For years now, businesses have been using social media to expand their reach. However, for many brands, adapting to new technologies and digital platforms has been a learning experience. 

With new technologies come new responsibilities; one of them being accessibility. Is your small business’s social media content ADA Compliant? If you’re not already familiar with this term, we’ll walk you through some steps you can take to help your content become more accessible. 

What is ADA Compliance?

In 2010, the United States Department of Justice released guidelines for all public organizations to follow. Making them more accessible to all people with disabilities, including those who use computers and smart devices. 

ADA Compliance stands for Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, which states all electronic information and technology must be accessible to those with disabilities. Being proactive in your accessibility efforts is not only important but also a great way to grow your organization.

Although it is a requirement that your content is ADA Compliant to meet online web standards, every company should strive for an ADA Compliant social media presence as well. 

ADA Compliance in Social Media

When it comes to ADA compliance in social media, there are a few key steps you can take to prioritize accessibility for your content.  

  • Properly optimize your social profiles! 
    • Make sure to have your business’s information completely filled out for every social platform, this will ensure easy accessibility to all users and screen-reading softwares. 
    • Do not overcomplicate your content by using industry specific terms or over explaining things. 
    • Include Alt Text, transcripts, and captions when posting digital content to make sure all media can be understood without sound. 

These are all benefits to you and your viewers alike. Not just those who are physically or mentally impaired. 

Utilizing Alt-Text for Social Media Images

Alternative text (Alt-text) is a text description that can be added to an image’s HTML tag. It is used when the image cannot be displayed, in which case the Alt-text is shown instead. It is also displayed when a user mouses over the image. 

With proper implementation, the Alt-text can help increase accessibility and be easily read by screen readers for those who are visually impaired. 

  • Facebook automatically generates Alt-text for each picture you upload. However, it is important to check and make sure the text is accurate. You can also set the Alt-text for your images before posting. Just choose “Edit Photo” and click on Alt-Text when creating a new photo or video. 
  • Instagram allows you to add Alt-text to images you’re posting under the Advanced Settings before sharing. For images you’ve already posted, simply “Edit” your post and find “Edit Alt-Text” in the lower right-hand corner. 
  • Twitter will allow you to add descriptions to your images. First you go into Settings, click Accessibility in the left sidebar, and check the box next to Image Description. With this checked, whenever you create a new tweet, each image will have the Add Description option. Unfortunately, descriptions can’t be added or edited once the tweet has been posted. 
  • LinkedIn will also let you add or edit Alt-text for images uploaded from your desktop computer. You can do this by clicking “Add Description” at the top right of your image. Adding or editing Alt-text is only available on the desktop site and can’t be done on a mobile device. 

Although it is good to get in the habit of creating and editing the Alt-text of your images, including a thorough and detailed description with your posts can help accomplish the same goals. 

Optimizing Your Videos with Captions

Now that you have created the Alt-text for your images and have added a captivating description for your post, what about videos? 

There’s no question that it’s becoming harder to stand out within a crowded social media feed. However, one of the best ways to stop the scroll these days is with video! It is estimated that videos will make up 82% of all internet traffic this year. So as platforms continue to prioritize this content, those that meet necessary compliances will be more likely to cut through the noise!

Types of Captions

There are two types of Captions when it comes to your videos. Open captions and closed captions. 

  • Open captions are embedded in the video. They are always in view and cannot be turned off.
  • Closed captions can be turned on and off by the viewer. They are also uploaded directly to the platform as an .srt file.  

The Benefits of Video Captions

There are so many reasons to use captions in your videos! It creates a seamless viewer experience, enhances your SEO ranking, simplifies comprehension and makes video content inclusive for everyone.

Here is an example from one of our video clients, Dunlap Law, who utilizes captions to reach more people and grab their attention.

Viewer Experience: 

There is a reason why major social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have shifted to mute videos by default. Most users want to silently scroll through their feed while working, hanging out with friends or waiting on an order at their local coffee shop. 

Facebook users watch 85% of videos on mute and captioned videos in general receive 40% more views than those without captions. Besides the common preference to watch videos on mute, captioned videos have a higher watch time and viewers tend to complete watching a video once the captions grab their attention. 

SEO Ranking:

You can optimize your videos with a title, description and tags, but adding captions is a guaranteed way to boost video SEO. Although search engines cannot view your video, crawlers on the other hand can easily index your video’s captions and search for relevant keywords to rank your video higher. Besides improving your SEO, captioned videos tend to perform better on every engagement metric such as impressions, views and likes. 

Comprehension and Inclusion: 

With 65% of users more inclined towards visual learning, videos hold a more substantial comprehension power than reading or listening. No matter how complex, videos help viewers retain more information and better understand the message you’re trying to convey. 

Apart from improving your content’s visual impact, captioned videos are more accessible to all kinds of social media users and can be translated to maximize your global reach. 

How To Add Captions to Your Videos

Now that you’ve created your videos and you understand why captions are important. How do you add the captions in? 

Automatically Generated Captions

Some social media platforms have incorporated the capability to auto-generate captions. On Facebook and YouTube, you can create and edit the auto-captions with the click of a button. You will be prompted to do so. 

However, platforms like Instagram and TikTok do not have the edit option at all, while on Twitter and LinkedIn you can upload a captions file (.srt file), which you can then embed into your video before posting. 

Manually Added Captions During Editing

Some great tools to use for creating captions are Rev and Wave.Video. Rev is a website that takes your uploaded video and generates captions (you will want to order a SRT file for your captions), which you can then export to create open captions in your video or upload to social platforms as closed captions. For a small additional amount, you can also get Rev to add the captions to your video. Want to know more about how Rev works, check out their blog, “Maximize your video’s engagement and accessibility with captioning services.”

Wave.Video is an online video editing service that allows you to create videos and generate captions. If you’re interested in more useful tools like these, check out our blog, “6 Incredible Digital Tools to Manage Your Small Business’s Social Media”. 

Up Your Social Media Game with The Social Ginger

The Social Ginger is here to be your full-service social media marketing partner. Skip the hassle of trying to manage your social media marketing by yourself or adding captions to your videos! Our rockstar team of experts are happy to assist with adapting your content for ADA compliance. Set up a FREE discovery call today.

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