5 simple ways to improve social media content accessibility

Friday, 23 March 2018

Social media is a valuable tool for businesses wanting to engage with customers, potential employees, and business partners. However, businesses risk cutting off a large proportion of their audience if social media content accessibility hasn’t been considered.

These five simple tips can help you improve your content accessibility, making it available to all.

1. Caption your videos

YouTube and Facebook both support video captions. Transcribing audio content into text captions will not only benefit people who are Deaf or hearing-impaired, but it also improves the user experience of other audience members. Many people watch videos with the captions switched on – for example, if they’re playing your Facebook video without sound while they’re in a public place. Captions can also help your video’s searchability on search engines like Google.

While YouTube provides automatic captions for videos less than 10 minutes in length, these are often inaccurate. It is recommended you review and edit auto-captions.

View our video, ‘”Welcome to Tattooed Sailor!”Why this Cafe gave Adam his first big break’ to see video captions in action. All videos on EPIC’s YouTube channel are captioned.

2. Describe your images

Add descriptions for the images in your posts and you’ll assist followers who are blind or have a vision impairment. You could also be helping people who are on their mobile devices and may struggle to see the detail in your photo on small or glary screens.

Take a look at this video by Tommy Edison demonstrating how people with vision impairments use Facebook.

3. Prominently display your contact information

You might have experienced this problem yourself – some businesses may unknowingly (or deliberately) bury their contact information, which wastes your time when you need to get in touch. This process can be even more difficult for people with a disability. Make sure you complete the ‘About’ information on your social media channels and include your business phone number, email address, location (if relevant), and link to your company website.

4. Write clearly

Writing clearly and using plain language will help all of your followers.

  • Keep text short
  • Avoid acronyms, jargon and ‘text speak’ (e.g. words that would sound strange if read out by a screen reader)
  • Use CamelCase where appropriate (i.e. capitalise the first letters of compound words, such as #AccessibilityMatters)
  • Limit your use of hashtags, and put these at the end of tweets and other posts

5. Tell people if you’re linking to PDFs, videos, etc

If your tweet or post links to a PDF, audio file, video file, or anything that’s not a regular web page, it’s best practice to include that information in your caption. This will help the user understand what will happen when they click the link and will save confusion (and potentially their phone data!). Examples:

  • Photos: [PIC]
  • Videos: [VIDEO]
  • Audio: [AUDIO]
  • Documents: [PDF] or [DOC]

Making these small changes to your social media content will improve access for everyone, which is great for business.

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