

“I’ve often used captions with a beautiful image to drive home hard truths, like in the case of the recent Kashmir lockdown,” says Siddhartha Joshi, a Mumbai-based travel photographer. In his case, captions carry an informational weight that wouldn’t exist with the image alone, causing people to be more invested in his account.

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Caption Writing: Basics

Before we get into techniques, let’s reiterate the basics of caption writing.

Spelling and grammar

Though grammar rules are looser on social media, they still exist. In regards to spelling, you have no excuses! Double-check posts before they go live, even if you’re a writer.

Remember your character limits

The number of characters you have is different on each platform:

  • Instagram 2,200
  • Facebook 63,206
  • Twitter 280
  • LinkedIn Company Update: 700
  • Tiktok: 140 characters

Remember those limits when you craft a campaign that spans all the networks.

Write like a human

The days of writing cold robotic captions on social media are long gone.

Captions can be written in 3rd person but usually 1st works best: “We would love you to join us for a webinar instead of “Contentworks Agency invites you to join a webinar.”

Asking multiple questions or trying to make too many points in one caption is confusing. It will probably result in zero engagement.

Ask one question and make your language clear and to the point.

So, what makes a good social media caption? Let’s look at some tips and examples from my favorite brands.

(Video) How To Write Social Media Captions

The first thing you need to tick off your caption scoresheet is intent.

What is your intention with the caption and what results do you want to achieve?

Examples of intentions

Here are some of the possible outcomes:

Are you trying to sell a product or service?

You will need to include a link and product description if this is your outcome. Give as much information as possible including sizes, colors, materials, and delivery time.

Would you like fans to take a specific action after reading your post?

You should explain the next steps if this is your desired outcome. For example:

1. Click the link.

2. Enter your discount code.

3. Place an order before x date.

Do you want more brand awareness?

To create brand awareness, your caption should include something representative of your brand like a tagline or hashtag. It should also encourage sharing. This could be via a contest or challenge.

Are you looking for comments or likes?

If this is your desired outcome, then you will need to spark discussion. You could do this by asking a question, making afunny/thoughtful statement, or running a “tag a friend” challenge.

Are you looking to attract a specific target audience?

The social media network you use will help to funnel down your audience. As will your language and pop culture references.

Why would my audience care? Would they care?

If not, then the caption isn’t right for your brand.

Does this social media caption reflect me (or my brand?)

It’s easy to get inspired by other brand’s captions and want to replicate them. But you need to check in with your own style guide and make sure it reflects you or your brand.

Understanding the reasons for your post before you start writing is key to creating the correct caption. That’s because each desired outcome will have a different route.

You don’t need to strategize every single post, but you do need to have an outcome in mind.

(Video) How To Write Engaging Instagram Captions (6 Copywriting Tips & Examples)

Pro tip:Use shortened links on social media posts that include UTM tracking codes, so you can see how much of your traffic came from your post.

2. Tell a story

74% of brands have no meaning in consumers’ lives. Audiences are looking for authentic content that speaks to them and connects them to a brand.

Storytelling does exactly this. Yet many marketers still think storytelling is only for blog, audio, or video formats. In fact, it can be for social media captions, too.

Storytelling tips

  • Share excerpts from a diary, book, or movie. Queen Elizabeth’s narrative-style caption accompanied her first-ever Instagram post in 2019: an old letter to Prince Albert

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(Credit: Getty Images)

  • Let your audience finish the captioning for you! A risky strategy but one we have had a lot of fun with at Contentworks Agency. Read the full thread here.

How To Write Captivating Captions For Social Media (5)

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  • Integrate a brand character into your marketing strategy to boost shares and engagement. This could be a brand mascot or team member. It worked well for Compare the Markets and the meerkat family. Compare the Market enjoyed an 80% jump in internet traffic because of the TV ad introduction of meerkat Aleksandr Orlov, who they then wove through their social media. This adds softness and likeability to captioning.

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  • Offer real quotes and stories from customers. Dove’s shared stories of real customers who’ve benefited from its products. Adding the real photo and tag for the speakers really boosts authenticity.

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3. Write the important stuff first

Regardless of which social media platform you’re using, it’s essential to write the important stuff first.

That is partly to grab short attention spans but also to avoid your important text disappearing below the Read More cut off.

Themaximum character count for an Instagram captionis 2,200 characters, but after 3-4 lines, your text is cut off. The same happens on Facebook and Linkedin plus Twitter, which only allows 280 characters. So, on Twitter additional text would need to be added as additional tweets on the thread.

Check out how GOSH puts its wow factor text first. They hook you in with a 1st Advent Giveaway and then tell you the rules and competition terms followed by the hashtags.

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The same rules apply over at Superdry where short sentences are used to emphasize important information. They also create a breathless FOMO effect.

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That doesn’t mean your captions need to be really short. Instead, frontload them with important content or CTAs and leave any hashtags and @mentions for the end.

4.Ask a question

Asking a question is one of the simplest caption strategies available for social media, but it really works to boost engagement.

It can also provide you with valuable audience insights.

Some question examples you could try in your social media caption include:

  • Tell us what you think about our new product?
  • How’s your *Saturday* going so far?
  • What do you think about *insert topical trend*?
  • What’s something you’re thankful for today?
  • Have you done your Christmas/Easter/Valentine shopping yet?

If you’re asking a question about your product or service, listen to the responses and feedback to your team. Complaints or product suggestions from customers should be prioritized.

Remember that open-ended questions create more conversation than “yes” or “no” questions.​ For example,Did you like our new burger? will probably result in a yes or no. Whereas, Tell us what you loved or hated about our new burger? will encourage discussion.

(Video) How to Write the Best Captions for your Social Media Posts | For Beginner Social Media Manager [Eng]

A brand that asks questions well is New Look. Always in touch with the mood of the nation, the fashion brand asks questions, plays games, and invites users to share their pet photos. Always a social media caption winner.

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If you have tangible products you can give away, this is a surefire caption strategy for you.

Tip: Make questions more fun by asking your audience to answer with an image, photo, or GIF. This works especially well on Twitter.

5.Invite fans to tag their friends

Use your social media caption space to encourage fans to tag friends. Social proof and friend recommendations are the strongest conversion tools in your social media arsenal. 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations and 82% say they seek recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase. So, if a fan tags a friend, you’re more likely to get a sale.

Marks & Spencer invites tags and engagement by directing their post to witches and wizards. The comments on the post are all friend tags.

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Tag a friend works even when you’re not running a giveaway. It can be used to share product news like Lita’s treats below.

You can see from the comments just how well this strategy works.

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Hashtags are great for connecting users around a particular subject, sparking virality around a launch or sale, and raising awareness for important issues. They’re an increasingly important part of a caption.

Do hashtags raise engagement? Absolutely. These are the stats for using hashtags in Instagram captions that clearly show 11 hashtags is the sweet spot.

  • 0 Hashtags – 18% interaction per 1k followers
  • 1 Hashtag – 29% interaction per 1k followers
  • 2 Hashtags – 41% interaction per 1k followers
  • 3 Hashtags – 39% interaction per 1k followers
  • 4 Hashtags – 31% interaction per 1k followers
  • 5 Hashtags – 43% interaction per 1k followers
  • 6 Hashtags – 33% interaction per 1k followers
  • 7 Hashtags – 30% interaction per 1k followers
  • 8 Hashtags – 39.5% interaction per 1k followers
  • 9 Hashtags – 49.5% interaction per 1k followers
  • 10 Hashtags – 22% interaction per 1k followers
  • 11 Hashtags – 79.5% interaction per 1k followers

We talked before about front-loading important information and adding social media captions at the end. The only place where hashtags work inside the text is Twitter where users expect them.

Instagram hashtags can be placed in the photo or video caption or added in a comment after you hit “post.” Remember, though, too many hashtags can look spammy and less than cool if you’re a millennial or Gen Z brand.

Flying Tiger keeps it simple with hashtags that describe exactly what the picture is. It’s important to remember that hashtags do serve a search purpose. So adding lots of long ones just to look good is nonsensical.

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Chanel’s hashtags are a little more elaborate and tie into their Christmas campaign using hashtag #CHANELDreaming.How To Write Captivating Captions For Social Media (18)

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Pro tip: Instagram will suggest hashtags to you based on their popularity when you open a new post and type out the #symbol followed by an incomplete search. Many already come with emojis, which really makes your post come alive.

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7. Use emojis

Speaking of emojis … Emojis, the cartoon-like emoticons, add personality to an Instagram caption. That’s why a lot of brands use them in their social media captions, even the more “serious” finance brands. (Yes, really.)

Emojis are completely universal as their meanings are understood in the same way in each country. For marketers, this is a good thing. You save on translation costs, designs, and the need to localize the meaning for each region. They add fun to captions for all industries and stop the eye mid-scroll.

(Video) How To Write Great Captions To Increase Engagement | Instagram Caption Writing Tips & Examples

Emojis can be used to draw the eye to a sale or discount like this crazy one from ASOS below. You have to watch the video, but it’s pretty eye-catching and the alien emojis make it pop.

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Or to emphasize a product or message like Interflora below:

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And this cute emoji string from Ashley Graham.

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You can also use emojis to replace words or create a secret code for your audience to untangle. Sometimes, the emojis are the caption. This is a bold move and works better for a celebrity or big brand. But if you feel brave you could try it as Goldman Sachs did.

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Tagging is not only a great social media strategy but it’s a great caption strategy, too. You can tag using hashtags as we mentioned above. But you can also directly tag other accounts, locations, or products. Tagging other accounts is a great way to bring engagement to your posts.

There are several different ways to use Instagram tagging:

  • Hashtags
  • Mentions/Account tag
  • Location tag
  • Product tag

IKEA is the king of tagging and often does so in captions to increase traction like this Instagram post. Sometimes, the brand tags other brands like LEGO, however, they also tag designers, decorators, and stylists who have created rooms using IKEA products.

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Sassy brand Wendy’s frequently tags other brands in its scathing captions. Remember though, this is all part of their strategy. Being salty won’t work for everyone.

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9. Use Humor

During stressful times, we crave an escape on social media. And humor absolutely hits the spot. Creating short, relatable captions will score you high on engagement, sharing, and page visibility.

The best type of humor is one we can relate to. Everyday problems, funny stories, and relatable fails can be written into your caption. Like this humorous and relatable Instagram caption from BeautyBarCyprus, which hits the mark.

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And this caption from GAP. Cute and quirky but straight to the point. It’s also on-trend as more families take matching PJ and clothes pics from home.

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And Dunkin with “We said what we said” makes the perfect accompaniment to this meme. It also shows that captions don’t need to be complicated. They can be short and punchy.

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Pro tip: Don’t overthink the humorous captions. If you think too hard, it probably won’t be funny. Look for relatable and funny stories or situations that you can share with fans.

Get started on saving time and energy on your own social media management!Check out our free trial of Agorapulseto help you schedule, track, and measure all your social media efforts.

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(Video) Social Media Captions | Caption Writing Examples | How To Write Instagram Captions

FAQs

How do you write a catchy caption on social media? ›

7 Tips To Write Engaging Social Media Captions
  1. Tip #1: Be Unique & Write For Your Audience. ...
  2. Tip #2: Create an Attention-Grabbing Opening Line. ...
  3. Tip #3: Use Power Words. ...
  4. Tip #4: Ask a Question. ...
  5. Tip #5: Include a Call-to-Action (CTA) ...
  6. Tip #6: Name Drop. ...
  7. Tip #7: Be Positive.
Aug 11, 2021

How do you write a catchy caption? ›

How to write a good Instagram caption
  1. Make the most of the first sentence. ...
  2. Include a call to action or ask a question. ...
  3. Add value. ...
  4. Write like a human (not a robot) ...
  5. Draft your Instagram captions on a separate platform. ...
  6. Use storytelling. ...
  7. Use emojis and have fun with them. ...
  8. Consider caption length.
Feb 13, 2020

How do you write attention grabbing captions? ›

Use the opening line as your hook. Our attention spans are short, so the first few lines will be the reason that will make your followers continue reading or exploring for more. You need to capture them right from the beginning. Towards the start of your caption, place the most important words first.

What is the best caption for myself? ›

Me and Myself Captions
  • I don't need your approval to be me.
  • Why chase you, when I am the catch!
  • I am who I am, I am what I am, I do what I do and I ain't never gonna do it any different. ...
  • Take me as I am, or watch me as I go.
  • If I were you, I would adore me.
  • Me? ...
  • I am not perfect.

What are the best captions? ›

  • “I am beautiful, no matter what they say. ...
  • “Gonna love myself, no, I don't need anybody else.” – ...
  • “We're happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.” – ...
  • “If I fall for you, would you fall too?” – ...
  • “Some call it arrogant I call it confidence.” – ...
  • “When it comes to me I wouldn't wanna be anybody else.” –
Jan 7, 2022

How do you make your Instagram captions look good? ›

To ensure good looking captions, make sure not to have any extra spaces before line breaks and create your line breaks directly after punctuation. Once your Notes app has updated on your phone, copy and paste the caption into Instagram and double check that everything looks good.

How can I get attention from social media? ›

Post short videos — According to HubSpot, statistics show that social media posts containing video get nearly 50% more views than non-video posts, and video posts on Facebook see roughly 65% more engagement than posts without video.

What are some hot captions? ›

Instagram Captions For Hot Selfies:
  • “I'm not short, I'm concentrated awesome!”
  • “Money can't buy happiness. But it can buy Makeup!”
  • “Be so good they can't ignore you.”
  • “Born to express, not to impress.”
  • “Exhale the BULL$HIT.”
  • “Too Glam to Give a Damn.”
  • “I'm kinda a beachy girl.”
  • “Life isn't perfect. But my Hair is!”

What are 5 positive quotes? ›

100 Inspirational Quotes
  • "When you have a dream, you've got to grab it and never let go." ...
  • "Nothing is impossible. ...
  • "There is nothing impossible to they who will try." ...
  • "The bad news is time flies. ...
  • "Life has got all those twists and turns. ...
  • "Keep your face always toward the sunshine, and shadows will fall behind you."
May 6, 2022

What is the best attitude? ›

A positive attitude make success easy; a negative one makes success pointless.
  1. Always act with a purpose. ...
  2. Stretch yourself past your limits every day. ...
  3. Take action without expecting results. ...
  4. Use setbacks to improve your skills. ...
  5. Seek out those who share your positive attitude. ...
  6. Don't take yourself so seriously.
Aug 26, 2013

What are some badass lines? ›

20 Short Badass Quotes | Cool Mottos To Live By
  • In a world full of copies, be an original. ...
  • The question isn't who is going to let me: it's who is going to stop me. ...
  • The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do. ...
  • The dream that doesn't scare you is not a big dream. ...
  • I am strong.

What is the best Savage word? ›

Best Savage Captions
  • Savage, not Average.
  • Not your speed so catch up or get left behind.
  • No pen or paper, but I still draw attention.
  • They told me I couldn't, that's why I did.
  • Walk it like I talk it.
  • Silent but deadly.
  • You can't compete, you don't compare.
  • This ain't a race but I still take first place.

What's a badass quote? ›

Badass Quotes about Love

Person trying hard to make you smile does not mean he loves you. Weak man cannot love a woman, as he does not know what to do with that woman. Need for someone loving me after knowing my bad. Try to avoid being fool by kiss or getting a kiss from a fool.

How do you start a caption? ›

Make the most of the first sentence

Instagram shortens your caption after three to four lines, so include important details in the beginning. Only about the first sentence will be seen in a user's feed, so make sure it's compelling or asks a question—and don't put your call to action at the end.

What is attitude caption? ›

Positive Attitude Captions

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. Calm over chaos! Don't confuse my personality and my attitude because my personality is ME and my attitude depends on YOU. A thinking man can never be brave.

What are some cute captions? ›

Cute selfie captions:
  • "The best of me is yet to come."
  • "Sunday Funday"
  • "Never let anyone treat you like you're ordinary."
  • "Be yourself, there's no one better."
  • "She acts like summer and walks like rain."
  • "Life is better when you're laughing."
  • "Be more of you, and less of them."
  • "Maybe she's born with it..."
Dec 1, 2021

How do I keep my viewers attention? ›

6 proven video best practices to capture audiences' 8-second attention span on social media
  1. Use cover images that will elicit clicks. ...
  2. Capture video attention span with clear and compelling titles. ...
  3. Stop the scroll with text animations. ...
  4. Make people think “tell me more” in your intro (and every frame after)
Apr 6, 2022

What are the six words that typically trigger action in social media post? ›

#3: Words Trigger Action

Six words that typically work well are who, what, when, where, why and how. These words spark an emotional response that grabs a person's attention. You can also try these trigger words to engage your audience.

How do you get someone's attention in a post? ›

7 Ways to Get Someone's Attention With Social Media
  1. Make sure it makes sense. I get requests from people every day that I just can't make heads or tails of. ...
  2. Make it personal. ...
  3. Make sure there's a WIIFM. ...
  4. Be brief. ...
  5. Don't be generic. ...
  6. Ask for help. ...
  7. Don't ignore the obvious.
Mar 20, 2013

What is the best caption in FB? ›

Short Captions to Inspire Motivation
  • Happy days are here again!
  • A better version of me.
  • I just leveled up.
  • Life won't get easier. You just have to get stronger.
  • I'm built from every mistake I have ever made.
  • Be the best version of you.
  • Make today so awesome that yesterday becomes jealous.
  • I'm on top of the world.
Dec 13, 2021

What is the best caption for a girl? ›

Instagram Captions For Girls
  • Sometimes you gotta be a beauty and a beast!
  • Love me or hate me either way I'm gonna shine.
  • I'm not short, I'm concentrated awesome!
  • Money can't buy happiness. ...
  • Sometimes I pretend to be normal. ...
  • Be so good they can't ignore you.
  • Born to express, not to impress.

What is the best attitude quote? ›

Attitude Quotes
  • Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ...
  • Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. ...
  • People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude. ...
  • Ability is what you're capable of doing. ...
  • Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.

What is today's best thought? ›

Top 10 Today Quotes
  • You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. ...
  • Today I choose life. ...
  • Never give up. ...
  • What you do today can improve all your tomorrows. ...
  • Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. ...
  • The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.

How do you write a caption on Facebook? ›

From your Facebook profile, click the "Photos" tab on the left column, then click to the image to which you want to add a caption. Click the "Edit" link under your name beneath the image, then type your caption. If the photo already has a caption, you can add, edit or delete it at this time, as well.

How long should social media captions be? ›

Best Length for Instagram Captions

People come to Instagram to look at the images/videos – not to read exceedingly long captions. You will perform best if you limit yourself to 138 to 150 characters. Social Report suggests that your Instagram captions should be even shorter – less than 125 characters.

What is the best caption on FB? ›

The Best Captions for Facebook
  • Adding you as my friend doesn't mean I like you, I did it just to increase my friend list.
  • Facebook is the only place where it's acceptable to talk to a wall.
  • Facebook should have a “No One Cares” button.
  • Hi there. ...
  • I know what you're doing right now…
Dec 30, 2020

What kind of posts get the most likes? ›

Not only do photo posts get more engagement than links, videos or text-based updates, they actually account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. According to Kissmetrics, photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts.

What to post on Facebook to get alot of likes and comments? ›

And I'm here to tell you that if you post the right images on Facebook, you'll get crazy Likes and Comments.
  • Funny images. Facebook users love funny pics and other fun Facebook posts. ...
  • Eye-catching images. ...
  • Images with tips. ...
  • Images with quotes. ...
  • Office and business images. ...
  • Infographics. ...
  • Customer images. ...
  • Niche images.

What are some beautiful lines to comment on beautiful pictures? ›

You have such a beautiful smile.
  • I love you not just because you are beautiful but because being beautiful fits you.
  • You look even more pretty without makeup.
  • As pretty as a picture.
  • Nothing is as beautiful as you.
  • I don't believe if something so beautiful also exists.
  • Definitely the most beautiful woman on the planet.
Jun 29, 2021

What are some cute captions? ›

Cute selfie captions:
  • "The best of me is yet to come."
  • "Sunday Funday"
  • "Never let anyone treat you like you're ordinary."
  • "Be yourself, there's no one better."
  • "She acts like summer and walks like rain."
  • "Life is better when you're laughing."
  • "Be more of you, and less of them."
  • "Maybe she's born with it..."
Dec 1, 2021

Do captions matter on Instagram? ›

Having longer captions provides your audience with more information around a topic. This is especially helpful since it's hard to add links on Instagram. “Sometimes all you have is your Instagram caption to grab your audience's attention and educate them with valuable content,” he adds.

Videos

1. How to Write Instagram Captions (That Get You MORE LIKES, COMMENTS AND SALES!)
(Vanessa Lau)
2. How to Write Engaging Social Media Captions
(Jasmine Star)
3. How To Write The Best Captions For Your Social Media Posts
(Marley Jaxx)
4. Social Media Writing Prompts for Engaging Captions! 😃
(Emma Givens: Content & Copywriting)
5. How to Write Captivating Instagram Captions (5 Step Checklist)
(Shanice Linton)
6. How To Write The Best Social Media Captions | 10 Do's + Don'ts
(Friends in Beauty)

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