What happens when a person with a disability comes across an inaccessible webpage? According to one study, 71% of the time, they leave the site. Businesses need to think about how they’re using their online content and social pages to connect with all audiences. They also need to understand how to build their content strategies to be inclusive.
With so much competition online, you must look to include diverse audiences and command their attention. As Verbit provides accessibility solutions that make business content more accessible, its leaders see the impact inclusive social media marketing can have on its partners.
Here are some steps you can take to start making your social media presence more inclusive as well as benefits you’ll see to your bottom line.
Invest in platforms your audiences frequent daily
90% of businesses that market on social use Facebook and complement their efforts on Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter.
From posting short text, GIFs, images, audio clips, videos or interactive polls, marketers must learn how to make this wide variety of content accessible.
Making your social media posts accessible
Accessibility can seem complicated if you don’t know what to revise or how to start. You may want to audit your content to ensure that it’s offering access and doesn’t include hidden flaws. Fortunately, partners like Verbit can help guide you to identify issues and solutions for your social posts.
Considering the accessibility of your images
People who are blind or have low vision use technology like screen readers to navigate online. These devices read aloud text on the screen. However, what about images? Images often play an integral role in social media content. Whether the image conveys humor, information or something sentimental, that context can become lost on audience members who can’t see the post. Additionally, sometimes the image includes text, but that text is part of the image and not something a screen reader can interpret.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn give you the opportunity to add alt-text to your images. It’s important to use this feature to provide a more equitable experience. However, just adding alt-text without thinking much about the purpose of the image isn’t enough.
If the image is funny, the alt-text should convey the joke. If it’s informative, the alt-text should capture the information. For example, if the image is a bar graph, state that it’s a bar graph and include a description of what the graph shows. If the image includes text, write the text in the description.
Alt-text is also useful for GIFs, and platforms like Twitter offer the opportunity to add it to your posts. In such cases, the alt-text should also describe the motion in the GIF if it’s relevant.
When creating alt-text, avoid saying “image of” or “picture of.” The screen reader will already convey that information, so including it in the text is redundant.
Craft simple, readable text
Writing for social media requires a direct, clear approach. People scrolling through content on social media platforms aren’t usually looking to read anything too complicated. You need to catch their eye and convey your message as quickly as possible. Plain language is best, and you may even consider using a program that rates the readability of your text. Even if your audience is sophisticated, that doesn’t mean they want to put their brainpower toward interpreting your social media marketing post.
Beyond the actual message, you need to think about the font and symbols you use. Screen readers interpret emojis, but they might not read them the way you think they would. Additionally, the technology will read out symbols like hashtags or asterisks. Try to be conscious of where you use these symbols, or the message might become confusing for many members of your audience.
Also, remember that your post content should be inclusive. This means being aware of inclusive language and discussing disabilities or accessibility in a way that is respectful.
Caption your video and audio content whenever possible
YouTube is a popular place for marketers to promote their business, and this platform is primarily for video content. A growing number of businesses are also starting to use TikTok to reach their audience. Other platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook have a lot of video content as well.
No matter how short or long your video is, if it includes any audio, it needs to have captions. Additionally, you should ensure your video captions are accurate. Many automated services that offer captions aren’t able to reach the accuracy levels that you need in order to accommodate people who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Considering many other viewers watch social media content without the sound on, failing to caption your marketing videos, or offering inaccurate captions will alienate millions of viewers.
Partnering with a professional captioning company like Verbit is a great way to caption your content at the high level of accuracy necessary to make it truly accessible. Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other legislation, it’s best to rely on a professional solution to avoid potential bad press or legal challenges that can result from inaccessible online content.
Use audio description on your videos
Like still images, videos convey a great deal through their visual aspects. In fact, some powerful marketing videos don’t include any voiceover or dialogue. For instance, Google showcased the speed of its Chrome browser in a clever advertisement that involved a race between a search and the firing of a potato gun. In another example, Urban Armour Gear showed slow-motion footage of a MacBook falling but ultimately suffering no damage because of its durable case. How would someone understand these highly effective videos if they couldn’t see the images?
Unlike static images, simply offering alt-text isn’t enough. Making these videos accessible would require audio description.
Partnering with Verbit for audio description allows businesses to provide this solution at scale. Verbit’s describers undergo training to learn how to provide detailed but concise descriptions that allow audience members who are blind an opportunity to understand the visual aspects of videos. Fortunately, more companies are investing in audio description to extend the reach of their video content.
Gain an understanding of color contrast
When creating short, sweet and impactful social media posts, you might rely on color to convey your message. However, certain color combinations create an accessibility barrier for some viewers. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) level 2.0 AA requires a contrast of at least 4.5:1 for normal text.
Also, certain color combinations are difficult for readers, such as red and green or blue and yellow. While some individuals qualify as fully color blind, others have partial color blindness. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg is red-green colorblind, and sees blue- the primary color used in Facebook’s brand- the clearest.
Find a partner to enhance your accessibility on social
Social media will continue to remain a key way to engage with and inform the public of your offerings. However, if your content isn’t accessible, you might be sending the wrong message. Showcasing to your employees and target audiences that you take inclusion seriously will help make an impact and gain loyalty.
Verbit can serve as an essential accessibility partner to you if you’re looking for insights and solutions to create inclusive, accessible content for your social accounts. To learn how Verbit can help your business improve the reach of its content, get in touch.