5 Steps to Design an Accessibility Inclusive Social Media Post

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Are you planning to launch or grow your business in 2021? Well, chances are you’re already working on building and implementing a high-performing social media marketing strategy. With more than 3.6 billion social media users across the globe, social media marketing is indispensable for modern businesses.

But if you’ve tried your hands at social media marketing, you already know that it isn’t just about uploading a few images and a quirky caption on Facebook and Instagram. It requires extensive planning and a deep understanding of your target audience.

While you might be striving to ensure that your social media posts are attractive and relevant, you’ll often end up ignoring one crucial detail. It isn’t just enough to upload valuable, engaging, and eye-catching content on social media. You also have to use inclusive design principles to make your content more accessible.

In this blog, we’ll explore the steps to create accessibility-inclusive social media posts. But let’s first understand why you need to prioritize social media accessibility.

Importance of Social Media Accessibility

Unlike websites and mobile applications, social media posts don’t come under the purview of the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. It is, therefore, natural to wonder why entrepreneurs and marketers should even focus on social media accessibility. Let’s find out.

To begin with, a 2018 survey of Facebook users found that 30% of them experience some form of sensory, cognitive, or motor impairment. Also, according to the World Bank, nearly 15% of the world’s population experiences some form of disability.

Considering the wide prevalence of social media platforms, a significant fraction of your target demographic on social media might be differently-abled. If you don’t go the extra mile to make your social media posts accessible, you’ll end up alienating this section of your target audience.

It’s important to understand that social media platforms are often the first point of contact between a brand and its target consumers. Thus, by driving a huge chunk of your audience away from your social media profiles, you’re also jeopardizing your website traffic and conversion rates.

On the other hand, focusing on accessibility-inclusive design will help you deliver a seamless end-to-end customer experience for differently-abled users. It’ll improve audience engagement on social media and even amplify reach and traffic. Also, it’ll strengthen your brand reputation and help you win the loyalty of new and existing customers.

Designing Accessible Content for Social Media

First things first – you can’t do anything to get rid of the inherent accessibility issues of a social media site. While leading social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn, have introduced various tools and settings to facilitate accessibility, they still have a long way to go.

What you can do, however, is enhance your social media content in such a way that it can be accessed, understood, and utilized by users suffering from sensory, motor, or cognitive disabilities.

In this section, we’ll outline a step-by-step framework to help you create accessibility inclusive social media posts:

1. Know Your Audience

If you’ve executed digital marketing campaigns, you already know the importance of audience research. However, inclusive design principles require you to take this a step further and identify the disabilities or impairments your audience might be experiencing. Leverage audience polls, AMAs, and live sessions on various social media platforms for this purpose.

2. Don’t Rely on the Platform

Many social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, use image recognition to automatically add alternative text to images. Likewise, YouTube provides you with an option to use auto-generated captions for videos.

However, the captions and descriptions generated by these platforms are seldom accurate. That’s why it is wiser to avoid relying solely on a social media platform’s in-built accessibility tools and features.

3. Follow Accessibility Best Practices

One of the main aspects of creating accessible social media posts is to ensure that they can be accurately interpreted by assistive technology, such as screen readers. That’s why you must provide an accurate, descriptive, and informative alt text for every image.

Most social media platforms give you the option to change the alt text. Make sure you do the same for GIFs as well. If a platform doesn’t allow you to change the alt text for a GIF, provide a vivid description in the caption.

Likewise, you should consider providing transcripts for any video or audio you upload. Make sure the transcript includes descriptions of non-verbal elements as well. Also, don’t forget to use closed captions (subtitles) for all videos, GIFs, and audio files.

If you’re adding any text description with your social media post, make sure it can be easily read by screen readers. Also, avoid placing hashtags and mentions in the middle of the description. It’ll disrupt the way assistive tech reads the text. Avoid using custom fonts and add emojis sparingly for the same reason.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to use a camel case for the hashtags. #ThisIsAHashtag is far easier to read than #thisisahashtag. Also, you should provide descriptive calls-to-action, such as “Download e-Book” or “Sign-up for Webinar”, instead of just using “Click Here”.

4. Optimize the Destination

Ultimately, you want your audience on social media to visit your website and convert into paying customers. That’s why designing accessibility-inclusive social media posts would be of no use if your website still has accessibility issues. This, in turn, makes it crucial to learn about WCAG standards and ensure that your website is ADA and WCAG 2.1 compliant.

Hiring a developer for this purpose can be fairly expensive and inefficient, considering that you’ll be making continuous changes to your website. Instead, you can use modern automated web accessibility solutions to ensure compliance.

Such solutions can make websites accessible within a few minutes, which makes them faster and less expensive than other methods. Most of them use AI and contextual understanding to automatically modify your website and enable keyboard navigation. Likewise, the platform makes suitable modifications to make your website compatible with screen reading software.

5. Integrate Accessibility into Your Overall Marketing Strategy

Lastly, it’s essential to bake accessibility into every aspect of your digital marketing strategy. From content creation and distribution to email marketing and landing page design – make sure all your digital marketing assets are accessibility inclusive.

What techniques are you using to make your social media posts accessible? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.

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